Sunday, January 9, 2011


Thanks to metafilter, I found this set of pictures of a data center room from back in the day (late 1960's). It looks like many, if not most, of the computer operators (but not the programmers) were women. Some of that comes from the cultural categorization of that sort of computer operations work as 'clerical'.

I'd like to think that some of it goes back to a number of computer pioneers being women back when "computer" was a job title for a person, not the name of a machine. It looks like the folks are trying to get a documentary made about the women who did the initial programming on the ENIAC, and they're taking donations.

Women keep being part of tech and hacking and history and repeatedly forgotten. Every once in a while there's a spate of stories in media about "OH MY GOD! LOOK! WOMEN NERDS AND WOMEN HACKERS!" And every time, it seems like they're newly discovering it. We're here. We've always been here, and we're *still* here, not just newly arriving. But somehow, we're never quite remembered as having been there.

Never introduced, they never became a part of history. Forty years later, Kathy Kleiman was told that the women in pictures with ENIAC (1946) were "Refrigerator Ladies," models posed in front of the machine.

Back to the present and into the future... The CCC (that's chaos computer club not concourse computer center) is having their conference right now, which led to a wired article I just read about the Haecksen group of women hackers. Yay more women hackers! We're here -- still here, not just newly arrived.

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Regis has worked as a network engineer since 1994 for small companies and for large companies.