5 influential LGBTQ women in tech you need to know about on International Women’s Day

From left to right, Ann Mei Chang, Angelica Ross and Megan Smith.

This year, the UN’s observance of International Women’s Day recognises and celebrates the women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education.

Compared to other sectors, the technology industry has made strides in diversity and inclusion. However, there is still a lack of representation of LGBTQ+ women in tech – especially in leadership positions. In 2022, only 26 per cent of jobs at big tech firms were held by women. Only 11 per cent of CEO or other senior executive roles are filled by women. For the LGBTQ+ community, there is sadly a lack of data when it comes to our inclusion in tech.

Despite this, there are inspiring LGBTQ+ women leaders in tech who are making waves in the industry. Here, we proudly highlight five LGBTQ+ women in tech. Not only are these women influential leaders, but they are also advocating for more inclusion and visibility for queer women in the tech space. 

Megan Smith – Former CTO of the USA and CEO of shift7

Megan smith is onstage speaking at a conference. She is wearing a black blazer with a pink shirt.
Megan Smith was the third person and the first woman to hold the title of Chief Technical Officer for the United States of America. (Richard Mclane/Getty Images)

Megan Smith is a technology leader and entrepreneur who served as the Chief Technical Officer of the United States during the Obama administration. As the third person and first woman to hold this position, she played a pivotal role in shaping the country’s technology policy and advancing innovation in various sectors. Smith’s presence at the White House was marked by her pursuit of diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. She helped to champion initiatives which aimed to increase diversity and opportunities in the tech industry.

Before joining the White House, Smith was the Vice President of Google’s new business development, where she helped to expand the company’s platforms with early versions of Google Maps and Google Earth. In 2012 she started Google’s Women Techmakers program, which supports and empowers women in the tech industry. Smith is now the CEO of shift7, a tech-driven company working collaboratively to take on environmental, social, and economic issues. Smith is an inspirational leader and advocates for diversity, inclusion, and innovation. 

Gina Trapani – Founder of Lifehacker

Gina Trapani is smiling front and center.
Gina Trap founded the popular lifestyle blog Lifehacker and is now the CEO of Postlight. (Postlight)

Gina Trapani is another well-known name in the tech industry as the founder of Lifehacker – a popular lifestyle platform focused on productivity. After quickly gaining a massive following from the launch of the website in 2005, Lifehacker became one of the most visited websites on the internet. She also co-authored the book Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, which is now in its third edition. 

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These days, Trapani serves as the CEO of Postlight, a software development and product design firm. She also founded ThinkUp – an open-source analytics platform. Trapani’s continued success in the tech industry is a testament to her creativity, innovation, and determination. She is a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs and tech professionals everywhere.

Ann Mei Chang – CEO of Candid

Ann Mei Chang is speaking on stage. She is wearing colourful glasses.
Ann Mei Chang is an influential leader in the tech space that worked at Google, Apple and the US State Department. (Jason Bollenbacher/Getty Images)

Another Google alumni, Ann Mei Chang is a tech executive with a long and impressive career. Currently, she is the CEO of Candid, a non-profit that is transforming philanthropy through data. She’s also spent time at Apple and at the US State Department as the Senior Advisor for Women and Technology.  

Her commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace is reflected in her work at Candid. She has made it a priority to build a team that reflects the communities the company serves.

Arlan Hamilton – Founder and Managing Partner at Backstage Capital

Arlan Hamilton poses for the camera. She is wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the words "It's About Damn Time"
Arlan Hamilton is the brains behind Backstage Capital, a venture capital seed fund investing in LGBTQ+ and underrepresented investors. (Photo by Jason Bollenbacher/Getty Images)

Arlan Hamilton is the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in underrepresented founders. Hamilton founded the firm in 2015 after realising how difficult it was for underrepresented founders to secure funding. Backstage Capital’s mission is to invest in underrepresented founders, including women, people of colour, and the LGBTQ community. Hamilton uses her own experiences to advocate for diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. She saw a need to level the playing field and give these entrepreneurs a chance to succeed. Backstage Capital has since invested over $12 million in more than 150 companies led by underrepresented founders.

She has spoken out about the discrimination that LGBTQ founders face when seeking funding and has worked to create more opportunities for them. Hamilton uses her social platform to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues and to push for greater representation in the tech industry. 

Angelica Ross – Actress and Founder of TransTech Social Enterprise

Angelica Ross is speaking on stage. She is wearing yellow and is holding a microphone.
Not only is Angelica Ross a prominent actress, she is also a tech entrepreneur. (Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

You may know her from her TV roles on Pose and American Horror Story, but Angelica Ross is also a tech entrepreneur, businesswoman, and transgender advocate. Having worked in the industry for over a decade before transitioning, she founded TransTech Social Enterprise in 2014. TransTech is a Chicago-based organisation that provides education, training, and job placement assistance to trans people wanting to pursue careers in technology.

Angelica is committed to helping trans people find meaningful work in a field that can be unwelcoming to those who are different. Through her work with TransTech and her advocacy efforts, Angelica is a leading voice in the fight for transgender rights, and an inspiration to countless people around the world.

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