5 women leaders who are shaping IT

Photo credit: mozillaeu

There's no better time than International Women's Day to recognize and celebrate the tech industry's key female participants.

Given that Tuesday is International Women's Day, people the world over are celebrating the achievements of women in virtually every aspect of life. More than 1700 events around the globe are planned to mark the event, in fact, including nearly 250 in the United States alone.

[ See also: Coach like a pro: Why women in IT need mentors and Women in IT: The long climb to the top ]

Here in the high-tech world we clearly have our own female luminaries and key players, perhaps even more notable for their success in what's still largely a male-dominated field. What better time, then, to celebrate them and all they've brought to the industry?

Here, then--in no particular order--are a few women most would surely agree are among the key influencers of the industry today.

1. Mitchell Baker, Mozilla

Mitchell Baker, Mozilla Chairperson at Drumbeat Festival 2010 in Barcelona

As the leader of the Mozilla Project, Mitchell Baker is charged with no less than organizing and motivating the worldwide collective of employees and volunteers who work every day on Firefox, Thunderbird and other Mozilla products used by millions of people around the world. Of particular recent note is that Baker just joined the advisory board of the new Ada Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the participation of women in open technology and culture.

"What's been most helpful to me is realizing that those times when all the heads in the room turn and look at me as if I was crazy, reinforce my own leadership capability," Baker told Mother Jones in a 2008 interview. "Because I've been in a number of those settings where I've been right. And I've been right often enough that now when it happens I don't automatically think, "Oh, my, what's wrong with me?"

2. Marissa Mayer, Google

marissa-meyer-500.jpg
Photo credit: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Marissa Mayer, vice president, search products and user experience for Google Inc, unveils "Google Instant" during a news conference in San Francisco, California September 8, 2010.

Mayer was the first female engineer hired at Google and one of its first 20 employees. Since then she's gone on to become vice president of location and local services for the company, but other accomplishments there have included designing and developing Google's search interface and internationalizing the site to more than 100 languages.

"I love technology, and I don't think it's something that should divide along gender lines," Mayer told Newsweek in an interview last year. "One of the things I care a lot about is helping to remove that stigma, to show girls that you can be feminine, you can like the things that girls like, but you can also be really good at technology."

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