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Recoding gender : women's changing participation in computing

Author: Janet Abbate
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, ©2012.
Series: History of computing.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Today, women earn a relatively low percentage of computer science degrees and hold proportionately few technical computing jobs. Meanwhile, the stereotype of the male "computer geek" seems to be everywhere in popular culture. Few people know that women were a significant presence in the early decades of computing in both the United States and Britain. Indeed, programming in postwar years was considered woman's work  Read more...
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Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Janet Abbate
ISBN: 9780262018067 0262018063
OCLC Number: 791488293
Awards: Winner of Winner, 2014 Computer History Museum Prize, awarded by the Society for the History of Technology 2014
Description: x, 247 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Contents: Introduction: rediscovering women's history in computing --
Breaking codes and finding trajectories: women at the dawn of the digital age --
Seeking the perfect programmer: gender and skill in early data processing --
Software crisis or identity crisis? Gender, labor, and programming methods --
Female entrepreneurs: reimagining software as a business --
Gender in academic computing: alternative career paths and norms --
Appendix: Oral history interviews conducted for this project.
Series Title: History of computing.
Responsibility: Janet Abbate.

Abstract:

Today, women earn a relatively low percentage of computer science degrees and hold proportionately few technical computing jobs. Meanwhile, the stereotype of the male "computer geek" seems to be everywhere in popular culture. Few people know that women were a significant presence in the early decades of computing in both the United States and Britain. Indeed, programming in postwar years was considered woman's work (perhaps in contrast to the more manly task of building the computers themselves). In Recoding Gender, Janet Abbate explores the untold history of women in computer science and programming from the Second World War to the late twentieth century. Demonstrating how gender has shaped the culture of computing, she offers a valuable historical perspective on today's concerns over women's underrepresentation in the field. Abbate describes the experiences of women who worked with the earliest electronic digital computers: Colossus, the wartime codebreaking computer at Bletchley Park outside London, and the American ENIAC, developed to calculate ballistics. She examines postwar methods for recruiting programmers, and the 1960s redefinition of programming as the more masculine "software engineering." She describes the social and business innovations of two early software entrepreneurs, Elsie Shutt and Stephanie Shirley; and she examines the career paths of women in academic computer science. Abbate's account of the bold and creative strategies of women who loved computing work, excelled at it, and forged successful careers will provide inspiration for those working to change gendered computing culture.

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Through the stories of early women programmers such as the World War II 'Wrens' who worked on top-secret code decryption, entrepreneurs such as Stephanie Shirley who created and ran her own computing Read more...

 
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