Here at Purple, we are passionate about providing equal opportunities to those we work with, as well as those who wish to join us. In fact, the leadership team at Purple is made up of equal parts men and women, and each individual’s talents and strengths have been integral to our success. But as a technology startup, we are also conscious of the huge gender discrepancy that persists in our industry: according to TechCrunch, only 5% of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women, and despite the fact that 1.4 million jobs will be available in computer science by 2020, less than 3 percent will be filled by women.
Considering the staggeringly low numbers of women currently in / planning to enter technology sectors, it’s important that us tech companies do all we can to help close this gap. Initial steps include assessing and improving the company culture, considering the way we advertise roles in tech, and simply offering more training initiatives to women. Assuring that our support for women in tech is transparent is also a simple and effective way of encouraging those who are considering working with us.
This International Women’s Day, Team Purple continue to stand in solidarity with women all over the globe who are working to improve gender parity, and want to encourage our female colleagues, blog readers, and social followers who work, study, or are aspiring to be part of the tech industry. As part of our celebration(s) of IWD, we’ve put together an inspirational list of intelligent, driven women who have pursued their love of technology and found great success in their field. And we’ve not just focused on the big companies (though it’s certainly worth mentioning the likes of Facebook’s COO Sheyrl Sandberg, IBM’s CEO Ginny Rometty, and Microsoft’s CFO Amy Hood) – we’ve featured women from a wide variety of companies across a number of disciplines. We’ve also not forgotten those women who are volunteering their time, effort, and knowledge to help other women and girls learn how to code, run businesses, and ultimately break down social and economic barriers
Here are 15 inspirational women in tech that we want to celebrate this International Women’s Day. These women have been bold for change in the tech industry, and are part of the thousands of women around the world who are making a difference.
Lara Hogan: Jump-starting our inspirational list of women in tech is Lara Hogan. In addition to being the Engineering Director the incredibly popular e-commerce website Etsy, Lara’s also the author of Demystifying Public Speaking, and Designing for Performance. Follow Lara at @lara_hogan
Ching-Yu Hu: Ching-Yu Hu is the Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur who co-founded Terra Bella (formerly Skybox) – a Google business that sends satellites into space to create maps of earth. With a Masters degree in Management Science & Engineering, Ching-Yu’s passion for tech has lead to the development of a highly intelligent tech business that is changing the way we view the world. Follow Ching-Yu @cyhu
Elizabeth Varley: Next is Elizabeth Varley, the Co-founder & CEO of TechHub, a global home for technology entrepreneurs and startups. Elizabeth’s entrepreneurship and passion has led her to work globally with nearly 800 tech firms, and into a partnership Google for Entrepreneurs. Follow Elizabeth @evarley
Jaishree Subramania: Jaishree is the Senior Director of Marketing for Cisco Services, following her role as Director of Product and Solutions Marketing in Cisco’s IoT division. With extensive knowledge around tech and IoT, she also manages the annual Internet of Things World Forum industry event as well as the IoT Steering Committee. Jaishree has been recognized as one of the 25 most influential women in IoT by the Internet of Things Institute. Follow Jaishree @Jaishree
Kim Swift: Many avid gamers out there will be familiar with the award-winning game designer Kim Swift. Named by Fortune as one of “30 Under 30” influential figures in the video game industry, Kim has taken the lead on critically acclaimed games such as Portal and Left 4 Dead. Follow Kim @K2theSwift
Reshma Saujani: Next up is Reshma Saujani, a coding advocate, entrepreneur, and the CEO of GirlsWhoCode. Reshma is making a huge impact on women and girls in the tech industry, with GWC growing from 20 girls in NYC to 10K across the states. Reshma is also the author of the empowering book, Women Who Don’t Wait In Line. Follow Reshma @reshmasaujani
Julia Grace: Julia Grace is the Director of Infrastructure Engineering at Slack HQ, a real-time, cloud-based team collaboration tool assisting freelancers, remote workers, and tech teams all over the world. As an engineering leader, Julia is also an advisor at Jewelbots and is a Computer History board member. Follow Julia @jewelia
Kristina Halvorson: Next we have content strategist and workflow expert Kristina Halvorson. Kristina is the Founder of Brain Traffic and Confab Events. As an avid writer, Kristina is also the author of Content Strategy for the Web, a go-to handbook for creating and executing successful content strategies. Follow Kristina @halvorson
Una Kravets: Front-end developer, traveller, and all-around unicorn enthusiast Una Kravets is next on our list. With a passion for tech, Una co-hosts a podcast about tech tools called Toolsday in addition to writing code for a living on the Cloud Platform Team within IBM Design. Follow Una @Una
Rachel Binx: Rachel Binx is a multi-talented data visualizer, web designer, and developer. She’s co-founded and built the websites for a number of businesses including Meshu, Gifpop and monochōme. Rachel also has experience at major companies like Stamen Design and NASA, and currently works with the Content Science & Algorithms team at Netflix. Follow Rachel @rachelbinx
Lauren Pittenger: In addition to being an all-around creative, Lauren Pittenger is a WordPress designer and developer, speaker, and instructor. She is also a Front end designer lbdesign and the Co-organizer of Wordcamp Lancaster. In her spare time, Lauren can be found volunteering at Girl Develop It and speaking at various meetups and conferences. Follow Lauren @laurenpittenger
Christa Norton: With a passion for marketing, ICT, and international telecoms industries, Christa has seen great success in her career in the tech field. She is the Head of Marketing for Technology Solutions at Capita IT Enterprise Services – a trusted IT service provider that combines processes and technology to transform organizations. Follow Christa @christaenorton
Jess Yoko: Avid techie and a talented entrepreneur Jess Yoko is the co-founder and CEO of a style / social commerce platform called Polyvore. Prior to Polyvore, Jess worked a Google Maps for four years where she launched a wealth of amazing features. In addition to being a Computer Science whiz, Jess also has a creative side and loves to doodle. Follow Jess @jesskah
Ultimately, there are hundreds of thousands of incredibly talented and intelligent women making waves in traditionally male-led technology sectors. As more and more women join the tech workforce, they continue to inspire a wealth of young female entrepreneurs, inventors, coders, scientists, and tech writers who will help shape the future of their respective industries. If you’re passionate about technology and are looking for the next step in your career, be sure to get in touch.
As a brief history, International Women’s Day has its early New York origins in 1908, and was officially lead for the first time in 1911.The organization defines the day as a global celebration of the social, economic, and political achievements of women, with the ultimate aim of furthering progress in gender parity. In 2017, this international celebration continues to unify and build up women around the globe.