It’s women’s history month and while looking for inspiration for a new post I came across this fascinating project by LeAnn Erickson: “Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of World War II”.
LeAnn tells us the story of a group of –commonly relatively unknown female mathematicians– who, in 1942, helped win a war and usher in the modern computer age.
But where are women in technology today? is a question artist, designer and maker Georgia Guthrie poses at the blog MAKE. To understand the issue of the gender gap in tech specifically, she and her team at The Hacktory (Philadelphia, USA) started collecting anecdotal material from those in their community in 2013. These were their questions: In which way do women get support for their interest in technology or why and when do they lose interest in it?
My hope was that themes and patterns would emerge from this information that could be used to form actionable steps to change the situation. (Georgia Guthrie)
The team also asked men about their experiences in the technology world and found to their surprise that men are as affected as women:
One important theme that emerged from the men’s stories was frustration with women asking for help with a technical problem, with the assumption that the men can fix it just because they are men. These stories helped us understand for the first time how our culture’s association of masculinity with technical ability is perpetuated by people of all genders. In my opinion this point is pivotal, because it shows how the problem is systemic and no one single group is to blame for it. (Georgia Guthrie, Where Are the Women?)
Both posts got me inspired to search for hackerspaces for women, online and offline tech workshops, and websites for fe/male tech geeks, which I will introduce you to in the upcoming days. You can help me search the web and/or your local community to find supportive environments for both women and men in the digital and analog world. Just leave a comment with a weblink, have fun exploring and share if you like what you see.