The World’s Top 30 Women in Tech

Gender diversity in the workplace is a hot topic across industries. While more businesses recognize the need for stronger female leadership, numbers are still overwhelmingly low, especially in the tech industry. These are the world’s 30 trailblazers paving a path for women in tech.

1. Manal al-Sharif

Profile page

Manal al-Sharif shattered the glass ceiling when she became the first Saudi woman with a specialization in information security, starting her tech career in Saudi Aramco,  one of the biggest multinational oil and gas companies in the world. She is on the list of the World’s Top 10 Digital Revolutionaries by NEWSWEEK and Forbes magazine.

In a time when cybersecurity was in its infancy, she designed IntelliShield, one of the earliest warning systems, as well as IT Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery programs. She is also a women’s rights activist and founder of Women2Hack Academy. As a member of the Humane Technology Australia, she actively seeks to explore ways to use technology for social good. She is also a founding member of  the Ethical Technologists Society (ETS).

Manal has held a GRC Consultancy position in two companies and was a Principal Consultant for Blue Networks, an IT firm in Dubai. Manal is also a Certified Ethical Hacker, and holds a CISSP certification. 

2. Danah Boyd 

Profile page

Danah Boyd was named, “the smartest academic in tech” by Fortunes magazine. She is the founder and president of the board at Data & Society Research Institute. Currently,  a partner researcher at Microsoft Research and a visiting professor of Interactive Telecommunications Program, at NYU. Formerly, she was a long-time fellow at Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet and Society where she co-directed the Internet Safety Technical Task Force. 

Dana also occupies a position on the Advisory board of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Her interest in youths & technology use led to a 3-year sponsored ethnographic project and series of research and publications.

3. Joy Buolamwini

Profile page

Joy Buolamwini, is a computer scientist at MIT. She founded the Algorithmic Justice League and Poet of Code to use art and research  to clarify the role of artificial intelligence in society. She helped in the efforts to eradicate trachoma in Ethiopia by developing an Android-based assessment system with the Trachoma program at Carter Center.

She was also in the limelight for her research uncovering gender and racial biases within commercial AI systems like those of Facebook and Google. 

She is a Rhodes scholarship awardee, Fulbright Fellow, and Global Tech Panel member. Buolamwini won a female tech-based grand prize by 21st Century Fox related to the movie Hidden Figures. 

4. Kathryn Finney

Profile page

Kathryn Finney’s tech journey has been greatly influenced by her father, Robert Finney, a Microsoft senior engineer. After her success with, The Budget Fashionista, a female fashion blog, Kathryn went on to start the annual FOCUS 100 symposium, designed to connect black women in tech and tech innovators. It had the support of several well meaning venture capitalists. She also launched the BIG Innovation Centre for tech-enabled start-ups for Black and Latina women.

Kathryn is also the founder of Genius Guild and was awarded “Champion of Change” in 2013 by the Obama Administration. She has received the Black Innovator award for her role in helping women in the black community. She made the Top 50 women in Tech on Forbes.

5. Limor Fried

Company site

Limor “Ladyada” Fried created Adafruit in 2005, after graduating from MIT. Her goal was to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. Adafruit is a 100% woman owned manufacturing company, a certified Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE), a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), and WOSB.

During the pandemic Adafruit Industries has been making PPE and medical device components and in 2020 the company was appointed to the Small Business Sector Advisory Council by the City of New York to help restart the NYC economy post COVID-19 pandemic.

Adafruit does not endorse Cryptocurrency or NFTs.

Her company employs over 100 employees and makes over $40 million annually.

6. Marita Cheng

Profile page

At 23, Marita Cheng was awarded the Young Australian of the Year for her work at Robogals. Through Robogals, Marita has positively impacted the lives of over 70,000 girls by holding robotics workshops, globally. Marita founded Aubot, makers of the telepresence robot.

While still an undergraduate, in 2007, she founded Nudge. The Churchill Fellowship, a research grant which she clinched in 2011, provided a larger platform for pursuing international ways to encourage young girls in STEM. She is a Keynote Speaker on Technology, Leadership, and Inspiration at Big Speak Speakers Bureau. 

7. Perianne Boring

Profile page

Perianne Boring is the founder and president of Chamber of Digital Commerce, (CDC) a trade association representing the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. CDC has over 200 members including top technological companies like Cisco, Microsoft, IBM, Fidelity, Wells Fargo, and several big tech brands. The Chamber is reputedly the world’s largest trade association in the Blockchain space. 

She holds an adjunct professorship at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. She was formerly a host of The International Finance Show, which aired on RT America, one of the most viewed news networks, this was before her journey into tech. 

