Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing (History of Computing) 1st Edition, Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262035545
ISBN-10: 0262035545
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Editorial Reviews

Review

This is a fascinating account of how the UK civil service gradually but deliberately pushed women out of computing technology jobs over a three-decade period. It's one of the best researched and most compelling examples of the negative impact of gender and class discrimination on a country's economy.

(Maria M. Klawe, President, Harvey Mudd College)

Marie Hicks's well-researched look into Britain's computer industry, and its critical dependence on the work of female computer programmers, is a welcome addition to our body of knowledge of women's historical employment in science and technology. Hicks confidently shows that the professional mobility of women in computing supports the success of the industry as a whole, an important lesson for scholars and policymakers seeking ways to improve inclusion in STEM fields.

(Margot Lee Shetterly, author of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race)

This is a fascinating and disturbing account of women's roles in the British computing industry's rise and fall. In its analyses of job classifications and campaigns for equal pay, this study examines relationships between gender and computing in far greater detail than previous accounts. Deeply researched and persuasively argued, Hicks's study of computing in Britain complements existing accounts of women's exclusion from the US computing industry―and offers important lessons for the tech industries of both nations today.

(Jennifer S. Light, Department Head and Professor of Science, Technology, and Society, MIT)

Programmed Inequality is a model of socially informed history that reveals deep linkages between technological modernization and profound cultural commitments to gender binaries and inequities. It defies any intention we may still hold to interpret the development of computing as distinct from matters of power, identity, and democratic participation.

(Amy E. Slaton, Professor of History, Drexel University; author of Race, Rigor, and Selectivity in U.S. Engineering: The History of an Occupational Color Line)

Computing is widely recognized as a male-dominated field, but how did it come to be this way? In Programmed Inequality, Marie Hicks illuminates how structural discrimination shaped the composition of the British computer workforce and created lasting gender inequalities. Clearly written and elegantly argued, Hicks's book is a must-read for those hoping to understand how ideas about gender, class, and sexuality became embedded in computing and how government practices and new technologies worked together to undermine social and economic equality.

(Eden Medina, Associate Professor of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, Bloomington; author of Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile)

In this volume, Hicks has delivered a sophisticated work of scholarship: detailed, insightful, deeply researched.... But the book has a much wider relevance, too, which it would be unwise to understate. Discussing, as it does, the role of profoundly structural gender discrimination in the collapse of technical dominance by a formerly great power, this book makes very uncomfortable reading – on a number of levels.

(Times Higher Education)

Fans of the movie Hidden Figures may be interested in this scholarly analysis of goings on across the Atlantic, by an historian of science at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Her deep dive into 'how Britain discarded women technologists and lost its edge in computing,' the subtitle, is a sobering tale of the real consequences of gender bias―a problem that persists in many technical fields today.

(Harvard Magazine)

About the Author

Marie Hicks is Assistant Professor of the History of Technology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Product details

  • File Size: 5043 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; 1 edition (February 3, 2017)
  • Publication Date: February 3, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01MV05ABA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,384 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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