Friday, 3 January 2014

Computer Programming Used To Be "Women’s Work"

Today, the computer programming field is dominated by men. But that wasn’t always the case. In fact, for a long time, computer programming was a women’s field.  At Gender News, Brenda D. Frink explains how “computer geek” overtook “computer girl” as the stereotype


Now, it’s not that managers of yore respected women more than they do now. They simply saw computer programming as an easy job. It was like typing or filing to them and the development of software was less important than the development of hardware. So women wrote software, programmed and even told their male colleagues how to make the hardware better. (It turns out programming is hard, and women are actually just as good at it as men.)

What changed? Well, male programmers wanted to elevate their job out of the “women’s work” category. They created professional associations and discouraged the hiring of women. Ads began to connect women staffers with error and inefficiency. They instituted math puzzle tests for hiring purposes that gave men who had taken math classes an advantage, and personality tests that purported to find the ideal “programming type.”


Source: Smithsonian Mag