8. Rana el Kaliouby

Profile page

The Ph.D. computer scientist, Rana el Kaliouby, has worked with several Fortune 500 companies. Her technology portfolio contains her work as a research scientist at MIT and the Autism Communication Technology Initiative at MIT, which she founded. She contributed to the pioneering team that developed emotional-hearing aid and led the team of Affectiva Emotion Science which heralded the application of data science, machine learning, and computer vision for affective computing. 

Rana has held positions like Chief Science Officer and Chief Technology Officer.  She co-teaches at Havard about AI and Startups based on her experience as an Angel Investor and as a research scientist in the tech space. Her book Girl Decoded talks about her passion for AI ethics and deploying Emotional AI.

9. Sue Black

Profile page

Sue Black embodies the Technology Evangelist description. She is a professor of Computer Science, a technology evangelist at Durham University, has an honorary professorship at the Department of Computer Science in London, and is a one time Woman in Computing champion. For a much-needed show of support for tech-driven young girls and women, she founded the BCSWomen in 1998 and established #techmums to simplify the complexity of tech for mothers.

In 2016, she was recognized with the OBE for her “services to technology” in the New Year’s Honours list of the Queen. She has over 20 years of technology teaching experience, and roots for women interested in computing.

10. Sylvia Acevedo

Profile page

Sylvia Acevedo is a renowned name in the tech space. Thanks to her incredible educational background, Sylvia has taken on many portfolios including being a corporate board director, an author, a community leader, a rocket scientist and C-suite executive. 

Sylvia is a passionate believer that transformation in the tech space can improve lives and revolutionize the world. She was named by Forbes as one of the top women in tech. As if that wasn’t enough, she was named on the list of 100 influential Latinas in 2020 by latino leaders. 

In 2019, she was recognized by Crain’s New York as one of the notable women in tech. 

Until August 2020, Sylvia served as the CEO of Girls Scouts of the USA.  In 2018, She scooped the Cybersecurity Person of the Year.” award. She currently doubles as the national speaker on cybersecurity and board member of Qualcomm. 

11. Emmanuelle Charpentier 

Profile page

Emmanuelle Charpentier has written her name in the sands of time. Her many works in the medical field has made her one of the most influential figures in the tech space. In 2012, Emmanuelle co-founded CRISPR, a popular gene editing method that is now widely used for DNA sequencing. 

Besides CRISPR, Emmanuelle Charpentier also co-founded CRISPR Therapeutics, a drug discovery business that has become a leading front for top notch medicines. While CRISPR Therapeutics got a whopping $500 million in investment, the company is now valued at over $2.5 billion. 

Having previously worked as a senior officer at the University of Vienna, Humboldt University and other institutions, she is now leading her own research unit at the prestigious Max Planck Society in Germany. 

12. Anne-Marie Imafidon

Profile page 

Dr Marie has been a genius right from her early days. At just 11 years of age, Anne Marie became the youngest girl to scale through A-level computing. At 20, she had gotten her master’s degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Oxford.  Since then, she has gone on to work with top companies like Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and Hewlett-Packard. 

Her many years of robust experience garnered from these organizations spurred her to launch Stemettes, a remarkable and award-winning initiative that is poised to inspire the next generation of young women in the STEM space. Since the company kicked off eight years ago, over 50,000 young women have been able to benefit from her vision to inspire the world. 

13. Elizabeth F. Churchill

Profile page 

Elizabeth F. Churchill is a British American psychologist who specializes in HCI (human computer interaction) and social computing. She was a one-time Director of User Experience at Google. Over the years, she has held many important posts in the ACM, including being the Secretary-Treasurer, a post she held from 2016 to 2018. Between 2018 and 2020, she served as the Vice President of the organization.

In terms of her Educational qualification, Churchill has a Bachelor of Science degree in Experimental Psychology as well as a Master of Science in Knowledge-Based Systems. Both of these degrees were obtained from Sussex University in the UK. 

14. Kate Crawford

Profile page

Kate Crawford dedicated most of her life to understanding artificial intelligence. Today, she is a leading figure in the AI space. The majority of her over 20 years career was dedicated to understanding AI, machine learning, and large-scale data systems. 

At the moment, Kate holds a research professor post at USC Annenberg while doubling as a Senior Researcher at MSR-NYC. She is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney. In 2021, Kate Crawford received the Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellowship from the University of Melbourne. 

Besides her top research on AI and machine learning, Kate has also advised policymakers in the EU, Federal Trade Commission, the Australian Human Rights Commission, and more top organizations. 

15. Ellen K. Pao

Company site

If you’re interested in knowing some of the most influential women in the tech space, then you’ll not be disappointed to check out Ellen K. Pao. Her many contributions in the tech space haven’t gone unnoticed. Besides being a tech advocate and investor, Ellen was a one-time CEO of Reddit. She also co-founded Project Include, a robust and award-winning inclusion non-profit firm. 

