Today’s tech industry is dominated by men and that, quite frankly, sucks. Women face numerous challenges and barriers while trying to break through the glass ceiling, and despite many recent wins for womankind, men still seem to be holding the reins in the tech world.
The good news? There are some incredibly powerful women out there who are shifting this landscape and inspiring a younger generation to take over the tech scene. And how are they doing this? Through determination, resilience and an all-encompassing refusal to let others speak for them.
Kimberly Bryant: Black Girls Code
Kimberly Bryant is a go-getter. She realized there was an issue within the tech industry early on in her career when she was introduced to her peers not as an engineer, but as a “Two For”—her manager implying that the company had scored a minority and a woman. In response, she decided to make a change.
In 2011, Bryant founded Black Girls Code, community outreach programs and workshops that teach coding and other tech-related skills in underrepresented communities across the U.S., as well as in Johannesburg, South Africa. Their team teaches young girls about robotics, design and everything in between.
Bryant’s mission was to “change the face of technology”—after seeing something that sucks, she did something to combat it, and has achieved just that.
Whitney Wolfe Herd: Bumble
SNEAK PEEK of Bumble's @wireduk cover out next week. 😱 No caption could capture how a Wired cover makes you and your team feel after building Bumble from the ground up. We still have a long way to go, but we're ready for the challenge 💪 Team work truly makes the dream work……Business world, we're comin' for ya. 🐝📈
As far as comeback stories go, Whitney Wolfe Herd’s is a treat. Formerly the co-founder and vice-president of marketing for the dating app Tinder, Herd was at the centre of a very public scandal back in 2014 after she sued Tinder for sexual harassment. In the aftermath of that drama, Herd could have very easily chosen to disappear from the public eye, but instead, she decided to beat Tinder at their own game by launching her very own dating app: Bumble.
Bumble has changed the foundation of online dating by giving women all the power. The app is designed so that only women can initiate conversations (a factor that is extremely appealing in our post #MeToo world). And the real rub for those she left behind at Tinder? Her company was recently valued at around $1.5 billion. Just goes to show, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but a carefully calculated business plan can bring in a much bigger reward.
Elizabeth Iorns: Science Exchange
Fed up with trying to collaborate with researchers spread out across the world, Elizabeth Iorns created Science Exchange. This online marketplace for scientific research enables researchers to outsource their experiments, ideas and technologies to those with the know how, drive, experience and resources to get a job done.
By creating this platform, Iorns was able to connect researchers with the world’s leading scientific service providers and the most up-to-date scientific technologies. With over 2,500 service providers and 6,000 services on the books already, scientific discovery and ownership is getting a much needed helping hand—all thanks to Iorns channeling her frustration into finding a solution.
Stacy Brown Philpot: TaskRabbit
Meet Stacy Brown-Philpot the CEO of TaskRabbit . She is one of the most powerful black executives in Silicon Valley. She holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from #upenn and an MBA from #stanford. #blackexecutive #womeninsiliconvalley #blackwomeninsiliconvalley #tech #womenintech #stacybrownphilpot #blackgirlsaspire
After spending almost ten years heading global operations for some of Google’s most widely used services, Stacy Brown Philpot decided it was time for a change. Rather than patting herself on the back for a job well done and then settling into an early retirement, Philpot instead joined the team at TaskRabbit (an online marketplace connecting local services with consumers), and today holds the position of CEO.
Stacy takes pride in her upbringing and how she has handled naysayers over the course of her career in the male-dominated tech industry. Her answer to how we can get more women in tech roles? Let them see you as a role model conquering the whole damn industry.
Each of these women—and many more like them—are changing the face of the tech industry. They are ignoring the stereotypes of the industry and pushing boundaries to inspire the next generation to do the same. As a society, we still have a long way to go to ensure a level playing field for men and women, but thanks to innovators like these, we are one step closer to seeing a balance of gender—and therefore ideas, knowledge and insights—in the future.
Photo Credit: Flickr / BlackGirlsCode