10 inspiring women in tech from Asia and the Middle East
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Women in tech are not so outnumbered – outside the U.S. Check out these 10 impressive women in tech from Asia and the Middle East for a little inspiration

Watching Emma Watson’s impassioned feminist speech at the U.N. and reading about the women’s empowerment panel at the Social Good Summit, one gets the sense that a women’s movement may well be rekindling. In the tech news world, it is hard to pass a day without seeing something about efforts to increase the numbers of women in tech, and rightfully so: Only 10% of internet entrepreneurs are women, 4% of senior venture capitalists are female, and the depressing statistics go on and on.

But this perspective is shaped by the low numbers of women in tech in the U.S – in places like the Middle East and North Africa, 23% of internet entrepreneurs are women. In the Gulf and Gaza, almost as many women are getting STEM degrees as men. Many of the most influential leaders in Asian tech are female. 

So, we would like to present a list of impressive women in tech from Asia and the Middle East, regions where women techies are thriving in comparison to their Western counterparts. Most of the women on this list are at the top of their industries while others are young and extremely promising. Go ladies!




Cher Wang, co-founder of HTC, at the World Economic Forum. Photo courtesy of Snyar.net at Creative Commons


1. Cher WangA prominent Taiwanese entrepreneur, she co-founded HTC in 1997 and has been the chairman of its board since 2007. If HTC doesn’t ring a bell, it should: In the U.S., they manufacture one out of every six smartphones sold.



Photo courtesy of Joi at Creative Commons

2. Padmasree WarriorBorn and educated in India before getting a masters in chemical engineering from Cornell, she is the Chief Technology and Strategy Officer at Cisco. In CEO John Chamber‘s words, “Warrior is among the sharpest technology persons in the world.” When asked who could replace him in the next two years, Chambers mentioned Warrior’s name first.


Photo courtesy of itupictures at Creative Commons

3. Sun Yafang: She is the chair of Chinese giant Huawei, the world’s largest telco network equipment manufacturer and third largest smartphone maker. She joined the company soon after it began in 1989, working her way up to chair in 1999.


Photo courtesy of AMARIE ADHIS at Creative Commons

4. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw: India’s richest self-made woman and the first entrepreneur in the country’s biotechnology sector, Mazumdar-Shaw founded Biocon, India’s most successful biotech company. Currently, she serves as the managing director and chairwoman of Biocon, which makes low-cost drugs to combat chronic diseases. She is also the chair of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, one of the country’s leading business schools.


Photo courtesy of Kslakey at Wikimedia Commons

5. Weili Dai: Born in China and educated in the U.S., Weili is a true trailblazer. She is the only female founder of a semiconductor company, Marvell Technology Group, and has won numerous accolades, including 2013’s Woman of the Year in Technology Award from the Gold Stevie Awards: the Oscars of business. She currently serves as Marvell’s president.


The Middle East


6. Maxine FassbergShe is the General Manager of Intel in Israel and Vice President of the Technology and Manufacturing Group. Intel’s operations in Israel are some of the largest in the world and on Monday, it announced that it is investing $6B to upgrade its Israeli chip plant, one of the most significant tech investments Israel has ever received. Fassberg is respected throughout the world and was named one of the 10 most powerful women in tech by CNN in 2012.


7. Hind Hobeika: She founded Instabeat, one of the most promising startups out of the Middle East. Based in Lebanon, Instabeat monitors swimmers’ heart rates. She conceived the idea while training for the American University in Beirut’s swimming team. Earlier this year, they raised a Series A round of funding and in 2013, were listed as one of Forbes’ Hottest Global Startups. 


8. Inbal Kreiss: She lead and helped develop Israel’s Arrow 3 missile defense program, which aims to intercept long-range missiles from Iran – making it one of the most substantial defense technology projects around the world. Now, she is the deputy manager of the Malam factory within the Israel Aerospace Industries.


Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 8.53.10 PM

Photographs by Webb Chappell, courtesy of the MIT Technology Review

9. Rana el Kaliouby: Kaliouby founded MIT startup Affectiva in 2011 to help computers more accurately read facial gestures. Its applications go far and wide: wearable technology, advertising, and polling just to name a few. Her pioneering work landed her on MIT Technology Review‘s 35 innovators under 35 last year. Kaliouby grew up in Egypt, earning her bachelors and masters in science degrees at the American University in Cairo before obtaining her Ph.D from the University of Cambridge. 



10. Kira Radinsky: Another impressive young techie listed on MIT Technology Review‘s 35 innovators under 35 in 2013, Radinksy (who is just 28!) created software that can predict natural disasters. The software analyzes large amounts of data to create such predictions, including 150 years of newspapers. In 2012, her technology actually predicted Cuba’s cholera outbreak several months beforehand. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the Technion Institute of Technology and in the meantime, launched a startup called SalesPredict, which, like its name, helps salespeople predict leads.

Think we should have included others on this list? Feel free to include your suggestions in the comments below. 

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Laura Rosbrow-Telem

About Laura Rosbrow-Telem

I am a social entrepreneurship enthusiast: This is what happens when a former social worker becomes a tech journalist. I mostly write about startups, technology, peace and justice issues, cultural topics, and personal stuff. Before Geektime, I was an editor at the Jerusalem Post and Mic.

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  • Neetu Bhatia is Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Kyazoonga. An investment banker turned entrepreneur, Neetu is credited with creating the professional entertainment and sports ticketing market in India. Prior to co-founding Kyazoonga, she was a senior media & telecom investment banker on Wall Street. Most recently, she led Bank of Montreal’s U.S. Internet Media practice as a Director in its Media, Communications & Technology Investment Banking Group. She has over nine years of experience originating and executing several strategic advisory and financing transactions in these sectors. Neetu’stransactions include over $40 billion of executed deals for Time Warner, Google, Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, Cingular, AT&T and others.

    Prior to Bank of Montreal, Neetu worked at Lehman Brothers in New York, originating and executing several lead-managed media and telecom advisory, capital raising and restructuring transactions. Before joining Lehman Brothers, Neetu also worked as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, advising senior management of Fortune 500 companies on strategic and operational issues.

    Neetu has an M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Engineering from the Government College of Engineering, Pune, where she graduated as the Best Outgoing Student. A former national cricket player, Neetu serves on the Boards of several not-for-profit organizations in New York City and India. Neetu has been quoted in publications including The Times of India, The Economic Times, The Entrepreneur, Indiatimes, and The Business India. Neetu has also appeared on leading Indian broadcast outlets including CNBC, NDTV, Times Now, Aaj Tak, Zee Business and several radio networks. Her story was featured in a book to motivate young students that was released in 2005 by President, Dr. Abdul Kalam.

  • Disco

    We don;t need PW to be CEO of Cisco…enough politics…she has nothing to show…zero contribution….not considering 6000 layoffs but promoting her as next CEO is bad…:(

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