The world of technology may have been traditionally male-dominated, but the landscape is changing fast. Many of today's most exciting tech and digital startups are being driven by women. With a broader industry drive towards greater diversity, this is bound to be a trend that is set to grow, especially with an accompanying push to get more girls and women into coding and other vital technology areas.
So who are some of the biggest female names that have been transforming the technology industry over the past decade? Here are just a few to know...
1. CEO of Bumble - Whitney Wolfe Herd
Herd became the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world recently, after her firm - Bumble - went public. But she had a difficult route to achieve her heights, without family connections of a STEM degree. She was also late to the tech industry, and dominated it in just five years, beginning at Tinder as the VP of marketing - and then leaving after being discriminated against and sexually harassed. Now she's at the helm of dating app, Bumble, where 100 million female users make the first move. Bumble is also making waves in the field of anti-discrimination, removing any misogyny on the platform, working with lawmakers to change harassment policies and taking a strong stance against body shaming in any form. Follow her at: @WhitWolfeHerd
2. U.S. Director of National Intelligence - Avril Haines
We're used to hearing about women in the field of digital tech, but Avril Haines has been changing the US intelligence community as the first female leader of America's intelligence agency. She's certainly an interesting character too, with a love of rebuilding cars and planes, years spent training at an elite Japanese judo academy and even a stint of experience running an independent cafe and bookstore. Her government career has included stints as the legal advisor to the National Security Council and deputy director at the CIA.
3. Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky GReAT - Noushin Shabab
Shabab grew up a fan of mathematical problems and puzzles, gearing her up for a career in programming and IT. She took part in national programming and computer science competitions from a young age and then moved into the cybersecurity field - when she was offered a job at a security products firm, alongside her twin sister. Today she works at Kasperky on an elite team of security experts, and she's changing the game of online security with research, analysis and cutting-edge solutions. Follow her at: @NoushinShbb
4. Founding Member at SB Opportunity Fund - Stacy Brown-Philpot
Brown-Philpot spent a decade at Google, beginning as sales director and eventually leaving as the senior director of the firm's global consumer business. She then became COO at TaskRabbit and worked to CEO position by 2016 - becoming not only a rare female leading a tech firm in a traditional man's world but a black female. She now acts in an advisory capacity at SoftBank Opportunity Fund, helping people of color to get their business ideas off the ground and encouraging other female entrepreneurs and leaders. Follow her at: @sbp04
5. CEO of Project Include - Ellen K. Pao
With STEM academic parents who taught her to code when she was ten, Pao is a real game-changer in the tech field, speaking out against discrimination and racism in the industry. In fact, she sued Kleiner Perkins, a VC capital firm in silicon valley, after being passed over for an expected promotion in favor of men. The lawsuit didn't win but it garnered her interest and coverage. From here, she became Reddit's CEO and worked to found a non-profit, Include, that is promoting diversity and inclusion across tech via advocacy and data. Follow her at: @ekp
And we couldn't ignore these two amazing women either...
6. CEO of Black Girls Code - Kimberly Bryant
Bryant graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree and moved into biotech and pharma. However, the lack of diversity in tech encouraged Bryant to move out of corporate roles and to found her own non-profit, Black Girls CODE, which promotes women in color across the tech industry by providing tech and computer science opportunities to young girls of color. Follow her at: @6gems
7. President of Coinbase - Emilie Choi
Choi worked for 8 years at LinkedIn as the VP of corporate development, before joining Coinbase as VP of business and corporate development in 2018. She rocketed to COO position and president at the crypto exchange start-up and helped to grow the cryptocurrency field through the platform. Although she had reservations about digital currency as a means of exchange, she managed to secure $325 million of funding and helped Coinbase to secure a valuation of $8 billion in 2018. Follow her at: @emiliemc
The fascinating thing about these women is that they are invariably doing more than just making money for shareholders. They are true revolutionaries, changing the way that people live their lives through the application of digital and technology solutions - from currency exchange and dating to coding access and cyber security. They are working to change the diversity and inclusion profile of global technology too, boosting visibility, access and support to women and minority groups who want to make their mark in the tech field.
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