Marie Hicks, “Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing” (MIT Press, 2017)


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How did gender relations change in the computing industry? And how did the UK go from leading the world to having an all but extinct computer industry by the 1970s? In Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing (MIT Press, 2017). Marie Hicks, an Assistant Professor of History at the Illinois Institute of Technology, offers a detailed and comprehensive overview of this radical social change. Based on rich and detailed archival and interview sources, packed with illustrations and individual narratives of the 1940s to the 1970s, the book demonstrates how the rigid class and gender hierarchies of British society were recreated and reproduced in attempts to modernise the state through technology. As the book’s conclusion notes, “all history of computing is gendered history,” meaning the book is essential reading for anyone interested in how we have the computing and technology industries we have today. The first chapter of the book can be read here, and you can learn more about the book and Dr. Hick’s work on her twitter and on the book’s twitter feed.

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