In honor of International Women’s Day, held on Mar. 8, 2015, we are proud to recognize and honor female tech innovators. Whether as hardware engineers, software developers, entrepreneurs or funders, the role of women in technology is fundamental.

International Women’s Day has been observed for more than 100 years. According to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, “To be truly transformative, the post-2015 development agenda must prioritize gender equality and women’s empowerment. The world will never realize 100 per cent of its goals if 50 per cent of its people cannot realize their full potential.”

According to the United Nations, the first National Woman’s Day was observed  on Feb. 28, 1909, in the United States. The day recognized and celebrated the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions.

Since that time, women have made tremendous strides in all sectors of the working world, including technology. There are strong role models. To name two: Lady Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852), is considered to the world’s first computer programmer, and the Ada language was named in her honor. The late Admiral Grace Hopper (1906-1992) was a programmer and innovators who, among other accomplishments, led the team that created COBOL.

Today there are many organizations designed to not only advocate for women in a traditionally male-dominated industry, but also provide invaluable networking and educational support, such as the Anita Borg Institute and Women in Technology International.

While the number of women as a tech industry leaders is small, they are increasingly making their mark. Consider Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, IBM CEO Virginia Rometty, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, and Xerox CEO Ursula Burns.

Business Insider recently published a story on 22 of the Most Powerful Women Engineers in the World. The California Diversity Council, only a few days ago, offered its own list of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology.

Closer to home, two of the most powerful women in tech media are among the first-round judges for the Clouded Leopards Den 2015 prize for cloud innovation: Melina Vicario from Argentina’s TyN Magazine, and Judy Dannibelle Chua Co from BusinessWorld in the Philippines.

Melina and Judy, along with the other judges are currently reviewing the nominations for the Clouded Leopards Den 2015 prize. The judges will release the short list of 12 semi-finalists shortly – six from early-stage startups, and six from later-stage pre-IPO firms.

The prize winners will be named at the Global Cloud Innovation Summit, to be held Apr. 23-24 in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Follow the Clouded Leopards Den 2015 competition on Twitter @CloudLeopardDen, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cloudedleopardsden, on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/u/0/100250558688719993929/, and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/5069066.