International Women's Day 2021
The 8th of March marks International Women’s Day, a day to highlight the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Dating back to 1909, International Women's Day is an event celebrated around the world, with some countries marking it as a public holiday. The theme for 2021 is ‘Choose To Challenge’, which encourages us to ‘choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world’.
Here at BlueShift we wanted to do just that and celebrate inspiring female engineers and scientists in the tech industry whose work has made the world what it is today. Here are just a few of our favourites:
Carol Shaw was a graduate in Computer Science in 1978 when she took a position at Atari, a game-maker, becoming one of the first female game designers and programmers in the video game industry. She went on to work at Activism where she created the game ‘River Raid’, which was the first game that allowed the shooter to accelerate and slow down all over the screen. Carol is known as a ‘pioneer game designer’ and is a legend in the gaming industry, receiving the Industry Icon Award at The Game Awards in 2017!
As a mathematician, computer scientist and NASA rocket scientist, Annie Easley’s career spanned 34 years. When she started at NASA in 1955 as a human-computer, she was one of only four black employees in the lab. She was a trailblazer for equality in STEM, becoming an equal employment opportunity counsellor, helping to address issues of gender, race and age discrimination in hopes to create a more equal environment. During her time at NASA Easley was a leading member of the team which developed software for the Centaur rocket stage, laying the foundation for space shuttle launches in the future.
Grace Hopper was a pioneer of computer programming and invented one of the first linkers (amongst being a computer scientist, Yale Ph.D, and United States Navy Rear Admiral). During her career she worked on the first commercial computer produced in the US (UNIVAC I), invented FLOW-MATIC, the first English-like data processing language, and also coined the term “computer bug” when she found a moth inside the UNIVAC computer. Dubbed ‘the Queen of software’, her work made a huge impact on the tech industry and her legacy lives on to this day in numerous ways, including the ‘Grace Hopper Academy’ in New York City, which aims to increase the proportion of women in software engineering careers through coding programs.
A first-year medical student at Harvard Medical School, Pooja is an advocate for education equity and increased access to STEM education, especially among low-income and minority students. Whilst still in high school she founded ProjectCSGirls, an international youth-driven non-profit working to close the tech gender gap. This organisation hosts all-women and girls computer science workshops and an annual tech competition for young girls aged 10 - 13!
A digital product designer and front end developer at 5 Lab Group in Thailand, Ramida is passionate about reducing the gender gap in STEM, saying ‘for too long, the STEM fields have been shaped by gender biases that exclude women and girls. Despite this, women and girls are pushing the boundaries every day.” Most recently, Ramida worked to create a national COVID-19 tracker that was a credible information source about places that were contaminated, places that were sterilized, the cost of testing in each hospital - the list goes on! The aim was to stop the spread of misinformation and collate accurate, transparent information so people on the front line of COVID-19 could get suitable support and resources. With four million unique users within five days of their launch, their tracker surpassed their expectations!