Women In Computing
Written by Sue Gee   
Saturday, 08 March 2014

Today is International Woman's Day. Google has a doodle to celebrate it and the Anita Borg Institute has an infographic about  notable women in computing.

International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8 every year to mark women's achievements and to appreciate their contribution to the world. Although it dates back for over a century  it has only been widely observed since 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to recognize March 8 as the 'Day for women's rights and world peace.'

The official UN theme for International Women's day 2014 is 'equality for women is progress for all' and it therefore seeks to take action in areas where women have been underrepresented or sidelined.

Google's Doodle, displayed on March 7, plays a video which:

features a host of inspiring women from around the world, including the President of Lithuania, a brave Pakistani education activist, an ever-curious explorer, and dozens more. 

All of them give the greeting Happy International Women's Day in their native languages and Google also provides a cast list  in order of appearance:



Although Google Doodles may seem like a bit of fun it seems that Google has been guilty of neglecting the achievements and accomplishments of women. Findings from SPARK, a "girl-fueled activist movement" dug through the archives to determine just how many doodles honored women and found that out of 445 Google Doodles that celebrated people's accomplishments over  the 4 years from 2010, only 77 (17.3%) were female.

Since this revelation Google has resolved to fix the imbalance in its Doodles to have men an women equally represented and so far this year has produced doodles for as many women as men.

Computing is currently an area where women are seriously underrepresented, although organisations such as Anita Borg Institute are actively campaigning to change this state of affairs.  In celebration of International Women’s Day it has produced an infographic containing some of women’s important contributions to computing. womencomputing

 Source: Anita Borg Institute

 (click for larger, higher quality version)


Do you recognize all the names?

Certainly those of Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper are well known and we at least have a mention (and a photo) of Adele Goldberg.

You might recognize the iconic photo of Betty Jenninngs and Fran Bilas standing next to ENIAC. 


Betty Jean Jennings (left) and Fran Bilas with ENIAC


Until this week I'd not heard of Irene Grief but that was remedied thanks to an article this week in The Atlantic, The First Woman to Get a Ph.D. in Computer Science From MIT.

All the women in the infographic serve as role models and, together with increasing awareness of the needs for gender equality, let's hope that computing doesn't continue to be a blackspot. After all, when it comes to meeting the projects skills gap, "Equality for women is progress for all".  



More Information

International Women's Day

Anita Borg Institute Famous Women In Computing

The First Woman to Get a Ph.D. in Computer Science From MIT

Related Articles

Visualizing the Gender Gap in Computer Science

Google Doodle Celebrates Grace Hopper's Birthday

Ada Lovelace, The First Programmer

Grace Hopper, The Mother of Cobol


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Last Updated ( Saturday, 08 March 2014 )