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Trailblazer, innovator, and brilliant visionary, Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (1906-1992) dedicated her life to advancing computer programming and languages for the benefit of all people. Hopper’s work lowered barriers of entry into computer science, making it so more people could participate, even if they weren’t rulers of the industry up until that point. The annual Grace Hopper Celebration continues to build upon Hopper’s foundational efforts, driven to empower technologists of the future. We are honored to recognize those doing the work to chart the way forward for women and non-binary technologists, and the world.
Who is Grace Hopper?
Hopper was a high achiever from a young age – a pioneer and “the first” throughout different areas of her life – one of the first women in the country to receive both a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Mathematics (Yale), inventor of the first computer compiler, and affectionally referred to as “the first lady of software.” During her time in the Navy, she was one of the first three coders working on MARK-1, the world’s first large-scale, automatically sequenced digital computer, which led to her creating the first programming textbook.
After World War II ended, Hopper continued her work with computers. While working on the UNIVAC I & II, the first commercial electronic computer, Hopper had an idea that would change the future of computer science, and the people who worked in it, forever.
Up until the mid-1950s, computer programming was written as a series of numerical and mathematical symbols. Hopper invented a compiler to translate symbolic mathematical code into machine language. However, initial adoption was low, and Hopper was told her idea wouldn’t work. Hopper persisted, and later developed FLOW-MATIC, the first compiler-based language and first English-like processing language. This led to the creation and mainstream adoption of the COBOL programming language. In other words? We can thank Grace Hopper for all the coding we do using the Roman alphabet.
Developing Future Generations of Top Women and Non-binary Technologists
By creating a new kind of programming language, Hopper made programming more accessible, leading to more people entering the field and accomplishing amazing achievements. The compounding effects of Hopper’s work are clear today as we look at women leading the way for a more diverse tech industry.
This Women’s History Month, we will be featuring a few amazing women technologists who are not only building upon Hopper’s foundational programming work but also continuing her legacy of empowering future generations of influential women and non-binary technologists. Through leading community groups, inspiring fellow peers in industry events, and sharing DEI-centered thought leadership in the technology field, the legacy of Grace Hopper goes far beyond the walls of our annual Celebration. For women and non-binary technologists with goals of succeeding in and leading a more diverse technical workforce – you’ve discovered a community of like-minded individuals who share your passion and interests at AnitaB.org and Grace Hopper Celebration.
Building an Inclusive Tech Community With Grace Hopper Celebration
Trailblazing technologists and leaders are invited to participate in GHC every year and inspire conversation around the state of technology, DEIB, intersectional gender equity and pay parity, and so much more. Previous speakers include Dr. Anita Hill, Serena Williams, Joy Buolamwini, Reshma Saujani and Megan Rapinoe, who have all helped pave the way forward for equity, social justice, science, and humanity.
The goal of GHC is to empower future generations of women and non-binary technologists through Connection, Inspiration and Advancement. There are several ways to participate in GHC, including:
- Apply to be a GHC Scholar : scholarships are available to students, faculty and boot camp students.
- Become a Speaker : submit a proposal to be one of the 300+ speakers of 200+ sessions at GHC 23!
- Volunteer : review and recommend content or become a Hopper and help support at the Celebration!
Join Us at GHC 23
“GHC 22 was mind blowing! A large-scale celebration of women in tech executed flawlessly! I had an amazing time networking with companies and other attendees. One of my best highlights was listening to inspiring talks and seeing the presentations of the top 3 papers from the 2022 ACM CHI conference – such innovative and new research areas. It was so inspiring and exciting to just be present there.” (GHC 22 Attendee)
Every year, we at AnitaB.org are honored and humbled to welcome the largest gathering of women and non-binary technologists in the world to Grace Hopper Celebration. From attendees to speakers, the feeling of determination, achievement, and inclusion is palpable throughout the multi-day event. If you are a woman or non-binary technologist (or ally), join us at GHC 23 to architect the way forward for your future in tech.
“The mathematical equation for Power is Energy divided by Time (P = E/T); GHC creates a space for us to bring together the energy (E) from thousands of remarkable women, and packing it into a dense time (T) and place, giving us collectively more power (P) than we could ever have alone.
That is the true legacy of Grace Hopper, beyond her brilliance and her grit. She is not just an icon, but a reminder of our potential and our power as women; a power that is exponentially more powerful when we pool our networks and resources, and when we are committed allies and advocates for one another.”
Learn more about Grace Hopper Celebration and join the largest gathering of women and non-binary technologists in the world!
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