These women are making the future

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While the number of women working in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) can be worrying - it's not just an old boys' club. There are some amazing, incredibly talented women working in STEM who are helping to change the world, and build our future. From software engineers and tech-curious anthropologists, to physicists and women who just really 'f***ing love science' - here are 20 women who are changing the future.

Who do you think are the most influential women working in STEM? Let us know below or on Twitter

Words: Cate Sevilla. Images: Rex Features, Getty Images, Wikimedia Commons

  • Cher Wang, co-founder & chairwoman of HTC Corporation

    Cher Wang is the co-founder and chairwoman of the HTC Corporation, who make HTC phones. Cher is incredibly influential in the smartphone and mobile technology industry, and recently promised to donate 100,000 HTC tablets to women in the Asia Pacific region so they can "have access to equal participation in political and commercial opportunities in the future."

  • Deborah Estrin, Professor of Computer Science, UCLA

    Deborah Estrin is a Professor of Computer Science at UCLA and the director of its Center of Embedded Network Sensing. She helps pioneer new technologies that collect information from the world around us, and will eventually change the way everything from buildings to buoys function.

  • Monica Wilkinson, Director of Platform & Engineering, Crushpath

    Monica Wilkinson is software engineer working as the head of the Platform Team at Crushpath - a new way to pitch business ideas and build professional relationships online. Monica previously worked at VMware as a Cloud Foundry Technical Evangelist where she built open source projects for developers. She also looks great in Google Glasses, don't you think?

  • Elise Andrew, creator of "I F***ing Love Science"

    Elise Andrew recently rose to internet fame when she baffled the Facebook fans of her page "I f***ing Love Science" by, wait for it, being a woman! Elise studied biology at University, specialising in animal sciences and evolution, and currently works at LabX Media Group as a social media content manager. She's done a fantastic job of making science more accessible to the masses, and smashing gender stereotypes.

  • Tracy Chou, Software Engineer, Pinterest

    Tracy Chou is a software engineer at Pinterest who previously worked at Quora, and interned at both Facebook and Google. Tracy not only is a back-end engineer and coder, she helps the team at Pinterest make technical decisions, work through design solutions, and recruit new developers. If you use Pinterest, you're basically using something made by Tracy every single day. With such a promising start to an engineering career, we can wait to see where Tracy will go next!

  • Genevieve Bell, Director of Interaction and Experience Research, Intel Labs

    Genevieve Bell is an anthropologist and researcher working as the Director of Interaction and Experience Research in Intel Labs. She studies how cultures around the world use technology, has written a book titled Divining a Digital Future: Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing and has even been inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame.

  • Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook

    Sheryl Sandberg is Facebook's Chief Operating Officer, where she oversees everything from Facebook's marketing to its public policy. Sheryl most certainly is helping to change the way we interact with Facebook, and therefore the internet, and her new book Lean In is already being considered a feminist, social movement.

  • Maja Matarić, Roboticist and Computer Scientist

    Maja Matarić is the professor of robotics and paediatrics at the University of Southern California. She is best known for her pioneering work in socially assistive robotics and has created robots that can help children with autism, stroke patients, and the elderly. Maja recently received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics & Engineering Mentoring from President Obama.

  • Ruchi Sanghvi, Head of Operations, Dropbox

    Ruchi Sanghvi is the Head of Operations at Dropbox after it bought her startup, Cove. Ruchi was Facebook's first female engineer, where she lead projects such as Facebook Connect and Facebook Platform.

  • Baroness Susan Greenfield, Scientist

    Baroness Susan Greenfield is a scientist, writer and broadcaster specialising in the physiology of the brain. Her research has helped raise awareness and understanding of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease, and most recently she has raised concerns about the effect social networking has on the brains of children.

  • Rosalind Hudnell, Chief Diversity Officer, Intel

    Rosalind Hudnell is the Chief Diversity Officer at Intel, and has reached out to over 50,000 young people over the last 10 years through its science, technology, engineering and mathematics after-school programs. She has also worked with President Obama's council on Jobs & Competitiveness and even developed the Stay With it Initiative which helps support students working on degrees in engineering and computer science.

  • Athene Donald, Professor of Experimental Physics, Cambridge University

    Athene Donald is an expert in the structure of "soft" matter, and known for unconventional physics studies, including revolutionary treatments for Alzheimer's. Athene is also the director of Cambridge's Women in Science, Technology and Engineering Initiative which mentors young, female scientists.

  • Fabiola Gianotti, Team Lead, CERN

    Fabiola Gianotti is a physicist who leads the team working on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. She is one of the few women at her level in physics, and has said, "Physics is, unfortunately, often seen as a male subject; sterile and without charm or emotion. But this is not true, because physics is art, aesthetics, beauty and symmetry."

  • Noorjahan Akbar, Co-founder, Young Women for Change

    As part of her work at Young Women for Change, Noorjhan Akbar’s Sahar Gul Café is Afghanistan’s first all-female internet café. She is helping to make sure that Afghan girls and women have a safe place to connect to the internet and have the access and the freedom to communicate, study, and socialise online.

  • Molly Stevens, Professor of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine, Imperial College London

    Molly Stevens' team are working to change the way the body heals itself. Her biotech company called RepRegen is hoping to regenerate damaged bones and muscles in patients, and in 2006 she was the first woman to receive a Royal Pharmaceutical Society conference science medal.

  • Esther Duflo, Founder and Director, Jameel Poverty Action Lab, MIT

    Esther Duflo is the founder and director of the Jameel Povery Action Lab, her research network specializing in randomized evaluations of social programs. Duflo takes economics out in the field to discover the causes of poverty, and her research focuses on microeconomic issues in developing countries. Essentially, she is using data to change the world!

  • Kristen Titus, Executive Director, Girls Who Code

    Kristen Titus is a feminist and technologist, and her work at Girls Who Code aims to help educate and inspire young girls ages 13- 17 to pursue jobs in technology and engineering. Instead of just saying that we need more women in technology, Kristen is helping to actually educate and create more opportunities for women. *High five*

  • Cynthia Breazeal, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, MIT

    Dr Cynthia Breazeal is the Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT. She is also the director of the Personal Robotics Group and is best known for developing the robot Kismet as part of her doctoral thesis on expressive social exchange between humans and humanoid robots. She is a pioneer of Social Robotics and Human Robot Interaction.

  • Julie Kramer White, Chief Engineer, NASA

    Julie Kramer White is currently serving as the Chief Engineer building the Orion spacecraft, which will take astronauts deeper into space than ever before.

  • Anette Hosoi, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, MIT

    Professor Anette Hosoi is an expert in free surface flows, surface tension, and complex fluid dynamics. This means that Anette and her students try to recreate things such as synthetic snail slime using a robotic snail which, in the future, could be used for conducting tests in hard-to-reach places, like oil wells thousands of feet underground.