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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Women were “crowded out” of computer programming and not because of biology

Women were “crowded out” of computer programming — and not because of biology: Back in the early days of computers, it was women rather than men who dominated the field of programming. In fact, it’s widely believed that the first piece of code was written by a Ms. Ada Lovelace in the 19th century, after she “recognized that the all-powerful machine could do more than calculate; it could be programmed to run a self-contained series of actions, with the results of each step determining the next step,” Stephen Mihm writes for Bloomberg. Women were perceived as having more aptitude for programming as they were more ‘patient’, while men concerned themselves with hardware. As years went by, what had once perceived as “glorified clerical work” was elevated into a science. It was only then in the 1960s that women began to lose ground, as “men from established fields like physics, mathematics and electrical engineering” began to recognize the importance of programming. Groups such as the Association for Computing Machinery rose and corporations began insisting programmers carry advanced degrees and take aptitude tests, putting women of the time at a disadvantage.

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