Women’s many contributions to technology are frequently left out of the history books and women in tech are left out of the discourse. But lately, that’s been changing.
Here are 15 great ladies of technology you really need to know about.
1. The women who cracked the secrets of the universe with computation: Williamina Fleming
Fleming worked as a compute at Harvard, crunching the astronomical numbers in order to calculate relationships and effectively measure the universe.
2. The first computer programmers: The Women of ENIAC
The ENIAC builders recruited six women who became the world’s first coders, manipulating the ENIAC to calculate missile trajectories.
3. The ‘mother of computing’: Grace Hopper
Grace Hopper helped develop the UNIVAC I computer, the first business-oriented machine.
4. The woman you have to thank for hybrid car batteries: Annie Easley
According to NASA, she “developed and implemented code” that led to the development of the battery used in the first hybrid cars.
5. The person who pioneered the gift that is ‘WFH’: Mary Allen Wilkes
Not only did Mary Allen Wilkes helped develop what is now considered the first “personal computer” — she was also the first person to have a PC in her home.
6. Her work inspired Steve Jobs’ creation of the first Apple computer: Adele Goldberg
Goldberg was the lone woman among a group of men who, together, built the Smalltalk-80 programming language and developed the infrastructure and design for overlapping windows on display screens, or “Graphical User Interface” (GUI)
7. The woman who basically invented online dating: Joan Ball
Joan Ball founded and ran the St. James Computer Dating Service, which she later re-named Com-Pat (short for “computerized compatibility). She translated survey answers about what a prospective lover did not want in a partner to punch cards, which she ran through a time-shared computer.
8. ‘Google-ing’ something would never have occurred to men without her: Karen Spärck Jones
She introduced the use of thesauri into language processing, allowing for computational recognition of similar words. She also introduced the idea and methods of “term weighing” in information retrieval, which helped queries determine which terms were the most relevant.
9. Before there was GoDaddy, there was this woman: Elizabeth “Jake” Feinler
The Stanford Research Institute was the “node” that oversaw the entire directory of the fledgling internet, through the “Network Information Center” (NIC). The NIC was run by a researcher named Elizabeth (Jocelyn) Feinler, who more commonly went by “Jake.”
10. The person who made retro gaming awesome (before it was retro): Carol Shaw
Shaw is considered the first female video game designer and programmer. She is most famous for her 1982 game River Raid, but she also contributed to 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe (1979) and Video Checkers (1980), among many others.
11. Using Apple computers then and now was so intuitive because of her: Susan Kare
Graphic designer Susan Kare is responsible for what remain some of Apple’s signature graphics to this day.
12. She paved the way for the smartphone market: Donna Dubinsky
The person responsible for introducing “personal digital assistants” (PDA) to the world was a businesswoman named Donna Dubinsky.
13. She helped Obama save the internet: Megan Smith
Smith closely advised President Obama on his decision to maintain net neutrality, and to endorse a free and open internet. She also created an online resource honoring and telling the stories of women in science and technology
14. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is awesome because of her: Victoria Alonso
The VFX industry is a notorious boys’ club, but one person who’s championed and innovated it from the beginning is the VFX producer Victoria Alonso.
15. Tech is more inclusive than ever thanks to her: Angelica Ross
After spending the first two decades of her life harassed by colleagues and shunned by her family for her sexual and gender identity, Angelica Ross, a transgender woman, is now one of the leading advocates for transgender opportunities in tech.
The first programmers weren’t men, and the first computers weren’t machines. What they were, in both cases, were women.
Continue reading more about women in tech on Mashable.com.