Considering the fact that women accounted for a large number of the computing pioneers – namely the first people that programmed the digital computers – it seems odd that nowadays we think of the programming industry as dominated almost solely by men. Throughout the 60s and 70s, the trend of women enrolling to study science-related fields was growing. However, at a certain point, this changed completely.
The time when the decrease in the number of women who got involved in programming became obvious coincides with the moment when personal computers were introduced to the U.S. market. The way in which this new technology was perceived represents the best explanation as to why men took over this field.
Computers were marketed almost exclusively to boys. The geeky stereotype was thus born and the story that boys are born good at computing was ignited. In this context created initially by advertisers and marketers, women started to feel that they didn’t belong in the programming world. Professors too started assuming that the boys who enrolled to study science were better with computers because they grew up playing with them.
So this is the story of how men got to be the dominant part of the coding industry. A field that was born with the contribution of some of the greatest women in history turned into something that is at the back of the list when it comes to choosing careers for women.