Women programmers

Women have always coded

Programming has always been women's work.

The discipline was founded by a woman, after all. When humanity took its first halting steps into the Information Age, it needed a feminine touch. While recent revisionist efforts by masculists have emphasized the work of Charles Babbage, the reality is that he supplied only brute manipulation of matter with his mechanical device. And it didn't even work! Babbage's failures set the information age back by a century. It was Ada Lovelace who supplied the code.

When the Information Age finally dawned, it was (inevitably) thanks to women's industry. The transition from textiles to text files began with punch cards and Marie Joseph's Jacquard loom. Those same punch cards echo through history to the traditional 80 character line limit today. Weaving is deeply embedded in code, and the fine motor skills needed to work thread have simply never been a masculine trait. The ancient Romans understood this; it is the goddess Minerva who watches over both weaving and philosophy.

Women, not men, wove the core memory that landed men on the moon. This is not to diminish the clumsy heroism of the boys who risked their lives on the journey itself. They too had their contribution to make to history. But they were simply passengers, and the real triumph was getting them there at all.

Women Programmers

Ada Lovelace

The first analyst

Grace Hopper

The first programmer

Anita Borg

Founder of Institute of Women in Technology

Other resources

Grace Hopper - Nanoseconds

Grace Hopper on Letterman


Hi I'm Ada Lovelace
Grace Hopper
Anita Borg - Where are we and where are we going.