March in National Women’s History month and in that spirit I thought I would put an A-Z list of all the different women in tech throughout history. This was a challenge (I couldn’t find anyone with a last name of Z for instance) so I had to get creative with some of the letters. I tried to focus this list on women in technology although you might find some in broader STEM fields.
I hope you learn something new from this list as I did. It’s always good to learn about people in history, male or female, young or old. However, I found this topic interesting and I hope you do too.
The Complete A – Z List of Historical Women in Tech
A – Ada Lovelace The first person to write a coding language.
B – Belinda Bicknell (I had to include my mom on the list)
C – “Computers” The first “computers” where women who computed complicated calculations that led to famous feats like code breaking and space shuttles. The shocking part to me was that these women were considered entry level and not at the same tier as the engineers.
D – Darpa Agent Mark-up Language Grant Katia Sycara
E – Ellen Ochoa
F – Fighter Jet Pilot Mary “Missy” Cummings The first Woman to Land a Supersonic Jet Fighter
G – Melinda Gates
H – Hedy Lamarr
I – International Woman’s Day
J – Jean E. Sammet
K – Katherine Johnson
L – LINC Computer
M – Margaret Hamilton
N – Navy Code Breaking Operations
O – Ida Mae Olson
P – Mary Louise Prather
Q – “Queen of Software” Grace Hopper
R – Radia Perlman “Mother of the Internet”
S – Sister Mary Kenneth Keller
T – Telephony Switching Computer Program Dr. Erna Hoover
U – US Software Company Epic Judy Faulkner
V – Video games Carol Shaw
W – Women of ENIAC
“We were sure that this machine could do anything we wanted it to do. We were very cocky about that.”Marlyn Meltzer, ENIAC Programmer
The ENIAC stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer. It was designed by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert to calculate ballistics trajectories during World War II. It took a long time to calculate these trajectories by hand. Mauchly and Eckert designed the ENIAC to speed up the time it took to calculate. The hired six of the female “computers” to perform calculations with it.
- Jean Bartik
- Frances “Betty” Holberton
- Frances Bilas Spence
- Marlyn Meltzer
- Kathleen “Kay” Antonelli
- Ruth Teitelbaum
This team of women “were the first modern coders, they were instrumental in teaching others to program after the war.” The women had to learn about the ENIAC from paper diagrams because they didn’t have the security clearnce at first to interact with the machine. They then had to configure wires to program the ENIAC.
X – Xerox Palo Alto Research Center Adele Goldberg
Y – Yahoo! Marissa Mayer
Z – Gen Z: The Future Women in Tech