Main Nav

Friday
Jan 9th, 2009
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Millennium Hall (second floor)
Mountain Time
Session Type: General Session
As you read this, somewhere in the United States a young college woman is completing a class assignment on a computer, i-chatting with a friend in another country, or perhaps blogging about the day's activities on her own website. She uses sophisticated technology every day, but the odds are she is not working toward a career in the computer field. Today less than one-third of computer engineers and scientists are women, while fewer than one in four computer programmers are female.(1) What might this co-ed think if she knew that 60 years earlier six women not much older than she helped make computer technology a working reality? Would she think differently about a future career if she knew that a 26-year-old woman wrote the first computer manual?(2)

In 1942, only months after the United States entered World War II, a secret military program was launched to recruit women to the war effort. But unlike recruiting “Rosie” to the factory, this search targeted female mathematicians who would become human "computers" for the U.S. Army. These women worked around-the-clock shifts creating ballistics tables that proved crucial to Allied victory. “Rosie” made the weapons, but the female computers made them accurate. When the first electronic computer (ENIAC) was invented to aid ballistic calculation efforts, six of these women were tapped to become its first programmers. “Top Secret ´Rosies': The Female ´Computers' of WWII” is a documentary project currently in postproduction that will share this untold story of the women and technology that helped win a war and usher in the modern computer age.

Impact:
The American educational community recognizes an urgent need to encourage more young people, particularly women, to study math and science in high school and college and to pursue careers in the sciences. When then Harvard President Larry Summers questioned whether gender disparities in scientific achievement were due to socialization or to innate intellectual disparities, women scientists and educators were outraged, and the controversy refocused attention on the need to provide young girls with encouragement and role models. “Top Secret Rosies” will do just that. Through national broadcast and educational distribution, students will discover how, over 60 years ago, a group of women as young as 18 used their math skills to help win Allied victory during World War II. This little-known story of female brainpower, perseverance, and sacrifice is a unique story of women who have applied their minds in surprising arenas. The hope is that it will inspire a new generation of young women to apply themselves in the areas of math, science, technology, and computers.


http://www.topsecretrosies.com


Footnotes:
1. U.S. Department of Labor statistic, http://www.dol.gov/wb/factsheets/hitech02.htm
2. Adele Goldstine, ENIAC manual, 1946

Speakers
Resources


Close
Close


Annual Conference
September 29–October 2
Register Now!

Events for all Levels and Interests

Whether you're looking for a conference to attend face-to-face to connect with peers, or for an online event for team professional development, see what's upcoming.

Close

Digital Badges
Member recognition effort
Earn yours >

Career Center


Leadership and Management Programs

EDUCAUSE Institute
Project Management

 

 

Jump Start Your Career Growth

Explore EDUCAUSE professional development opportunities that match your career aspirations and desired level of time investment through our interactive online guide.

 

Close
EDUCAUSE organizes its efforts around three IT Focus Areas

 

 

Join These Programs If Your Focus Is

Close

Get on the Higher Ed IT Map

Employees of EDUCAUSE member institutions and organizations are invited to create individual profiles.
 

 

Close

2014 Strategic Priorities

  • Building the Profession
  • IT as a Game Changer
  • Foundations


Learn More >

Uncommon Thinking for the Common Good™

EDUCAUSE is the foremost community of higher education IT leaders and professionals.