13 Famous Women Who Changed Tech History Forever


Susan Kare – The Apple Icon

Although our next pioneer briefly worked for Microsoft, Susan Kare is best known for her work with Bill Gate’s nemesis, Steve Jobs.

Kare followed dreams of a career in the fine arts to San Francisco. A chance encounter with an old high school friend landed her an interview with Apple. Steve Jobs, inspired by Xerox’s graphical user interface (GUI), was on the hunt for an artist who could design Macintosh’s icons. She got the job. “The morale is to have confidence in your skill mix,” she later said. “Because I certainly didn’t have a computer background.”

Using a pad of graph paper, Kare designed icons that were simple, elegant, and playful. The original designs were just 32 x 32 pixels. Kare is also responsible for developing the command (“Apple”) key as a stylized castle seen from above.

As part of her Apple work, Kare created the typeface Chicago, used in the first four generations of the iPod. To keep the lettering smooth and seamless, all lines were purposefully made horizontal, vertical, or on a 45-degree angle. That sort of attention to detail has continued to define Apple to this day.

Next Up: Carol Shaw (click here or below)

11 Responses to “13 Famous Women Who Changed Tech History Forever”

    • Sophie Wilson was born Robert Wilson…a transwoman who started a career as a man should not take a space or attention away from a woman who was born female and socialized and raised female.

      • As a matter of fact, I am making a website for a webdev college course highlighting contributions of ALL WOMEN past, present and future and I have been looking for transwomen to feature on my site. I appreciate your bigotry because it just lead me to someone I can add. 🙂

      • I agree. A trans woman who grew up socialized as a MALE did not suffer the setbacks of a society putting him in “his place.” His contributions were already being recognized before he became a female. To equate his “struggle” for recognition and acceptance is to compare apples to oranges.

        To grow up socialized as a female effectively EXCLUDES one from all STEM-related expectations, and further INHIBITS, if not downright IMPEDES her being taken seriously in male-dominated fields. I know it because I lived it! He never did.

  1. False. The current climate of women in the tech industry is all-inclusive and we welcome transwomen. There is no place for discrimination in a field dedicated to advancement both in technology and social justice. Take a seat.

  2. ianpenfold

    what about Margeret Hamilton, who wrote most of the software for the 1969 apollo lunar landing, and invented the job title ‘software engineer’ which is still used today.

  3. Jim Austin

    The ladies who programmed the ENIAC didn’t use any programming languages with text editors and compilers. They were reportedly given blueprints of the machine and told to program it.