Women have come a long way in the world of tech and business. Although there is still a notable gap between women and men in the industry, several high-profile women are working hard to narrow that divide.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re turning our attention to five women who are making a remarkable difference in the industry, not only through their own achievements, but also by opening the door for other women to follow in their footsteps.
Sheryl Sandberg—Facebook COO
Since becoming the COO of Facebook in 2008, Sheryl Sandberg has helped champion the women-in-tech movement. After her TED talk, “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders,” she published her best-selling book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, and launched a global movement to help support women entrepreneurs. This past December, Sandberg donated $31 million in Facebook stock to the Sheryl Sandberg Philanthropy Fund, which will help advance her Lean In nonprofit—a group focused on encouraging women to pursue their tech ambitions.
Reshma Saujani—CEO and founder of Girls Who Code
After a career in law and politics that included a stint as Deputy Public Advocate in New York City, Saujani turned her attention in 2012 to the widening gender gap in tech by founding Girls Who Code. What started out as a small nonprofit to teach girls the basis of coding and computer science has quickly turned into a major organization with summer immersion programs and clubs across the country. Ninety percent of girls who participate in the summer immersion program go on to major in a computer sciences or related field, according to the organization.
Susan Wojcicki—CEO of YouTube
Did you know that the CEO of YouTube is a Silicon Valley native? Born and raised in Santa Clara County, Susan Wojcicki was Google’s sixteenth employee—in fact, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin initially set up shop in her garage! In 2006, Wojcicki spearheaded the company’s purchase of YouTube, and in 2014, became its CEO. As a mother to five children, she serves as an advocate for paid maternity leave, a policy she believes could help more women succeed in tech.
Ursula Burns—Chairman and CEO of Xerox
Ursula Burns is the first African-American woman to serve as CEO of a Fortune 500 company – and she’s determined to make sure plenty of women of color follow in her footsteps. Burns started at Xerox as an intern in 1980 and worked her way up through the ranks before finally being appointed CEO in 2009. Along the way, she’s been a champion of STEM education and opportunities for women of color. In 2010 President Obama appointed her to the board of Change the Equation, a STEM literacy program that works to educate students about science, technology and engineering opportunities.
Whitney Wolfe—Tinder Cofounder/Bumble founder
After cofounding Tinder, which quickly became one of the most popular dating apps around, and then enduring a very public falling out, Whitney Wolfe has landed on her feet. In December 2014, she launched another dating app called Bumble, which only allows women to initiate conversations with potential love interests. With over 3 million users in only 15 months, the 26-year-old Wolfe seems to be on to something. She’s also leading by example to promote women in tech. Out of the company’s 13 employees, 12 are women, and Wolfe proudly describes her latest venture as a “feminist company” that is determined to foster gender equality.