Tamar BarzuzaMarch 26, 2019

What Makes Women Great Inventors

The first compiler was written by a woman named Grace Hopper back in 1952. The same Grace Hopper was a co-inventor of the well-known programming language COBOL in 1959. In fact, nine coding languages were actually invented by women throughout the years.

In 1942, Hedy Lamarr, a Hollywood actress, co-invented a frequency-hopping signal that could not be tracked or jammed, which laid the ground to modern Wi-Fi, and granted her a place in the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame.

It is well known that some of the most important discoveries in pharmaceuticals, medicine, physics, chemistry, and biology, belong to women; women that changed our lives, our health, and our society.

I am inspired by people who utilize their creative thinking into significant innovation. In fact, patents are exactly that: practical inventions that are proven to be feasible and to be bearing value that is significant enough to pursue.

Women inventors inspire me. Not only because they create significant innovation, but they claim their rights on their ideas, they protect their inventions through patenting, for their own sake, and for the sake of the organization they belong too.

Unfortunately, the number of women patent holders is much lower than it should be. In the U.S., only 10% of patent-holders are women, and globally this number is even lower. In the life sciences, only 15% of inventors listed on patents are women, even though more than half of PhDs are earned by women every year. 

We must not be discouraged by these numbers, but rather strive for a change. It is my humble opinion that women are created with one wing in the air and one foot in the ground. I am never surprised when I see a woman juggling ten balls in the air while memorizing her full schedule for the week and running consecutive sprints back and forth. I am never surprised when I see a woman figuring out a new and creative way of solving a problem in the most efficient and effective way. I am never surprised when I see a woman discovering the most optimal algorithmic solution for a complex problem, or writing an excellent software with outstanding performance. We should all work hard to claim our inventions so that we will no longer be surprised by the number of women patent holders. After all, that number, by no means, matches our female potential.

Designer working at laptop on sofa in office

Tamar Barzuza

Tamra is the CTO, Avaya Israel. She is passionate about innovation, constantly looking for ways to make communication between people more natural and productive. She comes from a strong background in mathematics and computer science, and hands-on experience in algorithmic research. She is a technology person and a people person and is well connected to the Israeli startup ecosystem. She is the co-inventor of about two dozen patents and the co-author of several academic papers.

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