Open main menu
Marissa Mayer
Former vice-president of Google Search Products and User Experience, former president and CEO of Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer.

Women in computing have shaped the evolution of the industry, with women among the first programmers during the early 20th century.[1] Nevertheless, much recorded history of the field downplayed women's achievements.[2]

In the 2000s, women have held leadership roles in multiple tech companies, such as Meg Whitman, president and chief executive officer of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Marissa Mayer, president and CEO of Yahoo! from July 2012 to June 2017 and previously a long-time executive, usability leader, and key spokesperson at Google.



Ada Lovelace was the first person to publish an algorithm intended to be executed by the first modern computer, the Analytical Engine created by Charles Babbage. Because of this, she is often regarded as the first computer programmer,[3][4][5] though this statement, as well as others about Ada's mathematical abilities and involvement with Babbage's project, has been criticized.

During the 1800s, Edward Charles Pickering hired several women to work for him at Harvard. These women, called "Pickering's harem" at the time and also as the Harvard Computers, performed clerical work that the male employees and scholars considered to be tedious work at a fraction of the cost to hire a man.[6]

Grace Hopper was the first person to create a compiler for a programming language and one of the first programmers of the Mark I computer, an electro-mechanical computer based on Analytical Engine. The regularly working programmers of the ENIAC computer in 1944, were six female mathematicians; Marlyn Meltzer, Betty Holberton, Kathleen Antonelli, Ruth Teitelbaum, Jean Bartik, and Frances Spence. Adele Goldstine was one of the teachers and trainers of the six original programmers of the ENIAC computer. Adele died of cancer in 1964 at the age of 44.

Adele Goldberg was one of the seven programmers that developed Smalltalk in the 1970s, one of the first object-oriented programming languages, the base of the current graphic user interface, that has its roots in the 1968 The Mother of All Demos by Douglas Engelbart. Smalltalk was later used by Apple to launch Apple Lisa in 1983, the first personal computer with a GUI, and one year later its Macintosh. Windows 1.0, based on the same principles, was launched a few months later in 1985.

Worldwide TimelineEdit

Ada Lovelace is often considered to be the first computer programmer.
2012 Turing award recipient for her collaborative work in cryptography, Shafi Goldwasser.

The Turing Award recipientsEdit

The ACM A.M. Turing Award, sometimes referred to as the "Nobel Prize" of Computing, was named in honor of Alan Mathison Turing (1912–1954), a British mathematician and computer scientist. The Turing award has been won by 3 women between 1966 and 2015.[43]

