By Catelen Wu
March 28, 2018
“Originally, developing software was not deemed as important as developing hardware, thus, it was a job that females were expected to want to do.”
Ada Lovelace is regarded as the first computer programmer – not just the first female computer programmer, but the first computer programmer.
Mary Coombs was the first female programmer on LEO.
Grace Hopper and her team created the first compiler for an electronic computer.
These are only a few of the women who have contributed to the advancements of the technology that we have today. However, not many people know that the earliest computer programmers were actually women.
In fact, computer programming used to be a job primarily for women, so what changed? What caused the majority to now become the minority?
The number of female computer science graduates has dropped to 18%, whereas in 1984, the number was 37%, according to the Girls Who Code website.
Originally, developing software was not deemed as important as developing hardware, thus, it was a job that females were expected to want to do. However, things began to change.
As stated in the article, “Computer Programming Used To Be Women’s Work,” “male programmers wanted to elevate their job out of the ‘women’s work’ category.”
In order to do this, they gradually degraded women and took measures to ensure that more men would be hired for computer programming careers, rather than women. A certain “ideal type” of computer programmers was instilled, which leads to the stereotype of computer programmers today.
And now, those decisions that were made has taken a toll in the world that we live in today. The gender gap in technology has become significantly large. The number of female computer science graduates has dropped to 18%, whereas in 1984, the number was 37%, according to the Girls Who Code website.
In addition, those in the technology field often leave their jobs because of the discrimination they face. They do not leave, because they no longer enjoy working with technology; they leave because they’re faced with circumstances that are uncalled for, due to their gender.
While women being in tech is no longer as common as it used to be, it should never be forgotten that many of the advancements in technology are due to women’s hard work.
Women should no longer be discouraged into going into technology fields. Young girls should not have to be afraid of being the only girls in a computer class full of boys. The stereotype of the ideal male computer programmer should no longer exist.
Women are just as capable as men are. And we should never think otherwise.