Programming was driven by women in the early days. Behind loads of famous early tech developments, you’ll find a woman (just check out this A-M-A-ZING post by Andrew Chen if you don’t believe me: Photos of the women who programmed the ENIAC, wrote the code for Apollo 11, and designed the Mac.
Women innovators were working in ground breaking roles. Until they were knocked off their path and erased from the history books. Incredible, intelligent, hardworking female tech pioneers were overlooked. Women, who should have been powerful role models for future generations, ended up without the recognition they deserved. It’s so sad that it has taken until this generation to realise.
What went wrong?
Up until the ‘80s, the number of women studying computer science was growing. But then everything changed. You can read this interesting article that looks at the reason for this downturn. In case you don’t have time to read the whole thing, this quote sums it up:
“This idea that computers are for boys became a narrative. It became the story we told ourselves about the computing revolution. It helped define who geeks were, and it created techie culture.”
The proliferation of this story stopped women from believing they were as capable in the industry. And Hollywood didn’t help – think how the maths and science geeks were always boys – The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, War Games…The level playing field – that existed in the early days of computing – was thrown out of balance by a stupid stereotype!
Thankfully, those days are well and truly over now. Or at least I’m trying to play my part in making it so, through the influence of my own business, CUSP. Women can be, and are, leaders, thinkers, strategists, inventors and developers. I believe in encouraging women to follow their unique talents to create cutting edge technology.
This generation will be role models for the next.
Who is your favourite innovative woman, either past or present? Or do you see yourself as an innovator?
If you admire someone in particular, then please share this post with them! And remember to use the hashtag #womeninnovators if you share it on social media (Which I would LOVE for you to do, by the way!)