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Though Twitter has often been lambasted as an ineffective means of representation and communication, there are some shining examples out there who are proving the haters wrong. Long story short—there’s still plenty of hope and positivity to be found by way of the tweet, and a lot of it is coming directly from the tech industry. While some bros who should know better still haven’t gotten the memo, an increasing number of female tech pioneers are leading the way, fusing tech’s spirit of innovation with a dedication to making our world a better place. In hopes of elevating your Twitter feed (and spirits!), we’ve compiled a list of 10 women on Twitter who are actively changing the world through their work in tech—and tweeting about it.
1. Netia McCray
Netia McCray is the Founder and Executive Director of Mbadika, an MIT-backed nonprofit that uses STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) and design principles to teach young people how to solve problems. Mbadika means “idea” in Kimbundu (a language spoken in the Northern region of Angola), so it’s no surprise that McCray’s Twitter is chock full of tweets and retweets that make you think. McCray’s Twitter tackles tech news, design trends, education issues, and social justice—most recently through the lens of popular films like Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time, making her themes super relatable to young folks (and the young at heart).
— Netia McCray (@netiamccray) February 24, 2018
2. Leanne Pittsford
Leanne Pittsford’s Twitter describes her as a coffee addict, a fan of Slip and Slides, and a lover of kale—a trio of interests worthy of a follow all on its own. Add the fact that Pittsford is the founder of Lesbians Who Tech, and following her on Twitter becomes a no-brainer. Lesbians Who Tech is a community organization for queer women in tech and their allies, made up of 30,000 members distributed across over 35 chapters worldwide. As the architect of this powerful organization, Pittsford’s Twitter feed is an ode to underrepresented groups succeeding in tech and having fun while doing it.
— Lesbians Who Tech (@lesbiantech) March 3, 2018
3. Angelica Ross
Angelica Ross is the Founder of TransTech Social Enterprises, a nonprofit design firm that trains LGBTQ workers and helps them with job placement. Having overcome tremendous adversity in her own life only to dedicate herself to helping others, Ross is a shining example of using tech for the forces of good via educating, inspiring, and giving a platform to those who are marginalized in the tech industry. Her Twitter is a strong, friendly voice reminding us of what we can accomplish when we truly and honestly accept everyone.
— Angelica Ross (@angelicaross) March 8, 2018
4. Erica Baker
Patreon Engineering Manager Erica Baker’s Twitter bio implores us to “run from what’s comfortable,” which should really be the battle cry for all things tech. Innovation doesn’t go hand-in-hand with the status quo, and that applies as much to social issues as it does to engineering. Baker’s Twitter feed covers issues like in-person voting for prisoners awaiting trial, gun control, and gender pay gaps (with some more light hearted Beyonce tweets thrown in for good measure), inspiring us to think of innovation not just as a way to come up with fun gadgets and devices, but as a mindset for changing the world.
Men! Celebrate #InternationalWomensDay by taking direct action:
🌟 Tell the women you work with how much you get paid.
🌟 If your leadership team lacks gender diversity, ask leadership why & how they’re going to fix it.
🌟 Make an action plan to get a woman on your team promoted.
— EricaJoy (@EricaJoy) March 8, 2018
5. Kara Swisher
Recode Founder Kara Swisher’s Twitter tag line “The grumpy lady of tech” evokes an aura of badassery even before you look at her Tweets. Once you do though, you’ll realize it’s not just talk: Swisher is the real, tough-as-nails deal. With bone-dry wit, her tweets drop knowledge on topical tech and political issues, reminding us that these two arenas are usually one and the same, and that life’s too short to be neutral on the net.
This is a nearly fictional account clearly sourced by Kalanick fabulists. Worse, portraying a woman who had a conscience about what went on at Uber as “easily upset” — btw it was changed from the original “irrational” — is deeply sexist. A glimpse into old Uber. Good riddance. pic.twitter.com/1tcum6a69S
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) March 12, 2018
6. Gina Trapani
Lifehacker founder Gina Trapani is a writer, tech blogger, and web developer whose understated Twitter presence is cheerful and reassuring, but at the same time authoritative when it comes to tech developments, social justice issues, and how the former can help promote the latter. Trapani also sprinkles in some observational humor about the joys of parenting, which those of us in the same boat never fail to appreciate.
