„If your image of a computer programmer is a young man, there’s a good reason: It’s true. Recently, many big tech companies revealed how few of their female employees worked in programming and technical jobs. Google had some of the highest rates: 17 percent of its technical staff is female. It wasn’t always this way. Decades ago, it was women who pioneered computer programming — but too often, that’s a part of history that even the smartest people don’t know,“ explains NPR’s Laura Sydell.
In an interview on All Tech Considered, Walter Isaacson, the author of „The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution,“ describes how the women who pioneered the computer revolution have often been left out of the story. In his book, he shares many of their stories, including that of Ada Lovelace, who is widely considered the world’s first computer programmer; Grace Hopper, the inventor of the first compiler and the COBOL programming language; and the female mathematicians who developed programs for the world’s first general-purpose computer, the ENIAC.
„When they have been written out of the history, you don’t have great role models,“ says Isaacson. „But when you learn about the women who programmed ENIAC or Grace Hopper or Ada Lovelace … it happened to my daughter. She read about all these people when she was in high school, and she became a math and computer science geek.“
To listen to Sydell’s interview on NPR, visit http://n.pr/1dK3ZfB — you can also learn more about Isaacson’s book „The Innovators“ at http://amzn.to/1NLLGAO
To introduce children to the woman who invented the first computer program — Ada Lovelace — there are several excellent picture books about her: “Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine” for ages 5 to 9 (http://www.amightygirl.com/ada-lovelace-thinking-machine), „Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science“ for ages 5 to 9 (http://www.amightygirl.com/ada-lovelace-poet-of-science), and „Ada’s Ideas” for ages 6 to 9 (http://www.amightygirl.com/ada-s-ideas)
There is also a new early chapter book about the six women who programmed ENIAC, the first programmable computer, for ages 6 to 8 at http://www.amightygirl.com/women-who-launched-the-computer-age
For a fun way to introduce your Mighty Girl to programming, check out the new game „Code and Go Robot Mouse,“ for ages 5 to 9 at http://www.amightygirl.com/code-and-go-mouse
Another excellent way introduce kids to programming is via new DIY systems that allow you to build real programmable computers on your own such as the „Raspberry Pi Ultimate Set“ for ages 9 and up (http://www.amightygirl.com/raspberry-pi-ultimate-set) and „Piper: Craft A Computer Kit“ for ages 7 and up (http://www.amightygirl.com/piper-craft-a-computer-kit)