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The History of Women in Computing at Ruby on Ales

The History of Women in Computing at Ruby on Ales

This is a co-presented talk with [Elise Worthy](https://speakerdeck.com/eliseworthy/). Elise covers history up until the 1970's and Jessica covers the 1970's onward.

Computer programming was once seen as "women's work." Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, Adele Goldberg, and others played pivotal roles in paving the way for today's computing professions. So why then do we see so few women in our community? We'll cover the history of women in computing, possible causes of the gender imbalance, and ideas for how our community can shape a future that includes more women.

Jessica Lynn Suttles

March 08, 2013

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  1. the history of women in computing Saturday, March 9, 13

    Image: http://www.nsf.gov/cise/csbytes/newsletter/images/1952_hopper-grace_large.jpg
  2. @jlsuttles Jessica Lynn Suttles Saturday, March 9, 13 * this

    is what my face looks like on the internet
  3. Wabi & Sabi Saturday, March 9, 13 * i live

    in santa monica with my cats wabi & sabi * cats are people too
  4. Saturday, March 9, 13 * i love being a software

    engineer * i work at g5 here in bend, or
  5. https://github.com/g5/microformats2 Saturday, March 9, 13 * microformats are carefully designed

    HTML class names that extend the semantics of HTML * enable authors to publish higher semantic fidelity content * more info: http://microformats.org/wiki/microformats-2
  6. the history of women in computing Saturday, March 9, 13

    Image: http://www.nsf.gov/cise/csbytes/newsletter/images/1952_hopper-grace_large.jpg
  7. Saturday, March 9, 13 Programming as we know it has

    pretty pedestrian roots. Many of us know about the inefficient punchcard computers of our past. Until starting to do research for this project, I had no idea where they first were used. In fact, punchcard programming dates back to the early 19th century. And, if you can imagine the required uses of programming back then, it’s no surprise that the technological innovations of the day were primarily industrial. image: http://blog.needsupply.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/silk-weaving-th-local-history-collection.jpg
  8. jacquard loom 1801 Saturday, March 9, 13 The idea originated

    with the Jacquard Loom, and the punched cards dictated patterns to be woven into the cloth. Of course, this was very rudimentary. The cards controlled a sequence of actions, but there was no computation controlled by the cards. The Jacquard Loom in and of itself isn’t that interesting, however it was the stepping stone for something much more impacting to history. Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b6/Jacquard_loom_p1040320.jpg
  9. analytical engine 1837 Saturday, March 9, 13 The Jacquard Loom

    paved the way for the Analytical Engine. It adapted the punch card idea to the first general-purpose computer. The Analytical Engine was proposed by Charles Babbage, who was an English mathematician. Although only theoretical in its time, the actual machine was recently completed. It was Turing Complete and had an arithmetic logic unit, control flow for conditional branching and loops, and integrated memory for storage of data. I love the story of the Analytical Engine because it’s so juicy. It was never completed due to lack of funding and conflict between Babbage and the chief engineer. Image: http://ds.haverford.edu/bitbybit/bit-by-bit-contents/chapter-two/2-7-the-analytical-engine/
  10. ada lovelace Saturday, March 9, 13 Additionally, the Analytical Engine

    was worked on by Ada Lovelace. Ada was a mathematician and the daughter of Lord Byron. From what I’ve read, she also seems like quite a saucy character. Image: http://www.girlguides.co.za/images/stories/News/Misc/AdaLovelace.jpg
  11. Saturday, March 9, 13 Consider her dad, Lord Byron. Lord

    Byron was a famous poet. When I searched for his work, I got a whole bunch of quotes and love, art, and emotion. Of course, he left Ada’s mom, so I don’t believe there was much time for transference of soft skills! Image: http://content.answcdn.com/main/content/img/getty/2/5/2634125.jpg
  12. Saturday, March 9, 13 Instead Ada turned out to be

    a genius mathematician. Hah! Take that, dad. Anyway, Ada is recognized as the first computer programmer, as she wrote a program show how the Analytical Engine could calculate a sequence of Bernoulli numbers. I looked them up and couldn’t even understand the Wikipedia article, so don’t ask me to explain what she did. This is some hardcore math. Image: http://www.girlguides.co.za/images/stories/News/Misc/AdaLovelace.jpg
  13. Saturday, March 9, 13 But back to the saucy story,

    because I think this is worth remembering. Babbage and Loveless were pretty entrepreneurial. I mentioned that they didn’t have enough money to build the Analytical Engine. Well, what better way to get rich than go to the racetrack? Of course the pair wanted to apply logic to horse racing, but their statistics didn’t pan out. Ada ended up pawning her jewelry to get out of debt. Luckily for us, before the project went down in flames, Ada wrote the working program for the Bernoulli number calculation and made history. Image: http://www.art-gifts-direct.co.uk/ Source: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/2657
  14. Saturday, March 9, 13 http://content.answcdn.com/main/content/img/getty/7/6/52044176.jpg * first-wave feminism focused mainly

