Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The First Computer Programmer Was a Woman?

Ada Lovelace Day

Augusta Ada Lovelace, the “enchantress of numbers” wrote the first computer program in 1842.  Computer Science is a field heavily populated with male professionals.  Women have been known to shy away from computer science professions as the media portrays computer scientists as geeky, socially awkward, and unattractive.

So today, being Ada Lovelace Day, highlights women in science technology, engineering and math;which is hugely dominated by men.  Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, the poet, was split from her mother shortly after her birth.

Being the first tech visionary, her mother encouraged her to peruse math and her poet father encouraged her to be creative.  This conjured up the first programmer.
“Lovelace is an unusual example of a woman for her time because she was not only allowed to learn mathematics but encouraged to learn mathematics,” Aurora said. “She shows what women can do when given a chance.”
Ada called herself ” an Analyst(&Metaphysician)” in which she understood the befit of combining functionality and complexity to her developments. Soon to be  responsible for computer software, artificial intelligence and computer music.

Computer science involves highly technical, engineering, and mathematical skills.

Women make up only 27% of computer occupations which is  a drop from 34% in 1990.  Although, the first computer programmer was a woman, women use the internet for social gains.


Females look at computers for benefits in social status, while men view computers as a tool.

With the computer science field heavily populated with men, the thought of pursuing education in the field may be intimidating to most women.  It is well known in society that men make more money than women in professional fields.

According to the College Board, 2,594 girls and 12,068 boys took the AP computer Science A exam in 2011, and 517 girls and 4,422 boys took the advanced AP Computer Science AB exam.  Both girls and boys scored an average of the same on their test scores.

When girls are told they are not as good on the subject, it is found they score 32% less on the exams.

Benefits of Gender Diversity

More women in the computer science industry has its advantages.

From a IT industry’s standpoint, gender diversity is beneficial giving innovative ideas when group-thinking.  Gender diverse groups help businesses to produce better decision making skills, increase creativity, and innovative performances.

When a group becomes homogenized, it hinders groupthink and stagnates the workforce.

There is a perception among women, their male peers, and professors  would see them as needing “extra help” to get through their course.  What is not realized, while women may sometimes need extra help getting functions of computer science down, they are gaining access to peer networks more readily available then male students.

Women can be just as technical as men, but they also require advocacy to be happy in their career.  Women feel alone and at a loss in technical fields because of the lack of networks and mentors.  People that work in the technical field often work alone just as a computer stands alone.  When their is no support system, women decline in talent and opportunities in career advancement.  Women that are provided with support needed from a team or company, are promoted to more senior rolls and become major players in advancement and senior tech roles.


As we look back on the first computer programmer being a woman, changing our lives to the means in which we live today.  We still hold this perception of women not fitting into the computer scientist world.  It is women and society that holds them back, here is a fantastic Infographic showing just how perceptions disguise how successful women can be in the innovative world of computer science.


What are your thoughts on women in the computer industry?  We would love to hear from you! Please leave your comments below.

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A Day to Remember the First Computer Programmer Was a Woman – NY Times
October 15, 2013

Why Aren’t Women Interested in Computer Science? – The Wall Street Journal
October 16, 2013

Why Are Girls Not Pursuing Computer Science Degrees? – Edudemic

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