The tech and engineering sectors may be dominated by men, but some of the world’s most recognisable tech and engineering companies or institutions are run by women. To mark International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating 8 female CEOs, entrepreneurs and leaders who are shaping the tech and engineering worlds – women who are perhaps not (yet) as well-known as some of their male counterparts, but truly deserve to be.
Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code
A non-profit dedicated to closing the gender gap in tech by teaching girls about programming, Girls Who Code has so far served 300,000 girls through in-person programmes, and even more through its online educational resources. Its impact is so impressive, the organization says it’s on track to close the gender gap in new entry-level tech jobs by 2027. In April 2021, Saujani will transition to board chair of Girls Who Code and Tarika Barrett, the organisation’s current COO will take over as CEO.
Kimberly Bryant, founder and CEO of Black Girls Code
A non-profit that provides young and pre-teen girls of colour opportunities to learn in-demand technology skills, Black Girls Code is on a mission to teach 1 million girls how to code by 2040. Bryant, an electrical engineer, was inspired to start the organisation in 2011 after struggling to find a diverse computer programming course for her daughter.
Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube
Wojcicki has been in the tech industry for more than 20 years, and was Google’s 16th employee. Initially starting as Google’s first marketing manager, she climbed the ranks and became CEO of YouTube in 2014, after suggesting Google acquire the platform. A strong voice in the tech industry, Wojcicki is frequently vocal on gender discrimination.
Jean Lui, president of Didi Chuxing
One of the world’s biggest ride-hailing startups, and operational across Asia, Australia and Latin America, Didi Chuxing is the only ride-sharing service in the world that has the resources to match Uber. As president of Didi Dache, Lui led the acquisition of the company’s biggest competitor, Kuaidi Dache, in 2015 to create Didi Chuxing. The platform reportedly completes 30 million rides per day – double that of Uber.
Christina Koch, engineer and NASA astronaut
Koch has worked on board the International Space Station and served as flight engineer on Expeditions 59, 60 and 61. In October 2019, she and Jessica Meir completed the first all-female spacewalk, and Koch later broke the record for the longest continuous time in space by a woman (328 days, breaking retired astronaut and former ISS station commander Peggy Whitson’s previous record).
Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO of SpaceX
Aerospace innovator Shotwell was the seventh employee at SpaceX when she joined as VP of business development. With master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics, Shotwell made significant contributions to the design of SpaceX’s reusable rockets and helped secure NASA as a customer. Under Shotwell’s leadership, SpaceX sent four astronauts to the ISS in 2020 – NASA’s first crew rotation mission using commercial spacecraft.
Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors Company
GM’s first female CEO and the first woman to head up a major automaker joined GM in 1980 in the Pontiac Motor Division. She rose through the ranks and served in several executive engineering positions before becoming CEO in 2014. Barra is leading the company’s adoption of advanced automotive technologies, including autonomous driving, electrification and connectivity.
Danielle Merfeld, VP and CTO at GE Renewable Energy
Passionate about renewable energy, Merfeld is heading up GE’s efforts to develop a broad range of products and services under GE’s renewable energy portfolio. Previously, she was VP and general manager of GE’s Global Research Centre, and ran GE’s solar business. Merfeld is co-leader of the GE Women’s Network, which is dedicated to recruiting, retaining, developing and promoting talented women across GE.
We know there’s still a long way to go before women in technology and engineering achieve equal representation, but with women like these leading the way, the future is certainly brighter. If you’re looking for your next career move in technology or engineering, drop Roc Search a line.