March is Women’s History Month, a month dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the contributions of women throughout history and today. And one field that has seen an incredible impact from women’s leadership is technology. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most influential women in tech and why their contributions are so important.
Ada Lovelace - The First Computer Programmer
No discussion about influential women in tech would be complete without mentioning Ada Lovelace. Considered to be the world’s first computer programmer, Lovelace made history when she wrote algorithms for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine—a mechanical general-purpose computer designed in the 19th century—in 1843. Her work laid the foundation for modern computing, a concept that was virtually unheard of at the time.
Katherine Johnson - A Pioneering Mathematician
Katherine Johnson is best known as one of NASA’s “human computers,” a group of mathematicians who performed complex calculations by hand during the 1950s and 60s. Johnson was among NASA’s original cohort of African American female mathematicians and her calculations were essential to several space missions, including the 1969 Apollo 11 flight which landed the first humans on the moon. Her story was popularized in Margot Lee Shetterly’s book Hidden Figures which later became an Oscar-nominated movie.
Radia Perlman - The Mother Of Networking
Computer networking wouldn't exist without Radia Perlman's invention - Spanning Tree Protocol (STP). STP enables data transmission between different networks by creating loop-free paths and plays an integral role in connecting devices to each other over a network. As such, it is arguably one of Perlman's greatest inventions since its development helped make possible many of today's technologies such as WiFi, Bluetooth, and mobile data networks.
The accomplishments of Ada Lovelace, Katherine Johnson, Radia Perlman, and all women trailblazers have paved the way for many advancements in technology over time – from pioneering mathematical research to creating groundbreaking protocols necessary for modern computing – that we continue to benefit from today. As we celebrate Women’s History Month this March, let us remember these women for their unparalleled achievements which have changed our lives forever!