Happy International Women’s Day! Celebrated every year on March 8th, today is a day to spotlight and support the achievements of women around the world.
This year, we’re honoring the legacy of famous women in tech. Here’s everything you need to know about them, International Women’s Day, and how you can celebrate too!
What is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is a worldwide event celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It’s also a call to action for gender equality.
The day has been around since the early 1900s. These events originally campaigned for women’s rights to work, vote, hold office, and end discrimination. In 1975, International Women’s Day was recognized by the United Nations.
Why do we celebrate it?
Each year of International Women’s Day has a theme, and this year’s is #PressForProgress. With new research from the World Economic Forum showing that gender parity is more than 200 years away, it’s a critical time keep moving forward.
But that’s not the only reason we celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s also a day to recognize the achievements of women. Not only those that have made a huge difference in our world, but also those we know and those we work with every day.
At Neon, we celebrate International Women’s Day to honor and pay tribute to the amazing women who have advanced our world for the better. We also do so to support the women in our company who push nonprofit tech forward.
“I could not be more proud of the women who represent a core of our leadership team and excel every day in roles throughout our company,” says our CEO Jeff Gordy. “Our goal is inclusivity, and we celebrate that our team is very gender balanced. These strong and intelligent women are a guiding force in our company’s future and we would not be where we are today without their help.”
5 Women in Tech You Should Know
To celebrate this year, we created a shirt (designed by our very own head Web Studio designer!) to honor 5 women from tech history that we look up to.
Below are each of the 5 women trailblazers, and what you should know about them.
Portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures, Mary broke barriers as NASA’s first black female engineer in 1958. She authored about a dozen reports during her time at NASA, many of them critical to the early years of NASA’s space program. She spent the last few years of her career as the Women’s Program Manager to ensure the next generation of female NASA employees got hired and promoted fairly.
Along with a team of 5 other women, Jean built the foundations of software programming in 1945. The team was working on ENIAC, the first all-electronic digital computer developed by the army to calculate ballistics trajectories. Without the tools of modern-day computer programming, Jean and the team had to physically create the software using thousands of switches, cables, and digit trays to route the data through the machine.
Back in 1843, Ada became the world’s first computer programmer. She designed the first computer algorithm that would calculate Bernoulli numbers before computers were even around! Instead of creating a working version, she explained how the algorithm would function on a proposed “Analytical Engine,” a non-existent general purpose computer that used punch cards for input and output. The invention was finally brought to life a few decades ago, and it worked!
Katherine G. Johnson
Also portrayed in Hidden Figures, Katherine was a mathematician responsible for calculating and analyzing the trajectories of many of NASA’s most famous missions. She started working at NASA (or as it was called then, NACA) in 1953, and worked on the trajectories for America’s first space flight, John Glenn’s orbital flight, and the Apollo project lunar landing.
Rear Admiral Grace Hopper
In 1952, Grace created the world’s first compiler — the technology that enables us to code with language-based coding, instead of the computer language of 1s and 0s. She invented the compiler in her spare time, and the work led to the creation of COBOL, which is used to this day.
Our entire team is so proud to be following in the footsteps of these inspiring women in tech. In honor of International Women’s Day, consider sharing their stories or donating to a nonprofit that supports women.