11 Successful Women in Tech
Sep 3, 2015
Last month, a hashtag spread across social media about women in tech: #thisiswhatanengineerlookslike.
Female engineers posted their photos accompanied by the hashtag in order to counter the assumption that all engineers are men and look like Mark Zuckerberg. The truth is that most engineers are men, according to a recent study conducted by Stack Overflow that revealed that only 5.8 percent of developers worldwide are women.
In the United States, most agree that this number has something to do with American culture. The New York Times reported in 2012 that in a test given to 15 year olds around the world, girls tended to outperform boys in science — the U.S. is an outlier.
Even in adulthood, women pursue science, math, and business less than men. Udemy, an online course platform, reports that only 15.4 percent of their enrollments in development courses are women, and only 11.3 percent of enrollments in IT and software courses are women.
But still, there are women in the technology sphere who are changing the world. See below for some of the smartest, coolest, most prolific women in tech.
1. Ruzwana Bashir, 32, co-founder and CEO of Peek.com
Originally from England, Bashir is of Pakistani descent and on Forbes 30 Under 30 in Technology list. After graduating from Oxford and Harvard Business School, she started her career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and private equity at Blackstone Group. In 2012, she founded Peek, which functions like Open Table but for vacation activities. It has received funding from Jack Dorsey and other tech big wigs. Bashir also has used her success as a way to speak out against sexual abuse, which she is a survivor of.
2. Julia Hartz, 36, co-founder and president of Eventbrite
Eventbrite, a company which sells "live experiences," has generated $3 billion in ticket sales, and has sold more than 200 million tickets. Hartz, a Pepperdine graduate, built the 500 employee company from the ground up after leaving the television industry where she was an executive. Eventbrite, which has secured $200 million in funding, now employs over 500 people.
3. Marissa Mayer, 40, President and CEO of Yahoo
The current President and CEO of Yahoo started out as a pre-med student at Stanford, but before she graduated she would switch to symbolic systems and specialize in artificial intelligence. Mayer received 14 job offers when she graduated from Stanford, and took a job at Google as the company's first female engineer and their 20th employee. She remained there until she moved to Yahoo in 2012, where she has overseen the $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr, and Polyvore.
4. Angela Ahrendts, 55, senior vice president, retail and online stores at Apple
The Indiana native left her position as CEO of Burberry in 2014, where she tripled the luxury fashion company's revenue during her tenure, according to Forbes. Ahrendts was hired by Apple, where she remains the company's sole female senior executive. During her time at the tech titan, she has earned more than any other executive including Tim Cook — $70 million in 2014 alone. Among many other honors, she has been named to Fortune's '50 Most Powerful Women in Business' six times.
5. Susan Wojcicki, 47, CEO of YouTube
Harvard grad Susan Wojcicki was Google's first marketing manager in the 90s, before handling two of their largest acquisitions — YouTube and DoubleClick. She has been called 'The Most Important Googler You've Never Heard of" and is regularly featured on Fortune and Forbe's "Most Powerful Women" lists.
6. Jess Lee, 31, CEO and CoFounder of Polyvore
The Hong Kong native was working at Yahoo when she became interested in Polyvore. She wrote a lengthy letter to the company about how they should improve their site, and received a job offer in return. Lee is now considered to be an honorary cofounder, and played a large role in Yahoo's acquisition of the style community.
7. Debbie Sterling, 32, Founder and CEO of Goldieblox
Sterling didn't know what an engineer was until her senior year in high school. The Founder and CEO of Goldieblox blames the fact that there are few building toys for girls to play with. Thus, she created Goldieblox after graduating from Stanford with an engineering degree. Goldieblox is meant to equip girls with spacial reasoning skills and knowledge of mechanics so when they encounter math and science at school, they can keep up with the boys.
8. Isabelle Olsson, 31 Lead Designer at Google
Olsson, who hails from Sweden, joined the Google glass team after being recruited from LinkedIn. Before she got her hands on the prototype, there were still cables hanging off of it. In 2014, Google Glass rolled out a line of frames with Diane von Furstenberg, squashing the idea that Google Glass was nerdy or unfashionable.
9. Sheryl Sandberg, 46, COO of Facebook
The Washington D.C. native met Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at a Christmas party in 2007, and he hired her away from Google, where she was an executive, the following March. She wrote bestseller "Lean In," about women in business leadership. She wrote that her choice of a husband, SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, was one of the most important professional choices she's made, saying "The single most important career decision that a woman makes is whether she will have a life partner and who that partner is."
10. Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, both 28, Founders of The Skimm
Zakin and Weisberg, the founders of the newsletter The Skimm, met while studying abroad in Rome. Years later, they would change the way millennials consume information by creating a morning email that hits on important news stories in a conversational tone. The newsletter has over 1 million subscribers including Oprah, and raised $6.25 million last year.
11. Whitney Wolfe, 25, Founder and CEO of Tinder/ Bumble
A co-founder at Tinder, which is valued at $750 million, she left and pursued a sexual harrassment lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend, who was also her direct manager and fellow founder. Then she founded Bumble, which has become a successful dating app in its own right. It works similarly to Tinder, except that women have to be the first to start a conversation, which Wolfe believes is empowering for women. Of the app, Wolfe told TIME, "This could change the way women and men treat each other, women and men date, and women feel about themselves."
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