International Women’s Day is celebrated as a focal point in the women’s right’s movement. Although we don’t need a particular day to celebrate and uplift women’s achievements, this day acts as a reminder to encourage the women in our life to continue striving for equality and recognise how far they have come. The UN has announced the theme for International Women’s Day 2021 as “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”
As healthcare workers, innovators in the tech industry, caregivers, and front-line workers through the covid-19 pandemic, women have always showcased their exemplary skills in being leaders. Despite the progress that women have made so far, the tech industry is not always very welcoming to women in tech. Although the tech industry is dominated by men, there are brilliant women who are changing the landscape. This women’s day, let’s highlight women’s achievements in the tech industry and talk about their success as innovators in the field of AI, coding, Machine Learning, and more.
Top Women in Tech
1. Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube
The CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, has been working in the tech industry for over twenty years. She has topped every list of female tech CEOs and was involved in founding Google, and eventually became the first marketing manager of Google in 1999. She has led the company’s online advertising business and is also in charge of Google’s original video services. Susan Wojcicki was the sixteenth employee of Google. She has contributed to the development of Google Images and AdSense. A native of Silicon Valley, and a mother of five, in 2014, she suggested the acquisition of YouTube and became its CEO.
Susan Wojcicki is not only recognised for her spectacular contributions to the tech industry but is also known to take a bold stance against gender discrimination in her opinions and editorials page. “How to Break Up the Silicon Valley Boys’ Club” is one of her works that is a must-read. She talks about how tech is an incredible force that can change the world in a way we cannot anticipate. But, if that force is only 20-30% women, that would be a problem.
2. Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code
A non-profit organization that is working towards closing the gender gap in technology and what a programmer looks like, Girls Who Code leads a movement to inspire, educate and empower young women to take up computing skills and pursue the opportunities that prevail in the 21st-century. Reshma Saujani, CEO and founder of Girls Who Code was the first Indian-American woman to run for Congress. Reshma is the author of three books. Not Perfect, Brave, and Women Who don’t Wait in Line. Reshma also wrote the New York Times bestseller, Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World. She has reached across to over 185,000 girls in all 50 states in the US.
3. Dr. Fei-Fei Li, co-director of Stanford’s Human-Centered AI Institute
Dr Fei-Fei Li is a pioneer in Artificial Intelligence and has an impressive Twitter following as well. Dr Li is one of the most influential women in technology in the present times. Born in Beijing, China, Dr Li moved to the US when she was sixteen. Dr Li graduated from Princeton University with a PhD in electrical engineering from Caltech. Dr Li is a Stanford Professor and Co-Founder of AI4ALL, which is a non-profit organization. AI4ALL aims at improving diversity in the field of artificial intelligence.
Dr Fei-Fei Li is also widely known for her work on the ImageNet Project, a database of over fifteen million images. In simpler terms, this database helped in the training and development of the first computer to recognize and understand what is in a picture. Dr Li gave a TED talk on the project and stated that we are slowly giving sight to machines, we can first teach him how to see, and then they can help us see better.
4. Danah Boyd, founder and president of Data & Society
Danah Boyd is a nationally recognised thought leader and scholar. She founded a research institute to address the legal and ethical implications of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and data science. Danah is currently a partner in research for Microsoft. She studied at MIT, Berkeley, and Brown University and talked about how she survived high school to a misogynistic classmate who told her that girls couldn’t “do science”. Ever Since then, she has been determined to include thought-provoking publications in machine learning and media manipulation.
5. Rana el Kaliouby, CEO and Co-founder of Affectiva
An Egyptian-American Computer Scientist and Entrepreneur, Rana El Kaliouby is the CEO and Co-founder of Affectiva. She works in the field of expression recognition, a subset of facial recognition designed to identify the emotions expressed by the face. Rana El Kaliouby is one of the pioneers in Artificial Intelligence and has worked on emotion recognition technology in several fields such as autism and mental health. She is part of the Forbes 40 under 40 list. Rana is also known as a young global leader and member of the Future Global Council on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics by the WEF (World Economic Forum).
These are just a few of the influential figures in the tech industry today. There are countless others who haven’t been mentioned in this list. In the second part of the blog, we will be talking about women who have taken up various courses at Great Learning and were able to transition from their previous role to one that is closer to their dream job. Continue reading to learn more about women who have transformed their career despite facing several challenges.
Inspiring stories at Great Learning
Shamelle Chotoki, GSI Analyst at Western Union
Trigger Warning: Domestic Violence
Shamelle Chotoki is a single mother of a beautiful four-year-old. She is a survivor of domestic violence and wants to help others who suffered a similar situation as hers to overcome these difficult times. Her goal is to act as a support-system, educate, and inspire others who have suffered domestic violence. Shamelle has a bachelor in Commerce -Law from the University of South Africa. After moving to the US, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to work in the same field. This is when she came across the term Data Scientist and came across the PGP Data Science and Business Analytics Course at the University of Texas by Austin offered by Great Learning. Shamelle felt that the global rankings and the program provided were excellent. She feels that it was a great transition from Commerce to the IT industry and a Data Scientist title. Shamelle praises the staff who helped her during the admission process, the mentors, the lecturers, and she felt that they are really helpful. In her own words, “If there’s anything that you can take away from my story, you can get out, you can accomplish anything you want to, you can be great at doing it as well. You can be the one inspiring others to do something great with their lives”. She managed to take this course while juggling a job and being a single parent, and she graduated with flying colours and scored in the upper 90s in her capstone project.
Samantha Fong, Manager, Stanton’s City Bites
Being out of the IT Industry and school for years, Samantha didn’t know what to expect from Great Learning’s PGP- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Course. Along with business operations running haywire due to COVID and raising a toddler, Samantha added more to her plate and decided to upskill. She is neither a mathematician nor a statistician, but she has the willpower to learn and take up challenges. Without a strong technical background, Samantha was able to successfully adapt and complete the projects on time. You can read more about her journey here.
Reducing the gender-gap in the tech industry is up to us. Let us aspire to work towards building a safer and more welcoming society towards women in tech. We must encourage more women to enter STEM, and 8th March can act as the perfect reminder that women can achieve success and emerge stronger every time. Inspired by these stories and wish to upskill? Join Great Learning’s PGP Courses and Power Ahead in your career.
Great Learning offers courses in various emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science, Cloud Computing, and more. We also offer mentor-support, live sessions with industry experts, a structured learning approach, and more.1