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Honouring Women. Women in Computer Science

























Arantza Illarramendi

The goal of this campaign is making women visible in every area, promoting and strengthening equality between men and women, creating symbolic spaces for female empowerment, fighting gender stereotypes, and promoting role models to help new generations break free from gender bias to achieve their professional and personal goals. Within the scientific and research field, this campaign aims to highlight women's contributions to scientific and social progress, which is a priority objective in gender equality programmes in all universities.

“Honouring Women” is the University of Alicante's campaign to enhance women's visibility in all areas of university life. 

"Honouring Women: Women in Computer Science” puts the spotlight on relevant women experts in this area. At present, despite girls’ good academic performance in upper secondary education, only 15% of all computer science undergraduates are women. If this trend continues, it will take longer to reach effective gender equality, as more and more experts in this sector are required. 

Women in Computer Science

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) - First programmer. Inventor of the first IT program in history.

Lynn Conway (1938-) - Pioneer in microelectronic chip design. Many high-tech companies and IT methods are based on her work. She worked for IBM in the 1960s and was fired in 1968 after she revealed her intention to change sex.

Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) - Creator of the technology which led to the development of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. She co-invented the first version of the spread spectrum which would enable long-distance wireless communication.

Mary Kenneth (1914-1985) - In 1940 she was ordained as a nun. In 1958 she became the first woman lecturer at the IT Department of Dartmouth College, USA, which allowed her to take part in the development of the BASIC programming language. In 1965 she became the first person in the USA to earn a PhD in Computer Science, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ms Kenneth founded Ohio University’s IT Department, which she would direct for 20 years until her death.

Grace Murray (1906-1992) - Inventor of the COBOL programming language, designed for the development of software aimed at people with no IT knowledge. Ms Murray was the first programmer who used Mark I, the first electromechanical computer, in the 1950s and 1960s.

Frances E. Allen (1932-) - Pioneer in automatic parallel execution and optimisation of compilers (programs translating a program written in a programming language into another). Creator of programming languages and security codes for the US National Security Agency. In 2007 she won the Turing award, the equivalent to the Nobel Prize of computing.

Evelyn Berezin (1925-) - She developed one of the first word processors and is credited with the pioneering idea of storing and editing texts. Besides, Ms Berezin invented today's office computers. Her work on word processors led her to develop the first flight reservation system.

Rózsa Péter (1905-1977) - Mathematician and main contributor to recursive function theory. She drew on her mathematical knowledge to develop recursive functions which would later be applied to computers.

Jean E. Sammet (1928-2018) - Inventor of FORMAC (1968), the first programming language designed for symbiotic manipulation. She worked at IBM for 27 years and belonged to the committee which created COBOL. Ms Sammet was also the first woman to chair the US Association for Computing Machinery (ACS).

Shirley A. Jackson (1946-) - First Afro-American woman to earn a PhD degree from MIT. Her research led to the development of portable faxes, tone dialling phones or optical fibre cables, among many other innovations.

Radia Perlman (1951-) - North American network engineer, software developer and security expert. She is regarded as “the mother of the Internet”, as she created the Spanning Tree Protocol (SPN), enabling redundancy in local area networks (LANs). Ms Perlman has developed dozens of patents for the companies where she has worked.

Nieves Rodríguez Brisaboa (1958-) - Professor of IT Languages and Systems at the University of La Coruña (UDC).

Arantza Illarramendi (1959-) - University professor of IT Languages and Systems at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). First woman to win the Artimel Award to the Computer Expert of the Year (2010) for her scientific contributions to data management.

International Women's Day. 8th March

Universidad de Alicante
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Carretera San Vicente del Raspeig s/n - 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig - Alicante - Tel. 96 590 3400 - Fax 96 590 3464