Women of the ENIAC
The Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC) was the first general purpose computer. This 150 foot-wide machine for the secret project was used to speed up the the tedious mathematical calculations needed to produce artillery firing tables for the Army. Needless to say, this computer played an integral part in the war and was important to the success of the United States. What the history books do not mention is the passion and service of the number of women who were behind the operation of this secret project. Nearly two hundred women, both civilian and military, had a hand in performing ballistics computations and acting as super women “computers”. Six women in particular, one of them named Jean Bartik, programmed the computer. They did this with no formal schooling on the subject and without programming languages or tools. Despite their obvious disadvantage, the ENIAC programmed by them, successfully ran a ballistics trajectory in seconds! Jean Bartik, graduate of the Northwest Missouri State Teachers College, was responsible for upgrading the ENIAC into a stored program computer system. In total, the ENIAC solved 100 scientific problems during its lifetime. Women like Jean Bartik were told that they would never make it to higher rank in the work place even though they possessed knowledge and competence, on account of being a woman and supposedly destined for a life of domestic occupations. Standing the test of time, male dominance in the field of technological and mathematical careers is still present. However, today there are programs, scholarships, public-private partnerships, and initiatives in place to encourage female participation in technological fields. There must be a change in the mindset of every individual in order for these encouragements to take hold. Do not look at your mother as only a chaperone or school supply procurement person, rather look at her as a passionate person who is capable of doing anything if she puts her mind to. If we as a society encourage women, we will do good service to our next generation by providing an equal footed platform for them to launch a great new society. It is the task of everyone in the country, not just our government or private sector undertaking, to encourage our mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives to use their knowledge to invent the technologies of tomorrow, innovate the machines of today, and code the programs of the future. Much like the women of ENIAC, the women of today hold promise and intellectual abilities that are not fully harvested for the benefit of the society. Join in the effort to promote more gender diversity in technological fields. Help to build up our women so that they too know they're capable of doing anything they set their minds to.