Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists And Lost Its Edge In Computing by Marie HicksProgrammed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists And Lost Its Edge In Computing by Marie Hicks

Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists And Lost Its Edge In Computing

byMarie Hicks

Hardcover | January 27, 2017

Pricing and Purchase Info

$45.49 online 
$52.00 list price save 12%
Earn 227 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

HURRY, ONLY 1 LEFT!
Quantity:

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores

about

How Britain lost its early dominance in computing by systematically discriminating against its most qualified workers: women.

In 1944, Britain led the world in electronic computing. By 1974, the British computer industry was all but extinct. What happened in the intervening thirty years holds lessons for all postindustrial superpowers. As Britain struggled to use technology to retain its global power, the nation's inability to manage its technical labor force hobbled its transition into the information age. 

In Programmed Inequality, Marie Hicks explores the story of labor feminization and gendered technocracy that undercut British efforts to computerize. That failure sprang from the government's systematic neglect of its largest trained technical workforce simply because they were women. Women were a hidden engine of growth in high technology from World War II to the 1960s. As computing experienced a gender flip, becoming male-identified in the 1960s and 1970s, labor problems grew into structural ones and gender discrimination caused the nation's largest computer user-the civil service and sprawling public sector-to make decisions that were disastrous for the British computer industry and the nation as a whole.

Drawing on recently opened government files, personal interviews, and the archives of major British computer companies, Programmed Inequality takes aim at the fiction of technological meritocracy.Hicks explains why, even today, possessing technical skill is not enough to ensure that women will rise to the top in science and technology fields. Programmed Inequality shows how the disappearance of women from the field had grave macroeconomic consequences for Britain, and why the United States risks repeating those errors in the twenty-first century.

Marie Hicks is Assistant Professor of History at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Loading
Title:Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists And Lost Its Edge In ComputingFormat:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.94 inPublished:January 27, 2017Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262035545

ISBN - 13:9780262035545

Reviews

Editorial Reviews

How Britain lost its early dominance in computing by systematically discriminating against its most qualified workers: women.In 1944, Britain led the world in electronic computing. By 1974, the British computer industry was all but extinct. What happened in the intervening thirty years holds lessons for all postindustrial superpowers. As Britain struggled to use technology to retain its global power, the nation's inability to manage its technical labor force hobbled its transition into the information age. In Programmed Inequality, Marie Hicks explores the story of labor feminization and gendered technocracy that undercut British efforts to computerize. That failure sprang from the government's systematic neglect of its largest trained technical workforce simply because they were women. Women were a hidden engine of growth in high technology from World War II to the 1960s. As computing experienced a gender flip, becoming male-identified in the 1960s and 1970s, labor problems grew into structural ones and gender discrimination caused the nation's largest computer user-the civil service and sprawling public sector-to make decisions that were disastrous for the British computer industry and the nation as a whole.Drawing on recently opened government files, personal interviews, and the archives of major British computer companies, Programmed Inequality takes aim at the fiction of technological meritocracy.Hicks explains why, even today, possessing technical skill is not enough to ensure that women will rise to the top in science and technology fields. Programmed Inequality shows how the disappearance of women from the field had grave macroeconomic consequences for Britain, and why the United States risks repeating those errors in the twenty-first century.Computing is widely recognized as a male-dominated field, but how did it come to be this way? In Programmed Inequality, Marie Hicks illuminates how structural discrimination shaped the composition of the British computer workforce and created lasting gender inequalities. Clearly written and elegantly argued, Hicks's book is a must-read for those hoping to understand how ideas about gender, class, and sexuality became embedded in computing and how government practices and new technologies worked together to undermine social and economic equality.-Eden Medina, Associate Professor of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, Bloomington; author of Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile