When Computers Were Women Reflection

The article mostly spoke about the unfair portrayal of women in modern science. Eckert and Mauchly are given full credit for the invention of the ENIAC while the 200 women that helped received little to no credit. The most interesting part of the reading for me was the fact that women were so integral to the field of mathematics. Popular history asserts that women were relegated to the home or more menial jobs, though this finding goes against popular belief. I would think that at least in modern times that more articles would be devoted to discussing women’s role to science and engineering at the time for the field of computing seems far before its time.

The article reminded me of the story of Rosalind Franklin and her contributions to the discovery of DNA. Franklin was a researcher interested in the fields of biology and chemistry. She was actually the one who took the famous picture 51 and sent it to Watson and Crick who then won the Nobel Peace Prize for discovering the structure of DNA. Franklin for her efforts was given the honor of being a footnote in the magazine that published Watson and Crick’s work.

While the article itself didn’t speak about data, it touched upon the larger theme of the importance of data. Without archives or historians examining them, many still unsung heroes would be totally forgotten. Cultures change dramatically, and as a result history needs to be reexamined to incorporate new ideals and values. The article is not only historically valuable, but speaks on contemporary issues. At my time in Northeastern, I have met one female computer science major. It is ironic that a field that was practically pioneered by women now has a scarcity of women. Engineering too seems to be more male oriented as well, and society as a whole needs to start addressing why these cultural norms  exist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>