We've always been here: Women changemakers in tech

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Steve Jobs. Linus Torvalds. Alan Turing.

Been there, done that.

The interesting stories often aren’t the ones we grew up with; they’re the ones we’ve left behind. When it comes to tech, that means its women, and especially its women of color. And while there’s been a greater emphasis lately on rediscovering women’s contributions to technology, we need to expand our focus beyond just Grace Hopper and Ada Lovelace.

From Radia Perlman to Sophie Wilson to Erica Baker, let's explore both tech’s forgotten heroes and its modern-day pioneers, and help end the silent erasure of women in technology.

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We've always been here: Women changemakers in tech

  1. 1. WE’VE ALWAYS BEEN HERE Hilary Stohs-Krause @hilarysk Ten Forward Consulting, Madison, WI women changemakers in tech
  2. 2. @hilarysk 1. Who Needs Women, Anyway? 2. From Clerical to Cool 3. The Changemakers - Celebrated - Unsung - Present 4. How to Stay Woke
  3. 3. @hilarysk 1. Who Needs Women, Anyway?
  4. 4. @hilarysk “It really amazed me that these men were programmers, because I thought it was women’s work!” – Elsie Shutt, hired in 19531
  5. 5. @hilarysk
  6. 6. @hilarysk WHO NEEDS WOMEN, ANYWAY? ● The bottom line2,3 - 35% more likely to outperform - 45% more likely to report market share growth - 70% more likely to report captured new market ● Better software2 ● Mentors and role models4 ● Raising women raises everyone5,6
  7. 7. @hilarysk “Because of the male shortage and the added attractiveness of paying women less, they rather reluctantly began to hire women as computers … it seemed that the more physically attractive a woman was, the more likely she was to get hired.” – Dr. Beverly E. Golemba15
  8. 8. @hilarysk 2. From Clerical to Cool
  9. 9. @hilarysk 2. From Clerical to Cool
  10. 10. @hilarysk 2. From Clerical to Cool
  11. 11. @hilarysk “As late as the 1960s, many people perceived computer programming as a natural career choice for savvy young women.” – Dr. Brenda D. Frink, Stanford University7
  12. 12. @hilarysk FROM CLERICAL TO COOL ● When women were literal “computers” ● Aptitude tests, personality profiles7 ● PCs, gaming and tech genius trope, oh my!8,9 ● Men increase == prestige (and pay) increase10
  13. 13. @hilarysk 9
  14. 14. @hilarysk 11
  15. 15. @hilarysk 3. The Changemakers: Celebrated
  16. 16. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: CELEBRATED Ada Lovelace, 1815 to 1852 ● First computer program12 ● Saw that binary could be more than numbers12 ● “The science of operations, as derived from mathematics more especially, is a science of itself, and has its own abstract truth and value.”13
  17. 17. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: CELEBRATED Grace Hopper, 1906 to 1992 ● PhD. in mathematics ● 1952: wrote first compiler13 ● Helped create COBOL13 ● Retired at age 79 as rear admiral14
  18. 18. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: CELEBRATED Dorothy Vaughan, 1910 to 2008 ● "I changed what I could, and what I couldn't, I endured."15 ● Fortran expert15 ● First black supervisor16 ● Championed other women16
  19. 19. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: CELEBRATED The women of ENIAC, 1946 ● First all-electronic digital computer41 ● Fran Bilas, Betty Jennings, Kay McNulty, Ruth Lichterman, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Wescoff41 ● 3,000 switches; 18,000 vacuum tubes41 ● Candlelit dinner for men; women left out42
  20. 20. @hilarysk 3. The Changemakers: Unsung
  21. 21. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: UNSUNG Dr. Marjorie Lee Browne, 1914 to 1979 ● PhD. in mathematics19 ● One of first computers used in academic setting (1960)19 ● Encouraged women and students of color to pursue math20
  22. 22. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: CELEBRATED Radia Perlman, 1951 to -- ● “Mother of the Internet”37 ● Spanning tree protocol in 198538 ● Mother was programmer37 ● Author37
  23. 23. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: UNSUNG Margaret Hamilton, 1936 to -- ● On-board flight control software for NASA’s Apollo and Skylab missions17 ● Coined term “software engineer”18 ● Asynchronous software, priority scheduling, end-to-end testing17
  24. 24. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: UNSUNG Annie Easley, 1933 to 2011 ● Taught neighbors how to pass Jim Crow voting tests44 ● “If I can’t work with you, I will work around you.”43 ● Worked on one of first computer programs for navigation in space (Centaur project)44
  25. 25. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: UNSUNG Dr. Erna Schneider Hoover, 1926 to -- ● Received one of first ever patents for software22 ● First woman technical supervisor at Bell Labs ● National Inventors Hall of Fame22
  26. 26. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: UNSUNG Karen Spärck Jones, 1935 to 2007 ● "Computing is too important to be left to men."24 ● Introduced inverse document frequency24 ● English instead of equations
  27. 27. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: UNSUNG Mary Kenneth Keller, 1913 to 1985 ● First doctorate in computer science in US25 ● Helped develop BASIC25 ● “We’re having an information explosion … and it’s certainly obvious that information is of no use unless it’s available.”26
  28. 28. @hilarysk 3. The Changemakers: Present
  29. 29. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: PRESENT Corrine Yu ● Game programmer for Apple II36 ● Space Shuttle Program coder35 ● Microsoft patent for lighting work on Halo 436 ● Programmer for Amazon drones35
