How are readers celebrating Women’s History Month? We walked by the Apple Store in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and found that they were celebrating “female creators”:
In other words, they’re celebrating the women who created the Apple II, the Macintosh, MacOS (and underlying Unix/Mach), the iPhone, iOS, Objective-C, the Swift language, etc.
How long before all of the above are attributed to nerds identifying as “female”? In Digital Apollo MIT Press, 2011), Margaret Hamilton is credited as a source, but is not described as having written any of the code. The credited engineers and programmers are Eldon Hall (chose to use integrated circuits), “Hal Laning, a mathematician and control engineer,” (the calculations, the operating system), David Hoag (gimbals/gyros and calculations upstream from them), David Hanley (Apollo Guidance Computer design with Ray Alonso, Hugh Blair-Smith (who also built the assembly language), and Albert Hopkins), Joe Shea (systems engineering), Dick Battin (lead software engineer), Jim Nevins (user interface), Tom Sheridan (user interface), Bill Tindall (system engineering, code review), Howard Sherman (user interface), Floyd Bennett (flight mechanics for the lunar landing), Allan Klumpp (lander software), Don Eyles (lander software), Donald Cheatham (lander software algorithms), Hubert Drake, Donald Bellman, and Gene Matranga (lunar lander simulator),
The book does credit women specifically for manufacturing core memory (invented by Jayla Forrester for the female-designed Whirlwind I):
Raytheon did the manufacturing in its plant in Waltham, Massachusetts. The town had a history of precision machining (the Waltham Watch Company was nearby), and drew on an industrial community familiar with weaving and textile manufacturing: ‘‘we have to build, essentially, a weaving machine,’’ Raytheon manager Ralph Ragan told the press.30 Raytheon assigned the work to older, female workers. Engineers nicknamed them ‘‘little old ladies,’’ and actually referred to them as ‘‘LOLs.’’ Core rope weaving was a specialized skill, and Raytheon paid the women to sit around and do nothing if the software ran late, so they would not be called to other projects that would degrade their currency.
Within four years of the book’s publication, history had been revised so that a late-to-the-project female-identifying individual had built all of the software. From “Photo celebrates unsung NASA software engineer Margaret Hamilton” (Caroline Seide, 2015):
The article goes on to point out “It’s not an exaggeration to say that Hamilton was directly responsible for some of NASA’s most impressive achievements.”
For those who are concerned that Florida does not keep pace with national progressive trends, a recent email from the local MIT Club:
They don’t explain their rationale for age discrimination. Why is the achievement of a “young female coder” to be celebrated while the achievement of an “old female coder” can be ignored? Nor do they explain their rationale for ignoring the achievements of young coders who identify with the other 72 non-male gender IDs that are recognized by physicians. Full post, including comments