Gender Codes

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Gender Codes

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Size is Decisive
"Size is decisive" advises the model-gymnast

Print it
Women get the order to "print it"

Grace Gentry
Grace Gentry at her home office (kitchen table) at Gentry, Inc. (1974-1977)

Luanne Johnson
Argonaut Information Systems' Chair Luanne Johnson

Figure 2.10
Percentage of women computer science faculty in American colleges and universities, 1995-2005

Figure 2.9
Percentage of women with doctoral degrees in computer science relative to other fields, United States 1966-2006

Figure 2.8
Women students and faculty in various disciplines at American colleges and universities, 2002; sorted from highest to lowest percentage of women undergraduates

Figure 2.7
Fluctuations in bachelors degrees earned across many fields

Figure 2.6
Growth in the computing workforce in the United States

Figure 2.5
Total number of computer science bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees awarded in the United States

Figure 2.4
Proportion of women in a sample from the computing workforce

Figure 2.3
Percentage of women in the computing workforce in the United States 1971-2006

Figure 2.2
Proportions of BS degrees awarded to women in the United States for various disciplines

Figure 2.1
Proportions of women receiving BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in computer science in the United States

Media Images Strengthened Gender Stereotypes
Stylized publicity images, such as this one for NCR's Century 100 computer, often portrayed male managers- this one wearing an unrealistically expensive suit- directing female support staff.

Anxieties About Gender Roles in Computing
Herb Grosch as "computer wizard" using General Electric computer to compute lunar orbits, with female assistant identified only as "Ann."

Computerization and Mass Media
Computer system by Geodatic, Inc., of Princeton, New Jersey, prepares "personalized replies to prospective customers" responding to Playboy magazine advertisements.

Grace Hopper as a Prophet of High-Level Programming Languages
Grace Hopper (1906-1992) programmed Harvard's Mark I computer (1944-1949) and helped develop the UNIVAC (1949-1966), for which she wrote the world's first compiler in 1952. Her ideas of higher-level programming inspired COBOL. She directed the Navy…

Frances (Betty) Holberton with Univac LARC-2 Supercomputer
A key software pioneer, Frances Holberton (1917-2001) programmed the ENIAC (1942-1946) and created software for the UNIVAC at Eckert-Mauchly Computer Company and Remington Rand (1947-1953). At the Applied Math Laboratory (1953-1966) of the U.S.…

Women with Pioneering ENIAC Machine
Women working on ENIAC at the Moore School (full view) were cropped out for a 1946 U.S. Army recruiting advertisement (inset), in which only Corporal Irwin Goldstine remained (airbrushing took out the second man at back).

"Computer Science is the Most Wonderful" Field
Heather Gilbert, a Stanford mathematics major who also gained a Master's in computer science, started at Burroughs as a system analyst in 1969. After several assignments at company headquarters in Detroit, she transferred to Pasadena, Calif., where…

Woman Computer Scientist Working with Colleagues
In 1980 Burroughs profiled Diane Chikoski, another mathematics major, who was director of programming for small computer systems. "Tasks are assigned according to talents, interests, and career goals," she noted positively.

Women Attracted to Computer Technology and Computer Science
Burroughs recruitment in 1978 profiled Libby Ryan, a B.S. mathematics major working at the Burroughs engineering center in Tredyffrin, Pennsylvania, who directed software development for large general-purpose computers.

Women Working as Computer Programmers and Managers
Mary Lozier Traudt (left) and programmer Alma Smiddy discuss writing of inventory control program at Lozier Corporation in 1971.

Male Nonusers of Computers: the Busy Business Leader?
Perhaps one, or two, male nonusers of computers pictured here at Argonne National Laboratory.

Women as "Superusers" of Office Computers
NCR's model 299 accounting computer, designed for multipurpose data processing, offered "automatic features and simplicity of programming" for small businesses.

Male "Computer Wizards"
Achievement test evaluation "prescribed by computer" was developed in 1971 by Gary Pleger (left) and Karsten Engh-Kittlesen (right), who "developed the sophisticated evaluation system."

