Commemorating Famous Women

Commemorating Famous Women

Even if your country’s population has more women than men that doesn’t mean it will be represented in the choice of street names. With the awareness for (lacking) gender equality raising and many movements gaining momentum, that is about to change.

Spoiler Alert: Of course we’re recommending famous Women in Tech that should absolutely have streets named after them, a bit farther down this article 😉

Let’s start with a little overview of male vs. female street names in some of the major cities in Switzerland:




St. Gallen












Most of the cities promised to do better in the future and to ensure famous women are more often considered in the street naming process. We hope of course there will be some tech women considered, too! And we would have some suggestions, if you read on…

One city that this year is commemorating eight streets after generally famous women by retroactively dedicating eight streets to them and installing information boards, is Zurich.

Commissioned by the Office for Gender Equality of the City of Zurich, the Women’s City Tour of Zurich is producing eight short video portraits on the lives and work of these women.

The videos will be released in stages from 21 April 2021 to 14 June 2021 and can be viewed here.

If you want to know more about the street names of Zurich in general, this app will give you a good insight into the background of the street name.

Famous Women in Tech Who Need a Street Named after Them

Ada is referred to as the first programmer, having written notes that explained how the notion of a specific engine could transition calculation to computation. Did you know that every second Tuesday in October is known as Ada Lovelace Day to celebrate the achievements of women in STEM careers?

ada lovelace

The Ada Lovelace Award is given by the Association for Women in Computing to individuals who have excelled in either of two areas: outstanding scientific technical achievement and/or extraordinary service to the computing community through accomplishments and contributions on behalf of women in computing.

Mary Wilkes

Mary is known for helping develop the first personal computer and was also the first person to have a PC in her home.

Adele was the only female researcher among the group of men who built the Smalltak-80 (programming language).  She presented the system to Steve Jobs who implemented many ideas in the alto into his Apple products. Adele is known as inspiring the creation of the first Apple computer.

adele goldberg

annie easley

Annie was a computer scientist, mathematician, and rocket scientist and one of four African Americans who developed and implemented code which led to the development of the battery used in hybrid cars.

Radia invented the Spanning Tree Protocol. She has done extensive and innovative research, particularly on encryption and networking. She received the USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 and she is commonly known as The Mother of Internet.

radia perlman

psssst…. Keep your eyes open for Radia at We Shape Tech… that’s all we’re saying for now 😉

mary keller

For 20 years Mary was an advocate for women in computer science and supported working mothers by encouraging them to bring their babies to class with them. She is known for being the first woman to receive a PHD in computer science

Clarke University (Clarke College) established the Mary Keller Computer Science Scholarship in her honour.

Margaret is one of the people credited with coining the term “software engineering”. But most impotantly, she developed on-board flight software for the Apollo space program. Her and her team’s work at MIT prevented an abort of the Apollo 11 moon landing by using robust architecture.

Margaret Hamilton

Karen Jones

Karen is best known for working on the IR and introducing the IDF term to produce natural language for the search engines that we use on a daily basis. She was an advocate for women in the field.

Elizabeth is best known for helping the Stanford research institute transition to the domain name system and introducing the domain name protocol Meaning: she’s the one you’ll have to thank for the dot coms, dot nets and dot org used daily. So thank you Elizabeth for We Shape dot Tech!

Elizabeth Feinler

Joan clarke

Joan was a co-worker, friend, confidante and shortly the fiancée of Alan Turing at Bletchley Park. Her ingenious work as a codebreaker during WW2 saved countless lives. Understandably, her talents commandes the respect of some of the greatest minds of the 20th Century, despite the sexism of the time.

Promoted as “the world’s most beautiful woman”, Hedy had a few surprises up her sleeve that had nothing to do with looks. She pioneered the technology that would one day form the basis for today’s WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth communication systems.

Hedy lamarr

These suggestions are not exhaustive, of coure, but we felt like these women should most definitely get the honour of having “their own street”. These women not only helped advance technology, but forever made their mark in tech history that inspires other women to follow and pave the way even more for the next (diverse) generation to come.

If you want to learn about even more amazing women through a well laid out timeline of women in computing, check out this one by Wikipedia. Enjoy and be inspired!


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