The month of March is Women's History Month and celebrates the achievements and contributions women have had in society. From Kate Sheppard leading the New Zealand suffragette movement in 1893 to 18-year-old high schooler Emma Gonzalez fighting for gun control in 2018, women have been making an impact since day one. Women's History Month is in place to remind us all that we can make a difference and strive for change. At UiRevolution, we want to spend Women's History Month celebrating the unsung female heroes in design and development; the women we look up to and are making a real difference in the digital world.
Development & Software Engineering
Firstly, let's talk about development and software engineering. It's no surprise that careers in IT and engineering are dominated by men. Only 13% of engineers in New Zealand are female, which includes all types of engineering including software, mechanical and civil. Although everything may seem all doom and gloom, things are looking up for female engineers. The University of Auckland aim to encourage more women to study engineering and increase the measly 13% to above 20% by the end of 2020. By targeting women specifically for these programs, over the last 10 years the percentage of women entering the engineering workforce through the UoA has increased by 50%.
Grace Hopper was a graduate of Yale, with a PHD in mathematics. During World War II, she joined the Naval Reserve in 1943 where she became a lieutenant and was assigned to work on the Harvard Mark I, the predecessor to the modern computer. Hopper was involved in developing the programming language COBOL, one of the original programming languages. Hopper was also the inventor of the compiler, a program that translates code to machine language, essentially inventing the connection between human and machine. She was also credited with coining the terms "bug" and "debug" to describe errors in code and the action to fix them. Grace Hopper died on New Year's Day 1992 and was laid to rest with full military honours.
Here are some other awesome female computer scientists for you to admire:
In the world of design, according to a 2013 report by the University of the Arts London, "of the 12,930 students at the University of the Arts London ... 9,370 are female – a pretty weighty 72.5%". When the amount of female students is promising, only 40% of working designers are made up of women. Rebecca Wright, programme director of graphic communication design at Central Saint Martins, wants any and all designers to strive for success and for those who are at the top to address the issue of diverse leadership roles in the design industry.
One of the ladies on top of the graphic design world is American graphic designer Jessica Walsh. Art director and partner of the infamous Sagmeister & Walsh in New York city, Walsh started designing and coding websites at age 11. When she graduated from fine arts school, Walsh made her way to New York where she met the legendary Stefan Sagmeister and was signed on as partner. Walsh's work focuses on blending traditional art forms, like painting and photography, with digital design. Her portfolio spreads far and wide, from clients such as The New York Times, Jay Z (yes, that Jay Z), Adobe, and Levi's to name a few. In an interview with ADC Switzerland, Walsh acknowledges the lack of female leadership in the world of design and how to overcome it. "In order to change that [we should be] fostering healthy connections between women and providing more opportunities".
Here are some other awesome female designers for you to admire
Paula Sher - A revolutionary typographer who was the first female principle at Pentagram, a legendary design studio based in New York and London
Carolyn Davidson - The graphic designer responsible for designing the infamous Nike Swoosh
Cathy Pearl - Vice President of User Experience at Sensely. Her work spans multiple projects including a virtual nurse that helps manage chronic health conditions and designing helicopter simulators at NASA.
International Women's Day is about celebrating women like Jessica Walsh and Grace Hopper who overcame adversity to prove that it doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman, straight or gay, black or white, you can achieve great things if you apply yourself in a field you are passionate about. UiRevolution celebrates our diversity and we aim to improve and learn everyday. If there is a woman in your life that inspires you, reach out and let her know.
From all of us at UiRevolution, Happy International Women’s Day!
Ministry for Women: Women in Innovation
Encyclopaedia of Brittanica: Grace Hopper