History Department
History Department

UT History of Science Colloquium: "From Cosmo Girls to Computer Girls: A Gendered History of Labor During the Computer Revolution," by Dr. Nathan Ensmenger

Fri, November 18, 2011 | GAR 1. 102

12:45 PM - 1:45 PM

The first computer programmers were women. In fact, the work of  "coding" a computer, as it was originally envisioned, was an inherently feminized occupation: low-status, low-paid, and largely invisible. Today, of course, the situation has almost entirely reversed, and computer programmers have adopted an almost stereotypically masculine identity. The story of the transformation of the "computer girls" of the early electronic computer era into the "IT guys" of the present period is more than a mere historical curiosity: by highlighting the ways in which the professionalization of computing work also involved the masculinization of its practitioners, it provide a lens through which to observe the social and labor history of one of the most fundamental scientific and technological developments of the modern era.

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