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A Day to Remember the First Computer Programmer Was a Woman

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Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.

October 15 was Ada Lovelace Day, named after a pioneer of early computer science and devoted to honoring and furthering the accomplishments of women in science, engineering, technology, and math.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Ada Lovelace wrote the first computer program in 1842, a feat that is commemorated on Oct. 15. However, 171 years later most programmers are men, and just 18 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to women, according to Symantec and the Anita Borg Institute, which works to recruit and promote women in tech.

Women software developers also earn only 80 percent of what male developers do for the same job, and just 5 percent of venture-backed technology startups are founded by women.

Since girls begin to move away from computer science when they are young, most likely due to a lack of role models, it might help to educate young girls about Lovelace. As Lovelace's history indicates, women have played a significant role in the software industry, and some say the tide is changing again in Silicon Valley.

"There's a lot more focus than we've seen in the past, and a lot more hard conversations," says Anita Borg Institute executive director Tell Whitney.

In addition, the wage gap between men and women is smaller in technology and engineering fields than it is in other fields, and there are many job opportunities, according to the Symantec and Anita Borg Institute report.

From The New York Times
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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