This week’s recommendation comes from:

Carol Chestnut

Carol Chestnut 

IFL Math Content Developer

Carol says, “Why women disappeared from computer science programming where they once dominated the field is a fascinating story that shows how easily a cultural narrative can change in unexpected ways.”

When Women Stopped Coding

Steven Henn

“The share of women in computer science started falling at roughly the same moment when personal computers started showing up in U.S. homes in significant numbers.” –  Steve Henn, former NPR’s tech correspondent, Planet Money

Episode 576 of NPR’s Planet Money series explores the women who programmed the first digital computers and the fact that their numbers plunged in 1984. Listen to this podcast When Women Stopped Coding : Planet Money: NPR to get acquainted with how it happened.

Explore it in more detail through the following references:

NY Times Magazine, (2019, February 13) Clive Thompson, The Secret History of Women in Coding (If you have trouble accessing the New York Times, you can find the article here):

Mandel, L. (1967, April). The computer girls. Cosmopolitan Magazine. 52.

Misa, T. (Ed.) (2010) Gender codes: Why women are leaving computing. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons Press-IEEE Computer Society.

Fountain, J. E. (2000). Constructing the information society: Women, information technology, and design. Technology in Society, 22(1), 45–62.

Margolis, J & Fisher A. (2002). Unlocking the clubhouse: Women in computing. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, regarded as the first computer programmer.

Who is Elsie Shutt?

Abbate, J. (2012) Recoding gender: Women’s changing participation in computing. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

The Washington Post Articles: “When Computer Programming Was Women’s Work” and “Women Built Tech Industry, Then They Were Pushed Out.”

And there are some movies too:

Hidden Figures (2016). The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians at NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. Directed by Theodore Melfi.

The Imitation Game (2014). Alan Turing (with the help of the “girls” at the Britain’s Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park) race against time to crack the code of the German Enigma Machine during WWII.

Top Secret Rosies: The Female “Computers” of WWII (2010).