5 Women Programmers Who Broke The Glass Ceiling

2 min read

The gender bias in the coding world has been undeniable. The aptly named “brogramming” culture has made it challenging for women to rise in the industry. However, in recent years we have seen a positive change. As companies work for a more diverse workforce, women in programming are performing better than ever before. With our Women In C.P initiative, CodeChef intends to encourage every single woman out there who wants to code. Today we have collected a list of five out of the numerous women who have carved out a spot for themselves in the coding world and have inspired a ton of other girls to do the same. 

Marissa Mayer

To say that she has had an illustrious career would be a definite understatement. The Stanford University graduate and classically trained ballet dancer declined a teaching job at Carnegie Mellon and started working for Google {founded in 1998}  in 1999 as employee number 20. She started out writing code and overseeing engineers’ teams but soon moved on to be a product manager. One of her most significant achievements at Google was “Google AdWords.” Created along with two other people, AdWords brought in 96% of the company’s revenue in the first quarter of 2011. After Google, Mayer moved on to be CEO of Yahoo! and during her time over there, she helped the company build $43B in market capitalization and successfully tripled Yahoo!’s stock. She has since started Lumi Labs with a former colleague. Definitely a trailblazer in the programming world, Mayer has proven to be a role-model for many. 

Jade Raymond 

Canadian video game producer Jade Raymond is the one behind the top-rated action-adventure video game Assassin’s Creed. As a college student, Raymond majored in computer science, and her post-university job was a programmer for Sony. Here she helped in creating Sony Online’s first Research and Development group. In July 2018, Raymond was awarded the “Vanguard Award” for “her trailblazing endeavors across her 20-year career”. In October of the same year, she was presented with the “Pioneer Award,” acknowledging her “contributions to the industry as a producer of games considered a turning point in the industry.” Since March 2019, she has joined Google as a vice-president, and has been heading Google’s Studios, Stadia Games and Entertainment. 

Parisa Tabriz 

Part of 2018’s Forbes “40 under 40” most influential young people in business list, Parisa Tabriz, is one of the few well known POC + female in the programming industry. Currently responsible for the security of Google Chrome, the self-titled “Security Princess” was introduced to the world of coding only in her first university year. She didn’t look back after that, joining Google just a little while after her graduation. She took on the title of “Security Princess” simply because she found the name “Information Security Engineer” way too dull. In conversation with “bitsnbytes” in 2018, Tabriz addressed the industry’s lack of diversity. 

“Diversity in security is lacking, and that will impact our effectiveness in solving problems for the world. We do need more designers, lawyers, policymakers. I feel fortunate to be where I am today.” she said. 

Shahrzad Raftai 

Born in Iran and currently residing in Canada, Raftai is the founder and CEO of BroadbandTv Corp. She completed her BSc in computer science in 2005 from the University of British Columbia. Along with this, she also studied French at Université Paris Sorbonne and is a graduate of the Young Global Leaders Oxford Module: Transformational Leadership at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. Raftai founded her company BroadbandTv in 2005. Since then, it has been the second-largest video property by unique viewers across the top 12 countries in the world. Raftai’s company boasts over 40% female-identifying employees and managers, with a 0% gender pay gap. In 2019 Raftai was awarded the AdAge Creativity Awards, Visionary/Founder of The Year. 

Anita Borg 

American computer scientist Anita Borg was the founder of the Institute for Women and Technology and the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. In 1981 Borg was presented with a Ph.D. from New York University for her research investigating the synchronization efficiency of operating systems. After she completed her Ph.D., Borg spent four years building a faux-tolerant Unix based operating system for Auragen Systems Corp. and Nixdorf Computer. In 1986 she worked at the Digital Equipment Corporation, where she developed and patented a method for generating complete address traces for analyzing and designing high-speed memory systems. Anita Borg was a passionate believer in the greater representation of technical women and aimed for a 50% percent representation of women by 2020. Borg died of a brain tumor on April 6th, 2003.  

The amount of female representation in the programming world has only grown. In the past few years, we have seen many inspirational women challenge gender stereotypes and prove their worth as coders. We at CodeChef intend to support every talented female coder with our Women in C.P initiative. It is high time to make sure that all women programmers get the right opportunities and guidance to succeed. 

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