Celebrating Black women in tech for Black History Month
The UK celebrates Black History Month every October, taking the opportunity to better understand Black histories and to spotlight Black contributions to British society. This year, we hosted a virtual event that highlighted inspiring Black women and their impressive contributions to technology.
We’re facing a huge diversity crisis in technology, Black women are underrepresented in the tech industry, and their contributions are not always widely acknowledged and celebrated. We want to support more Black women in their choice to go into technology so they can help meet the predicted 90 per cent increase in demand for tech skills in the next 15 years.
As Black History Month draws to a close, we want to spotlight the expertise and amazing achievements Black women in tech have made:
Four Inspiring Black women in tech
Kimberly Bryant: Founder of Black Girls CODE
Kimberly is an accomplished electrical engineer and founder of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organisation that focuses on providing technology and computer science education to young women of colour. She is pioneering the movement to increase the number of women of colour in the tech industry.
Valerie Thomas: Inventor of the illusion transmitter
Valerie changed the way we consume content as she managed the development of NASA’s image-processing system for Landsat, the first satellite to send images from outer space. This is widely considered to be the basis for 3D technology.
Dr Shirley Jackson: Inventor of fibre-optic cables
Shirley was the first African American woman to earn a doctorate in nuclear physics at MIT. Her experiments led the way for numerous developments in the telecommunication space, including the invention of fibre-optic cables that link the world’s communication system. She also worked in theoretical physics to develop the touch-tone telephone, the portable fax, caller ID and call waiting.
Lisa Gelobter: Creator of the GIF
Lisa developed code for Shockwave’s ActiveX animation software, which facilitated publishing video and the creation of the gif file format. Lisa is also the CEO of tEQuitable, using technology to provide an independent, confidential platform to address issues of bias, harassment and discrimination.
If you know any ‘Shirley Jacksons’, nominate them for November’s Woman in Tech of the Month and help us celebrate female technical talent. Just drop an email explaining why you’re nominating them to firstname.lastname@example.org