International Women’s Day 2023: 12 Unsung Women in Tech

Women have been a force in tech since the 19th century.

And though we know some of their names now, there are many more whose names that aren’t so well known. But what they’ve done, what they’ve worked on, and the products and services they’ve created and contributed to are household names.

From video game designers to artificial intelligence to hybrid cars and computer match dating, and everything in between, women have been on the computer playing field more than many realize. Here are 12 of them:

1. Joy Buolamwini

The Algorithmic Justice League, and the woman behind it is the conscience of AI. Noting racial and gender biases rooted in facial recognition systems, her work made the giants of tech suspend their programs until those biases could be worked out. Learn more about her work in her documentary Coded Bias or through her nonprofit Algorithmic Justice League.

2. Karen Sparck Jones

Being a former schoolteacher and philosophy student born in 1935, Jones is not the type of person you’d expect to have founded the search engine. But as a self-taught coder working with her husband, a programmer, she began working on an experiment. The possibility of automatic language translation, what we know today as natural language processing (NLP). To research search engines and make their query searches more efficient she created inverse document frequency still used today.

3. Rana el Kaliouby

Rana el Kaliouby’s goal is to make emotionally intelligent AI. She co-founded a startup called Affectiva to develop machine learning systems that could understand human emotion. Her technology is used in media analytics, automotive use cases, and consumer behavioral research. She is a pioneer in the field of Emotion AI.

4. Monica Rogati

Monica is an independent data science and AI advisor. As a guest lecturer at Stanford University, she brings her knowledge to bear from her work Jawbone and as a Senior Data Scientist at LinkedIn. She helps companies bridge the gap between understanding their data both from the technical side as well as strategically.

5. Yael Garten

Yael works as the Director of Siri Analytics, Evaluation, and Data Engineering at Apple where she uses Data from customers to improve Siri’s capabilities.

6. Fei-Fei Li

Li’s is the mind behind the ImageNet project which imagined a database of labeled images. This concept was the foundation for Geoff Hinton and team’s neural network-based model trained on ImageNet leading to deep learning and thereby the way we understand AI now. Learn more about her through her nonprofit AI4ALL or check out Stanford’s Human-Centered AI Institute (HAI).

7. Rachel Thomas

As the co-founder of, Rachel has created courses taken by over 100,000 students from around the world.

8. Dr. Elena Grewal

As the head of Data Science at Airbnb, Elena leads a team of 100+ Data Scientists.

9. Daniela Rus

Daniela Rus is one of the world’s leading roboticists and is the first female head of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), one of the largest and most prestigious AI research labs in the world. Her work has found that robots can work together and communicate with one another, robots that can change their bodies to adapt to their environments, and that robots don’t need the rigid bodies we imagine when we think about robots.

10. Srishti Gupta

Srishti has a Masters in Machine Learning from Georgia Tech and works with deep learning training models and building end-to-end ML pipelines for such Data Science problems as image stylization, recommendations, growth, and so on.

11. Shivon Zilis

Shivon is the youngest board member at OpenAI, the research lab behind GPT-3, and has held board positions at Neuralink, Tesla, Bloomberg Beta, and others working on high-priority initiatives in the office of the CEO. At Neuralink, she worked with Elon Musk on the idea of melding the human brain with digital machines.

12. Dr. Jeannette Wing

Dr. Jeannette Wing is the Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute and Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. With over 40 years of experience in the industry, she has a unique perspective on the evolution of computer science over the years and how it works with the Data Science world.

This list barely cracks the service of the unsung women in tech of today, yesterday, and tomorrow, but it’s a start. So, in honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we hope to give you some names to follow, to learn, to emulate, and celebrate whether you’re already in the industry or thinking about it. Want to learn more about women in the field of AI? Check out this article. Interested in the trailblazers of Data Science? Read this.

If you’re interested in Digital Analytics roles, a career in Advanced Analytics, Machine Learning or Robotics just to name a few, Harnham may have a role for you. Check out our job postings here.

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