Roughly half the global population is female, but you’d never really know it by looking at the U.S. tech sector. With women accounting for only a quarter of professional computing technology jobs, it’s clear gender diversity is an issue in this rapidly growing field. In 2017, TechCrunch reported that only 17 percent of the 43,008 venture-funded companies in its directory, CrunchBase, have at least one female founder.
Fortunately, there’s a new crop of fierce females in the tech sector making a big scene in the best possible way. These movers and shakers are paving the way for the next generation of inventors, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and more.
They may not be household names like Sheryl Sandberg yet, but they’re well on their way. From connected jewelry to diversifying angel investing, the projects they’re tackling are certain to make the technology sector more enticing for women to be part of.
So memorize their names, and take note of their faces, because it won’t be long before your world is being shaped by their genius.
A version of this article was originally published in August 2017.
Amber Yang was only 17 when she gave a TED Talk in 2016, speaking about the damaging stereotype that “girls can’t be scientists or mathematicians." At 16, Yang developed a system called artificial neural network, capable of tracking the orbits of space debris — which is 10 times more effective than current systems. But that's not all; more recently, Yang was one of the top female finalists in the co-ed Regeneron Science Talent Search, one of the top research competitions for high school seniors pursuing STEM. Continue to expect great things from Yang.
When women's rights activist Malala Yousafzai was shot and left for dead by the Taliban in 2012, Shahid hopped a flight to England, where Yousafzai was receiving medical care, and helped the family navigate her care. The following year, she cofounded the Malala Fund with Yousafzai's father. And thus, a spark was ignited — in 2016, Shahid handed the reigns to Yousafzai and founded Now Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in mission-driven tech startups with a specific focus on working mothers.
Not only is Treseder breaking the mold by being a woman in bro-centric Silicon Valley, but she is also breaking barriers as an influential woman of color in the tech world. A senior marketing executive, Treseder flexes her expertise muscles with major tech companies. Plus, in 2014, she cofounded, NeuBridges, an innovation consultancy responsible for training more than 1,000 entrepreneurs to date in growth markets across the globe.
Disconcerted by the lack of female tech grads, MIT- and Stanford-educated Alice Brooks realized the reason she wanted to go into a technology- and engineering-related field was due largely to toys she'd played with as a child. So to help foster a future generation of forward-thinking females in tech, Brooks cofounded Roominate — a wired dollhouse-building toy that encourages open-ended creativity. The hope is that it will spark a surge in girls pursuing STEM careers.
You may not recognize Christina Mercando by name, but you've likely seen the fruits of her tech brilliance around town — Mercando is the creator of Ringly, an aesthetically pleasing piece of jewelry that alerts its user to calls, texts, emails and other technology. The company's founder and CEO, Mercando constantly seeks new tech-savvy ways to keep people connected.
Jessica Naziri wants to make technology more accessible to everyone, which means the tech-savvy writer and correspondent is on a mission to make tech more palatable (read: sans jargon). From the LA Times to Today and CNBC, Naziri offers insight into how technology affects our everyday lives, careers and communications. When she isn't corresponding, she covers all things tech on her blog, Tech Sesh.
Need a dose of inspiration? Look no further than software engineer and entrepreneur Michelle Glauser. This passionate social advocate is the CEO and founder of Techtonica, a nonprofit that partners with tech companies to offer free tech training and job placement to local women and nonbinary, feminine-adjacent adults in need. She is responsible for the #BridgeTheTechGap and #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaigns.
Natalia Oberti Noguera
When Natalia Oberti Noguera noticed the alarming lack of diversity among investors, she decided to do something about it. Thus, Pipeline Angels was born to arm women with the knowledge and tools they need to help make a positive impact on future generations of entrepreneurs. Noguera calls it an "angel investing bootcamp for women" aimed at increasing the percentage of female investors.
Dr. Jenni Sidey
File this under super-cool things being a woman in tech can lead to. Dr. Jenni Sidey was chosen in 2016 to become an official astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency. And with a pedigree as impressive as hers, it's no wonder. Only a few short years ago in 2015, Sidey completed her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, where she studied combustion. She was soon after appointed a university lecturer in engineering, an honor typically only bestowed upon those in much more advanced stages of their careers. For her efforts in getting young women engaged in STEM careers, Sidey was named Young Woman Engineer of the Year in 2016 by the Institute of Engineering and Technology.
The fact that Espree Devora's nickname is "the girl who gets it done" should give you a pretty solid indication she is most definitely a mover and a shaker. In fact, Devora started her first online company when she started college, and she hasn't stopped innovating since — providing interactive content and social media insight to companies like Disney and CBS. She is also the founder of WeAreLATech, which focuses on LA-based startups and serves as a hub for entrepreneurs seeking Silicon Valley connections.
Have you ever waffled on making a big tech purchase because you didn't want to risk plunking down a huge chunk of change for something you might not even like? Well, here's where Aarthi Ramamurthy is the BFF you didn't know you had — she founded Lumoid, which lets you try electronics and other tech gadgets before you buy them.
Before becoming one of the biggest rising stars of the YouTube world, Hayes worked behind the scenes as a partner manager for YouTube in the U.K. She launched her own channel, ChewingSand, to get a better sense of what her partners experienced. She has since become a top YouTuber who does everything from conceptualizing to filming herself.
An award-winning innovator, Privahini Bradoo is the cofounder and CEO of Blue Oak — a startup that works to recycle high-value metals from e-waste. Bradoo also works for myriad startups, helping focus strategies and minimize waste.
Former SNL intern Rachel Tipograph knows how to corner a market — her mobile video platform MikMak utilizes short-form footage and improv comedy to pitch and sell products. Pretty clever, right? The site has already worked with big brands like GE and American Express.
As part of the Regeneron Science Talent Search — a yearly competition where up to 2,000 students submit a research project and paper, grades, teacher recommendations and essays to compete for more than $1.8 million in awards — Das, the only girl on the dais, took home the top award for her three-year study into neurons and brain injury. Das also volunteers as an EMT and wants to pursue a career as a physician-scientist. How amazing is that?
Leave a Comment