The categories are imperfect and the list is likely to be incomplete, but here are some of the women in testing that I would recommend following:
DISCLAIMER: I've grouped based on the reasons that I follow these women. Though there are many individuals who could appear in multiple categories, I wanted to share the primary reasons why I value their contributions on Twitter. This is one specific facet of their professional persona and, should you choose to follow them, you may see things quite differently.
Crème de la crème“the best person or thing of a particular kind.”
Elisabeth Hendrickson and Lisa Crispin are among the most widely known and well regarded software testers in the world. With followers in the thousands, they are likely to be a part of your Twitter stream already. Though Elisabeth and Lisa often tweet about their lives outside of testing, they also share articles and tweets from their extensive professional networks that I would miss otherwise.
Community Leaders“the person who leads a group or organization.”
As an organiser of WeTest and editor of Testing Trapeze, I like to tweet content from testers around New Zealand to promote the wonderful things that are happening in this part of the world. These are the women who adopt similar behaviour for the communities that they lead.
Alessandra Moreira is the only woman on the Association for Software Testing (AST) Board of Directors and a co-organiser for Weekend Testing Australia and New Zealand (WTANZ). Amy Phillips is the co-organiser for Weekend Testing Europe (WTE).
Anne-Marie Charrett was a co-organiser of Let's Test Oz, Anna Royzman was a co-organiser of the Conference of the Association for Software Testing (CAST) in 2014, Helena Jeret-Mäe is the content owner of the upcoming Nordic Testing Days in 2015, and Rosie Sherry organises TestBash annually as well as running the Ministry of Testing.
In initiatives that specifically focus on women, Jyothi Rangaiah is the editor of the Women in Testing magazine, and Lorinda Brandon runs the Women in Line initiative to get more women speaking at technology conferences.
Challengers“a call to prove or justify something.”
There are those who generally seek to challenge opinion and question what they've heard. These women appear unafraid; they share and generate content to disrupt the status quo. Through these women I am exposed to new ideas and test my own assumptions.
Fiona Charles, Karen N Johnson, Trish Khoo, Lanette Creamer, Hilary Weaver, Kate Falanga and Natalie Bennett are all based in North America, Maaret Pyhäjärvi and Meike Mertsch are in Europe, and Kim Engel in New Zealand.
Cheerleaders“an enthusiastic and vocal supporter of someone or something.”
I was hesitant to use this term, as some may hold quite a negative connotation of a cheerleader, but I mean it in the sense of the definition above. These women are enthusiastic and vocal members of the testing community. They encourage, converse, and share information, usually in a friendly and upbeat way.
Parimala Hariprasad and Smita Mishra are in India, Anna Baik in the UK, Maria Kedemo in Europe, and Jean Ann Harrison and Teri Charles are in the US. They create a steady flow of positivity with links to a wide variety of content.
Constant"occurring continuously over a period of time."
Claire Moss gets her own category as a live tweeter. Usually Claire is relatively quiet on Twitter. The exception is when she is attending testing events and her account erupts into a stream of constant activity. You'll almost feel like you've attended the conference itself.
Climbing"to move to a higher position."
Finally there are the women who share and contribute excellent content on Twitter, but may be less well known than others listed here. Carol Brands, Jacky Fain, Alex Schladebeck, Elisabeth Hocke, Ioana Serban and Shirley Tricker.
As with any post of this kind, I'm certain I've missed people who should be included. Please leave your recommendations in a comment below.