Recoding Gender Women's Changing Participation in Computing

ISBN-10: 0262018063
ISBN-13: 9780262018067
Edition: 2012
Authors: Janet Abbate
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Description: Today, women earn a relatively low percentage of computer science degrees and hold proportionately few technical computing jobs. Meanwhile, the stereotype of the male "computer geek" seems to be everywhere in popular culture. Few people know that  More...

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Book details

List price: $36.00
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 10/5/2012
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 264
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.100
Language: English

Today, women earn a relatively low percentage of computer science degrees and hold proportionately few technical computing jobs. Meanwhile, the stereotype of the male "computer geek" seems to be everywhere in popular culture. Few people know that women were a significant presence in the early decades of computing in both the United States and Britain. Indeed, programming in postwar years was considered woman's work (perhaps in contrast to the more manly task of building the computers themselves). In Recoding Gender, Janet Abbate explores the untold history of women in computer science and programming from the Second World War to the late twentieth century. Demonstrating how gender has shaped the culture of computing, she offers a valuable historical perspective on today's concerns over women's underrepresentation in the field. Abbate describes the experiences of women who worked with the earliest electronic digital computers: Colossus, the wartime codebreaking computer at Bletchley Park outside London, and the American ENIAC, developed to calculate ballistics. She examines postwar methods for recruiting programmers, and the 1960s redefinition of programming as the more masculine "software engineering." She describes the social and business innovations of two early software entrepreneurs, Elsie Shutt and Stephanie Shirley; and she examines the career paths of women in academic computer science. Abbate's account of the bold and creative strategies of women who loved computing work, excelled at it, and forged successful careers will provide inspiration for those working to change gendered computing culture.

Janet Abbate is Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech and the author of Inventing the Internet (MIT Press, 1999).

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Rediscovering Women's History in Computing
Breaking Codes and Finding Trajectories: Women at the Dawn of the Digital Age
Seeking the Perfect Programmer: Gender and Skill in Early Data Processing
Software Crisis or Identity Crisis? Gender, Labor, and Programming Methods
Female Entrepreneurs: Reimagining Software as a Business
Gender in Academic Computing: Alternative Career Paths and Norms
Appendix: Oral History Interviews Conducted for This Project
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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