Women who changed the tech world

Women who changed the tech world
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International Women’s Day is coming up soon. And to celebrate the occasion on the 8th of March, we’ve made a list of ten of the most influential women who have helped shape the world of technology.

The ground-breaking research and work carried out by these tech trailblazers led to the creation of everything from the internet and Wi-Fi to smart security systems. Even space travel wouldn’t have been possible if not for some of the names on our list!

Computer programming: Ada Lovelace

If you can believe it, the very first computer programmer was born in 1815. And her name was Ada Lovelace — the daughter of renowned poet Lord Byron. Lovelace was a remarkable mathematician who worked on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine (considered the world’s first computer) and created what’s believed to be the first ever algorithm — ‘Note G’.

To commemorate her contributions and the achievements of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) careers, Ada Lovelace Day is celebrated on every second Tuesday in October. So, make sure to jot it down in your calendar!

Internet: Radia Perlman

Can you now imagine our world without the internet? Well, if it wasn’t for Radia Perlman (nicknamed the “Mother of the Internet”), you probably wouldn’t be reading this article. Born in 1951, Perlman is a computer programmer who invented the Spanning Tree Algorithm and Protocol. In a nutshell, this formed the fundamentals for the operation of network bridges and established the basic rules of internet traffic.

Wi-Fi: Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr was a household name during Hollywood’s golden age. But did you know that she loved inventing things when she wasn’t filming for the silver screen? And she was completely self-taught, too.

During the second world war, Lamarr and avant-garde composer George Antheil thought up a clever communication system which helped make Allied radio-guided torpedoes harder for the Axis powers to detect or jam. And it was their work that later inspired frequency hopping technologies we use today — like Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth.

Telecommunications: Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson

In 1973, Shirley Ann Jackson became first black woman ever to earn a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). But it was her research into theoretical physics that led to some huge technological breakthroughs that we simply couldn’t function without today. Jackson’s work enabled others to invent everything from the touch-tone telephone to solar cells, fibre optic cables, and the tech behind caller ID.

Space exploration: Katherine Johnson

In 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. But his landmark achievement wouldn’t have been possible if not for the efforts of mathematician Katherine Johnson. Her calculations of orbital mechanics at NASA were essential in the success of the USA’s early crewed spaceflights. So much so, that when awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, Johnson recalled Glenn saying: “If she says they’re good (Katherine's numbers), then I am ready to go.”

GUI: Adele Goldberg

Computers probably wouldn't be as easy to use today if not for the wonderful work of Adele Goldberg. A key member of the Xerox PARC research team, Goldberg's contributions to the Smalltalk-80 programming language led to the development of graphical user interfaces (GUI) in computers.

You know those windows, menus, and icons we click on every day? Yep, it was Goldberg who brought these ideas to life. Her concepts for the Xerox Alto computer are also what inspired Apple’s very first computer.

Moon landing: Margaret Hamilton

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are always the first names that come to mind when we think about the first moon landing in 1969. But Margaret Hamilton’s critical work as a software engineer (a term she herself coined) was vital in the success of NASA’s legendary Apollo program, with the code that Hamilton and her team wrote at MIT helping Apollo 11 touchdown on the Moon’s surface.

Rocket systems: Annie Easley

Annie Easley was an African American computer scientist and mathematician. Over her 34-year career, she worked on everything from NASA rocket systems to developing codes that analysed alternative power technologies — including the battery tech used for early hybrid vehicles. Her contributions to NASA’s Centaur project also helped in launching future satellites and space vehicles, including the Cassini to Saturn in 1997.

But Easley also spent her career advocating for equal opportunities in technology for people of all backgrounds. Her work not only had a huge impact on the field of science, but on society as a whole.

Home security: Marie Van Brittan Brown

Have you got a smart security system at home? Well, you can thank Marie Van Brittan Brown for that. She was a nurse who developed the first home security system in the ‘60s with her electrician husband Albert Brown, as a way of feeling safer in their crime-ridden New York neighbourhood.

The couple’s first prototype was basically a peephole camera connected to some monitors, with a mic that they could shoo away intruders with. But they later innovated a remote-controlled door locking mechanism and a panic alarm. When the couple were awarded their patent in 1969, Marie’s name came first.

Domain names: Elizabeth Feinler

 Elizabeth Feinler was heavily involved in the early development of the internet. She held an influential director role at the Network Information Centre (NIC) in California between 1972 and 1989, but is perhaps best known for helping to create the Domain Name System (DNS). This is what lets us access websites by using easy-to-remember domain names instead of complex IP addresses. So, you can thank her for dot coms, dot nets and the like!


Giveaway Time! 

To celebrate International Woman’s Day, we’re giving one lucky winner the chance to win a £100 Currys gift card. 

To enter, simply reply below and tell us about the most important woman in your life

Once you’ve added your comment, you’ll be entered into the draw!

Entries close at 23:59 on 18th March 2024. A winner will be chosen at random, and we'll announce the lucky iD community member shortly after.

We’ll notify the winner by direct message here on the Community, so please keep an eye on your inbox.

Good luck!

237 replies

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Mum. Brought me up alone after dad died young. 

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Don't make me pick between my wife and daughter! (Because I'll probably say my daughter! 😅)

 Hedy Lamarr




my wife cathy my life xx

My partner

Oh my wonderful mum she not only my mum she  also my best friend everytime I felt sad or lonely she would be there when I felt bad days she was there if I was feeling ill she would be there not only that she brought up me and my brother up since losing our father nearly 24 years of this month so this is why she means the world to me 

My mother, she is my bestest friend, my nan who sadly past also help bring me up when my mum was single she was amazing and I loved her to bits she will always be missed ♥️

My mum has long since passed, so I’d have to say my adorable Calico called Hello Kitty, she raises a smile when I’m sad

My mum is the most important woman in my life. She's gotten ill recently and I don't want to imagine my life without her, she helped me through a lot and has always been there for me and my siblings.

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My daughter, although only 5 years old, is without a doubt the most important female in my life.

She's my first born child, born after two miscarriages, and has completely healed my heart, as well as taught me so much about how to be a parent. I grew up with a very toxic "mum", whom I no longer have contact with to protect my own sanity and boundaries, so I didn't have a great role model for the job of parent!

​​​​However I needn't have worried, my daughter is my biggest teacher, best friend, kind and loving little girl, who makes me a better person 💜



My wife Zoe. So kind and caring, to family and beyond. She’s a truely inspirational woman.

Would definitely have to be Hedy Lamarr She’s the reason I can actually make this comment and do things on the internet. 

As i live on my own with no family . My 2 year old shihtzu  called pepper  

Wouldnt know what i would do without her 

My nan, she taught me to be strong and myself, not to listen to others but be true to myself 

I have always admired strong women. My mother - confident and independent - raised me to believe in myself. I know that I owe a lot to women in my life and that's why they inspire me so much.

My girlfriend, does way too much for me and keeps me sane 😂


My mother. I didn’t realised how hard it was to be a mother until I become I mother myself. My Mum is gone but all she thought me is always in my head. I can still hear her voice saying to never give up. I miss her a lot. 

My wife who is strong and amazing 


My partner sue , she is the strongest person I know even with the disabilities that make her life more challenging she doesn't let them rule her, gives all to our family and goes above and beyond to help others when she can

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The most amazing woman in my life is my mum she always been there for me my dad died from ms when I was 13 my mums been my rock 


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