Women in Software Testing

Women in Software Testing

In 2023, the Global Gender Gap Report highlighted a concerning reality: Women represented only 29.2% of the STEM workforce. Going deeper into the report, we discover that women accounted for 29.4% at entry levels, rising slightly to 29.9% in senior positions. However, the statistics showed a sharp decline in managerial or directorial roles, with women comprising only 25.5% and 26.7%, respectively.

In this blog post, we embark on a journey to celebrate and honor the invaluable contributions of women in software testing. We aim to inspire women to pursue careers in this field through compelling narratives and a wealth of resources. Our goal is to provide encouragement and support for women seeking to enter the realm of software testing and to facilitate connections within the community.


Historical Women’s Role in Agile Software Testing

Women have been making remarkable strides, breaking barriers, and carving out their paths to success, and women in software testing are no exception. Here are a few examples of women making history and significantly contributing to the software testing field. These women have marked the difference in a traditionally male-dominated industry and paved the way for the next generation of women.

1947: Starting with Grace Hopper's Contribution: 

On September 9th, 1947, a team of computer scientists and engineers at Harvard University, including Dr. Grace Hopper, a prominent American computer scientist and U.S. Navy Rear Admiral, discovered the world's first computer bug.

The computer operators had presented issues, which weren’t functioning as expected. Grace discovered that a moth had become trapped in one of the computers, causing malfunction and computer problems.

Grace is credited for the term “debugging,” which describes identifying and fixing computer software or hardware. In this case, the term was inspired by the incident with the moth. 

Some people celebrate September 9 as International Tester Day. Grace Hopper’s Story

1969: Margaret Hamilton and her Role in Apollo

Margaret was a software engineer who worked in the software engineering division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, overseeing the development of onboard flight software for NASA's Apollo program. Her role was pivotal in crafting the flight software for NASA's Apollo program, marking humanity's first lunar landing in 1969.

She was the first female programmer and person hired for the team. Her team developed the guidance system for the Apollo program. She was responsible for writing and testing all onboard in-flight software for the Apollo spacecraft command.

Hamilton's contributions during this era earned her recognition for promoting the software engineering concept. Her expertise includes end-to-end testing techniques, system design, correctness by built-in language properties, and more.

Margaret Hamilton’s Story

Late 90s - 2000s: Women authors who have shaped the Agile testing industry.

Elisabeth Hendrickson, a multifaceted force in testing and Agile methodologies, boasts a remarkable journey spanning over four decades. With her roots tracing back to 1980, she has continually pushed the boundaries of software development. As the author of "Explore It! Reduce Risk and Increase Confidence with Exploratory Testing," she continues to shape the industry through her teaching, speaking engagements, and invaluable contributions to Agile teams worldwide.

A dynamic duo, Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory co-authored many books, including “Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams” and “More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team” which have served as essential guides for everyone involved in the software testing community. Their active participation as speakers in international conferences and continuous contributions to the Agile Testing Fellowship community through their courses and content creation (including blog posts and podcasts) make them very active collaborators to the industry. Their knowledge-sharing enriches the community.

2010s - Today: Bringing Diversity and Innovation into Software Testing

Angie Jones, a leader in technology, not only excels as a Principal Automation Architect specializing in test automation strategies but also leads the next generation of developers and testers through her extensive speaking engagements and educational initiatives worldwide. With over 25 patented inventions and a directorial role at Test Automation University, she consistently demonstrates her innovative prowess. Angie's commitment to diversity extends beyond her technological achievements; she volunteers with Black Girls Code, empowering young girls with coding skills to foster greater inclusivity in the tech industry.


Success Stories in Germany:

While the above-mentioned women come from the United States of America, there have also been women paving the way in Germany.

  • Enabling Companies for Agile Success and Sustainable Growth- Jutta Eckstein

With over two decades of experience in project and product development, Jutta has emerged as a prominent coach, consultant, and author, enriching the agile software testing field with her extensive expertise in agile processes. Notably, Jutta's contributions extend beyond conventional boundaries, as she pioneers initiatives like the Agile Sustainability Initiative, aiming to elevate sustainability awareness within the Agile community. Her dedication to fostering inclusive and sustainable practices underscores her pivotal role in shaping the landscape of women in software testing.

