The history of computer science is a history of the innovations and hard work of women. For every Ada Lovelace or Grace Hopper, countless unnamed coders and designers have toiled to develop the systems on which today’s world operates: indeed, it has become almost a truism to point out that the industry originally considered computer programming to be ‘women’s work.’
Yet in education and in industry today, women are woefully underrepresented. While the reasons behind this are complex – the phenomenon can in part be traced from the masculinized marketing of the first home computers to the tech bro fraternity today, and the self-perpetuating culture in between – the figures tell their own story. In the UK today, only 9% of girls schools offer computing at A-level, versus 44% of boys schools. At the undergraduate level, women made up 14% of 1971’s intake in the subject, which rose to 37% by 1983 – only to sink back to 18% by 2010.
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