The latest Alan Turing heroine.
Though my computing classes tend more towards the non-techie end of business technology, I’ve always found that any optional courses I run are always male dominated. By and large, females just don’t think that technology is for them. It has a nerdiness that they find difficult to relate to.
A possible contributing problem is the lack of female role models in computing for girls to look up to. A notable exception is Barbara Liskov. Back in 1968 she was the first female in the USA to obtain a phd in computer science. In a field that is still dominated by men, one can only imagine the obstacles faced by a woman in the field 30 years ago.
Now, she’s in the world news again. This time she has won the prestigous Turing Award. The award is not to be sneezed at coming with a prize of €250,000. Money apart, it’s considered to be the Nobel Prize of computing. Winners are a who’s who of the biggest names of the computing industry.
I’m not a technology expert and so won’t go into Barbara Liskov’s work. You can read all about it here.
We all know that high technology skills are in short supply, even in these recessionary times. We simply need more talented graduates. There are now more females than males in our universities but not in science and technology domains where girls are still reluctant to get involved. If school girls can see women enjoying and doing well in what has traditionally been a male area then perhaps the position can be reversed.
Female role models in computing are far and few between but we hope that the achievements of Barbara Liskov will be an inspiration and cause a change of mind about working in technology.