March marks the start of Women’s History Month, a month that is dedicated to highlighting the countless accomplishments and contributions of women throughout history. As people across the country honor the women in their lives, we want to recognize the women of our time making a splash in the technology field and inspiring young women to also pursue careers in STEM:
“Coding is the language of the future, and every girl should learn it. As I’ve learned from watching girls grow and learn in our classrooms, coding is fun, collaborative, and creative.” -Reshma Saujani
In 2012 Reshma Saujani founded the national nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code. Saujani began her professional career as an attorney, but entered the political scene in 2010. She was the first Indian American woman to run for U.S. Congress and during her campaign she visited countless local schools. During her visits, Saujani began to notice an obvious gender gap in computing classes which is what inspired her to start Girls Who Code.
“In traditional societies, investors have always focused on very tangible things like oil or shipping versus internet or software products. So it’s not only about creating a tech ecosystem but also teaching the teachers and the parents and those that are influential in these people’s lives that it’s okay to take these risks. But I think it’s changing, and government organizations are really stepping forward to ignite this innovation and entrepreneurship movement.” -Adriana Gascoigne
Adriana Gascoigne has served as the Vice President of Marketing at SecondMarket and numerous tech start-ups prior to that. Gascoigne founded Girls in Tech in 2007 after she noticed she was the only woman in a company that employed about 50 people. She is passionate about helping people in developing countries have access to technology.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that engineering is only about math and science or that engineering expertise is all you have to offer the world. Your experiences and your perspectives can help inspire a company to find a different approach to a problem or encourage someone else to speak up.” -Regina Wallace-Jones
Regina Wallace-Jones has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and a Masters from UCLA in Public Policy with Emphasis in Technology Policy. She is currently the head of security operations at Facebook, which means she oversees the security operations for 1.6 billion people. Prior to working with Facebook, she partnered with the Lean In Foundation to help launch Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” Wallace-Jones has been an active advocate for professional women, she’s volunteered at low-income middle schools in California to teach classes on computer science and cybersecurity, she’s a patron of the non-profit Black Girls Code, and she sits on the Advisory Board of Women Who Code.
“One reason product management is such an appealing career is you get to sit at the intersection of technology, business, and design.” -Gayle Laakmann McDowell
Gayle Laakmann McDowell has a background in software development, with a BSE/MSE in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the founder of CareerCup.com, a blog aimed toward helping people in tech careers, and has worked as a software engineer at Google, Microsoft, and Apple. McDowell is the author of Cracking the the Coding Interview, Cracking the PM Interview, and Cracking the Tech Career.
“[Workplace sexism] puts women in a position of constantly having to advocate for themselves, to police others’ behavior, and to fight to be treated with the same baseline respect that the men give each other by default. They say that female engineers have two full time jobs: being an engineer and being a women, and we only get paid for about 77% of the former.” -Ellora Israni
Ayna Agarwal and Ellora Israni are co-founders of she++, a group that focuses on inspiring college and high school women to pursue a career in technology. Israni earned her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Stanford University and is currently a software engineer at Facebook. The she++ organization has grown from being a part of Stanford’s first conference on women in technology to an international movement. Israni has been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, and WIRED Magazine.
Who do you think should be on this list? Let us know on Twitter who you’re celebrating this month!