The 8th March is International Women’s Day, an occasion first celebrated in 1909. One hundred and nine years on, it still feels like there is more to achieve and more to celebrate than ever before. The hashtag #PressForProgress will undoubtedly be trending heavily across social media and we can be sure that mainstream media will also place much deserved attention on to this crucial topic. And quite right too.
On this special day, let us all join the campaign and press for progress, but let’s also focus on the positive news stories and celebrate the incredible work, achievements and contribution of women throughout history and society.
At Cosmic we are very proud of the women within our organisation, leading the way in their individual projects, teams and duties. Of course, it hopefully goes without saying that Cosmic gain doubly through having not one, but two female CEOs. Their leadership, experience and inspiration is fundamental to the success of this organisation and to the quality of the service that we offer.
This is (hopefully) all well known. So let’s also take this opportunity to shine a light upon some of the other amazing women in the world of Tech and Digital.
Women like Grace Hopper. Grace single handedly challenges the misconception of computer science being a male-only industry. From the 1940s onwards, Grace worked as a key member of the teams creating the Harvard Mark I computer (critical in the WWII effort) and first commercial computer, the UNIVAC I. A pioneer in computer programming languages, her legacy lives on in the very device that you are reading this article on!
Let’s go back further and look at Ada Lovelace in the 1840s. (Or to use her full name, Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace). Ada was the first to recognise that Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. As a result, she is sometimes regarded as the first to recognise the full potential of a "computing machine" and the first computer programmer. She’s a Somerset local, who’s successes are celebrated annually in Porlock at the the Ada Lovelace Day, attended by Comic’s Kate Doodson (pictured at base of article).
A friend of Cosmic and CEO of another social enterprise, Dr Sue Black deserves a shout out on this occasion. A Technology evangelist, Sue was awarded an OBE for “services to technology” in the 2016 Queen’s Honours list. She is now a UK government advisor, thought leader, Honorary Professor of Computer Science at UCL, social entrepreneur, writer and public speaker. Her current social enterprise #techmums is changing lives; teaching mums tech skills, building their confidence encouraging them into education, entrepreneurship and employment.
Finally, how can we overlook Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and rated as the Most Powerful Woman in Tech 6 years in a row? Sandberg is powerful not only as a billionaire and top executive at the world's fifth most valuable brand, but also as a voice for female empowerment in the workplace and shared responsibilities at home. Here are a handful of other female leaders in Tech that deserve celebrating:
Susan Wojcicki, CEO, YouTube
Ginni Rometty, CEO, IBM
Meg Whitman, CEO, HP
Angela Ahrendts, Senior VP, Apple
So many incredible women to celebrate and admire… but let’s not fool ourselves. There’s still a mountain to climb. Within the tech industry women are still in the minority. They hold only 24% of computer science jobs, down from 37% in 1995, and occupy roughly 11% of executive positions in Silicon Valley. Change is still very much needed.