Mar 7th 2023
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
- Phenomenal Woman, by Maya Angelou
Little did Maya Angelou know that her powerful words, coined in 1978, would reflect the stories behind thousands of women finding their rightful places on the world stage. Breaking barriers, defying glass ceilings, breeding innovation, and refusing to be left out of the divisive old boy’s clubs.
A discussion involving the biggest tech companies of the world is often incomplete without dedicating a moment to appreciate their founders. After all, these masterminds revolutionized the role technology plays in our lives. But how often do we talk about the women who not only spurred the change, but became the change our world wanted to see?
Celebrating International Women’s Day would truly be incomplete without talking about the valuable role these trailblazers played in lighting up the world of technology. From Silicon Valley to outer space, there’s a woman’s name next to each achievement that humanity is so proud of today.
Ready to be surprised? Let’s take a look at some Wonder Women whose hard work and dedication helped play a part in forging the tech industry as we see it today.
Adele Goldeberg’s work inspired Steve Job’s brainwave for the first Apple desktop computer. A programming enthusiast, she taught herself the basics of the language and then went on to pursue a Masters and PHD in Information Science from the University of Chicago.
In the 70’s she began working at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center as a research and laboratory assistant. The unsung hero in a group of men, Adele pioneered the Smalltalk-80 programming language and helped design the first Graphic User Interface (GUI).
She rose to stardom after Steve Job visited the research center in search of inspiration. Soon after witnessing the groundbreaking work at Xerox, Jobs was convinced that Goldberg’s technology ‘represented the future of computing.’
Without the GUI, your favorite high resolution, liquid retina displays with bursting colors would have never seen the light of day.
Pearls of wisdom from Adele: “Don’t ask whether you can do something, but how to do it.”
Sheryl Sandberg is one of the most influential women in Silicon Valley. At Google, she was applauded for developing the search engine giant’s signature online advertising system. In 2007, she was appointed COO of Facebook.
A Harvard economics graduate, Sheryl’s focus has always been women empowerment. Today she sits on the board of many non-profits like Women for Women International that helps female war survivors build a better life.
“Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” is her New York Times Best Selling Book about aiming high and achieving your dreams...
Pearls of wisdom from Sheryl: “In the future there will be no women leaders, there will only be leaders.”
Sandy Lerner co-founded Cisco in 1984. She invented the router while working at Stanford University. Her goal was to enhance the quality of communication within the institution, and eventually for the masses.
Now that we think of it, without Sandy’s immense contribution to the tech industry, communication with computers just wouldn’t be the same. These routers would eventually connect computer networks within buildings, cities, countries, and around the world. And the remote working ecosystems in place today wouldn’t even exist.
As the company grew, Sandy and her husband accepted funding from outside investors, risking control of their intellectual property. Soon after, the new management couldn't see eye to eye, and one of the pioneers of big tech was fired from her own company.
Pearls of wisdom from Sandy: “Do not give control to outside investors.
For Reshma, gender gaps and inequality in the field of coding were simply unacceptable. A graduate from the University of Illinois, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Yale Law, this trailblazer founded a unique organization called Girls Who Code in 2012.
To date, 450,000 girls have studied coding programs under this umbrella. Reshma’s focus has also been empowering women from minority groups identified by low income and race.
She later published “Girls Who Code: Learn to Code & Change the World” to make this knowledge easily accessible to the masses.
Pearls of wisdom from Reshma: “If you haven’t failed yet, you haven’t tried anything.
Gywnne’s interest in space exploration led her to graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics from Northwestern University. After a successful stint at Aerospace Corp. as Chief Engineer, she joined SpaceX and rose in ranks to become the president of the first private company to put satellites in outer space.
Gywnne has overseen multiple space missions at NASA and actively advocates for STEM scholarships.
Pearls of wisdom from Gywnne: “You can’t be on the cusp of innovation and at the forefront of technology if you’re wearing blinders.”
Long before the Blackberry or the iPhone were conceptualized, Donna Dubinksy laid the groundwork for the PalmPilot. The first ever handheld device that would revolutionize all communication channels in the world.
A Harvard Business Graduate, Donna led the software division at Apple, and later joined Palm as CEO. Her tireless work brought ease, convenience, and a modern approach to smartphone usage that was unthought of previously.
Undoubtedly so, Donna’s contribution to the cutting-edge software and processors we see in the latest Apple iPhones can never be forgotten.
Pearls of wisdom by Donna: “It strikes as a fundamental human need to be organized.”
Have we piqued your interest yet? There are so many more amazing women in tech whose dedication and commitment is admirable. Learn about these trailblazers in the Women in Technology Hall of Fame.
At Reebelo, we’d be incomplete without the strong and determined women on our team. We stand behind them, we see them and we support them. International Women’s Day 2023 strikes a special chord in our core. Why? Because this year’s theme – innovation and technological change for equality – is something we’ve dedicated ourselves to preaching as well.
For us, this change is a change in buying patterns to save our planet, and this innovation is an innovation in the way we should consume refurbished technology. The time is now, and the time is right.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
Happy International Women’s Day!