If you look at the top names in tech, you will find that women are very much outnumbered as they only represent a third. If you want to look for the names of top women in tech, you will have to look for the lists devoted to women only. You will find several names of women in those lists, but here we will be focusing on just the top 12 women in tech. Whether they have worked their way up the ranks of a well-established business or have the vision of realizing which new tech company they should invest in, they all are highly accomplished in their field. Some of these women also had to face discrimination and sexual harassment, but still, they were motivated to help build better companies and futures for the next generation of women. (Read: The Women Who Shaped the Tech World)
Top Women in Tech
Whitney is the founder and CEO of Bumble. She launched Bumble as a dating app in 2014 after she left Tinder, a company she build-up but then sued after she became victim to sexual harassment. Bumble is not just a dating app anymore. It has now become a larger social app. The purpose of creating Bumble was to shift the playing field from a usual male-centered dating app to a way to connect that is safe and appealing for women. In 2020, she was included in Forbes’ list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. In 2021, she became the youngest female self-made female billionaire after she made Bumble public. She has an 11.6% stake in her company which is worth more than $1.5 billion.
Kelly Steckelberg has been the Chief Financial Officer of Zoom Video Communications since 2017. Before that, she was the CEO of a dating site Zoosk. Also, she has worked for companies like Cisco’s Webex. Her position gave her substantial Zoom stock options, and this worked well for her as the CFO of a brand that is now a household name. Because of its free access, several organizations have adopted it for in-person meetings, social events, and classes in this pandemic. The stock price of Zoom continues to increase, with over 331% growth expected this year.
Jow introduces herself on LinkedIn as “Algorithm Bias Researcher | Poet of Code”. In 2019, she made it to the Forbes’ list of 30 Under-30 for Enterprise Technology. She states that her life mission is to counter bias in machine learning which she identifies as a “coded gaze”. A few years ago, in a TED Talk, she said that as algorithms are entrusted with more and more decisions that shape policies and how they are executed, accountability in coding becomes necessary. In 2020, she featured in a Fast Company article, Meet the computer scientist and activist who got Big Tech to stand down. Moreover, Buolamwini and Timnit Gebre were coauthors on Gender Shades: Intersectional Accuracy Disparities in Commercial Gender Classification.
Vivienne Ming identifies herself as a “Professional Mad Scientist”. In formal words, she is a theoretical neuroscientist, technologist, and entrepreneur. Ming is the Executive Chair and co-founder of Socos Labs. Which invites anyone interested to join its “Academy of Mad Scientists”. Ming earned her Ph.D. degree in psychology & theoretical neuroscience from Carnegie Mellon University. As mentioned in her profile, she has learned to capitalize on AI for problem-solving. While she free, she developed AI systems for treating her diabetic son. Moreover, she has acknowledged and highlighted some of AI’s limitations.
Reshma is the author of “Women Who Don’t Wait in Line: Break the Mold, Lead the Way“, the New York Times bestseller, “Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World“, and the international bestseller “Brave, Not Perfect: How Celebrating Imperfection Helps You Live Your Best, Most Joyful Life. Moreover, she is also the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a non-profit organization to closes the gender gap in the tech industry by combating stereotypes about programmers. After being head of the organization for nearly a decade, she plans to step down as CEO, but still, she will remain as board chair.
Kimberly was the founder and the CEO of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization founded to change technology’s face. In 2015, in a blog, she explained her motivation behind founding this non-profit organization. She said in the blog that she did not want her daughter to feel culturally isolated while pursuing her studies like she faced when she was a girl. She further explained that she did not want her daughter to give up all her passions. She added that her daughter and other girls of the same color needed an organization to help them grow and succeed in today’s digital and innovative economy. That’s how she came up with Black Girls CODE.
Shotwell is the President, COO, and member of the company’s Board of Directors. She joined SpaceX in 2002 when it was a brand new company as the company’s eleventh employee. At that time, she was the Vice President of Business Development. SpaceX is the first private company that sent American astronauts into space in May 2020. She made her way into Bloomberg’s list of 50, who defined the year 2020. After SpaceX’s successful mission in May 2020, she said that she considered this as only the beginning of what SpaceX would do in a news conference. She was also the winner of the 2011 World Technology Award for Individual Achievement in Space, and in June 2012, she was entered into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame.
She is the CEO and also the founder of Luta Security. With a cybersecurity experience of more than two decades, she gathered a team for helping organizations and businesses achieve better security by working with hackers. Big organizations, including UK National Cyber Security Centre, Facebook, and Zoom, all are Luta Security clients. Katie is not just a security advisor for organizations but also for governments worldwide. Furthermore, she was also the co-author and co-editor of ISO 29147, 30111, and 27304, international standards which revolve around information technology and security. She gained recognition in 2016 after she got involved in developing the first “bug bounty” for the U.S. Department of Defense. At that time, she was the chief policy officer for HackerOne, a firm specializing in bug bounties.
Sheryl is the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook and a popular name in the tech world and on this list. In 2008, Mark Zuckerberg was hired away from Google, where she was the Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations. According to a CNN report, that year, the revenue of Facebook was about $272 million even though it did not show any profit. Facebook has to suffer a $56 million loss that year. After a decade, under her leadership, the annual revenue increased to $55 billion, and the profit was $22 billion. According to an analysis by Forbes, her focus was to position Facebook as a platform for small business advertising, which helped increase ad revenue by 27%, to $69.7 billion, in 2019.
Anne is the CEO as well as the co-founder of 23andMe, a genetic testing company. She began as a Wall Street analyst but then switched her profession by getting herself enrolled in a medical school. Instead of becoming a doctor, she streamlined her biological interests in the genetic research of 23andMe, which was launched in 2006. In 2018, a big name in the pharmaceutical industry, GlaxoSmithKline, put $300 million in the company, which helped it gain approval for ten genetic risk tests and expand into drug discovery.
Susan Wojcicki is the sister of Anne Wojcicki, but she is famous as the CEO of YouTube. She has been the CEO of YouTube since February 2014. The original Google office was her Menlo Park garage. In 1998, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, co-founder of Google, rented it to work on their search engine. After a year, she was hired as the sixteenth employee of Google. When working at Google, she worked on various applications like AdSense, Google Books, Google Images, and Google Analytics. She is the one who saw great potential in video and pushed for the acquisition of YouTube. She then became the CEO and now manages that Division of Alphabet, which is worth $90 billion.
Ellen K. Pao is the one to publicize the struggles faced by women in the tech industry after she filed a lawsuit for workplace gender discrimination against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm. Although she lost the case, still it grabbed a lot of attention. In 2015, she co-founded Project Include, a nonprofit organization to give everyone a fair chance of succeeding in tech.