  • From bottom to top - Leading Innovation at Bredex - Alex Schladebeck

From technical documentation role and software tester to CEO of Bredex, Alex is a leading figure in software testing in Germany. 

With a background in linguistics and a passion for computer science and quality, she has steered Bredex to the forefront of the industry. Alex's leadership and advocacy for diversity inspire women in testing worldwide, showcasing the power of determination and vision in driving innovation.

  • Empowering Agile Testing Practices - Lisi Hocke

After graduating in sinology, Lisi found her place in tech in 2009 and has developed in different roles ever since.

She has inspired many people in the software testing industry through her talks, her writing, and her commitment to sharing her knowledge. One of her standout approaches is the Whole team approach to holistic testing and pair programming, where she collaborates closely with team members to solve complex problems efficiently. Through this approach, Lisi fosters a culture of shared learning and collective ownership, resulting in higher-quality outcomes and stronger team cohesion.  



One blog post cannot cover all women in tech and their contributions to the software testing industry. Hence, we would love to share the following resources, including various blog posts, videos, and books made for and by women in the software testing industry.

Watch inspirational videos of women leaders talking about software testing. 

Discover more women contributing to the software testing industry.

Software Testing Books Written by Women

  • Explore It! Reduce Risk and Increase Confidence with Exploratory Testing by Elisabeth Hendrickson
  • Agile Testing Condensed by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory
  • A Practical Guide to Testing in DevOps by Katrina Clokie


Will Women be the future of Software Testing?

The short answer is no. The software testing industry will not be female or male-dominated. 

Yes, women have played a critical role in software testing, and they will keep contributing to the field. Yet the software testing industry is big, open, and welcoming, and in the future, it won’t be dominated by only a group of people. We have started to see the wide range of diversity in the community and the work that many people from diverse backgrounds and genders have done together. The future of software testing is colorful and diverse.

On this occasion, we highlight the role of women in software testing as a way to celebrate International Women’s Day. However, we celebrate everyone in the community.


How can we encourage girls to build a career in Software Testing?

Encouraging girls and women to pursue a career in software testing involves fostering interest and education. Here are some specific ideas on how to encourage women:

  • Promote Internship Opportunities
    • We encourage companies to have more hands-on internships or projects in the software testing field. These opportunities can introduce girls to STEM and help them develop skills and confidence.
  • Sharing is caring: 
    • As we have read, many women already working in the field share their knowledge and volunteer to support the next generations. This is something everyone can do. Start a blog post, and speak about your experience!
    • We at Agile Testing Days provide a platform to spread your knowledge and stories as a session at our events, meetups, webinars, or even blog posts.
  • Be a role Model and Mentor for others:
    • As you share your knowledge, you must remember that you automatically become a role model and mentor for many people, especially women, who are starting to work in the field. In this role, you provide guidance and inspiration to others. 
  • Build and offer your network.
    • Connect with girls and women with a support network, seek advice in our community, and collaborate with peers to create a strong community. Building a community can encourage their different career steps.
  • Create Supportive Environments
    • The Agile Testing Days conference and online community are supportive and inclusive, where everyone can feel safe. Our conference discusses stereotypes and biases that may deter girls from entering the field and promotes a culture of respect and diversity.  


Share this blog post with every woman you know who is working in Software Testing, and let’s start motivating and inspiring the next generation of women in software testing. 

Chat with many other women working in this field on our Slack Channel. Write us an email to get access to it!


About Isabel Maldonado


Born in Latin America, Isabel Maldonado brings the fire of the Caribbean to the AgileTD team.

She is fearless when it comes to new topics and challenges, however, she is afraid of driving the bicycle on the wild streets of Berlin.

During her free time, she creates new ideas for her blog. As the time goes she has become a tester! She loves to eat and write therefore every time she tries a new restaurant she will test the food, decoration, location, and customer service!