International Women's Day: women in tech

Contrary to what you might think today, the worldwide community of technology professionals (data entry, programming, etc etc) used to be predominantly female. In fact, our industry was built upon the hard work of women (there are more and longer articles on this subject, just google around).

And yet now, I haven't had a lot of female colleagues. When I'm at a tech show or conference, there are hardly any women. There is a slowly growing feeling that this has to change, along with all the sexist practices (booth babes, etc) and incidents that have happened in the past and are still happening today.

I'm confident any industry only has to gain with a more diverse composition. And because it's International Women's Day*, I thought I'd list some great female techies I follow and look up to.

Hopefully, this can

  • convince older female tech-professionals they're not alone
  • convince younger female tech-enthusiasts that a career in the tech industry is possible and worthwhile
  • convince the macho male techies out there to change their attitudeHere goes:

  • Leslie Cottenj√©: owner of Pureplexity, a startup from Bruges, my home town; I've seen her do a great session on Metro apps and the work her agency delivers is fabulous.

  • Iris Classon: possibly the wackiest and most energetic programmer out there; she went from no-programmer to great-programmer in a time I envy.
  • Kelly Sommers: more often than not, I have no idea what she's tweeting about because her work is so technically challenging (think big data and crazy algorithmic stuff).
  • Sheree Atcheson: founder of WomenWhoCode UK, actively encouraging more women to become coders.
  • Mary Jo Foley: not a coder, but a highly regarded tech journalist, mainly covering Microsoft. She's also on the (recommended) Windows Weekly podcast and a beer-enthusiast, which, as a Belgian and beer-lover myself, I can only encourage.
  • Jenn Lukas: a great front-end developer and co-host of the Ladies In Tech podcast.
  • Val Head: the other co-host of the Ladies In Tech podcast, a CSS lover and organizer of Web Design Day.
  • Kathleen Dollard: MVP, Pluralsight and Wintellect author, featured on DotNetRocks.
  • Suz Hinton: programmer, IOT enthusiast, coined the fabulous term 'Nerdiverse' (as far as I know)This is just a short list of the great women in our small tech-world. Follow the links and you will definitely find even more women who are active and successful in the tech industry.

Also, if you have a daughter and want to get her started, check out GoldieBlox :)

And for the book-lover, O'Reilly recently published Women in Data

Finally, to my female colleagues and friends: happy International Women's Day!

Update: I was pointed to a great article by Uncle Bob on the subject. A must-read.

*If you think (like I've heard some people say) that International Women's Day is no longer necessary, you're not following the news. If you think it's no longer necessary in our Western world, you don't know the tech industry or haven't been paying attention (just two links I found while googling "sexism in tech industry".