  30. 30. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: PRESENT Sophie Wilson, 1957 to -- ● Designed Acorn System 1 (1979)21 ● Developed ARM processor core21
  31. 31. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: PRESENT Window Snyder, 1976 to -- ● Literally wrote book on threat modeling29 ● Described as “sheriff for the Internet”29 ● Microsoft, Mozilla (Firefox), Apple29
  32. 32. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: PRESENT Tracy Chou, 1987 to -- ● 1st generation American28 ● Created movement to collect/publish tech diversity data28 ● #8 employee at Pinterest
  33. 33. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: PRESENT Sarah Mei ● Co-founder of RailsBridge30 ● Bridge Foundry30 ● Prolific speaker30 ● Organizer for RailsConf and RubyConf30
  34. 34. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: PRESENT Erica Baker ● Senior engineer at Slack; formerly Google31 ● Created internal salary spreadsheet32 ● “I can’t turn off my black.”31 ● Project Include31
  35. 35. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: PRESENT Yoky Matsouka, 1972 to -- ● One of three founding members of Google X33 ● Nest thermostat34 ● MacArthur “genius” award winner34
  36. 36. @hilarysk THE CHANGEMAKERS: PRESENT Parisa Tabriz, 1984 to -- ● “Browser boss” for Google Chrome39 ● Heads team of ~30 “hackers”40 ● Grew up without a computer40
  37. 37. @hilarysk 4. How to Stay Woke
  38. 38. @hilarysk HOW TO STAY WOKE ● Curated Twitter list: https://twitter.com/hilarysk/lists/women-in-tech ● Organize a Wikipedia edit-a-thon ● Support - or attend - local women in tech group ● Volunteer at a bootcamp (38% of students are women27 ) ● Hire women (especially women of color)
  39. 39. @hilarysk CITATIONS 1. http://www.startupdaily.net/2015/02/women-didnt-just-recently-start-coding-actually-stopped-coding-decades-ago/ 2. https://hbr.org/2013/12/how-diversity-can-drive-innovation 3. http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters 4. http://www.isaca.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/Breaking-Gender-Barriers_res_eng_0317.PDF 5. http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/economic-empowerment/facts-and-figures 6. http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21667949-world-would-be-much-richer-place-if-more-women-had-paying-jobs-power 7. http://gender.stanford.edu/news/2011/researcher-reveals-how-%E2%80%9Ccomputer-geeks%E2%80%9D-replaced-%E2%80%9Ccomputergi rls%E2%80%9D 8. http://www.startupdaily.net/2015/02/women-didnt-just-recently-start-coding-actually-stopped-coding-decades-ago/ 9. http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2014/10/21/357629765/when-women-stopped-coding 10. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/20/upshot/as-women-take-over-a-male-dominated-field-the-pay-drops.html 11. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-men-took-over-tech_us_57bb3ac4e4b03d513689e0e4l 12. http://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-ada-lovelace 13. http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/ada-lovelace-the-first-tech-visionary 14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper 15. https://crgis.ndc.nasa.gov/crgis/images/c/c7/Golemba.pdf 16. https://www.nasa.gov/content/dorothy-vaughan-biography 17. https://www.nasa.gov/50th/50th_magazine/scientists.html 18. https://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2003/sep/HQ_03281_Hamilton_Honor.html 19. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjorie_Lee_Browne 20. http://www.biography.com/people/marjorie-lee-browne-5602 21. http://www.computerhistory.org/fellowawards/hall/sophie-wilson/
  40. 40. @hilarysk CITATIONS 22. http://lemelson.mit.edu/resources/erna-schneider-hoover 23. https://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/handle/11299/107291/oh017af.pdf 24. http://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/profiles/computer-science-a-womans-work 25. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Kenneth_Keller 26. https://www.nwhm.org/blog/celebrating-computing-women-part-iv-2/ 27. https://www.fastcompany.com/3050171/where-are-the-women-in-tech-coding-bootcamps 28. http://www.vogue.com/article/pinterest-tracy-chou-silicon-valley 29. https://www.the-parallax.com/2016/07/06/one-woman-window-snyder-protects-almost-whole-internet 30. http://www.sarahmei.com/blog/about/ 31. https://techcrunch.com/2016/02/02/slacks-erica-baker-on-heads-of-diversity-and-the-need-for-inclusion-in-tech/ 32. https://www.recode.net/2015/8/27/11618068/recode-decode-erica-baker-talks-about-her-grand-google-salary 33. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoky_Matsuoka 34. https://www.wired.com/2015/04/yoky-matsuoka/ 35. http://www.polygon.com/2015/4/28/8507543/Corrinne-yu-amazon-halo-naughty-dog 36. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrinne_Yu 37. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/03/radia-perlman-dont-call-me-the-mother-of-the-internet/284146/z 38. http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/mt/archives/2011/04/profile_of_radi.php 39. https://www.linkedin.com/in/parisa-tabriz-a676472/ 40. http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/13/tech/parisa-tabriz-security-princess-google-hack/ 41. http://www.witi.com/ 42. http://fortune.com/2014/09/18/walter-isaacson-the-women-of-eniac/
  41. 41. @hilarysk CITATIONS 43. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/annie-easley-computer-scientist 44. Ignotofsky, Rachel. Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World. N.p.: Hachette, 2017. Print.

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