This week marks the end of Women’s History Month 2021. We have probably all seen countless articles, posts, and pictures celebrating remarkable women in history and in our own lives. This month we’re coming together to celebrate because there is so much to celebrate. It was just 100 years ago that women gained the right to vote in the United States, Denmark, and much of the remaining Western world. Throughout those 100 years, we can look back on so many women who not only raised their voice to vote but raised their voice to act and be heard.  

We have seen some extremely intelligent, powerful, and inspirational women act as global pioneers for women’s rights. These women have led some of the most significant innovations in science, government, racial and gender equality, mathematics, aviation, literature, IT, and business technology.

From Susan B. Anthony, who was the pioneer in the women’s suffrage movement, and Coretta Scott King, a woman of color, who continued her husband’s work of advocating for racial and women’s rights. To Amelia Earhart, who became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and Kalpana Chawla, the first American astronaut of Indian origin. To political leaders such as Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first Asian-American US congress member, Kamala Harris the first biracial Vice President, and Angela Merkel, who has led Germany as Chancellor since 2005. To sports pioneers such as golfer Mianne Bagger, who was the first openly transitioned woman to play in a professional golf tournament. And to your neighbor, your coworker, your friend, and many, many more. These women have shown us there are no limits to female achievements.

In technology, women have forged new paths and continue to do so. In the 1950s, Grace Hopper was a pioneer of computer programming and a leader in software development concepts. Melinda Gates, the long-standing general manager of Microsoft, dedicated her efforts to increase diversity in the IT workplace throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century. Jenny Lay-Flurrie, who is deaf, is currently Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer. Whitney Wolfe Herd is a pioneer and tech entrepreneur who has provided an opportunity for women to lead the conversation in business and personal relationships through Bumble.

We have made significant progress in society and the equal rights of women due to the women and men in our history, from 100+ years ago to today, who gave their time, freedom, and lives to ensure that the female voice continues to be heard.

During this month, we asked our Siteimprovers about their thoughts on continuing the work of women in history. Here are some of their responses:

Alisa Bell, Account Executive:

“I try to live every day as one of significance, strength, and gratitude. I know I wouldn't have the things I do or the opportunities I have had were it not for the women, and men, who have come before me. And I know the best way to recognize that is by working hard and accomplishing things of meaning and importance in my life. From the time my daughter was little, she is 16 now, we have always focused on her and provided her with the knowledge that she can do whatever she puts her mind to, as well as that she is accountable for her actions. We raised her NOT to focus on gender or color, which can feel incredibly divisive, but to be the best she can be, help others to be their best selves and to be a valuable contributor to society. She is now a very confident, independent, strong, smart, sassy, young woman who recently determined exactly what she wants to do with her life. And she is working hard to do that. We are proud of the person she has become and know that she will do great things in this world.”

Mie Elmkvist Schneider, VP of Corporate Development:

“I believe that we all benefit greatly from having a more equal gender distribution in management and board rooms. To ensure that, I am a member and shareholder of Goodtalks, which is a platform where people discuss gender equality and diversity and help each to be brave and overcome inequality. My two daughters are still too young to understand the privilege that they have from growing up in a country where equal rights have come a long way and too young to understand that even so, we still have work to do. My goal is to ensure they are aware of the inequalities and work to overcome them and once they are old enough, I will make sure that they join the community too, to learn from others and help others grow.”

Jennifer Chadwick, Senior Accessibility and Digital Inclusion Strategist:

“20 years ago when I was studying front-end web development, taking courses to build digital experiences in HTML, Flash, and JavaScript coding, about 20% of the students in our classes were women. Now at Siteimprove – within its own staff, and when working closely with partnership organizations - I have seen the number of female developers and quality assurance testers in a team be as high as 60%-70%. In the last 10 years or so, there is a noticeable increase in women occupying senior development roles, front- and back-end, as those driving accessibility and inclusive design initiatives, as project team leads and product owners. With post-secondary degrees, certifications, and specialist coding language courses, careers options are strong in these fields critical to digital innovation, and it’s an area that I feel women have become not only more welcome by male counterparts, but where they are leaders.”

Adam White, Training Specialist:

"Through the Culture Committee in our U.S. office, we've chosen to highlight women throughout the month. These women have changed history and impacted our lives in incredible ways - whether Carol Shaw one of the first women to design video games, Hedy Lamar whose pioneering technology has been credited with creating WIFI, or Temple Grandin whose pioneering research on Autism came from studying her own mind. While bringing light to these women is important, it's also important to make sure that light doesn't dim, and we continue to celebrate their contributions."

 

We hope that our employees sharing how they are continuing to ensure women have a voice in today’s world has inspired you to do the same. As we end this month, we aspire and encourage to continue to keep all the incredible people who changed history alive in our minds and conversations.