When I ran a team of R&D; programmers, a while ago, at one point, we had one person from a visible minority, one person with a slight handicap, two women, two immigrants (one of which was one of the two women, the other was me) and at least one phytopathologist (me). We beat most of the statistics with that team, because there were about ten of us at the time. One of the members of my team remarked that it was the first time he’d worked in a team with two women in it - and he had worked in larger teams before. I find it rather strange that women are so rare in computing in these parts of the world - and I am not aware of any part of the world where they form a majority. I think this is strange because in the history of computing, women have played, and are still playing, a very important role. After all: the first programmer ever was a woman (Ada Lovelace), compilers were invented by a woman (Grace Hopper), technologies like Bluetooth and WiFi would not be possible without spread spectrum broadcasting, co-invented by Hedy Lamarr. The first person to use a computer in a private home was a woman (Mary Allen Wilkes) who also developed the first OS for the first minicomputer. Adele Goldberg helped invent object-oriented programming with her work on Smalltalk; Sally Floyd helped make the Internet possible with her work on TCP; etc.

In fact, come to think of it, most of the technologies I work with on a daily basis have a woman’s influence in its history. Women have traditionally played an important role in anything ranging from the esthetic to the very, very technical. One of the women in the team I referred to earlier was in charge of quality assurance for the team while the other worked on a firmware, written in C.

So why is it that computing tends to be such a masculin environment (in that there are a lot of men working in this field)? Maybe it’s just because women are smarter than men..? They’ve moved on to greener pastures where their superior intellect is more needed, leaving us to do the footwork. The few women remaining in the field are just there to keep an eye on us…

Nah.., that can’t be it, can it..?