    on suffrage and overturning legal obstacles to gender equality (i.e. voting rights, property rights)
  15. Saturday, March 9, 13 But by WWII, the US military

    had fully grasped how technology could be used to its further its motives. WWII undeniably shaped programming and marks a beginning for women in programming in the United States. Image: http://www.learnnc.org/lp/media/uploads/2009/10/ussshaw.jpg
  16. waves 1942 Saturday, March 9, 13 On July 30, 1942,

    in response to men being called into active duty and a shortage for at-home duties, WAVES became a women-only division of the US Navy. WAVES stands for women accepted for volunteer emergency service. ‘Emergency service’ meant that women were only accepted because of the unusual circumstances of WWII, and that women would not continue Navy careers after the war. Image: http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/wwii-waves-poster-granger.jpg
  17. ` Saturday, March 9, 13 hired as computer to being

    the first women programmers. the first programmers of the ENIAC, to calculate artillery firing tables, were all women.
  18. grace hopper Saturday, March 9, 13 Included in the group

    of women who took a leave of absence from their jobs to participate in the war effort was Grace Hopper. Grace Hopper had graduate degrees in math and physics and was a professor at Vassar. Because of her academic and professional achievements, she came into the military with authority, starting out as a lieutenant. Because of the military’s rigid rank protocol, which is conjectured to have abated the prejudice that Hopper faced. Additionally, Hopper’s freedom was aided by the novelty of the computing profession. Because computing was a new discipline, there was more cultural confusion and undefined roles relating to gender stereotypes. Image: http://24.media.tumblr.com/6d366345bc0a31e76d428c2e21e7bdbe/tumblr_mgyl2juekD1qz4tnco1_500.jpg
  19. post-war Saturday, March 9, 13 After the war, Hopper permanently

    resigned from teaching at Vassar, despite pressure for women to step down during post-war demobilization. She was denied entry into the Navy, but joined the Naval Reserve to aid in the establishment of the Harvard Computation Lab. The most common story I’ve heard of is Grace Hopper being the person to coin the term “bug” because of a moth that got caught in one of the large computers. After learning a lot more about her, it is a shame that that’s the most common story, because Grace Hopper’s impact on programming is far more significant. Image: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h96000/h96921.jpg
  20. mother of COBOL Saturday, March 9, 13 Hopper’s achievements are

    substantial. While at the Harvard Computer Lab, she was one of the first programmers of the Mark I. The Mark I was slow - it could only perform 3 operations a second. She focused on improving efficiency relentlessly. Her interest in increasing efficiency lead her to create the first compiler for the UNIVAC in 1952, despite a cold reception to the new idea. Until then, all coding had been done in machine code, a time-consuming and often frustrating activity. The ability to write English words to get the job done was a great advance in computer science, although it met with strong resistance from engineers at the time. During the same time, she wrote papers which would become the foundation for high-level languages. As the director of automatic computing for Remington Rand, her department released the first compiler-based programs, which, combined with other work from IBM, became the foundation for COBOL. Image: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h96000/h96921.jpg resource: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/2657
  21. one of the first high-level languages fortran and lisp in

    the same 3 year period. Saturday, March 9, 13
  22. late 1990s 80% of all code 50% of new apps

    95% of finance data Saturday, March 9, 13 http://www.csee.umbc.edu/courses/graduate/631/Fall2002/COBOL.pdf
  23. org xor ax, ax mov ds, ax mov si, msg

    boot_loop:lodsb or al, al jz go_flag mov ah, 0x0E int 0x10 jmp boot_loop go_flag: jmp go_flag msg db 'Hello, world', 13, 10, 0 times 510-($-$$) db 0 db 0x55 db 0xAA Saturday, March 9, 13
  24. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Leffler_-_WomensLib1970_WashingtonDC.jpg Saturday, March 9, 13 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Leffler_-_WomensLib1970_WashingtonDC.jpg # Jessica’s notes *

    first began in the early 1960s and lasted through the early 1980s in the United States, and eventually spread throughout the Western world * second-wave feminism broadened the debate to a wide range of issues: sexuality, family, the workplace, reproductive rights, de facto inequalities, and official legal inequalities.
  25. 1970s Saturday, March 9, 13 * the second-wave feminist movement

    took a prominent role within society in the US * women are not equals * 1970: marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment (female suffrage) * Equal Rights Amendment - designed to guarantee equal rights for women - 1972: passed in both houses of Congress - went on to the state legislatures for ratification * 1973: Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade and constitutionalized right to abortion
  26. Saturday, March 9, 13 * large numbers of women were

    entering STEM (aka science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields * feminist movement increased interest in having a professional career * feminist movement increased interest in having careers in traditionally male-dominated fields * this is particularly apparent in computer science * computer science is a new and exciting field * the first computer science department was founded at Purdue in 1962 * image: http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/highlite/other/womenbach.htm
  27. Adele Goldberg Saturday, March 9, 13 * Adele Goldberg was

    a researcher at Xerox PARC * image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pcforum/5711666761/
  28. Saturday, March 9, 13 * earlier today Evan Light attributed

