Programming was women's work: the six who ran Eniac, America's first digital computer, were women. But not for long.
They were systematically pushed out of the field, says technology historian Marie Hicks, assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who wrote about it in her recent book, “Programmed Inequality (Amazon).”
Sexism was so extreme in the UK that it played a significant part in the collapse of its first domestic computer industry in the 1960s, writes the WSJ's Christopher Mims:
Not only were the male recruits often less qualified, they frequently left the field because they viewed it as an unmanly profession. A shortage of programmers forced the U.K. government to consolidate its computers in a handful of centers with the remaining coders. It also meant the government demanded gigantic mainframes and ignored more distributed systems of midsize and mini computers, which had become more common by the 1960s
In 1984, 37% of computer science degrees were awarded to women, but it's been in decline ever since. Women are leaving the industry in increasing numbers, "despite" its "diversity and inclusion efforts."
If a firm has hired its first 10 employees and they are all the same gender or ethnicity, an eleventh who doesn’t look like the rest can face challenges.
The First Women in Tech Didn’t Leave—Men Pushed Them Out [WSJ]
Over at EDGE.org, the must-read hub of intellectual inquiry and head-spinning science, Boing Boing pal and legendary book agent John Brockman is launching a new series of essays “from important third culture thinkers to address the empirically-driven and science related hot-button cultural issues of our time.” First up is author George Dyson’s “Childhood’s End,” a […]
A rare, fully-operational Enigma cipher machine from World War II will go up for auction at Sothebys tomorrow as part of an amazing History of Science & Technology auction (also including Richard Feynman’s Nobel Prize). The Enigma is expected to go for around $200,000. From a 1999 article I wrote for Wired: German soldiers issued […]
Arthur C. Clarke forecasts the future in 1974. We’ve come a long way. Kinda. (via r/ObscureMedia)
It’s a rude awakening for that rookie vacationer abroad when they try to plug in their gear for the night. Veteran jet-setters know that outlet shapes can vary wildly from country to country, which necessitates that most boring must-have for any world-traveler: A sackful of clunky power adapters. Awkward problem, elegant solution: The Twist Plus […]
Looking for a career in music behind the boards, either as a music producer or DJ? It’s a good bet that you’re going to be working with Ableton Live. Each new iteration of this powerful workstation gives the user more tools to create, and it’s just as well suited for the task of meticulous track […]
The graveyard of failed startups is littered with concepts that just got lost in translation. At its core, that’s what great front-end design is about: Making an app or website usable, translating its best ideas smoothly to the user. It’s a skill so broad there might be no one book or course that covers it […]