5 inspirational women shaking up the tech scene

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Rosie the riveter on tech background

Technology has a big problem. The sector doesn’t hire enough women. In fact, only 20% of engineers at Google are women, and that stat is similar in many of the big tech companies.

It's damaging to society as a whole—not to mention downright unfair! But what we’re also seeing now is that if mostly guys design the tech that we use in our everyday lives, it simply won’t work for everyone. 

For example, many of the best smartphones out there are designed for men’s hands. And a few years back a French company made incredible advances when it design a fully artificial heart transplant device. It could save lives – but it’s only suitable for men, it doesn’t fit most women. It’s thought that’s because the designers didn’t consider women’s body types when they created it.

And in even more worrying developments, a study this year found that artificially intelligent robots are picking up racist, sexist ideas from their human creators.

What this means is that we need more women in technology. We need girls pursuing careers in STEM. Your skills and talents mean you could make a serious impact on the tech we’ll be using in the future.

So to inspire you, we've compiled this list of awesome women tech entrepreneurs who are really shaking up the industry, plus some top tips on how you can follow in their footsteps. And it’s not just about coders and engineers – there’s a whole range of different job roles out there. 

1. Erica Joy Baker

Erica Joy Baker

Erica is a senior engineer at Patreon, the creative membership platform. She previously worked at Google and Slack. She campaigns for more diversity in the tech scene, is a mentor for lots of girls, and calls for more women in technology.  

How can I get there?

Learning to code is super-important if you’d like to become a software developer or engineer like Erica. Check out these five awesome coding careers.  

2. Whitney Wolfe

Whitney is one of a number of creative-minded women tech entrepreneurs. She founded Bumble, the dating and friend-finding app that lets women make the first move. Lots of people told Whitney her idea was “stupid” and wouldn’t work, but she persevered anyway. Now, Bumble is hugely successful. She told Broadly: “You don’t go into this entrepreneurial mindset and say, what can I invent just for the hell of it? You need to start with something that you don’t like about society or the world.”

How can I get there?

If you’ve got a brilliant idea for a new app or company, consider becoming an entrepreneur like Whitney. Find out what it takes to be your own boss in this interview with three young entrepreneurs.

Belinda Johnson

3. Belinda Johnson

Belinda is the chief business affairs and legal officer at Airbnb. She is a lawyer by training with decades of experience working for internet companies. She helped build the apartment-renting company into the huge international movement that it is today.

How can I get there?

Sharp-minded lawyers like Belinda are important across the tech sector. Learn how to become a solicitor. You can even train as a lawyer without going to uni.  

4. Stacy Brown-Philpot

Stacy is the CEO of TaskRabbit, an online platform that allows users to search for people to help them out by doing everyday tasks. She used to work for Google, where she was the senior director of global consumer operations and ran sales operations in India.

How can I get there?

Developing your leadership skills is important if you’d like to run a tech company like Stacy. You can become a manager then work your way up to CEO by doing a business apprenticeship.

Erica Kochi

5. Erica Kochi

At 35 years old, Erica is the co-founder of UNICEF’s innovation unit, which means she uses technology to find solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems, for example finding renewable energy sources in Africa.

How can I get there?

Problem-solving and lateral thinking are two of the most important skills in pursuing a role like Erica’s. Get some more inspiration by reading how to use your career to make a real difference.

Image credits

Main image via Freepik; Erica Joy Baker via YouTube; Belinda and Erica Kochi via Wikimedia.

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