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Women in Tech: 7 Female Tech Entrepreneurs To Know In 2019
To celebrate International Women’s Day on Friday 8th March, we’re shining the spotlight on seven women who have helped shape technology as we know it – and who are still going strong to this day.
Want to know more about women’s achievements in technology? Check out our STEM Superheroines infographic – illustrated entirely with a Microsoft Surface Pro.
1. Margaret Hamilton
How important is Margaret Hamilton to the study of software engineering? Well, for a start, she literally coined the term.
But that’s only the beginning. Throughout her illustrious career, Hamilton published over 130 papers, was Director of the Software Engineering Division at Massachusetts Institute of Technology - oh yeah, and the small matter of helping write the code that landed Apollo 11 on the moon.
Hamilton is active to this day as CEO of Hamilton Technologies Inc. and, while it would take far too long to list of all of her awards, let’s just say that in 2016 she received one of the USA’s highest honours – the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
2. Simone Giertz
Giertz is a Swedish YouTube sensation who rose to prominence as the self-proclaimed “Queen of Useless Robots”.
While still only in her twenties, Simone has a long list of inventions to her name, from a machine that bangs its head against your keyboard to a spinning hand alarm clock designed to slap you awake.
Gizertz has demonstrated her useless robots all around the world, even appearing on late-night talk shows in the US. While her inventions usually get a few laughs, they are also surprisingly fine-tuned. Sadly, she is currently being treated for a brain tumour, but we’re all rooting for the Queen of Useless Robots to make a return soon.
3. Mary Allen Wilkes
Own a PC? Then you have Mary Allen Wilkes to thank. Wilkes, who decided against a career as a lawyer because of the prejudice women faced in that field, dedicated herself instead to writing code for the LINC (Laboratory Instrument Computer), the forefather of the modern PC.
Wilkes built the LAP6 operating system from her own home, which allowed users to create and manipulate documents using a keyboard – something most of us do now on a daily basis!
And if that wasn’t enough girl inspo for one day, Wilkes eventually went back to fulfil her original career aspiration, earning a place at Harvard Law School in 1972.
4. Kim Swift
Swift stands out in the video game industry – not because she is a woman working in a male-dominated industry, but because her games are regarded as some of the most ground-breaking ever made. Swift is the creative mastermind behind Valve Corporation’s Portal and Left 4 Dead series and was instrumental as a developer on the critically-acclaimed Half-Life series.
At just 36 years old, Swift is still in the early days of her career but has already appeared on Forbes’ “30 under 30” influential figures in the video game industry.
Recently, she’s been working with Electronic Arts on the Star Wars: Battlefront series.
5. Victoria Alonso
Speaking of male-dominated industries, how about the visual effects industry? Victoria Alonso is a big name in this field – as Executive Vice President at Marvel Studios, she has a string of blockbuster credits to her name.
Starting at just 19 years old, Alonso worked her way up, serving as a VFX producer on films by Ridley Scott and Tim Burton before moving on to work on Marvel franchises including Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther and the Avengers series.
In 2017, she became the first woman to receive the Visionary Award at the annual VES (Visual Effects Society) Awards.
6. Rikke Rosenlund
As founder of the popular website BorrowMyDoggy, Rosenlund says her mission is to leave “pawprints of happiness on the lives of dogs and people”. How’s that for a company mission statement?
Rosenlund, a financial-services-executive-turned-online-entrepreneur, started the popular dog-sharing website in 2012 after noticing how much fun she had found looking after her own neighbour’s dog.
BorrowMyDoggy now connects thousands of busy dog owners with people who want to experience the joy of walking or cuddling a dog for a day.
7. Lynda Weinmann
If you only know Weinmann for two things, make it these two: revolutionising the world of online training by creating Lynda.com in 1995; and making an absolute fortune by selling it to LinkedIn for $1.5 billion in cash in 2015.
The self-taught entrepreneur was an early internet pioneer – she started off by renting a High School in California to teach web design classes, and by 2015 had built an archive of hundreds of online courses.
Weinmann is still going strong – she has returned to her original calling in the film industry, becoming the president of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, while also pursuing a number of philanthropic ventures.
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