Women in Computing

Last week we got several reminders of the significant roles played by women in what is often perceived these days as a rather male-dominated and even somewhat macho field.

On Dec 6 Maria Popover’s Brain Pickings site pointed to a tribute video  about holocaust survivor and 1960’s software entrepreneur ‘Steve’ Shirley (produced by Google about 3 months ago as part of their ‘computing heritage’ series). Then on Dec 9  the Google Doodle was in honour of the birthday of Grace Hopper  who created the first compiled computer language in the 1950’s, developed COBOL, and coined the term “debugging”. And it may have been that which prompted the Christian Science Monitor to do a piece on a number of important female pioneers of computing  – going all the way back to Ada Lovelace who worked with Charles Babbage on the idea of programmable computers long before electronic versions were available (and whose birthday just happens to have been the very next day – but no doodle for her this year as she already got that honour last year).

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