    Smalltalk to Alan Kay, but Goldberg played an instrumental role * Goldberg participated in the design & development Smalltalk-80 * object-oriented, dynamically typed, reflective language * this may sound familiar (Ruby) * image: http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/73/42/0507224128a00036d10e8010.L.jpg
  29. Saturday, March 9, 13 * Ruby has a lot of

    Smalltalk-like features * image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby_(programming_language)
  30. Ruby is a language designed in the following steps: *

    take a simple lisp language (like one prior to CL). * remove macros, s-expression. * add simple object system (much simpler than CLOS). * add blocks, inspired by higher order functions. * add methods found in Smalltalk. * add functionality found in Perl (in OO way). So, Ruby was a Lisp originally, in theory. Let's call it MatzLisp from now on. ;-) matz. Saturday, March 9, 13 * matz wrote this in a mailing list in a response to how Ruby is different from LISP in 2006 * source: http://blade.nagaokaut.ac.jp/cgi-bin/scat.rb/ruby/ruby-talk/179642
  31. Saturday, March 9, 13 * Goldberg and her team developed

    many of the concepts that became the basis for GUIs * this replaced earlier command line based systems * Steve Jobs demanded a demonstration of the Smalltalk System * Goldberg refused, understanding it’s value, but her superiors ordered her to * Apple eventually used many of the ideas as the basis for their Macintosh desktop * image: http://www.abclinuxu.cz/clanky/programovani/vyvojove-prostredi-davnoveku-smalltalk-80
  32. Saturday, March 9, 13 * personal computers were expensive and

    not integrated into everyday life * the golden age of video arcade games * video arcade games are closest most people get to interacting with computers * 1972: Pong - Atari * image: http://timesillustrated.com/2012/11/29/ataris-pong-is-released/
  33. Saturday, March 9, 13 * 1979: Asteroids - Atari *

    image: http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/spacewar/asteroids-2.png
  34. Saturday, March 9, 13 * 1978: Space Invaders - designed

    by Tomohiro Nishikado, manufactured by Taito in Japan * image: http://www.platformnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/SpaceInvaders-090910_01.jpg
  35. 1980s Saturday, March 9, 13 * some ground gained by

    feminist in the 60s and 70s was lost * 1982: Equal Rights Amendment fails to pass * women continued to enter undergraduate programs & the workforce in larger numbers * in an effort to disassociate marital status from name & title: - women began to keep their maiden names - instead of Mrs. (Misses) or Miss. (Miss) women start to use Ms. (Mizz) * 1984: Sandra Day O’Connor first woman appointed to the supreme court * personal computers experienced explosive growth * Commodore 64 became the best-selling computer model of all time
  36. Saturday, March 9, 13 * the number of women in

    computing continues to grow! * image: http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/highlite/other/womenbach.htm
  37. Elizabeth Feinler Saturday, March 9, 13 * Elizabeth Feinler is

    an information scientist at the Stanford Research Institute * her group became the overall naming authority of the Internet * developed and managed the name registries of the top-level domains - .mil, .gov, .edu, .org, and .com * image: http://sloan.stanford.edu/mousesite/gallery/photos/w11.html
  38. Adele Goldberg Saturday, March 9, 13 * 1984-1986: Adele Goldberg

    served as president of ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) * image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pcforum/5711666761/
  39. Saturday, March 9, 13 * then something strange happens (mention

    green line again) * women stop entering & start leaving computer science * this doesn’t happen in other fields * in the beginning computer science programs arouse out of diverse departments * as computer science matured it found a home in engineering departments (see bottom line) * http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/highlite/other/womenbach.htm
  40. Saturday, March 9, 13 * 1982: Ms. Pac-Man - Midway

    Manufacturing (not Namco the Pac-Man licensor) * image: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2006/12/percentage-of-chart-which-resembles-ms-pac-man.html
  41. Saturday, March 9, 13 * 1981: Donkey Kong - Nintendo