Many of her research and writings have been featured on top websites, including the New York Times, Recode, WIRED, Washington Post, and more. In terms of her educational background, Ellen K. Pao has an engineering degree obtained from Princeton as well as a law and business degree from Havard. 

16. Reshma Saujani

Profile page

Reshma Saujani single-handedly launched the Girls Who Code company, a reputable and non-profit organization that is working round the clock to bridge the gender gap in the tech space. She and her team are working tirelessly to change the image of what a computer programmer should look like. 

She has written many bestsellers, including Brave, Not Perfect, and Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World. Her famous TED talk titled “Tech girls, bravery not perfection” has garnered over four million views. Since the TED talk aired, it has sparked a massive debate on how the girl child should be raised. 

Her award-winning podcast show, “Brave, Not Perfect,” is among some of the most streamed podcasts in the world. 

17. Monique Morrow

Profile page

Monique Morrow has held many senior posts in some of the most renowned organizations out there. She is currently the Senior Distinguished Architect Emerging Technologies at Syniverse, where she provides strategic directions, thought leadership while driving the company’s vision in the areas of emerging technologies like Mobile Payments, Zero-Knowledge Proofs/Data Anonymization, DLT Interoperability, as well as Trust and Identity. 

She also co-founded the Humanized Internet, a leading non-profit organization that is focused on providing robust digital identity to underserved individuals. 

The tech genius is a firm believer in the social good of technology as she believes technology provides individuals with ethics that they can leverage to respond to cognitive bias. While she is pretty hyped about blockchain, she is basically focused on harnessing the power of blockchain in the education sector.

18. Kimberly Bryant 

Company site

Kimberly Bryant is an electrical engineer. She has a robust track record in the tech space and has worked for many notable organizations, including Genentech, Merck, Novartis Vaccines among many others. In 2018, she and her team launched Black Girls Code, a brilliant non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing programming and computer knowledge to African-American girls. After launching her Company, Black Girls Code, Kimberly Bryant was featured among the 25 most Influential African Americans in tech. 

Kimberly Bryant is building a world where young women of color can meet up with the current demands in the tech space, and with Black Girls Code, she is achieving that feat, one day at a time. 

19. Michal Tsur

Company site

Michal Tsur isn’t only a notable personality in the tech space; she is also a serial entrepreneur and the brains behind some of the most successful companies in the tech space. She is the president and co-founder of Kaltura, an open-source video platform that is changing the world of video production and editing. 

Besides Kaltura, Tsur also co-founded Cyota, one of the most successful cybersecurity companies in the tech space. She later sold the company to RSA Security in 2005 for a staggering $145 million. 

In terms of educational qualification, Michal Tsur holds a doctorate degree in the application of game theories from New York University. Her research on Open Source during her time in Yale Law School has pushed her higher up the ladder in the tech space. 

20. Anita Schjøll Brede

Profile page

Anita is the CEO and brains behind Iris.ai, a robust artificial intelligence company that has been ranked among the ten most innovative AI companies by Fast Company. According to Anita, her company aims to build one of the world’s very first AI researchers. At the moment, her company is leading the pack in research discovery and data extraction as it pertains to Academic Research and Corporate R&D. 

Today, Anita doubles as a faculty member in Artificial Intelligence at Singularity University. More so, her robust experience in this area means she is constantly invited to speak at local and international programs aimed at promoting artificial intelligence. In 2018, Forbes listed Anita as one of the top 50 women in tech. 

21. Kirsten Green

Profile page

Kirsten Green is the founder and managing director of San Francisco-based Forerunner Venture, an investment company that has metamorphosed into one of the leading fintech companies in the tech space. 

Thanks to her over 20 years of experience in investment, Kirsten has been instrumental to the growth of many successful businesses which she grew from pre-revenue startups to multi-billion dollar firms. Being a founder, the tech genius has played a leading role in raising over $1B from leading firms and investors. 

Kirsten currently serves as a board member at many top companies, including Ritual, Hims & Hers, Glossier, The Yes, and more. 

22. Patricia Scanlon

Company site

Patricia Scanlon is the CEO and founder of SoapBox, a brilliant speech recognition technology that empowers kids of all ages to use their voices to transform the world around them. Her company has worked tirelessly to deliver one of the most remarkable speech recognition solutions for kids. SoapBox has been independently validated and dubbed to be the most accurate speech recognition tool in the world. 

Thanks to a Ph.D. and over two decades of experience in speech recognition tech, Patricia is one of the leading figures in the world of speech recognition and machine learning. 

