Top 6 most Influential Women in Technology

This International Women's Day we look at six of the most influential women in tech today. These thought leaders, founders, and entrepreneurs are propelling a future the world is keen to see.

 

Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code

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Reshma Saujani is a New York Times bestselling author and the brains behind the famous TED Talk, “Teach girls bravery, not perfection.” The daughter of refugees graduated from Harvard University and Yale Law School. In 2010, she became the first Indian-American woman to run for Congress.

 

Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube

Women in Tech

Topping virtually every list of female tech CEOs is Susan Wojcicki. Google’s sixteenth employee and initial marketing manager, Wojcicki contributed to the development of Google Images and AdSense as she rose up the ranks. The Silicon Valley native and mother of five eventually suggested the acquisition of YouTube, and became its CEO in 2014.

“Tech is an incredible force that will change our world in ways we can’t anticipate. If that force is only 20 to 30% women, that is a problem,” Wojcicki has said. We love the bold stance she takes against gender discrimination in her op-ed pieces, which include this must-read: “How To Break up the Silicon Valley Boys’ Club.”

 

Ellen K. Pao, co-founder and CEO of Project Include

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Former CEO of Reddit Pao subsequently founded the non-profit organization Project Include with Erica BakerTracy ChouFreada Kapor Klein and four other women in the technology industry. Aimed at improving diversity in tech.

 

Danah Boyd, founder and president of Data & Society

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A nationally recognized scholar and thought leader, Danah Boyd founded her own research institute to address the ethical and legal implications of emerging technologies. She also currently serves as a partner researcher for Microsoft.

Boyd studied at Brown, MIT, and Berkeley. She attributes the fact that she survived high school to a misogynistic classmate who once told her that girls couldn’t “do science.” From then on, she was determined to prove him wrong. Today, her work includes countless thought-provoking publications on topics such as accountability in machine learning and media manipulation.

 

Kimberly Bryant, founder and CEO of Black Girls Code

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Kimberly Bryant used her 401(k) to start Black Girls Code in 2011. The struggle to find a diverse computer programming course for her daughter in the Bay Area inspired the nonprofit, which now has the mission of teaching a million girls of color how to code by the year 2040.

 

Dr. Fei-Fei Li, co-director of Stanford’s Human-Centered AI Institute

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A pioneer of artificial intelligence with an impressive Twitter following, Dr. Fei-Fei Li is another one of today’s most influential women in technology. Dr. Li was born in Beijing, China and moved to the U.S. with her mother when she was 16. She studied physics at Princeton and went on to receive a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Caltech.

The Stanford professor co-founded AI4ALL, a nonprofit aimed at improving diversity in the field of AI. But she’s most known for her work on the ImageNet project, a database of over 15 million images. In layman’s terms, the database helped “train” the first computer to recognize and understand what’s in a picture. In her TED Talk on the project, Dr. Li stated, “Little by little, we’re giving sight to the machines. First, we teach them to see. Then, they help us to see better.”