Meet the pioneers of computer science and technology whose work have shaped our world as we know it, and whose faces mirror our very own. See our history through their accomplishments and contributions.
Hey there. We want to take a moment to dust off our intersectional feminism. Let's see how it can help us with a more nuanced approach in understanding what this timeline means.
Katherine Johnson is a superstar, and is one of the featured persons in the timeline. She was a child mathematics prodigy with a thirst for learning, whose accomplishments changed technology forever. However, Katherine’s story is bigger than her—her story wouldn’t be complete without the significant roles of her supportive family and the great teachers that nurtured her genius along the way. Growing up a black woman in an area that she described as less blatantly racist was likely also significant in her journey.
We recognise that accomplishments are possible not only because of someone’s individual brilliance and perseverance but also because of their privileges—opportunities for education, physical and psychological safety, support of their families and communities, food in their stomachs and roof over their heads, geographical locations, financial security, and time. Intelligence, something that many of us find easy to dismiss as innate and hereditary, also does not exist in a vacuum, with studies showing the adverse effects of poverty on academic performance. Opportunity is not only based on luck but is a product of our privileges: our marginalisation cannot be divorced from our access to opportunities.
So let’s talk about colour, let’s talk about gender, and let’s talk about privilege. Let’s talk about why so many women feel the need to become "one of the guys" in order to survive in tech.
Celebrating the successes of these underdogs in tech shouldn’t come at the expense of punishing or shaming those in our communities who have found this environment too toxic, who have been pushed away from this field before they could thrive, who have been worn out by our culture and biases. Instead, this celebration is a callout for the need for equity and opportunities so that we—the underdogs—can all succeed and be our whole selves. Let's do away with the baseless essentialist biases.
*We were only able to include a limited number of pioneers in this timeline, aiming for breadth and inclusivity. Keep an eye out for our suggestion box, coming soon.