More than just ‘Girl Power’
Did you know computer programming used to be a job mainly for women? Well, neither did I.
In the 1960s, Cosmopolitan Magazine (yes, you read that correctly) ran an article called ‘The Computer Girls‘ insisting that computing was women’s work and ‘just like planning a dinner party’.
Not only was computer programming seen to be a woman’s job, the original computer programmer was a woman. Ada Lovelace, daughter of famed poet Lord Byron, was the world’s first computer programmer and her algorithms were crucial to early computing.
This historical snapshot is a far cry from the male-dominated landscape of Silicon Valley today. Many of you have probably read about that Google memo that has divided audiences, with some labelling it anti-diversity, and others supporting it as freedom of speech or even ‘scientific fact’.
These are some of the wonderful discussions that were had at Vogue Codes, an event that has been one of my passion projects for the past few months. Vogue Australia, with the support of the University of Melbourne (my workplace), worked tirelessly to bring to fruition the inaugural Melbourne summit of Vogue codes.
Vogue Codes is a fantastic initiative created by Vogue Australia to inspire women to code and get interested in STEM. Last year, its inaugural summit was held in Sydney and had great success. This year, Vogue opened up an additional Melbourne event in partnership with the University of Melbourne.
Assisting the Vogue team in ensuring a smooth running event has been a tremendous experience and I believe my friends and family will all heave a huge sigh of relief to know that it is over and that I will not blabbering on about it for another year or so.
The event was an inspirational (and beautiful) half-day consisting of panel discussions centering around women in technology, capped by a brilliant presentation from keynote speaker Alex Klein, CEO of Kano.
I think that lending the esteem and image of Vogue to this cause is a great way to diversify the narrative of STEM, especially for women who may often feel alienated from the overarching ‘geek male’ prototype that has become the Silicon Valley standard.
So, what are your thoughts on women in tech? Are we disadvantaged? How could we change the game? Share your ideas in the comments below!