From early computers, to wartime inventions, the beginnings of the internet and beyond. Women have always been innovators in technology and science breaking down barriers in the process.
In honour of International Women's Day, I've chosen to highlight the women who inspire and influence me. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be showcasing ten women who #ChooseToChallenge, open doors for others, and have changed the world.
The next woman in my series is software developer Janese Swanson. Janese is best known for her award-winning games and toys designed to encourage girls to learn more about technology.
Her work at Broderbund in the 1980s saw her developing software with children in mind. This included co-developing the Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? video game. In 1995 she went on to found her own company, Girl Tech, creating a voice-activated diary lockbox, the Friend Frame, and books on technology.
"For two years after I founded the company, toy store buyers would say, 'Can you make it pink?' 'Can't you make it for boys?' And I would say, 'No, this is what girls like to play with.'"
Her dedication to innovative product design, and not submitting to manufacturers pleas to make her inventions pink, have changed how the world thinks about girls toys.
This work has been recognised by the National Association of Women Business Owners, Women in Communications, Webgirls, and the YWCA of the USA.
"There is a real need in our culture to introduce girls to technology-based products and electronics at an early age. It not only increases girls' self-esteem but helps to broaden the opportunities available to them in the future."
- Women, Art & Technology profile
- High-Tech Girls Toys
- Janese Swanson: Inventing a Better Way
- Innovative Lives: Janese Swanson, Beyond Pink and Fluffy
Image: Tech Heroines