Gender in Norwegian Computer History

Gender in Norwegian Computer History

Hilde Corneliussen (University of Bergen, Norway)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-815-4.ch097
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Abstract

“From the very birth of computing machines, women have made substantial contributions,” according to Denise Gürer (2002). Augusta Ada Byron Lovelace wrote the first sketches for a computer program. Grace Murray Hopper constructed the first compiler, and the first electronic computing machine, ENIAC, was programmed by six women during World War II. When the computer first started to invade the market in the 80s, it fitted an image of women’s work tasks: it was about handling a keyboard inheriting the typewriters place in office work, and it matched feminine qualities, like nimble fingers (Wajcman, 1991, p. 150). Female secretaries and office workers were among the first and most extensive user groups of computers. Yet, computer technology is regarded a male domain today, and the traces of women’s contributions and participation are not easy to discover (Corneliussen, 2003a). This article presents a research project which looks for discursive traces of gender in debates about computer technology in Norwegian culture in the last decades of the 20th century.

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