Look at any list of the top names in tech, and you will invariably notice that women are very much outnumbered, often representing only a third at best. To find the women who have risen through the ranks, you may have to look at the lists that are devoted to women specifically. There are a number of them, and this list cannot take them all into account. Instead, it presents a dozen. Some of the names are very well known, and some are less so.
Whether they have worked their way up the ranks of a well-established business, have developed a completely innovative concept that forms the basis of a new one, or have the vision to realize which new tech company they should be investing in, they all are highly accomplished in their field. So as not to appear to rank them in order of importance, they are simply presented in alphabetical order. (To learn about some historical female tech pioneers, check out The Women of ENIAC: Programming Pioneers.)
1. Safra Catz, Co-CEO, Oracle
She’s held that position since 2014, sharing the position of CEO with Mark Hud after Larry Ellison stepped down. She came to Oracle as an executive in 1999. In April 2011 she was named co-president and chief financial officer, reporting to founder/CTO Larry Ellison. She is included on the 2018 Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women and on its 2018 list for America’s Richest Self-Made Women.
2. Judy Faulkner, Founder and CEO, Epic Systems
According to the site, software development company Epic Systems was established “in a basement in 1979 with 1½ employees.” Now it serves more than 200 million and has billions in sales. Faulkner is trained as a computer programmer, and she does not outsource any of Epic Systems’ software development. The company is privately and employee-owned. She is on the list of Forbes’ America’s Top 50 Women In Tech in 2018.
3. Theresia Gouw, Co-founder, Aspect Ventures
In 2014 Gouw co-founded Aspect Ventures, an early stage venture firm that usually invests in software and security. Before that she spent 15 years at Accel, one of Facebook’s venture investors, where she was the firm's first female partner. She holds the distinction of America’s wealthiest female VC with a net worth of $500 million, according to Forbes, which includes her among the 100 Most Powerful Women and America’s Richest Self-Made Women, as well as on The Midas List: Top Tech Investors 2018.
4. Geraldine Hamilton, President and Chief Scientific Officer, Emulate, Inc.
Prior to joining Emulate’s founding team, Hamilton was the lead senior staff scientist at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. There she led the Organs-on-Chips program and managed the people from various disciplines charged with the technology’s development and commercialization. Hamilton received her PhD in cell biology/toxicology. Her company is currently developing what it calls a “Patient-on-a-Chip program” that would offer a way to anticipate how a particular person may respond to treatments or other substances.
5. Del Harvey, VP Trust and Safety, Twitter
Harvey was the twenty-fifth employee to join Twitter in 2008 and the sole member of the trust and safety department tasked with ironing out the policies that distinguish between what will be allowed and what is to be blocked from the social media platform according to the terms of service that continue to evolve. She was included in Time’s 20 Most Important People in Tech in 2017.
6. Roshni Nadar Malhotra, CEO and Executive Director, HCL Enterprise Corporation
Malhotra is responsible for all strategic decisions for the $8.3 billion HCL Enterprise Corporation, which was founded by her father, Shiv Nadar, in 1976. A resident of India, she was educated in American universities. She is a trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, as well as the founder and trustee of The Habitats Trust. She is included on the 2018 Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.
7. Zhou Qunfei, Founder and CEO, Lens Technology
A self-made billionaire, Qunfei started working as a migrant factory worker when she was just a teenager, and now has a net worth of $4.7 billion. In 1993 she got together with relatives to launch a watch parts company out of an apartment. This grew into producing smartphone screen supplies for companies like Samsung, LG, Microsoft, Nokia and Tesla. In March 2015, Lens Technology went public on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. She is included on the 2018 Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, as well as its Global Game Changers List 2017, in addition to a number of its lists for billionaires.
8. Ginni Rometty, CEO, IBM
Rometty began her career with IBM in 1981 in Detroit. She held a number of leadership positions at the company until she rose to the rank of CEO in 2012. Under Rometty’s direction, IBM has grown its AI business, establishing partnership with key players in industries that range from financial services to health care. As CEO of a venerable name in technology, she has been garnered significant notice, including being named among Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business in 2014 , Time’s 20 Most Important People in Tech in 2017, and Forbes’ America’s Top 50 Women In Tech in 2018.
9. Gwynne Shotwell, President, SpaceX
Shotwell joined SpaceX as its eleventh employee and has watched it grow to a company valued at $28 billion with thousands of employees. She’s on Forbes America’s Top 50 Women in Tech 2018 list and on its 2018 list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. (Some believe that crypto is the key to gender equality in tech. Learn more in How Crypto Can Help Women Gain More Equal Footing in Business Leadership.)
10. Meg Whitman, CEO, Quibi
Whitman assumed her present position at Quibi in April 2018. Prior to that she was CEO of Hewlett-Packard from 2011 to 2015 and then became CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise when it split off as its own company. She is included on the 2018 Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, which identifies her biggest success earlier in her career when she was CEO of eBay from 1998 to 2008. Under her direction it grew from $5.7 million to $8 billion in sales. Her own current net worth is $3.5 billion.
11. Anne Wojcicki, Co-founder and CEO, 23andMe
Though she started out as a Wall Street analyst, Wojcicki decided to enter medical school. But instead of becoming a doctor, she channeled her biological interests into the genetics research of 23andMe, which launched in 2006. In 2018 GlaxoSmithKline put $300 million into the company, which helped it go on to gain approval for ten genetic risk tests and expand into drug discovery. She makes the 2018 Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, as well as its Global Game Changers List 2017 and its 2018 America’s Richest Self-Made Women list.
12. Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO and Anne Wojcicki’s sister
Wojcicki has held that position at YouTube since February 2014. Hired by Google in 1999, she was the first marketing manager and 16th employee of the then fledgling company, and proved a major force in Google’s $1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube in 2006. Currently, YouTube’s estimated worth is $90 billion. Her name appears on numerous lists, including Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business in 2014 and Time’s 20 Most Important People in Tech in 2017, and the 2018 Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.