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NOTE:  Items highlighted in RED are defined elsewhere in this Glossary, while items highlighted in BLUE are site links for further information.

First, let’s get this straight:  This isn’t a politically correct page created to appease the agenda of certain women.  Like every other page on this site, it has been created because, as the Glossary definitions have accumulated, I’ve noticed an emerging subcategory deserving of mention.  So don’t expect to see a page about famous cross-dressers or Guatemalans in computing simply because they exist.  If these categories keep appearing in definitions, however, they will merit their own page.

Second, I’m aware that many students use this site for research in completing their computer science schoolwork.  That’s great.  I don’t care if I’m doing your homework for you.  It’s important that you learn, wherever the information comes from.

REMEMBER, THESE ARE THE PIONEERS.  THERE ARE LOTS OF WOMEN, EVEN THROUGHOUT THIS SITE (SEE, E.G. NAMES) AND ELSEWHERE WHO HAVE DONE A LOT TO FURTHER COMPUTING.  BUT THESE WERE THE TRUE PIONEERS IN THE FIELD:

 

LINKS IN THE GLOSSARY:

Ada Lovelace

Grace Hopper

Jean Bartik

“Top Secret Rosies”

Hedy Lamar

Radia Perlman

Ester Gerson

Gloria Ruth Gordon

Mary Kenneth Keller

ENIAC Programmers Group

Amy Hess

 

OTHER LINKS:

Henrietta Swan Leavitt & the Harvard Computers

Grete Hermann

Ida Rhodes

Jean E. Sammet

Women Coders:

Kathleen Booth - In 1950 she invented one of the first “assembly languages” known as “ARC,” which made programming easier by letting programmers write machine instructions in mnemonic form that an assembler could then translate into machine code.  She wrote it while at Birkeck College (U.K.) for use by the Automatic Relay Calculator (“ARC”), which she also helped design and build.

Kateryna Yushchenko - In 1955, she created the Address programming language, which supported indirect addressing (before Cobol (see Grace Hopper on this page) and the others) and which was used on the first programmable computer in Europe, known as the MESM, built in 1950.  She was the first woman in the U.S.S.R. to be awarded the Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences degree in programming.

Jean Sammet - In 1962, along with Grace Hopper (see this page), while working at IBM, was part of the group which developed Cobol.  After that, she developed the programming language FORMAC (FORmula MAnipulation Compiler), which was an extension of FORTRAN which was able to perform algebraic manipulations widely used for performing symbolic mathematical computations.

Cynthia Solomon - While at Bolt, Beranek & Newman (see discussion at Internet definition), with others (Daniel Bobrow, Wally Feurzeig and Seymour Papert), she created the programming language Logo, which was based on words rather than numbers and symbols, making it easier for kids to use to create science projects.  Logo was the basis for later programming languages like Smalltalk [which ws created by another woman, Adele Goldberg (and others) in 1980 at Xerox PARC and Scratch.

Barbara Liskov - While at M.I.T., the first woman in the U.S. to be awarded a PhD in computer science.  In 1974, she created the programming language CLU, the features of which became the basis for later object-oriented programming languages used today, line Java, Python and C++.

Sophie Wilson - In 1981, she created the only programming language specifically for a TV program.  After developing the first Acorn computer, BBC had her write a new version of BASIC for them, dubbed BBC BASIC, which because of its small size and simplicity introduced many people in the U.K. to computers.

Christine Paulin-Mohrin - In 1991, she created Coq, a new implementation of an initial interactive system for specifying formal proofs of mathematical theorems originally created by Thierry Coquand (hence “Coq”).  Today, it is also commonly used for software certification.

Frances Elisabeth Allen -  The first woman to win the A, M. Turing Award, for optimization strategies developed at IBM in the 1970s.

Ann Carachristi (1921-2016) - One of the highest ranking and most honored women at the code breaking National Security Agency, with a career extending from WWII through most of the cold war.  She was the sixth deputy director of the NSA, retiring in 1982.  Her work predated much of the computer-based cryptoanalysis, instead requiring insight and dogged pattern-recognition persistence to reconstruct enemy code books.  She provided leadership and training to new generations of code breakers while promoting efforts to bring technology and computers to the field.

 

ORGANIZATIONS:

The Women In Technology International Hall of Fame

The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology

Vodaphone Americas Foundation (see Associations), specifically through its association with several organizations, including Girls Who Code and TechGirlz to foster the future generations of women in technology.

ENIAC Programmers Project

The Women of ENIAC

Ada Initiative

THE PRESENT:

While generally women have made great strides in employment, their education and employment in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering & math) has lagged far behind.  For example, barely 18% of computer science degrees go to women.  In fact, even as the market for their skills has expanded, the number of women in computing has actually fallen since the 1980s.  Women make up only 11% of math faculties.  Nearly half of the women who graduate with engineering degrees even enter the profession and, if they do, they leave soon after.  Many claim that male dominance is responsible, others that these fields just aren’t friendly in terms of places to work.  92% of coders are men.  At least the new field of Big Data analysis is attracting women:  More than 40% of the degrees in statistics, and the same percentage of statistics faculty go to women. And in the field of cybersecurity, women like Amy Hess.  It’s clear that the problem isn’t the women - the technology and the men who dominate it are where the issue lies.

 

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