Boss Lady

The female entrepreneurs leading the way in tech

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Technology is often perceived to be a male-dominated industry – and in many ways, it is. It is an example of a sector that often hires men to take on senior roles, and this is often because more men are taking degrees in the relevant academic discipline. Shamefully, there are several recorded examples of women in tech who have experienced sexual harassment and discrimination – with many more cases no doubt going unrecorded. Cumulatively, these problems are causing a block on female talent rising through the ranks in tech firms, and that is negative both for the women involved and also for the firms.

However, things are, ever so slowly, changing. There are plenty of examples out there of networking groups and other organizations that are designed to help women get ahead in this sector. There are also many examples of women who have surged ahead by sheer force of spirit and who now occupy senior roles in tech firms. This article will profile a handful of them, and explain how they have managed to get themselves to the very top of their game.

Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman (pictured above)is one of the most famous examples of a woman who has climbed to the top of the technology career ladder and made a real name for herself. She is best known as the former president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, or HP: in this role, she was known in particular for helping the tech firm split out into a consumer branch and also an Enterprise branch. She is now the CEO of Quibi, which is a new start-up focused on mobile media.

However, Whitman has shown that being a female leader in tech isn’t all-encompassing. In fact, Whitman has also led a second career as a politician, albeit not a hugely successful one. She stood to be governor of California as a Republican on two occasions – once in 2008 and once in 2012. She also demonstrated a willingness to help out other women, though, by supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton when the latter ran for president in 2016.

Joanna Riley

Another woman entrepreneur who has made it to the top in the tech sphere is Joanna Riley. She currently serves as the CEO of a company called Censia, a software firm and platform that she co-founded. It is an interesting example of the role that technology can play in hiring: it uses artificial intelligence, or AI, to help employers find the candidates who are best suited to the roles that they have on offer.

However, this isn’t Riley’s only achievement. She has also served as a leader for other tech firms, including 1-Page, a software-as-a-service offering that went through an initial public offering a few years ago. Her career also spans a wide range of sectors: she also has experience in marketing thanks to her stint as CEO of Performance Advertising Associates. In addition to her work as a leader, she also acts as an angel investor for various smaller firms. Riley is a clear example of a woman who has never let her gender hold her back, and has instead built herself a diverse and interesting career full of work in a range of industries. 

Susan Wojcicki

Susan Wojcicki might not be a particularly well-known name outside of the tech scene, but she is certainly a big name within it. She is the CEO of video sharing website YouTube, where she has been praised for her efforts in keeping the site popular and useable. She began her career at Google and was its 16th employee when she joined in 1999. She worked as marketing manager there, though it became apparent that she was destined for senior roles – and she later became senior vice president of advertising and commerce.

However, Wojcicki is not just about business. She has followed the lead of fellow female tech entrepreneur Sheryl Sandberg by talking publicly about how important it is to ensure that leaders spend time with their families as well as at work, and has shared her thoughts on how this sort of lifestyle can be achieved. She also has five children – proving that having a family doesn’t need to be a barrier to a successful career as a women in tech.

There is no denying it: the tech sector is in many ways still difficult for many women, and it is hard to see that coming to an end any time soon. However, one of the beacons of hope lies in the many female role models who have worked hard to get to where they are today. From Meg Whitman to Susan Wojcicki, the stories of these senior female leaders are inspirational to both men and women alike.

About Karli Cowan

karlic@thebusinesswomanmedia.com'

Karli Cowan has for decades been one of the all-too-few women in the automotive industry, and is committed to helping women better negotiate the male-dominated industry.

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