Share on Facebook

A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

7 Women You Should Thank Every Time You Use a Computer

These smart women made for some significant and groundbreaking changes in technology.

1 / 7

She wrote the first “computer” program

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace who was commonly known as “Ada Lovelace,” worked on a very early computer known as the Analytical Engine in the 1800s. The daughter of poet Lord Byron, King was interested in writing—though in a different way than her father. She composed an algorithm for the engine that is thought of as the first computer program.

2 / 7

She influenced the creation of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

Hedy Lamarr, a famed actress who appeared in classic films like Tortilla Flats and Dishonored Lady, was noted also for devising with composer George Antheil a technique for transmitting radio signals that later allowed for the creation of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

3 / 7

She changed how computers work

Grace Hopper, a rear admiral for the United States Navy, was instrumental in creating modern programming languages used by the likes of Microsoft. She believed that programming language should use English rather than machine code, revolutionizing technology in the mid-1900s. Hopper also invented the term “debugging” when she pulled a stuck moth out of a computer.

4 / 7

She made computers friendly

Graphic designer Susan Kare created many of the cheery Macintosh icons, fonts, and other elements that are still used today. She made the “Command” key icon, the “paint bucket” icon now widely used in image editing programs, the “Chicago” font, and more.

5 / 7

She helped create the internet

Radia Perlman resists being called “the mother of the internet,” though the nickname has stuck for a reason. The network protocols she developed in the 1980s helped lay the groundwork for the connectivity we enjoy today.

6 / 7

She brought wireless into your home

Janie Tsao co-founded networking company Linksys with her husband Victor—out of a garage in California, per tech tradition. Linksys is responsible for many best-selling routers, and it’s likely that you’ve gotten online via their products at some point in your life.

7 / 7

She told women to “Lean In”

Sheryl Sandberg helped launch while working at Google, proving tech and philanthropy can go hand-in-hand. Since then, she’s become the first woman to serve on Facebook‘s board and authored the bestselling book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, aiming to inspire an entirely new generation of women to follow in her footsteps.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest