Skip to main content


applied intelligence Live

06 Mar 2024

Breaking Barriers: Women's Rise in Technology Today

Informa Tech's Applied Intelligence Group and Dr. Alessandra Sala, Sr. Director of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science at Shutterstock
Breaking Barriers: Women's Rise in Technology Today

From Ada's code to Ana's AI breakthroughs, discover how women are shaping tech at Informa Tech's latest blog.

Pioneering the Path: Women's Ascendance in Tech

Trailblazers of Yesterday: The Legacy They Left

In the early days of technology, Ada Lovelace—known for creating the first computer algorithm program—stood at the forefront of groundbreaking innovations. Celebrated annually on Ada Lovelace Day, she is recognized for her work with Charles Babbage on the precursor to the modern computer. Alongside Ada, Grace Hopper, also bestowed with the nickname "Amazing Grace," played a pivotal role in the development of programming languages.

Ada Lovelace's conceptualization of the first computer algorithm places her at the epicenter of computer history, illustrating the timeless impact of her work on today's digital landscape. Her achievements could easily earn her the informal honor of "inventor of the year" in STEM history.

Top 5 Achievements:

  • First to publish an algorithm intended for implementation on a computer.
  • Collaboration with Charles Babbage on the Analytical Engine.
  • Introduction of the concept of looping and conditional branches in computing.
  • Envisioning the potential for the computer beyond mere calculation to more general uses.
  • Being a strong advocate for what would eventually become computer science.

The Impact on Today's Tech Landscape:

Fostering Diversity and Inclusion in the Tech Industry

The tales of women in technology are stories of relentless pursuit, iconoclastic thinking, and unwavering ambition. From the calculated paths charted by Katherine Johnson to the Spanning Tree Protocols laid out by Radia Perlman, these legacies are far more than historic footnotes; they continue to inspire and shape the tech arena.

Their tenacity in facing societal challenges head-on has been motivational for a generation of women now entering tech fields. This legacy acts as continuous fuel for the fight for gender equality in STEM areas, assuring young women that their innovations too can disrupt the fabric of future technology. Furthermore, through their actions, they have indirectly mentored countless individuals by demonstrating the power of perseverance, intelligence, and creativity.

Their stories remind budding technologists that excellence is not gender-specific and that one's contributions to technology can transcend time, influencing countless advancements and innovations. The legacies of these women form a beacon that shines across the challenges of the digital divide, heralding an inclusive and diverse tech environment for all.

However, whilst strides have been made, the gender gap in technology persists. Informa Tech’s Applied Intelligence Group curated a detailed report that focused on the existing disparity and ways in which we can advance the closing of the gender pay gap: Advancing Gender Equality in Data, AI and Analytics. The report was also created in partnership with the Women in AI organisation and Dr. Alessandra Sala, President of Women in AI:

"Despite increasing dialogues on gender inclusion, the persistence of the gender gap remains evident. It is imperative to shift our focus from mere inspirational statements to tangible actions and well-defined objectives. Instead of solely measuring the symptoms of the gender gap, such as the small portion of women in tech, efforts should be directed towards addressing the underlying barriers that contribute to the underrepresentation of women in this field. These barriers include systemic discouragement of girls' engagement in STEAM subjects and the presence of structural and cultural disincentives that impede the empowerment of women's leadership roles."

Dr. Alessandra Sala, Sr. Director of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science at Shutterstock | Co-Chair of UNESCO Women for Ethical AI | President of Women in AI | Chair of Governance Committee at ML-Labs


Currently, women make up only a fraction of the workforce in tech roles. This underrepresentation not only hinders diversity but also limits the potential for innovation within the industry.

The importance of diversity in the workplace cannot be overstated. Diverse teams bring a variety of perspectives, leading to enhanced creativity and problem-solving. The tech industry's future success hinges on its ability to become more inclusive and representative of all voices.

“Research shows that companies with equitable diversity (e.g., 50:50 men and women) on their boards and in their C-suites report on average 10% better financial performance than those that don’t have it.”

Debbie Botha, Chief Partnership Officer, Women in AI, Co-Founder and MD, Dalebrook Media Middle East


Empowering the next Generation: Community and Support Networks

Initiatives and Organisations Promoting Women in Tech

Numerous initiatives and organizations have dedicated themselves to balancing the gender scales in tech. They're building platforms from which women can launch their tech careers or catapult themselves to new heights. The Grace Hopper Celebration, for example, symbolizes the prehistoric google of tech gatherings, being the world's largest congregation of women technologists. It offers immense opportunities for networking, mentorship, and visibility, much like the domain name system did for internet users in the late 1980s. Girls Who Code is on a mission to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like, guiding young women from all walks of life on a path to tech.

Organizations like Women Who Code,, and the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) provide resources, advocacy, and support systems to help break down the barriers that women face. In addition to these, many corporations have also started implementing Women in Technology programs that aim to foster inclusion and support women throughout their technical career trajectories, reminiscent of Hollywood's Hedy Lamarr who broke stereotypes and later advocated for women's education in technology at Clarke College. 

Women pursuing and advancing in technology careers continue to face challenges. Unconscious bias, gender stereotypes, and workplace cultures that favour male counterparts contribute to the persisting gender gap. Studies and personal experiences shed light on these obstacles, emphasizing the need for systemic change.

Breaking down these barriers requires a collective effort. Addressing unconscious biases and fostering inclusive workplace cultures are essential steps in creating an environment where women can thrive.

"Despite abundant evidence showcasing the effectiveness of women in leadership roles, men persist as the preferred option for promotions, special projects, and favourable performance reviews. Instituting stewardship through offical policies serves as a fundamental mechanism to navigate the "change" management, which is crucial for initiating tangible progress in addressing the gender gap in the tech industry."

Dr. Alessandra Sala, Sr. Director of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science at Shutterstock | Co-Chair of UNESCO Women for Ethical AI | President of Women in AI | Chair of Governance Committee at ML-Labs.


FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about Women in Tech

What challenges did these women pioneers face in their careers?

The women pioneers in technology overcame formidable challenges in their careers, including gender discrimination, lack of recognition, and societal norms that restricted their professional advancements. They frequently faced isolation in male-dominated fields and battled against the misconception that women were not suited for scientific and technical work. Despite their significant contributions, many of these women were not acknowledged for their achievements until much later in life, if at all. Their fortitude in the face of these obstacles paved the way for future generations of women in tech.

How have these women influenced modern technology?

These trailblazing women have profoundly influenced modern technology by laying foundational work and inspiring an ethos of inclusivity and innovation. Their pioneering efforts—from creating the earliest computer programs to enabling secure military communications and designing protocols essential for the Internet's functionality—remain integral to countless technologies used today. Their legacy is woven into the fabric of modern computing, telecommunications, and space travel, encouraging continuous progress and challenging the next generation to build upon their groundbreaking achievements.

What can be done to encourage more women to pursue careers in technology?

Encouraging more women to pursue tech careers involves starting early with robust STEM education programs that are inclusive and unbiased. Creating mentorship opportunities is crucial, as women can greatly benefit from guidance and role models. Furthermore, initiatives like scholarships, internships, and networking events specifically for women help build a supportive community. Companies can contribute by fostering inclusive workplace cultures, implementing bias-free recruitment processes, and ensuring equal opportunities for growth and advancement. Promoting and recognizing the achievements of women in tech can empower women to carve out their space in the industry.

Access the full report on Advancing Gender Equality in Data, AI and Analytics now, and explore the insights and practical solutions you can implement to drive forward the closing of the gender gap in technology.

Explore Our Full Blog Library