I had a really tough time deciding which woman to profile (see my International Women’s Day post for a collection of links about women I admire), so I decided to go for three in the end with whom I have some personal connection.
The Entrepreneur: Jane Walerud
Jane Walerud is a serial entrepreneur with a reputation for bringing success to whatever venture she supports. She studied at Stanford Business School and currently is based in Sweden. She came to prominence by getting Erlang open-sourced and leaving Ericsson with a dozen of its main developers to start Bluetail which sold for $150 million after only 18 months. She has been involved in a score of tech startups since then and more than half have been rockstar successful.
The Intellectual: Emmy Noether
Emmy Noether was a German mathematician who made huge contributions to the fields of abstract algebra and theoretical physics. 75 years after her death, the theorem which bears her name, Noether’s theorem, is still a keystone of modern physics. She originally made the at-the-time conventional decision to study French and English with the intent of teaching languages, but perhaps due to the mentoring of her father, also a mathematician, proceeded with her mathematical education. Lucky for humanity. She was invited by the giants Felix Klein and David Hilbert to join the math department and the University of Göttingen, but on account of her gender spent years lecturing under Hilbert’s name without pay. After 1919 attitudes towards women began to change and she was finally considered as eligible for tenure. After making a series of seminal contributions to science and mathematics, she was able to flee Germany on the advent of World War II for the US, where she held positions at Bryn Mawr and the Institute for Advanced Study until her death in 1935.
The Hacker: Window Snyder
The first time I heard the smallest blurb about Window I was absolutely fascinated–she’s a leader in the computer security field and sounded like force of nature. She’s been director of security architecture at @stake, a senior security strategist at Microsoft, chief of security at Mozilla, co-authored Threat Modeling, and is currently security and privacy product manager at Apple. Not only do I admire Window technically, I admire her being able to hack it socially without getting bitter or loosing her femininity entirely in the computer security scene.