Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the contributions of women. This day also brings awareness to the movement for gender equity. In fact, this year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity, encouraging us all to take action towards true equity, inclusion, and belonging. March is also Women's History Month, which celebrates the achievements of women throughout history.
In this blog post, we want to share information with you about some of the women who have made incredible contributions to our industry. Without them, many of the technologies we use today would not exist. We hope you will join us in celebrating this month and beyond!
First, let's go back to the golden age of Hollywood. She was an actress, but she was also a brilliant inventor in the wireless communications space...do you know who we're talking about? That's right: Hedy Lamarr! In 1942, Lamarr and her collaborator, George Antheil (who was also a composer), developed and patented a "Secret Communication System" that used frequency hopping to prevent the interception of radio signals. While this technology was originally developed to aid the Allies in World War II, it's more widely known today as a critical part of communications technologies like WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS.
Now, let's continue looking at communications with Dr. Shirley Jackson. Dr. Jackson is a theoretical physicist whose research contributed to the development of fiber optic cables, touch-tone telephones, caller ID, and more. In 1973, she became the first Black woman to earn a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and in 1999, she became the first Black woman to lead a top-ranked research university (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). Diving deeper into her research, her work in physics and semiconductors led to important advancements in fiber optic cables, which are now used in telecommunications and high-speed Internet.
Last, and certainly not least, let's turn to Radia Perlman. Perlman is known as the "Mother of the Internet" for her ground-breaking work in developing the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) in 1984. STP is fundamental to the operation of the Internet, enabling reliable communication in computer networks. Her contributions to computer networking and protocol design are still seen today as modern technology continues to evolve. She now works for Oracle, where she has earned more than 50 patents.
Hedy Lamarr, Dr. Shirley Jackson, and Radia Perlman are just some of the influential and innovative women in our industry. Their contributions have a lasting impact and continue to inspire new generations of inventors. As we celebrate International Women's Day and Women's History Month, we encourage you to explore the International Women's Day website here to learn more.