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No Web Without Women

2 min read

A few years ago, whilst chatting with another developer, he suddenly made the statement that women didn’t make good coders. This massively shocked me, he was not someone I would have expected to hear this from.

I quickly rebutted his comment, pointing out that I currently work (and have worked) with some excellent female coders. I then went further to highlight that women were behind some of the significant milestones that had enabled him to become a programmer.

For example, Ada Lovelace who recognised that machines could be used for more than just calculations. Ada is now recognised as having written the first computer program.

Another example I gave was Grace Hopper. Grace invented the first compiler, enabling us to write code using English terms that would be converted into machine code.

Programming has become male-dominated, but that wasn’t originally the case. In the early days, women were typically hired as programmers as it was seen as clerical work. There was a shift in perception of the role during the 60s and 70s that resulted in men being drawn into the industry, and women discouraged from applying to work as programmers.

Today, things are slowly progressing towards a more diverse workforce. The industry is all the better for this.

A lack of women in the industry is not because women are unsuitable for the roles, it is the result of society, its prejudice and misogyny.

The other day, I came across the excellent No Web Without Women. It celebrates some of the key achievements that led to today’s Web that we have women to thank for. I hope I never have to have another conversation about whether women should be programmers, but if I do this would be a good place to point them at.

© 2024 Andy Carter