Even though approximately 50% of the population in the world is female, the tech sector in the US tells a different story. The National Center for Women and Information Technology recently revealed that only around 25% of IT jobs were held by women in 2015 – despite 57% of all specialized roles being filled with women. Sexism is an everyday reality in Silicon Valley, and whether it is deliberate or not, misogyny is systemically entrenched in corporate constructs.
The good news is that there is a shift in this environment, which is ideal for women striving to make their mark on society. As technology is becoming increasingly focused on finding solutions for social issues, women not only have the opportunity for a rewarding career but also to affect positive change.
The women on the following list are movers and shakers in the tech industry. Each one is an inspiration. Whether they are working for an NGO or for one of the Valley’s top tech companies, these women bring innovation and creativity to the industry and are fast becoming known as disrupters.
1. Dara Treseder
As the senior global head of demand generation of the Apple subsidiary FileMaker Inc., Dara is a highly respected woman in Silicon Valley. Dara is passionate about innovations that help solve women’s issues and improve the human experience.
2. Loretta Jones
A self-confessed ‘startup junkie’ Loretta gets her kicks from SAAS startups in their early stages. Her most recent achievement is growing the small business CRM Insightly from 100,000 users to over 1.2 million in just four years.
3. Gail Carmichael
A celebrated computer scientist, educator, and blogger, Gail is on a mission to improve the computational thinking learning experience. She helped launch the Carleton Women in Science and Engineering program and currently works at Shopify.
4. Jessica Naziri
As founder and CEO of TechSesh, and also a renowned tech expert, media personality and content strategist, Jessica helps tech startups to achieve niche markets. Her company provides stylish wearable tech, app and gadget reviews and tech tips, and Jessica’s mission is to demystify technology to make it more accessible to the world.
5. Kimberley Bryant
Honored by the White House as ‘Champion of Change for Tech Inclusion’, Jessica is one of the biggest influences in technology education today. She aims to affect massive positive change for African American girls who are interested in developing STEM skills and her tech education NGO, Black Girls Code, is drastically increasing the number of minority women in technology fields.
6. Mary Meeker
A visionary marketer at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, Mary is behind some of the biggest Internet trends of the last decade and has made major investments in companies like Twitter, Slack, and Instacart.
7. Ekta Sahasi
VP of the US Business Innovation Centre of Konica Minolta in Silicon Valley, Ekta is the driving force behind the company’s recent major transformation.
8. Espree Devora
Known as ‘the girl who gets it done’, Espree started her first Internet company in her college years. Espree’s latest venture is WeAreLATech.com – the first LA startup podcast.
9. Cam Kashani
Sometimes called ‘the godmother of Silicon Beach’, Cam has used technology to humanize business with over 4,000 entrepreneurs in more than 700 startups.
10. Erica Baker
With a history of creating inclusive STEM environments for women and minorities, Erica is passionate about improving corporate cultures to make irrevocable change. As an engineer working with Slack Technologies, she solves problems using her superpowers: logic, curiosity, and coding.
11. Robyn Forman
Robyn is VP of Marketing for Zoomdata, the company responsible for the fastest visual analytics in Big Data platforms today.
12. Aarthi Ramamurthy
After being initiated into the tech industry in several roles with companies like Microsoft, Netflix and Battery Ventures, Aarthi is now the head of Lumoid, a progressive tech startup that allows people to test drive electronic gear before they buy it.
13. Safra Catz
Safra worked her way from the bottom up and is now one of the best-paid females in the corporate world. She has been working for Oracle for almost two decades and is currently co-CEO.
14. Gwynne Shotwell
Gwynne is a rocket scientist – a real one – who is also the president of SpaceX.
15. Juliana Rotich
Jill of all tech trades, Juliana has been an entrepreneur and keynote speaker and has worked as a strategic advisor and technologist. She is the co-founder of Ushahidi, a company that develops open source and free software with the aim of changing the information flow of the world.
16. Leslie Harris
Former CEO and president of The Centre of Democracy and Technology, Leslie helps the world to understand how technology is making an impact on lives. She has a strong background in technology and law and is a Senior Fellow with the Future of Privacy Forum.
17. Angela Ahrendts
Angela humbly describes her career as 30 years in fashion. She is currently using her digital marketing knowledge and unique insight gained from being CEO of Burberry to propel Apple Retail into being as fashionable as what it is profitable.
18. Claire Boonstra
With Operation Education Claire aims to transform ordinary schooling into uninterrupted learning with the help of technology. In 2012 the World Economic Forum selected her as ‘Young Global Leader’. In 2010 she was named as ‘Online Media Woman of the Year’ as well as one of the ‘Most Influential Women in Tech’ by Fast Company.
19. Ruth Porat
After several years spent on Wall Street Ruth joined Alphabet, Google’s parent company. She works closely with Mary Meeker and is known for her ability to implement cost-cutting initiatives that increase margins.
20. Amy Hood
Amy leads Microsoft’s international finance team as executive VP and CFO. She was part of the team that successfully acquired Yammer and Skype.
21. Tiffany Poeppelman
After working at Google Tiffany joined LinkedIn as performance consultant in senior sales. She is known as a specialist in bridging science and practice, and for her personal branding expertise.
22. Julia Taylor Cheek
Everly Well is leveraging tech to transform diagnostic testing in labs and Julia is the founder and CEO of the company.
23. Anne Mette Høyer Thoresson
After holding a range of media positions, Anne climbed the corporate ladder at SAP where she is now the head of business relations at IoT predictive maintenance.
24. Danielle Morrill
As CEO and co-founder of Mattermark, Danielle’s goal is to help people manage data more effectively.
25. Cecile Schmollgruber
Cecile founded STEREOLABS, the top 3D vision systems company in the world. She drives the company forward through forming strategic partnerships.
26. Sophia Dominguez
Entrenched in VR, Sophia previously founded AllThingsVR and then co-founded SVRF. She is an authority in the VR and wearable tech industry with the objective of stretching the bounds of possibilities in her field.
27. Maureen Fan
As the co-founder and CEO of the VR animation company Baobab Studios, Maureen was nominated for an Oscar for the production of the animated film ‘The Dam Keeper’. She previously worked for Zynga.
28. Amanda Lannert
Jellyvision Lab is a tech company that assists people with major life decisions, and Amanda is the CEO of the company. With her in the lead Jellyvision has drastically increased its earnings in three of four years.
29. Lissa Morgenthaler-Jones
Lissa started her career in venture capital and gained experience in biotechnology – a perfect combination from which she could launch and manage LiveFuels Inc., a company that uses algae to manufacture renewable fuels. Lissa is dedicated to solving some of the most pressing environmental issues in the world.
30. Julie Larson-Green
In her role as chief experience officer at Microsoft, Julie is driven to create technology that simplifies arduous tasks. Her goal is to help people focus on more important matters in business. Julie has been part of the team that built MSOffice, Windows, IE, Surface, and Xbox for over a decade.
As companies are recruiting women from an increasingly large and more powerful talent pool, the glass ceiling for females in tech roles is slowly dissolving. The women on this list are paving the way for future female tech leaders. They are the role models for the technology inclined girls of today, who will hopefully be oblivious to any form of prejudice.