    * featured a male protagonist & a damsel in distress * image: http://gamesdbase.com/Media/SYSTEM/Arcade/GameOver/big/Donkey_Kong_-_1981_-_Nintendo.jpg
  42. Saturday, March 9, 13 * 1985: Super Mario Bros -

    Nintendo * featured a male protagonist & a damsel in distress * countless other games have this same theme * image: http://legendsoflocalization.com/media/super-mario-bros/names/princess.png
  43. Saturday, March 9, 13 * 1989: Game Boy - Nintendo

    * gaming becomes more ingrained in everyday life * now games fit in your pocket * its not a Game Girl * http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c6/Nintendo_Gameboy.jpg/350px-Nintendo_Gameboy.jpg
  44. Saturday, March 9, 13 * 1984: Revenge of the Nerds

    * image of the stereotypical nerd appears in popular culture * image: http://haphazard-stuff.blogspot.com/2012/12/revenge-of-nerds-1984-review.html
  45. 1990s Saturday, March 9, 13 * 1992: “Year of the

    Woman”: record number of women are elected to high office in the US * first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton travels abroad as State Department representative * Madeline Albright becomes US Secretary of State * Janet Reno becomes US Attorney General * Ruth Bader Ginsburg becomes the second woman on the Supreme Court
  46. Saturday, March 9, 13 * a third-wave of feminism begins

    * just to be clear waves of feminism are not about popularity * they are driven by philosophically different ideas * but that is outside the scope of this talk * image: http://thinktankbradenton.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/feb-10-third-wave-feminism-sexuality-and-sexual-politics/
  47. Saturday, March 9, 13 * the last wave of feminism

    caused an increase in women in computing * but this time women continue to leave computing, though not quite as many * image: http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/highlite/other/womenbach.htm
  48. Saturday, March 9, 13 * Jane Margolis - a social

    scientist studying gender and education * Allan Fisher - the founding dean of the undergraduate program in computer science * began a study at Carnegie Mellon University to try to understand the gender imbalance * they interviewed 100 computer science students of both genders over a period of 5 years
  49. Saturday, March 9, 13 * made some changes to admission

    standards (none of which were gender specific): - kept high GRE scores - added emphasis on leadership qualities - dropped requirement for prior programming experience - added some catch-up courses to level out background differences * image: http://price.mit.edu/blog/tag/computer-science/
  50. Saturday, March 9, 13 * the retention rate after two

    years also dramatically increased * image: http://price.mit.edu/blog/tag/computer-science/
  51. 2000s Saturday, March 9, 13 * history requires amount of

    perspective, so it’s hard to make sweeping statements
  52. Saturday, March 9, 13 * we’re almost back to where

    we started! * notice that there is a general trending upwards of all the other fields * image: http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/highlite/other/womenbach.htm
  53. Saturday, March 9, 13 * the nerd in popular culture

    got a makeover * but he is still not someone that women connect with http://theboken.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/socialnetwork.jpg
  54. Fran Allen Saturday, March 9, 13 * 2006: Fran Allen

    (already first woman IBM Fellow) - first woman in 40 years to win Turing Award from ACM - for her work in high performance computing - considered the Nobel Prize of computing * image: http://www.princeton.edu/~archss/Photos.htm
  55. Barbara Liskov Single responsibility Open/closed Liskov substitution Interface segregation Dependency

    inversion Saturday, March 9, 13 * 2008: Barbara Liskov - awarded Turning Award from ACM - for her work in the design of programming languages - Liskov Substitution Principle is the L in SOLID Principles of OO Design introduced by Michael Feathers
  56. Saturday, March 9, 13 * hacker school 2012 * etsy

    hacker, 37 signals, & yammer provided grants to women * made sure to get the word out to women * the turn out was great, WAY too many applied
  57. http://railsgirls.com/ “Our aim is to give tools and a community

    for women to understand technology and to build their ideas. We do this by providing a great experience on building things and by making technology more approachable.” Saturday, March 9, 13 * women are given priority, but men are welcome * foster a very fun, supportive environment
  58. Saturday, March 9, 13 * it turns out when you

    host an event specifically for women a lot of them show up * image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jessicaspacekat/8424859890/in/set-72157632631292315
  59. Saturday, March 9, 13 * the turn out for coaches

    was great to, so teams were small * image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jessicaspacekat/8424858432/in/set-72157632631292315
  60. http://workshops.railsbridge.org/ “RailsBridge is an organization that works to increase diversity

    in tech by putting on a variety of awesome free events. Our most well-known efforts are free weekend workshops where women learn Ruby on Rails from volunteers.” Saturday, March 9, 13 * very similar to Rails Girls * there was one here on Wednesday, I hope you went * I was working :(
  61. Saturday, March 9, 13 * GDI is another great program

    with a wider focus * there are LOTS of these programs springing up * get involved