Computers and the Information Society at Home, Work, and Shopping
Bar-coding systems, such as NCR's model 280 at Montgomery Ward, launched "point of sale" retailing.

Information Automation or "Pink-Collar Sweatshop"
NCR tag printers as "integral part" of information systems. While "unit automatically produces a wide variety" of labels, women's labor remained.

Librarians (and Others) Saw the Future in "Glowing ASCII Characters"
A 1971 vision of the future includes "a solid-state keyboard and cathode ray tube (CRT) display," with up to four lines of 32 characters.

The "Push-Button Library" Promised Relief from Mountains of Punch Cards
Punch card keypunching and verifying was "hardly outmoded" in 1971, Sperry-Rand insisted, since its new equipment could verify the stack of 20,000 cards (left) in "an eight hour day" compared to earlier throughput on right.

Gendered Rhetoric and Visuals in Computing
At Tulane University, systems analyst William Cahill and computer programmer Dorothy J. King provided time-sharing services for computer-assisted menu planning.

Computerization and Masculine Management
In 1971, Honeywell's Keyplex Data Entry System seemed to promise tidy masculine management over female clerical workers.

Office Machines and Feminized Labor
Data entry on punch cards was gendered as female labor. In 1971, Univac's verifying punch combined keypunching and verifying of data.

Gendered Practices and the Structure of Society
At a Day, Inc., sportswear factory in 1972, man with computer-output microfilm equipment (above) controls women production workers (below) "on a projected-requirement basis."

Electronic Data Entry as Women's Computing Work
Digital Equipment Corporation's smart terminal in 1972 featured BASIC programming and tape storage as well as "character string manipulation" for data editing.

Women's Work in Transition Between Punch Cards and Computers
At a Houston insurance company, computerized data entry (background) replaced conventional keypunching (foreground), resulting in a reported 20% cost saving- but little change in women's work.

National Machine Accounting Association Annual Meeting
One unidentified woman is in the back row at far left.

Keypunching Computer Cards as Prototypical Women's Work
In 1971 Sperry-Rand Univac publicized keypunching by cloistered Carmelite nuns in the Bronx, New York. "The nuns, whose life is devoted to silence and isolation from the world, enter data on punched cards during their periods allotted to manual labor…

Computer Automation of Data Entry in the Insurance Industry
Computerization with Inforex data-entry system: "Data is displayed progressively as it is keyed to build full records for visual inspection." Screen reads "ERROR," but "operators easily make on-the-spot correction."

Grace Hopper as DPMA's "Man of the Year"
Grace Hopper received the DPMA's inaugural Computer Sciences Man of the Year award at its 1970 annual meeting in Seattle. She is hugged by Cal Elliot, its executive director.

Women in Computing Confront a "Crowded"  Field
This "powerful data entry and editing system" from Inforex (1975), while promising to minimize programming effort and save thousands of dollars annually, left this woman precious little room for movement.

Emergence of Gendered Work in Office Computing
Men and women often worked side-by-side (here at a Honeywell computer center in the late 1960s) but typically did different jobs. Women often tended data storage units.

Men as Self-Appointed Masters of Computing
Computer data punched on paper tape scrutinized by the masculine gaze.

Computing as Meaningful Work in Society
Burroughs recruiting in 1980 pictured Toni Sternal, a project manager based in Pasadena, California. After 10 years in field engineering, Sternal directed a team of hardware support specialists in the "center of activity for medium computer systems."

Women as Computer Operators
Publicity images often used attractive women models to sell computer systems. But many women actually worked as computer operators, here on an OCR data-entry system, a decided step up from data-entry work.

Woman Studying Linear Programming
For recruiting, Honeywell created a positive image of women programmers in 1969. Women, such as Christine Johnson, composed one-third of the opening class of 40 at Honeywell's Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, education center.

"Computing = Development" for Ivory Coast Women
Ivory Coast stamp from 1972 surrounds a woman with computer images, including an IBM mainframe, punch cards, and core memory. In French, informatique can be either computing or the discipline of computer science.
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