6 Power Women Who Broke the Internet
Words By: Idunn Svarverud
From activists to musicians and CEO’s, here are some of the (numerous) power ladies who shape and influence how we use the internet.
You might know her as IISuperwomanII, but when the 29-year-old first started her YouTube channel in 2010, she did not intend on becoming famous. It sort of happened overnight, after a skit she published went viral. Since then, she has gained over 2 billion views and 13.9 million subscribers, posting universally relatable content about things like parents, school, social media and life, and specializing in uplifting and self-deprecating humour. Born in Toronto, Canada, Singhis proud of her Punjabi heritage; in fact, two of her most loved characters are the humorous portrayals of her parents.
Singh is a proud feminist and in 2015 she launched the campaign #GirlLove, which encouraged girls to spread love and encourage one another. As the campaign was a big success, Singh decided to turn it into a fundraiser for girls’ education. The campaign impressed (then FLOTUS) Michelle Obama so much Singh was invited to the White House, and the two created a video on girls’ education together. Still humble and thankful, Singh continues to work on improving the lives of young girls. She says she aims to influence young women to work towards their dreams and be unapologetic for who they are. We think she is!
Dorcas Muthoni is a Kenyan entrepenour and computer scientist born in 1979. At the age of 24, she founded Openworld Ltd, a software company which has delivered some of the most used cloud and web-applications in Africa, with special attention to government and education.
In 2004, Muthoni founded AfChix, an organisation that focuses on increasing the amount of African women in technology, which the entrepreneur describes as one of her greatest passions. She aims to change the lives, governments and societies of Africa for the better by using technology. Not surprisingly, Muthoni was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2014 as a Global Connector.
You might not consider musician Taylor Swift one of your biggest online influencers, but the singer has most definitely mastered the art of putting the internet in a frenzy. She is the queen of internet controversies:
In 2015 she got Apple to change their music policy by writing an open letter to the tech gigant on Tumblr.
In 2016, Kim Kardashian posted a series of videos on Snapchat, proving that Swift had in fact approved the lyrics to Kanye’s hit song Famous (Swift is mentioned in the song: «I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that bitch famous»). Kim and Kanye’s fans in turn started spamming Swifts Instagram comments with the snake emoji, implying that she was a snake for lying about not knowing of the lyrics. However, Instagram promptly launched a spam-filter which removed the snakes. A few months later, Swift deleted all her existing content on both Instagram and Twitter to then return a week later with a video of (guess what!) a snake.The stunt was carried out to promote her latest album ‘Reputation’. Last but not least, Swift has been active on Tumblr this whole time. Tumblr account in one hand, music world domination in the other. Is she really just…one of us?
Francesca Ramsey is a comedian, writer and actress. She built her career on the internet, commenting on issues such as racial and cultural discrimination, classism and xenophobia. Her big break came in 2012 on YouTube, when she published her video «Shit white girls say…to black girls». The video gained over 1.5M views in 24 hours. Today Ramsey has over 248K subscribers on her account, ‘chescaleigh’.
In 2016, Ramsey was selected as one of four YouTube creators to ask the US presidential candidates live video questions at the Democratic debates in South Carolina. Ramsey is often labelled an SJW (‘Social Justice Warrior’, a derogatory term used to label online activists who speak about issues like feminism, classism and racism) by those who do not share her beliefs, and has recently opened up about stepping down from social media in order to get a break from the hate and harassment she faces on a daily basis.
However, she continues to speak up, and is currently hosting the sixth season of MTV’s Decoded and traveling the world speaking about her new book ‘Well That Escalated Quickly – Memoirs &Mistakes of an Accidental Activist’.
Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace (seriously) was born in November 1815 in England, a century before engineers started working on the internet. She was a mathematician and writer, and often combined the two in her works — she called it «poetical science». In 1843, aged 27, Lovelace started working on a piece that would earn her the title of the first computer programmer in history. The piece was her own notes on an analytic paper about the Babbage Analytical Engine. The engine was built by the English inventor Charles Babbage, and is considered by many as the first computer. Her notes, as they were rediscovered in the 1920’s, outlined abstract principles of what could be the future of computers. She even went as far as to describe a future where the computers could think thoughts of their own — what we now know as artificial intelligence.
After six years with Google, Sandberg became the first woman to join Facebook’s board of directors in 2012 as the company’s COO. Rumors say she got the got the gig after impressing Mark Zuckerberg at a Christmas party. During her time at Facebook, she helped dramatically boost the network’s revenues, and she made The Time’s list of 100 Most Influential People the same year. Sandberg is also a true feminist. While in college (Harvard, obviously) she founded a group initiative called ‘Women in Economics and Government’, which aimed to get more women to major in government and economics at the university. In 2013, she released her book’ Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead’, which brings up the sexism that women face in the workplace, as well as feminism and gender equality in the professional world. The book made it to the top of the bestseller lists and sold more than one million copies.
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