[Marxism] How to Attract Female Engineers

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at juno.com
Mon Apr 27 17:46:39 MDT 2015

Computer programming in its earlier days was a much more female-oriented profession than it is today. That was primarily because back during the Second World War, US government defense labs hired many recent female college graduates with math or science degrees to perform the laborious computations that were required for such things a compiling artillery tables and such. Back in those days the people who performed such computations were called "computers."  During the war the first electronic digital computers were built and so some of these young women were then redeployed to program the newfangled ,machines, so many of the earliest computer programmers were women. Thus, some of the most notables in computer science, for example, Admiral Grace Hopper,  who invented the first compiler, was a developer of early programming languages and headed the committee that developed COBOL,  and there were other people like Ruth Teitelbaum and Marlyn Meltzer, who were among the first programmers for the ENIAC, which was the first electronic digital computer.

For a long time thereafter, women continued to play a leading role with programming. On the other hand, computer programming was not a particularly high status profession. Scientists and engineers, amongst others, tended to look down upon programming as glorified clerical work. Eventually, attitudes changed, and computer programming was re-conceptualized as an engineering discipline. Starting in the late 1960s, it started to become fashionable to call programmers, software engineers (the term having been coined by another female pioneer in computer science, Margaret Hamilton). With this reconcptualization of the discipline, the status (and pay) for programmers gradually went up. It was now seen as a field that was eminently suitable for men, so the numbers of women in the field declined. After all, in the popular imagination at least, engineers are supposed to be men.

Jim Farmelant
Learn or Review Basic Math

---------- Original Message ----------
From: Andrew Pollack via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
Subject: [Marxism] How to Attract Female Engineers
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2015 13:34:23 -0400

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Makes sense to me.

It would be interesting to also look at how women are drawn to economics
when their programs prioritize equally social-value oriented research
projects (i.e. to analyze how capitalism fucks up work and family, and how
that could be overcome).
  The Opinion Pages <http://www.nytimes.com/pages/opinion/index.html> |
Op-Ed Contributor How to Attract Female Engineers

 THE figures are well known: At Apple 20 percent of tech jobs are held by
women and at Google, only 17 percent. A report by the Congressional Joint
Economic Committee estimates that nationwide about 14 percent of engineers
in the work force are women.

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