POWERING CHANGE: WOMEN IN INNOVATION & CREATIVITY

GRACE HOPPER ( B. 1906), COBOL, 1959

Women in Innovation blog-1.png

 

Grace_Murray_Hopper

Any child that starts dismantling clocks at the age of seven to see how they work is destined for a lifetime of intellectual curiosity. Fortunately for Grace Hopper, her mother was keen to nurture this trait.

It had been hard for her mother to study as it wasn’t considered proper for a lady, so she made sure Grace got the support she needed based on her interests, and not her gender.

After earning her PhD in math, Grace eventually enlisted in the US Navy Reserve in 1943, and was immediately assigned to the programming staff of the new Mark I computer at Harvard University. She became hooked on computer programming and stayed on at Harvard to develop the Mark II and Mark III.

In 1959, Grace was part of a consortium that developed the programming language COBOL. It is still a foundation of programming today, running over 70-80 percent of the world’s business transactions. It is said that, if someone pulled the plug on COBOL, millions of businesses worldwide would suffer from malfunctioning machines.

Grace Hopper was awarded 40 honorary degrees from universities around the world, along with numerous awards and honours. Nicknamed “Amazing Grace,” she is a role model and inspiration to women working in STEM fields today.

Our SVP, Global People & Organisation, Cathryn Jowett, explains why Grace Hopper is her inspirational woman innovator.

 


MORE WOMEN INNOVATORS WHO CHANGED OUR WORLD

Ada Lovelace

Computer language

READ MORE

Rosalind Franklin

DNA Double Helix

READ MORE

Jeanne L. Crews

The Space Bumper

READ MORE

Shirley Jackson

Fax technology

READ MORE