5 Women Who Changed the World of Technology

John Smith

At FDM, we support equality measures and call for the eradication of discrimination against women. We celebrate women’s achievements and acknowledge the great women of today.

Inspirational Women in Technology

Hedy Lamarr – the self-taught inventor

Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesle, better known as Hedy Lamarr, was a famous actress of the 1900s; however, her talents did not stop there. Hedy worked on various inventions, such as improving the traffic light and formulating tablets that would dissolve in water to create a carbonated drink. Interestingly, Hedy was completely self-taught and did not receive any formal technology training. Arguably, Hedy’s greatest invention was her secret communication system, a frequency hopping device that she created with George Antheil. The key purpose of this device was to set radio-guided torpedoes off course during the war. It eventually became the inspiration for many modern-day inventions, such as Wifi, GPS and Bluetooth.

Adele Goldberg – Graphical User Interfaces and Apple

Adele was an active contributor to the development of Smalltalk-80, the programming language which then went on to inspire Apple computers. Adele was reluctant to hand over her work to Steve Jobs, but her superiors forced her. Apple used this programming language as the basis for its Apple Macintosh desktop environment.

Elizabeth Feinler – developing the internet

Elizabeth was director of the Network Information Systems Centre at the Stanford Research Institute between 1972 and 1989. The Network Information Centre was the organisation responsible for Domain Name System (DNS) allocations. DNS has been an essential component of the internet since it’s conception. She went on to develop guidelines for managing the internet protocols at NASA’s Ames Research Centre.

Katherine Johnson – the NASA Mathematician

Katherine played a crucial role in the success of NASA’s first-ever crewed spaceflights. Her trajectory analysis and work as a mathematician were vital for space exploration. In 2015, at the age of 97, Katherine was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama for her work. The space agency also noted Katherine’s ‘historical role as one of the first African-American women to work as a NASA scientist’.

Mary Wilkes – making a home computer possible

Mary Wilkes was the brains behind the LINC computer, aka the world’s first “personal computer”. Her use of the LINC computer at home in 1965 also makes her the first-ever person to use a home computer.

Championing women in tech is in FDM’s DNA

Did you know that less than 20% of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) workforce are women? Our Women in Tech initiative was established to change this, promote inclusion and help close the gender pay gap.

We look to teach and nurture amazing female talent and help them begin their careers in technology. Here are some of the inspirational women of FDM and their amazing stories:

Could you be next? Find out more about our Graduate, Ex-Forces or Returners Programmes.

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