Building peace in the minds of men and women

Women Make the News 2019

Women, Media and the Digital Sphere


 ADA LOVELACE (1815-1852) - World's first computer programmer

Daughter of the poet Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace has been called the world’s first computer programmer. She was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She was the first to recognize that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. As a result, she is sometimes regarded as the first to recognize the full potential of a "computing machine" and the first computer programmer.

 CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR - Chief International Anchor at CNN

Christiane Amanpour is CNN's chief international anchor. Amanpour has an extensive career in TV journalism, and has reported from the aftermath of many humanitarian crisis. Her fearless and uncompromising approach to reporting, as well as her outspokenness, have made her particularly popular, and has led her to being considered one of television's leading news correspondents. She has won every major television journalism award for her work. In addition to her work as a journalist, Amanpour is an active human rights campaigner. She is, among others, a board member of the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Women's Media Foundation as well as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of the Press and the Safety of Journalists.


Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson (born August 26, 1918) is an African-American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. manned spaceflights. During her 35-year career at NASA and its predecessor, she earned a reputation for mastering complex manual calculations and helped the space agency pioneer the use of computers to perform the tasks. Johnson's work included calculating trajectories; launch windows and emergency return paths for Project Mercury spaceflights, including those of astronauts Alan Shepard, the first American in space, and John Glenn, the first American in orbit, and rendezvous paths for the Apollo lunar lander and command module on flights to the Moon. Her calculations were also essential to the beginning of the Space Shuttle program, and she worked on plans for a mission to Mars. In 2015, President Barack Obama awarded Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 MARIA RESSA – CEO and Executive Editor at Rappler

Maria Ressa is the CEO and executive editor of Rappler, a social news network that uses a hearts-and-minds approach to news through a unique mood navigator, combining professional journalism with citizen journalism and crowdsourcing. Maria Ressa has been a journalist in Asia for nearly 30 years, most of them as CNN’s bureau chief in Manila then Jakarta.  She has faced prolific online harassment in the Philippines, and her response to this includes investigative reporting on the intertwined problems of online harassment, disinformation and misinformation.  Ressa has earned multiple awards, including most recently the 2018 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from CPJ, the 2018 Golden Pen of Freedom Award from WAN-IFRA, the 2018 Knight International Journalism Award, the 2018 Free Media Pioneer Award from the International Press Institute, and the National Democratic Institute's Democracy Award in 2017. She is the President of the Jury of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

 MICHELLE FERRIER – Founder of Trollbusters

Dr. Michelle Ferrier is an award winning columnist and author with more than 30 years of experience in media entrepreneurship and new media technologies.  Currently the Dean of School of Journalism and Communication at the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, she previously served as a professor of journalism at Ohio University. She also served as president of Journalism That Matters and as an investigator for Media Desert Projects. Drawing from her personal experience as a female journalist who often received hate mail, she founded Trollbusters, a go-to guide for women publishers and authors who are the victims of online harassment and are looking for legal or psychological support.

 NNENNA MWAKANMA – Interim Policy Director at the World Wide Web Foundation

Nnenna Mwakanma is an open-source software activist, community organizer and development advisor. She currently serves as Policy Director for the World Wide Web Foundation, which was founded in 2009 by web inventor Tim Berners-Lee to advance the open web as a public good and a basic right. She co-founded the Free Software and Open-Source Foundation for Africa, the Africa Network of Information Society Actors and the African Civil Society for the Information Society.  She advocates for open data and the open web, and has recently pioneered a gender data project called TechMousso, whose aim is to tackle gender challenges in Ivory Coast.  She has over 15 years of experience working within the United Nations System in human rights and information society.

 SUSAN FOWLER – Software engineer and activist for gender equality

Susan Fowler is an American writer and software engineer known for her leading role in influencing institutional changes in how Silicon Valley companies treat sexual harassment. She worked at two technology startup companies before joining Uber in late 2015. In early 2017, her blog post on sexual harassment at the company was widely shared and led to the ouster of the company's CEO. She runs a science book club and wrote a book on microservices. Fowler served as editor-in-chief of a quarterly publication by the payment processing company Stripe, and is currently a technology opinion editor at The New York Times.