My name is Alline Oliveira, I just went to the Computer History Museum this morning. I really enjoyed the experience and the museum is amazing! But it got me very sad that I couldn´t see much women inventors there besides the 2 sessions for Ada Lovelace… 😦
I´d like to ask you, why not?
The lady on the front desk of the museum said the problem is a lack of space. But I actually think that the problem is a lack of priority and importance.
Now a days, we really need help to get women well represented and inspired to be in Computer Science. Me and all my female collegues are trying really hard to convince girls, teenagers and adults that “yes, we made and we are making a lot of science out there”. But when I see places like the Computer History Museum I think that very important organizations are not helping at all in that battle.
I´m attaching every single picture of women I could see while I was there inside the exhibition.
Why Grace Hooper are not featured inside the UNIVAC session?? The front desk lady said there is a small mention for her, but I couldn´t even find it!! Wasn´t she and her Flow-Matic important for UNIVAC at all? Really???
Where are the 6 female “Computers” for the ENIAC?? Not even a picture of them? I couldn’t recognize…
I saw something about Apollo project, but I didn´t see Margaret Hamilton. Her real Software Engineering skills were THE responsible for the landing success of the Moon project. Lack of space for her????
If Hedy Lammar wasn´t important, the entire mobile session won´t exist as it is today. But no mention for her work…
This is just a few very important examples, there are many more out there in the real Computer History. The very small percentage of women in the Hall of Fellows from this museum proofs what I´m talking about…
I also attached two very sexist pictures from the exposition. Ok, they existed, but maybe the museum should acknowledge HOW sexist they are at the side of the picture. We, modern female scientists, NEED that help!
Looking forward for your answer and your help.
Thank you very much!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. As you know, in the past women had less opportunities than today and so sadly history tends to reflect that.
That said, the team who developed this exhibit (some of whom are women. I think a lot of people assume women aren’t involved in curating the museum, I don’t know why!) tried hard to include stories of women wherever possible.
I’ve made a sample list below of the stories we consciously chose to include that are in the Revolution exhibit onsite as well as online. The online exhibit content is an exact replica of what is on the floor.
We also created a special Women and Computing Tour last year that is given by docents and available at the front desk as a paper tour. We also made a special exhibition to celebrate Ada Lovelace in 2016, I hope you had time to see it on your visit.
We are opening a new exhibit in January, Make Software: Change the World! will feature many women.
Warm regards and thank you for visiting the museum and taking the time to send feedback. We will continue our efforts to show diversity in the field of computing whenever we can.
Computer History Museum
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/calculators/1/51 (Ada Lovelace)
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/calculators/1/65 (Human Computers)
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/punched-cards/2/8 (Social Security Office)
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/birth-of-the-computer/4/78 (ENIAC Programmers)
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/birth-of-the-computer/4/78/2258 (Jean Bartik)
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/birth-of-the-computer/4/86 (Grace Hopper) – more in the physical exhibit actually
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/supercomputers/10/22/19 (Cray Computers)
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/minicomputers/11/335 (Barbra Stephenson and DEC assembly line)
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/artificial-intelligence-robotics/13/290 (AI professor Daphne Koller)
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/input-output/14/347 (Adele Goldberg)
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/computer-graphics-music-and-art/15/219/627 (Early Silicon Graphics employees, all named)
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/personal-computers/17/305/1228 (Early Microsoft employees, all named)
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/mobile-computing/18/321 (Donna Dubinsky)
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/networking/19/375 (Ginny Strazisar)
http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/the-web/20/394/2222 (Ann Winblad)
Thank you so much for your prompt response!
I did see the Ada Lovelace celebration, close to the Self Driving Car, and I felt great about it. Made me feel so well represented, so proud of being a woman in tech, I am fascinated for what she did. But then, that was it. After that, I entered the main Revolution exhibition and I started feeling bad.
Actually it got much worse, and I felt very angry, when I saw the two very sexist “Women in Tech” examples inside the museum as being Paris Hilton and Lois Lane. As women, we definitely hate those examples being there, the way they are there. A lot of kids, girls and boys, walking around the museum every day and seeing Paris Hilton and Lois Lane as the very rare models of what to be a women in computer science. That is what they are going to take to their future lives. And this is bad.
I know you and your team for sure have a good list of all these women in computer science out there in History. I have no doubt the museum has them in its archieves and lists, thanks for sending it out to me. But what I am trying to say is: they are not visible at all, not in the Revolution exhibition, neither online.
The picture below sumarizes exactly what I am trying to say.
For example when you click on the Keyword “Women and Technology” (by the way, there is a little bug on the website script for these keyword links)
Then you see these search results for Women in Technology below.
It doens´t contain ANY woman featured, not even Ada is in there. But besides, Howard Aiken and Seymour Cray are FEATURED inside the “WOMEN in Technology” keyword search !!! Do you understand what I am trying to say? We can´t clearly see any good woman model for computer science, besides Ada, in the Revolution exhibition, not even after a deliberate search. And this is what the kids are learning in this museum.
I know if you click on these articles, you will find the women examples in the bottom of them, but they are not featured or visible at all. That really represents what the whole exhibition is.
When looking at the Hall of Fellows of this museum, I really doesn´t see much diversity being valued either on gender, color, nationality or anything… Makes me feel sad. I am not saying to change the History itself, but I am asking to change the way of viewing, valuing and prioritizing our past, and consequently our future.
Me, all women, and all kids, will love to see more women examples, a little bit more featured and visible inside the exhibition and online. That is what I am begging for with these emails. I really wish you and your team can understand the real implications on the future for that.
Also, I couldn´t see any paper about this Women and Computing Tour, you said it is available. I would love to see it though. Is there something online for that?
Also can´t wait for the next exhibition!
I hope you comprehend, and understand how hard is being for me trying for 20 years to bring more girls to technology.
And besides all, thank you so much for your wonderful attention.
Thanks for your detailed feedback and for pushing us further. To be fair, Howard Aiken and Seymour Cray are top stories in the pages, with women and computing stories within those pages (Aiken=Hopper and Cray=women wiring computers), that’s why they come up. But I can see your point, Grace Hopper is a lead story in her own right and she does get full billing here, http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/early-computer-companies/5/117 and the women wiring under Cray is pretty weak. I think we need to rethink the search results/keyword Women and Technology.
In conclusion, we can ALWAYS to better!
Please find attached the Women and Computing Tour that we launched last year and is available in the lobby.
Computer History Museum
———- E-mail message ———
From: Women Techmakers <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, Nov 21, 2016 at 4:14 PM
Subject: Re: Sexism at Computer History Museum. Where are the women models?
To: Alline Oliveira <firstname.lastname@example.org>