The information and technology marketplace is constantly transforming and shaping the minds of new generations. The increasing inclusion of women and people of color, demographics historically underrepresented in the tech industry, is exciting. Among these trailblazers, Black women stand out while carving their space and pioneering initiatives to break down barriers within the tech realm. With so much focus these days on diversity and inclusion, it is important to take time to recognize these women who are impacting the technology we use today and in the future!
Notable Black Women Tech Specialists in the Last Decade
“Recognize and embrace your uniqueness. Being a Black woman, being a woman in general, on a team of all men, means that you are going to have a unique voice. It’s important to embrace that.” – Erin Teague, Director of Product Management at YouTube
Since 2013, remarkable Black female technology specialists have risen to prominence, highlighting their expertise and reshaping the narrative of what success in tech looks like. Black female faces behind the code make waves while proving that tech has no gender or color. These are just some of the names you should know about:
1. Ursula Burns: Corporate Leadership Trailblazer
In 2013, Ursula Burns rocked the business world by becoming the first Black woman to head up a Fortune 500 company—Xerox. Leading Xerox through a digital makeover with her technological intellect, her example opened doors for women of color interested in top spots in the tech sector. She did not just lead but blazed a trail for others to follow.
2. Dr. Jamika Burge: Augmented Reality Innovator
Meet Dr. Jamika Burge, a tech trailblazer and augmented reality (AR) whiz. In 2015, she teamed up to start Black in Computing, a non-profit with a mission to boost the presence of black pros in computer gaming. Dr. Burge is all for innovative AR, yes. But shaking up the tech scene and advocating for diversity fits her M.O. as well. She is a tech guru and a force for change in the industry.
3. Aisha Bowe: Founder & CEO of STEMBoard
Aisha Bowe, a former NASA rocket scientist, is leading STEMBoard, which is recognized as one of America's fastest-growing companies on the Inc. 5000 list. Passionate about empowering students in STEM, she made waves in 2022 by securing almost $2 million in venture capital for LINGO, a self-paced coding kit. Bowe’s contributions to tech make STEM accessible.
4. Morgan DeBaun: Media and Technology Entrepreneur
Since 2017, Morgan DeBaun has been driving the convergence of media and technology as the CEO and co-founder of Blavity, Inc. Under her leadership, Blavity targets Black millennials in the digital landscape. DeBaun's entrepreneurial skills, combined with her dedication to amplifying diverse voices, have firmly established this company as a worthy player in the tech and media market today.
5. Dr. Ruha Benjamin: Ethical Tech Scholar
Dr. Ruha Benjamin, a Princeton University Associate Professor, gained attention in 2018 for her significant research on race, technology, and ethics. Her book, "Race After Technology," examines biases in algorithms and how technological advances affect underserved people in society. Dr. Benjamin's research takes a hard look at ethical practices while focusing on key systemic issues.
Black Women and the Future of Diversity in the Tech Industry
The resilience, innovation, and commitment of Black women in tech paint a picture promising a space where inclusion is the norm, eliminating roadblocks for future generations. The above five Black female technology specialists are not just leaders in their respective fields, but they represent change. Their journeys inspire diverse generations of tech professionals.
As we celebrate their achievements, it is evident their impact extends beyond personal success, contributing to a more inclusive and equitable future for the entire tech industry.