Black Women in Technology

Black Women in Technology experience discrimination in every aspect of their career. Studies have indicated that only 26% of computing related jobs are held by women, and only 3% of these are Black women. Even after getting degrees in STEM careers, these women are facing discrimination everyday. Current research reveals that 48% of women in STEM jobs report discrimination in the recruitment and hiring process. Furthermore, Black and Hispanic women, who majored in computer science or engineering, are less likely to be hired into a tech role than their white counterparts. Despite having to face constant discrimination in these fields, there are various extremely talented black women in technology, responsible for many of our technological advancements. Here are some of them: 

Annie Easley 

In 1955, Annie Easley began her career as a “human computer,” performing computations for researchers. This included analysing problems and doing calculations by hand. 

When human computers were replaced by machines, Annie Easley evolved together with the technology. She became a skilful engineer, using languages like the Formula Translating System (Fortran) as well as the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to support a variation of NASA’s programs. She developed and implemented code applied in researching energy-conversion systems, analysing alternate power technology— including battery technology that was used for early hybrid vehicles, furthermore for The Centaur upper-stage rocket. 

Later in her career, she took on the extra role of equal employment opportunity (EEO) counsellor. Within this career she aided supervisors tackle problems of gender, race, and age in discrimination complaints. 

Aisha Bowe 

During her career at NASA, she served as liaison to the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program. In this role, she mentored students and led NASA site tours. Additionally, she was a part of the African-American advisory group. Aisha Bowe is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and is a certified Program Management Professional by PMI. Aisha is founder and CEO of STEMBoard, a company that solves technological problems for government and privatesector clients. STEMBoard is a Certified Economically Disadvantaged WomenOwned Small Business supported by the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce. 

Valerie Taylor 

Valerie Taylor has received multiple awards for distinguished research and leadership and authored or co-authored more than 100 papers about high performance computing, with a focus on performance analysis and modelling of parallel scientific applications. She is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Association for Computing Machinery. 

Valerie was promoted to full professor in 2002 and joined Texas A&M University as the Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) the following year. She was the first African-American to hold that position. 

Furthermore, she is also currently the Executive Director of the Centre for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT), a non-profit organisation which she co-founded to help encourage a more diverse U.S. IT workforce. 

Avani, Technology Prefect – Upper VI (Year 13)