Celebrating Women in Tech: Trailblazers, Innovators, and Visionaries

Publication date: March 8, 2024

As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, EU Code Week is honoured to shine a spotlight on the remarkable women who have left an indelible mark on the world of technology. From early pioneers to contemporary trailblazers, these women have not only broken barriers but have also played pivotal roles in shaping the landscape of computer science and technology. Join us in commemorating their achievements and acknowledging their profound impact on the field. 

Software Engineering Pioneer Margaret Hamilton 

Born in 1936 in Paoli, Indiana, Margaret Hamilton’s journey into the world of coding began with a passion for math. She taught herself how to code, despite societal expectations. Eventually se became the first programmer at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory at MIT.

Leading the Software Engineering Division, she coined the term “software engineering” and played a crucial role in the success of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Her software’s ability to recognise errors and initiate recovery programmes saved the mission from potential failure.

Margaret Hamilton received accolades, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016, for her ground-breaking contributions to the field. 

Technology Innovator Hedy Lamarr 

Hedy Lamarr, the Austrian-born Hollywood actress, transcended the glamour of the silver screen to become a co-inventor of technology that underlies Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. In addition to her acting career, Lamarr’s inventive spirit flourished, collaborating with George Antheil on a communication system for guiding torpedoes during World War II. While her inventions gained recognition posthumously, Lamarr’s contributions to wireless communication technologies have earned her the title of “the mother of Wi-Fi.” 

Visionary Computer Programmer Ada Lovelace  

Born in 1815, Ada Lovelace is recognised as the first-ever computer programmer. Raised to love science and math, Lovelace collaborated with Charles Babbage on the analytical engine, envisioning a machine that could follow patterns to perform calculations and form letters.

Despite the analytical engine’s incomplete development, Lovelace’s notes on computer programming were republished in 1952, solidifying her status as a visionary in the history of computer science. The ADA programming language, named in her honour in 1975, remains in use today. 

Tech Innovator Anastasia Volkova 

Anastasia Volkova, a Ukrainian tech innovator, leverages her aerospace engineering background to revolutionise agriculture using satellite data and autonomous drone technology. In 2016, she founded FluroSat (now Regrow) to make agricultural science accessible globally.

By collecting data from satellite cameras, Anastasia’s innovative solution enables farmers to assess crop health, optimise resource use, and rescue failing crops. Recognised globally, she was highlighted by the BBC as one of the top 100 influential women in 2020. 

Anastasia Volkova. Photo: BBC Ukraine

EU Code Week is committed to overcoming the gender gap in coding, check out this podcast on bridging the STEM gender gap, or this one on raising the next generation of coding professionals, including women coders.  

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s honour the resilience, creativity, and brilliance of women in tech. Their contributions have paved the way for future generations, proving that diversity and innovation go hand in hand. May their stories inspire more women to pursue careers in technology, leaving an everlasting impact on the ever-evolving landscape of computer science.