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Women Pioneers in Technology
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Global Woman

Women Pioneers in Technology

Let's get to the heart of the matter. Women have long been overlooked in the field of technology due to the overwhelming evidence that it was a man's world. Big Blue and other computer companies only hired male sales reps in the early years and women were hardly promoted into management in any company let alone in the field of information technology.

Thank the women pioneers of technology for leading us into a new age where that statement is no longer true.

Who are these pioneers and what doors have they opened for us in the age of Internet, World Wide Web ( WWW) and E-mail?

Sandra Kurtzig, founder and retired CEO of ASK, once named the "Mother of Silicon Valley" is one who is often thought of as a pioneer. Ms Kurtzig started her company on a shoestring budget in her home and built it into a $400 million plus corporation. She recounts several experiences in her book about her fascinating journey to and as CEO. Her book covers the rude comments of her nail polish color at a board meeting, her business failures and successes along with her divorce. (Ms Kurtzig paid her husband an unprecedented $26 million settlement in California).

What she left us women in technology is tenacity, and respect that women deserve. She took the bull by the horns and the world by surprise in her achievements as she rose well above the glass ceiling. She did not let up on her vision, nor on her empire. When she sold her company a few years back, it spiraled down. Ms Kurtzig bought it back, turned it around, cleaned it up, got it on the right path and set it free again. Sometimes a power of a woman is often overlooked.

Carol Bartz, Chairman of the Board, CEO and President of Autodesk, Inc., in her own right has had to withstand the tests of human fragility in her fight against cancer. She is a cancer survivor who was not only tested physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Under her reign since 1992, Autodesk has become the fourth largest PC software company in the world.

Dawn Lepore, CIO of Charles Schwab, is the first woman CIO of the brokerage giant. She oversees two hundred U.S. branches, three thousand stockbrokers and close to three million active accounts. These three, are women in technology who have painstakingly paved the way for the future.

We, as women, started out as timid users of the computer and gradually we have mastered this form of communication. This is great news given that the world is a global marketplace and the future of the Internet and WWW is here to stay.

There is so much new opportunity in this marketplace and women are excelling in this field. Our accomplishments in technology are challenging and breathtaking. Technology is the field that promises the most growth by the year 2000. We need to look at our future in high tech communication and put our stake solidly in the ground. What will your stake be?

Multimedia is a fast growing area of technology. It combines the touch of the keyboard with the visual sense of color graphics along with the sound of CD ROM. If you are creative and have a sense of multi-tasking or handling more than one project at a time this area is one to explore. Others include the Internet for home based business applications, and interactive sites on the WWW.

One doesn't need to feel confined by gender linked roles of yesteryear. Through technology, we have access to a portion of the world which was inaccessible before. That world is now available to us at the touch of our fingertips. We live in an incredible age of aspiring, successful women in business. Technology is the tool for growth. Opportunities are vast in this field which was once foreign to the female population. We are now dominating the successes of our creative minds, and rightfully so. Given the opportunity and advancement in this field, we, as women can achieve success.

The year 2000 is here, by all means in technology. By the stroke of midnight on the celebration of the new century, it will be a new world, and technology and use of it will be the key.

The opportunities are there for women presently, but for most of us only the tip of the iceberg is visible. One does not need to be a technical guru to fit in. Most upper level managers in technology companies are not technical at all but managers who build teams, achieve goals and provide superior products in the marketplace. There is no reason not to join these women who were pioneers thinking in the future.

The stereo typical views of women as helpmate, care giver, nurturer and child bearer in of themselves herald a most positive reference to our ability to give of ourselves. On the contrary, these views, when carried over into the world of business and industry have worked as shackles that bind women's potential to the limitations of these definitions.

Technology has been a male bastion from the development of the first mainframe. Let's face it, women have long been denied advancements and relegated to the "helpmate" positions such as customer service, technical phone support or other similar capacities, but rather this will illustrate that men have been the leaders of the pack for a long, long time.

History highlights and applauds those women who have broken away from socially imposed limitations and excelled in areas in which women were found absent or nonexistent. Technology has its own "First Lady's" of our generation. They have carved out space, giving women room to explore and excel in the multifaceted areas of Technology.

The facts speak for themselves. Women in technology are effective, successful and speak to the opportunities available in this young, aggressive industry. It may be that women started out a bit timidly as users of computer technology, but we gradually gathered steam and are becoming more and more visible in every area that this technology touches.

A list, recently published by McGraw-Hill recognizes the Top 100 Women in Computing for 1996. Not only highlighted were the CEO's of the industry, but also the top management positions held by women in information technology. This is a definitive signpost that broadcasts that women have arrived in information systems and that a host of opportunities do exist. Careers in computer networking, software applications, technical writing, video conferencing and multimedia can be pursued.

A recent statistic offered by President Clinton in partnership with NAWBO reveals that women owned companies now employ 35% more people than the Fortune 500 companies combined! To add to this staggering realization, of all the small businesses in the United States, seven million are women owned.

All statistics aside, we can as women take pride in what we have accomplished in every facet of life. We have attained the unattainable in a world that was once dominated by men. And this is only the beginning. The beginning of the age of women who take the quantum leap into her own successful venture, no matter what she chooses. This success is the heart of the pioneer woman.

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