Ladies, it’s time to celebrate some of our sisters’ contributions to mathematics, science and technology.
These moving stories just aren’t told often enough and, so, today, in honor of women everywhere, COLIBRI is proud to share just three.
To find out more about famous women in technology head to this Pinterest Board created by staffers at the Anita Borg Foundation.
Meanwhile. . . .
Brains & Beauty
Hedy Lamarr, the beautiful and somewhat controversial Hollywood actress, co-invented technology that is used in wireless communication today.
The technology, called frequency-hopping spread-spectrum technology, forms the basis for products such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Well-behaved women rarely make history
Anita Borg, founding director of the above-mentioned Anita Borg Foundation, was a Silicon Valley computer scientist who is credited with saying “Well-behaved women rarely make history.”
Anita herself, when she wasn’t busy changing the world for the better, liked to ride motorcycles and fly airplanes.
An obviously bright and not-so-well-behaved woman, she was known not only for her skill as a researcher, but as a visionary for her feminist and social activism. Despite her early death at age 53, her influential work and the respect she holds in the tech industry is alive and well today.
Courage, Perservence & Talent
Yet another famous female in tech is Katherine Johnson, now 95 (!), a retired NASA employee and mathematician, who was so well-regarded that, in 1962, when NASA first used computers, she was chosen to verify computer calculations for John Glenn’s historic orbit around the earth.
Apparently, some people are so talented it’s impossible to keep them down. According to Wikipedia:
…in June 1953, Katherine was contracted as a research mathematician at the Langley Research Center… At first she worked in a pool of women performing math calculations. Katherine has referred to the women in the pool as virtual `[computers] who wore [skirts].’ Their main job was to read the data from the black boxes of planes and carry out other precise mathematical tasks. Then one day, Katherine (and a colleague) were temporarily assigned to help the all-male flight research team. Katherine’s knowledge of analytic geometry helped make quick allies of male bosses and colleagues to the extent that,’they forgot to return me to the pool.’ While the racial and gender barriers were always there, Katherine says she ignored them. Katherine was assertive, asking to be included in editorial meetings (where no women had gone before.) She simply told people she had done the work and that she belonged.
These three women were all brave and beautiful women in tech. So are you!
Share Your Story
Even if your story isn’t quite as dramatic as these three, we want to know. What are women in tech achieving today that will open doors for girls and women tomorrow?
Anna is a Contributing Editor at Project Eve as well as a solopreneur and the founder of ANNACOLIBRI, an e-business specializing in values-based marketing, online publishing and web-presence. She knows and loves writing about content marketing (with an emphasis on values-based marketing), web presence, solopreneurship, alternative healthcare, spirituality/yoga, (single) parenting and topics related to older adults. Community building is also an important to her; she is a founding member of the San Francisco Eves. She believes some of her best ideas grow out of offline conversations. If you have story ideas or tips, please e-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow her on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/annacolibri
Mieszkowski, Katharine. “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” Salon.com. April 2003.
Wikipedia. Katherine Johnson.
Wikipedia. Hedy Lamarr.