Top tech icons: The women breaking gender boundaries

In honour of international Girls in ICT Day, ITProPortal has put together a definitive list of women who have climbed to the top of multinational companies and changed the face of the tech world as we know it.

Whether it's at the helm of major companies, or influencing agile startups, women have made a huge contribution to technology. So here are our top female influencers of the tech world.

Meg Whitman

Serving as the President and CEO of software and manufacturing giant HP, Meg Whitman was cited by The New York Times as among the women most likely to become the first female President of the United States. That's no surprise, judging by her

In the 1990s, she served as an executive for DreamWorks, Procter & Gamble, and Hasbro. Whitman also served as president and chief executive officer of eBay from 1998 to 2008. During her 10 years with the company, she oversaw its expansion from 30 employees and $4 million in annual revenue to more than 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue.

Whitman was named CEO of HP in 2011, and has been widely credited with changing the fortunes of the previously ailing HP, and returning it to profitability.

Virginia (Ginni) Rommetty

Ginni Rometty is chairman, president and CEO of IBM. Rometty was appointed President and CEO in January 2012, and has led the company to become the largest computer company in the world by revenue. Generating $104.5 billion (£62 billion) annually, IBM saw a $16.6 billion (£9.9 billion) profit last year.

She came in at number 12 on Forbes' list of the world's 100 most powerful women.

She is a leader in IBM's diversity initiatives, including the Women in Technology Council and the Women's Leadership Council and is one of the Senior Vice President sponsors of the Women's Executive Council at IBM.

Marissa Mayer

Between announcing that she was pregnant soon after taking up the top job at Yahoo, and banning company employees from working from home, nobody could say that Marissa Mayer's first months as CEO were without controversy.

But despite her critics, Mayer has undoubtedly dragged the company forward. She was behind the acquisition of Tumblr, introduced a new mobile weather app, and re-launched Flickr with brand new design. She also spearheaded the update of Yahoo Mail, to largely positive reviews.

Mayer also brings a refreshing lack of pretention and bluster to the tech profession.

"I didn't set out to be at the top of technology companies," she once told journalists. "I'm just geeky and shy and I like to code. It's not like I had a grand plan where I weighed all the pros and cons of what I wanted to do—it just sort of happened."

Sheryl Sandberg

Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg incited a new conversation on feminism in the workplace with her March 2013 book, "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead."

The manifesto sold nearly 150,000 copies in its first week and has held the spot on non-fiction bestseller lists since.

In June 2012, Sandberg was elected to the Facebook board of directors by the existing board members, becoming the first woman to serve on Facebook's board.

Before Facebook, Sandberg was Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, and was involved in launching Google's philanthropic arm Google.org. Before Google, Sandberg served as chief of staff for the United States Secretary of the Treasury.

In 2012 she was named in the Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine. Fortune named her the 5th most influential woman on the planet.

Cher Wang

Cher Wang is the co-founder and chairperson on HTC corporation. In May 2011, Forbes ranked her with husband Wen Chi Chen as the wealthiest person in Taiwan, with a net worth of US$8.8 billion.

In August 2012, Wang was named number 56 on Forbes' list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women.

She also has a long track record of philanthropy and social activism. She doesn't enjoy the limelight, though, and frequently stays out of the public eye.

"I kind of like it that way," she once said in a rare interview. "I don't need to be the centre of attention."

Don't let that fool you, though. Wang was named number 46 on Forbes' 2013 list of the 100 most powerful women in the world.

In August 2012 Wang donated 6,000 HTC Flyer tablet PCs to 60 high schools in Taipei.

Julie Larson-Green

Last summer, Microsoft announced that they were promoting previous Windows Chief and 20-year Microsoft veteran Julie Larson-Green to oversee the entire company's hardware engineering.

This meant that Larson-Green was responsible for overseeing all devices, games, music, video and other entertainment as well as the 'Operating Systems Engineering Group' which includes the Xbox OS.

Despite a predictably sexist backlash to her appointment, Larson-Green brought a wealth of experience from her time overseeing the developers of Windows 7 and 8 to bear in the hardware division. Insider sources report that at one point, she had between 1,200 and 1,400 program managers, researchers, content managers and other members of the Windows team reporting to her.

While it was recently leaked that former Nokia boss Stephen Elop will take over from Julie Larson-Green in the hardware department after only seven months, Larson-Green will remain head of Xbox and hardware.

Eva Chen

If the world of tech is male-dominated, the IT security industry is even more so.

Eva Chen founded the world's third-largest security company Trend Micro with her sister and brother-in-law in Los Angeles in 1988, before moving headquarters to Tokyo in 1992. She now acts as its CEO.

In 2010, CRN Magazine named her as one of the "Top 100 Most Influential Executives in the Industry". She was fifth on the 2012 Forbes list of "Asia's 50 Power Businesswomen".

She has a degree in philosophy, and in 2012, she received a Cloud Security Alliance Industry Leadership Award for her contributions to cloud security in the Asia-Pacific region.

ITProPortal caught up with Eva Chen back in March, to chat about PRISM, and whether Snowden's infamous revelations have indeed dramatically damaged the world of technology.

Who are your female tech heroes? Let us know in the comments section below!