“Mainstream journalism operates from a space that heavily defaults to white issues. How do I trust this perspective when they don’t make the assumption that ‘people’ includes nonwhite people?” https://t.co/r9NqIzTmaV #twitterandnews via @knightfdn
— Gina Trapani 🏳️🌈 (@ginatrapani) February 27, 2018
7. Kimberly Bryant
Industry hero Kimberly Bryant worked in biotechnology at pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer, Merck, and Novartis. However, when her daughter expressed an interest in coding, Bryant was unable to find a program that fit her daughter’s needs—most courses were focused toward boys and there were rarely other African American girls in attendance. And so Bryant founded Black Girls Code, an organization that teaches computer programming to school-age girls with the aim of teaching one million black girls to code by the year 2040. It’s hard to think of a more textbook case of using tech to make a difference, and Bryant continues this mission over on her Twitter page.
Walking around #SXSW18 and smiling a random Black people today and thinking to myself—- I’m SO happy to see “us” here and remembering my very first SXSW about 5 years ago and the shock of seeing no one who looked like me. #Progress
— Kimberly Bryant @ SXSW (@6Gems) March 9, 2018
8. Tracy Chou
Software engineer and diversity advocate Tracy Chou helped found Project Include in 2016—a think tank dedicated to helping companies implement comprehensive, meaningful diversity and inclusion policies. Chou’s pinned tweet exhorts Silicon Valley to “stop saying that diversity means lowering the bar,” and the rest of her Twitter presence follows suit as Chou never wavers from her mission of ensuring that all of the best and brightest minds are allowed to participate fully and freely in the tech conversation.
i still wonder who am i to be giving advice but here we are ;)
– yes (surprise!!) diversity is important
– meritocracy is a myth
– my mantra is “carry yourself with the confidence of a mediocre white man”
– to men: use the rock test, please https://t.co/W4AiZJGnST
— Tracy Chou 🙅🏻♀️ (@triketora) February 7, 2018
9. Ellen Pao
Ellen Pao’s 2012 gender discrimination lawsuit helped expose the brosanity masquerading as normalcy in Silicon Valley venture capital firms. Six years later Pao is still an unflinching champion for social justice in the tech industry, and her Twitter feed is a key hub for staying on top of those issues she helped to shine a spotlight on back in 2012. While Pao’s backstory taught us how bad things have been in tech, her present Twitter presence reminds us of how much work still needs to be done to make the industry better.
I’m so grateful for all the work being done to get to 50-50, but we can and must do even better. Reminder: True diversity is intersectional. https://t.co/KJdkw5uNQP
— Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) March 12, 2018
10. Lisa Mae Brunson
There’s nothing like a tech conference to remind us that the tech industry is a community made up of real people, and that real people can come together to make real change. Lisa Mae Brunson is the founder of the international Wonder Women Tech conference, which puts her right at the heart of community organizing. Brunson’s accomplishments are a blueprint for personal success in tech as part of an underrepresented group, but her Twitter page gives us a look at how important community is in the success of an individual—in one recent tweet, Brunson (who’s spent a lifetime in mentoring roles) made it known that she’s now looking for a mentor of her own. That openness to constant growth—no matter how much you’ve already learned—is at the heart of innovative thinking, and it makes Brunson’s Twitter a no-brainer to follow.
So I’m doing another #fearlessask: I need a mentor! I’ve been mentoring women, girls and students for years and as the oldest of six, I’ve been in that role all my life. I’ve never had my own mentor and I would love one as I lead @wonderwomentech globally. 😉 🙏🏾 #mentorme
— Lisa Mae Brunson (@MissLisaMae) March 11, 2018
Scott Morris is Skillcrush's staff writer and content producer. Like all the members of Skillcrush's team, he works remotely (in his case from Napa, CA). He believes that content that's worth reading (and that your audience can find!) creates brands that people follow. He's experienced writing on topics including jobs and technology, digital marketing, career pivots, gender equity, parenting, and popular culture. Before starting his career as a writer and content marketer, he spent 10 years as a full-time parent to his daughters Veronica and Athena.