23. Aileen Lee

Company site

Aileen Lee is the brain behind Cowboys Venture. The tech guru has a knack for partnering with startups and has helped to build some of the most successful products in the tech space. She particularly loves to work with enterprise and consumer-focused tech startups, working with them right from the seed stage and remaining involved for many years after. 

Before kickstarting Cowboy Venture, Aileen Lee worked at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Bayers back in 1999. During her time there, she worked with a range of enterprise, consumer, and greentech firms, including big names like Rent the Runway, Tellme, Bloom Energy, and more. 

As per her educational background, Aileen Lee has degrees from reputable schools, including MHS, MIT, and HBS.  

24. Whitney Wolfe Herd

Company site 

Whitney Wolfe Herd is a famous American entrepreneur and one of the leading women in tech. In 2014, Whitney founded Bumble, a social dating platform that became an instant hit. Before starting Bumble, Whitney Wolfe Herd held an executive post at Tinder, one of the world’s leading dating platforms. 

Thanks to her massive contributions to the advancement of tech, Wolfe Herd was named in Forbes 30 under 30 between 2017 and 2018. She also made it to the Times 100 list. In 2021, Wolfe-Herd solidified her place as one of the world’s youngest female self-made billionaires after her dating company went public. 

25.  Ellen K. Pao

Profile page 

Ellen Paoh is most notable for her time as interim CEO of Reddit, where she led the ban of unauthorized nude photos and payback porns of the forum. This move was later followed by Google, Twitter, Microsoft and Facebook. 

Currently, Ellen is the founder of Project Include, an organization that seeks to create a more inclusive tech space, by making diversity oriented recommendations to tech CEOs. She is the Author of “Reset- My fight for inclusion” a book which tells her story on discrimination of women and minority groups in the workplace.

26. Emilie Choi 

Company site 

Having spent 8 years serving as LinkedIn’s assistant president on Corporate Development, Emilie Choi decided it was time to chart a new career path. In 2018, Emilie took up a new position as the vice president of Corporate and Business Development at Coinbase. Not long after joining the crypto exchange, she was promoted to COO and president of the exchange. 

Even though she wasn’t an early believer in the future of digital currencies, she played a remarkable role in helping her company raise a staggering $325 million in funding, which allowed them to attain an $8 billion valuation in 2018. 

27. Funke Opeke

Profile page

After over 2 decades of working in the U.S. telecoms industry, Funke Opeke decided to return to Nigeria to fix her country’s lingering connectivity problems. On returning to her country, Funke joined telecom giant NITEL and played a remarkable role in resolving the poor satellite problems the country was facing. 

In 2008, Funke set her eyes towards seaward, raising a whopping $240 million in funding, which she used to lay over 4,400 miles of pristine fibre optic cable from Nigeria, all the way to Portugal. This move resulted in the launch of MainOne, a robust broadband infrastructure company lauded for providing remarkable network and telecoms services in West Africa.

Today, MainOne’s services are leveraged across different sectors, including booking services, online banking, retail websites, government agencies, educational institutions, and more. 

28. Leanne Kemp

Profile page 

Leanne Kemp is a tech guru with a particular interest in Blockchain. Her knack for blockchain technology spurred her to launch Everledger, where she doubles as CEO and Founder. Part of her role as CEO is inspiring and steering the team at Everlegends towards trust and transparency in blockchain technology. 

Besides being a renowned personality in the tech sector, Leanne Kemp plays an active role in the Global Future Council on Blockchain while also chairing the World Economic Forum Global Future Council. As if that’s not enough, she is also a member of the IBM Blockchain Platform Board of Advisors. 

29. Fei-Fei Li

Profile page

Fei-Fei Li is one of the leading advocates in Artificial Intelligence. She also co-founded ImageNet, one of the leading visual object recognition databases that are at the forefront of the deep learning revolution. 

Because of her many years of tech experience, Fei-Fei Li went on to launch AI4All, a robust non-profit organization that is dedicated to improving diversity and inclusion in research, AI education, policy development, and more. 

During one of her many sabbaticals at Google Cloud, where she served as chief scientist, she warned against Google’s AI contract with the Pentagon. 

Over the course of her illustrious career, Fei-Fei Li has written several scientific articles. She has also received numerous honors in recognition for her contributions to the tech space. 

30. Jennifer Zhu Scott

Profile page

Jennifer Zhu Scott is one of the most remarkable females in the tech world. Her computer science and applied mathematics background prepared her for the massive blockchain revolution ahead. Scott and her team single-handedly launched and sold one of China’s first education companies. With over a decade of experience in tech and fintech, Jennifer Zhu Scott co-founded Radian Partners, a robust investment company that provides financial services to high-net individuals and family offices. 

She has also served as an advisor for several fintech startups. Today, Jennifer continues to inspire other young females looking to find their footing in the highly competitive tech world.