Women in Technology Hall of Fame

Ruth Leach Amonette

Ruth Leach Amonette

First Female Vice President, IBM

Inducted in 1996

Ruth Leach Amonette was a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and passed away at 87 in Carmel, California on June 21, 2004.

Ruth was the first woman to hold a corporate position at IBM. She was one of the few women, at the time, to hold an executive position in any large company in the United States. After becoming vice president of the company in 1943, Ruth devoted herself to the advancement of women in business and industry.

In July 1940, she earned a promotion to become an instructor for IBM in the United States Department of Education in Endicott, New York. In October of the same year, Ruth again earned a promotion to the position of secretary of education for Women at Endicott. At the age of 27, Ruth won the election for IBM vice president in 1943, four years after joining the company.

Ruth’s promotion was, according to the IBM board of directors, "in recognition of her ability and of the increasingly important part which women are playing in the operation of the company."

Ruth became associated with IBM in February 1939. She had been a demonstrator at the company’s Gallery of Science and Art at the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco. After attending Systems Service Class 448, a course offered through IBM to the company’s employees, Ruth became a service systems representative at the Atlanta office.

In 1945, Ruth was awarded at the annual dinner of the Women’s National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in recognition of her outstanding contributions.