Share story

I welcome Stuart Reges’ thoughts on gender balance in computer science.

In 1973, I started programming for one of the world’s three largest computer companies. About 30 percent of the programmers were women, considerably higher than companies at which I later worked. Remember that during World War II, “computer” meant a woman doing math to support our troops. The field retained a heavy female presence as it went electronic.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, universities established departments of computer science, which had the effect of pushing the field to become more engineering oriented and more masculine.

Data strongly suggest that gender balance in the field is culturally driven.

Tyler Folsom, Seattle, affiliate professor, Department of Computer and Software Systems, University of Washington, Bothell