Notable OrganizationsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Gürer, Denise (1995) "Pioneering Women in Computer Science" ACM.
  2. ^ Gürer, Denise (June 2002). "Women in computing history". ACM SIGCSE Bulletin. 34 (2): 116–120. doi:10.1145/543812.543843. 
  3. ^ a b Fuegi, J.; Francis, J. (2003). Lovelace & Babbage and the creation of the 1843 'notes'. Annals of the History of Computing. 25. pp. 16–26. doi:10.1109/MAHC.2003.1253887. 
  4. ^ Phillips, Ana Lena (November–December 2011). "Crowdsourcing gender equity: Ada Lovelace Day, and its companion website, aims to raise the profile of women in science and technology". American Scientist. 99 (6): 463. 
  5. ^ "Ada Lovelace honoured by Google doodle". The Guardian. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "How Female Computers Mapped the Universe and Brought America to the Moon". Atlas Obscura. 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  7. ^ Hamblin, Jacob Darwin (2005). Science in the early twentieth century : an encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. pp. 181–184. ISBN 9781851096657. 
  8. ^ Grete Hermann (1926). "Die Frage der endlich vielen Schritte in der Theorie der Polynomideale". Mathematische Annalen. 95: 736–788. doi:10.1007/bf01206635. 
  9. ^ Gumbrecht, Jamie (8 February 2011). "Rediscovering WWII's female 'computers'". CNN. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012.
  10. ^ Copeland, Jack B. (2010). Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park's Code Breaking Computers. Oxford University Press. 
  11. ^ Pearson Jr., Willie; Frehill, Lisa M.; McNeely, Connie L.; DiSalvo, Betsy (2015). Advancing Women in Science: An International Perspective. Springer. pp. 265–267. ISBN 9783319086293. 
  12. ^ Howes, Ruth H.; Herzenberg, Caroline L. (2003). Their Day in the Sun: Women of the Manhattan Project. Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press. pp. 99–100. ISBN 9781592131921. 
  13. ^ Haigh, Thomas; Priestley, Mark; Rope, Crispin (2016). ENIAC in Action: Making and Remaking the Modern Computer. MIT Press. pp. 157–158. ISBN 9780262033985. 
  14. ^ Grier, David Alan (1998). "The Math Tables Project of the Work Projects Administration: The Reluctant Start of the Computing Era". IEEE Ann. Hist. Comput. 20 (3): 33–50. doi:10.1109/85.707573. ISSN 1058-6180. 
  15. ^ Light, Jennifer S. (1999). "When Computers Were Women". Technology and Culture. 40 (3): 469, 455–483. 
  16. ^ "Irma Wyman". Michigan Engineer, Spring 2010: Women in Engineering. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  17. ^ Booth, Kathleen HV, "Machine language for Automatic Relay Computer", Birkbeck College Computation Laboratory, University of London 
  18. ^ "bug". 1947-09-09. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  19. ^ Lamb, Evelyn. "Mathematics, Live: A Conversation with Evelyn Boyd Granville". Scientific American Blog Network. Retrieved 2016-11-02. 
  20. ^ "Computer Pioneers - Ida Rhodes (Hadassah Itzkowitz)". Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  21. ^ Bird, Peter J. LEO: the First Business Computer. Wokingham: Hasler Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-9521651-0-4. 
  22. ^ "JPL Computers". NASA JPL. 
  23. ^ Conway, Erik (27 March 2007). "Women Made Early Inroads at JPL". NASA/JPL. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. 
  24. ^ Fisher, Lawrence M. "In Memoriam: Jean E. Sammet 1928-2017 | News | Communications of the ACM". Retrieved 2017-06-15. 
  25. ^ Ball, Joan (2012). Just Me. p. 318. ISBN 1312560142. 
  26. ^ Steel, Martha Vickers (2001). "Women in Computing: Experiences and Contributions Within the Emerging Computing Industry" (PDF). Computing History Museum. 
  27. ^ "UW-Madison Computer Science Ph.D.s Awarded, May 1965 - August 1970". UW-Madison Computer Sciences Department. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  28. ^ NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe has commented saying "The concepts she and her team created became the building blocks for modern software engineering. It's an honor to recognize Ms. Hamilton for her extraordinary contributions to NASA.".
  29. ^ NASA Press Release "NASA Honors Apollo Engineer" (September 3, 2003)
  30. ^ Michael Braukus NASA News "NASA Honors Apollo Engineer" (September 3, 2003)
  31. ^ Oakes, Elizabeth H. (2002). International encyclopedia of women scientists. New York, NY: Facts on File. pp. 136–137. ISBN 0816043817. 
  32. ^ Parker, Donn B.; Nycum, Susan (1973). Computer Abuse. Stanford Research Institute. 
  33. ^ Cortada, James W. (2007). The Digital Hand, Vol 3 : How Computers Changed the Work of American Public Sector Industries. Oxford University Press. pp. 133–134, 390. ISBN 978-0-19-803709-5. 
  34. ^ "DoD INTERNET HOST TABLE SPECIFICATION". Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  35. ^ Rosen, Rebecca J.. (2014-03-05) The First Woman to Get a Ph.D. in Computer Science From MIT - Rebecca J. Rosen. The Atlantic. Retrieved on 2014-03-25.
  36. ^ Office, European Patent. "An unsung heroine of the 21st century". Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  37. ^ "VC&G - VC&G Interview: Carol Shaw, The First Female Video Game Developer". 
  38. ^ Smith, Charles R.; Kiefer, Kathleen E.; Gingrich, Patricia S. (1984). "Computers Come of Age in Writing Instruction". Computers and the Humanities. 18 (3/4): 215–224. doi:10.2307/30204332. JSTOR 30204332. 
  39. ^ "Lemelson-MIT Program". Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  40. ^ "Interview with Susan Kare". Retrieved 2017-10-10. 
  41. ^ "Frances ("Fran") Elizabeth Allen". Retrieved 29 January 2018. 
  42. ^ "Donna L. Dubinsky, MBA 1981 - Alumni - Harvard Business School". Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  43. ^ a b "Official ACM Turing award website". ACM. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  44. ^ ACM Awards 1996, ACM.
  45. ^ "About Us - Anita Borg Institute". Anita Borg Institute. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  46. ^ "Lucy Sanders". International Computer Science Institute. 2016. 
  47. ^ "A plan for pugs". O'Reilly Media. 2005-03-03. Retrieved 2017-11-17. 
  48. ^ "Biography of President Maria Klawe". Harvey Mudd College. Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  49. ^ Rieback, M., Crispo, B., Tanenbaum, A., (2006), " Is Your Cat Infected with a Computer Virus?", Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  50. ^ a b "Women in Open Source Awards". Retrieved Feb 3, 2018. 
  51. ^ "Association for Women in Computing". Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^
  55. ^ "The Women's Technology Empowerment Centre – W.TEC". Retrieved 26 October 2014. 

Further readingEdit

  • Cooper, Joel; Weaver, Kimberlee D. (2003). Gender and Computers: Understanding the Digital Divide. Philadelphia: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 0-8058-4427-9. 
  • Galpin, Vashti (2002). "Women in computing around the world". ACM SIGCSE Bulletin. 34 (2): 94–100. doi:10.1145/543812.543839. 
  • Light, Jennifer S. (1999). "When Computers Were Women". Technology and Culture. 40 (3): 455–483. 
  • Margolis, Jane; Fisher, Allan (2002). Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0262632690. 
  • Martin, Ursula. "Women in Computing in the UK". University of St Andrews. Archived from the original on 2003-06-24. 
  • Misa, Thomas J., ed. (2010). Gender Codes: Why Women Are Leaving Computing. Wiley/IEEE Computer Society Press. ISBN 978-0-470-59719-4. 
  • Moses, L. E. (1993). "Our computer science class rooms: Are they friendly to female students?". SIGCSE Bulletin. 25 (3). pp. 3–12. 
  • Natarajan, Priyamvada, "Calculating Women" (review of Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, William Morrow; Dava Sobel, The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars, Viking; and Nathalia Holt, Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars, Little, Brown), The New York Review of Books, vol. LXIV, no. 9 (25 May 2017), pp. 38–39.
  • Newitz, Annalee (ed.); Anders, Charlie (ed.) (2006). She's Such a Geek: Women Write About Science, Technology, and Other Nerdy Stuff. Seal Press. ISBN 978-1580051903. 
  • Varma, Roli; Galindo-Sanchez, Vanessa (2006). "Native American Women in Computing" (PDF). University of New Mexico. 

External linksEdit