Published: 07 March 2019

Let me ask you for the names of female role models in tech... 

Did you think Ada Lovelace? Grace Hopper perhaps? Both very worthy of being on that list. 

This was a conversation a few of me and my male dev colleagues were talking about this week on the approach to International Women's Day.

I still think that the marketing of women in all fields, not just computing, needs a modern day kick up the ass. It is absolute madness that the two names above are still the 'go-to names' for female role models in tech, one of which died 167 years ago! 

For me, the name I think of is that of Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon. She is the CEO of Stemettes and her work on  Artificial Intelligence is fascinating; if you get a chance to hear her public speaking I highly recommend it!

“Aged 11, she was the youngest girl ever to pass A-level computing, and was just 20 years old when she received her Master’s Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Oxford.”

Being a SQL Server admin, one of the many blogs I followed to hone my skills was Kendra Little. Reading her blog, I learnt a lot about performance tuning among others and even today with the likes of extremely talented people such as Pinal Dava aka SQL Authority, I still consider her information in the highest regard which just tells you she's top notch.

If your interests lean more towards physics, you should try following Katie Mack on Twitter... she's an astrophysicist and her posts are great fun.

You can go read her latest post here which is “Extra dimensions, black holes, and vacuum decay, oh my”


Katie at the Large Hadron Collider

Or perhaps conservation, natural science is more your thing, how about Cristina Zenato...“Cristina has dedicated a lifetime to exploration, education and conservation”

This is a video of her swimming with sharks to help them by removing fishing hooks.

The Interstellar Tunnel from Luke Franco on Vimeo.

It would be hard not to mention Tu Youyou and her impact on modern medicine. A Nobel Prize winner.

“A number of serious infectious diseases are caused by parasites spread by insects. Malaria is caused by a single-cell parasite that causes severe fever. Traditional Chinese medicine uses sweet wormwood to treat fever. In the 1970s, after studies of traditional herbal medicines, Youyou Tu managed to extract a substance, artemisinin, which inhibits the malaria parasite. Drugs based on artemisinin have led to the survival and improved health of millions of people.”

If you are looking for a woman who has had a significant impact on the betterment of the planet through medicine look no further.

Someone else who was absolutely fascinating was Emma Chapman an Astrophysicist, Imperial College London.

“Emma Chapman is a Royal Astronomical Society Fellow based at Imperial College London. She studies the first stars in the cosmos, using radio telescopes to look back 13 billion years to when the universe first lit up. She is aiming to make the first ever detection this epoch with the LOFAR telescope and is building the Square Kilometre Array in Australia to make a film of our universe growing up.” 


Talking about the technical challenges of getting data from Australia all the way to the EU by moving it here in shipping containers! Due to the sheer quantity of information being produced. Impressive for anyone in development to hear about the challenges faced in her field of expertise.

I think it shows that there are so many great role models for women now. These are a few off the top of my head and I have no doubt that there are so very many more. I don't discount the impact some of these historical individuals have had on all areas, but the people who will inspire the next generation and here and now.


Richard Brisley

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