The Impact of Women in Computer Science History: A Post-War American History

Karina Mochetti


Women have always played an important role in Computer Science findings, but their importance has always been overshadowed by men. Nowadays, men outnumber women by 3 times on computing occupations in the US, but still women prove to be essential on the development of technological fields. This work intends to place women at the forefront of computer science’s history. In order to demonstrate that their work was essential for the development of current technologies, a broad historical overview is given. This overview is chronologically and thematically structured in several periods, from the early computer machines (before 1900) to our current digital society (after 2010). Finally, an outlook on the role of women in computing is given. A detailed discussion of individual contributions by women would go beyond the scope of this work. Nor can a sociological analysis of the reasons for the gender gap be provided. Nevertheless, the work wants to be more than a mere quantitative enumeration of women’s contributions to computer sciences. The essay wants to plea for the integration of these women in the literature, i.e., in the historiography of computer sciences, which requires to reconsider the self-image of this discipline.


Women in Computing; Gender Gap; Diversity; History of Computing

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Copyright (c) 2019 Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science

ISSN: 2526-2270

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