Let’s start with some numbers.
57 percent of women are in the workplace (Bureau of Labor and Statistics)
A Pew Research Center study found that women held only about 10 percent of top executive positions at publicly traded companies in the much larger Standard & Poor’s Composite 1500.
Although the numbers are small and do not represent the percentage of women working outside the home, women CEOs rock. A Quartz study found that “women-led companies earned investors a 340-percent return, compared to an S&P 500 benchmark of 122 percent.”
Women deliver results. Of course, we can always point to NRPR Group’s own Nicole Rodrigues, but here are some women in tech who have rocked it thus far in 2018.
Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble
Whitney Wolfe Herd is the founder and CEO of the woman-led dating app, Bumble, which has reached 30 million users after four years in existence. Its Austin, TX office is set up like a living room with a large sofa to promote collaboration rather than internal competition. Both the office and the app reflect Whitney’s life’s mission: empowering women to make the first move in all areas of their lives. She also has designed the Bumble app to be a place where people feel at ease. Wolfe Herd told The New York Times, “it’s a place where they do not feel threatened, and we just don’t see guns fitting into that equation.” To that end, after the Stoneman Douglas school shooting, the dating app banned images of guns on its platform. In a TechCrunch article, Wolfe Herd described the move as “taking a hard stance against normalizing violence on the platform.
Helen Greiner, US Army
Helen Greiner is the co-founder of a robotics company, a drone company and recently began working with the US Army on robotics and artificial intelligence initiatives. In 1990, she started iRobot, maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner, the PackBot, and SUGV Military Robots. In 2008, she launched CyPhy Works, which developed the PARC, the Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communication tethered drone for defense, public safety mining, telecommunications, and oil and gas applications. In 2015, she told Robotics Business Review, “IRobot was my dream –come-true. But I am most proud of the military robots have saved the lives of hundreds of soldiers and thousands of civilians.” In June 2018, Greiner was sworn in as a Highly Qualified Expert for Robotics, Autonomous Systems, and AI for the Army – ASA(ALT).
Forbes described Greiner as “one of the most innovative minds in the drone and robotics space today. Her rise to the top of the industry, as one of the very few women who have served at top levels in the robotics/drone space since the early 1990s, is inspirational.”
Dr. Renee Dua, Heal
Dr. Renee Dua is the co-founder and chief medical officer of Heal. A practicing doctor, an inspiring entrepreneur and a mother, Dr. Dua knows firsthand the inefficiencies surrounding overburdened, paperwork-laden physicians and the difficulties patients encounter when trying to meet with doctors. Heal is available 365 days a year so people of all ages can get a highly-qualified, licensed doctor to their home, office or hotel between 8AM and 8PM, 7 days/week, in two hours or less. She explained to FierceHealthcare how her husband Nick Desai, with whom she founded Heal came home and showed the app to her “and it was already so sophisticated and easy to use,” she said. “I thought, ‘You’re going to change the whole construct of how people access care.”
In January 2018, Heal introduced Wellbe, a simple plug-in device, the size of a nightlight that easily connects with over 120 health tracking devices that track blood pressure, heart rate, pulse oximetry, body mass index (BMI), blood sugar, temperature and more, as well as integrate Fitbit trackers and other wearables. Moreover, the Wellbe securely delivers the data from the health tracking device to the doctor – combining high-touch house calls with real-time health data tracking for the first time ever.
Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In.org
In 2013, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO published Lean In, which directed women not to lean back, but to lean in and speak up for themselves. The same day the book was published, LeanIn.org was founded to create circles, small groups of peers who would meet regularly to support one another’s goals.
In February 2018, LeanIn.Org launched #MentorHer, a campaign that calls on men to mentor women. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Sandberg told Business Insider, “she is worried about “the potential unintended consequences” of #MeToo and the attention being paid to sexual harassment at work. A recent survey by Lean In and SurveyMonkey revealed that almost half of male managers in the United States are now uncomfortable participating in basic activities with women. Senior men are 3.5 times more likely to hesitate to have a work dinner alone with a junior woman than with a junior man – and 5 times more likely to hesitate to travel for work alone with a woman.
She wrote in a Facebook post on March 6, “On many measures – the pay gap, the number of women in Congress or running companies or countries – progress has been incremental at best. Victory in the battle for gender equality requires all of us to be both outraged and optimistic, both impatient and in this fight for the long run. Now more than ever, we need to change the balance of power. An equal world will be one where women run half our countries and companies and men run half our homes. We will not rest until we reach that goal.”
Women have been and will continue to make a difference in the business world and it is important that they receive the recognition deserved.