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A Woman's Story
March 29, 2012 2:49 PM   Subscribe

A Woman's Story
posted by spiderskull (69 comments total) 108 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for this. It's wonderful.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:52 PM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just think of all the people in similar situations whose families can't or don't go to bat for them at that first fork in the road and who would be capable of doing so much, if only we gave them a chance.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:57 PM on March 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


The Hacker News discussion on this article got weird.
posted by Algebra at 3:00 PM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


My father ended up working for IBM after teaching himself how to program while working a nightshift job. As he (like me) was male and white, I often point out that back then, an African-American male working the same nightshift job, self-taught to the same degree, likely wouldn't have been offered the same opportunity as my father was.

Now that I've read this story, I feel a small glimmer of hope that perhaps I was wrong about that last bit.
posted by davejay at 3:05 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Hacker News discussion on this article got weird.

God, yeah it did.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:09 PM on March 29, 2012


That Hacker News thread reminds me why MetaFilter is the only place on the internet where I regularly read comments, let alone post them.
posted by Scientist at 3:12 PM on March 29, 2012 [14 favorites]


I am not reading the HN discussion because after reading this story, I have a lump in my throat and joy in my heart and I don't want it pissed on.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:13 PM on March 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


This makes me happy in a weird we-are-not-really-all-that-different kind of way, while reminding me of just how much harder it was for women or people of color back then (and still is, obviously, though thankfully not to that degree.)

My Dad had great grades from High School at around this same time. Also grew up in a very affordable middle class neighborhood (in his case in Dallas.) Got accepted to MIT for computer programming, but couldn't afford it. But he was white, and the Dallas Morning News gave him a scholarship to go to SMU, where he was the first computer science major.

He was (is) a white male. If he could prove his value, the doors were, it turns out, very open to him.

But now, he, like her, is retired, and has finally come around to going with a Mac and loving it. If thew two of them - from such different and yet similar backgrounds - could meet and talk, I'd love to see it.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:17 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's basically one troll derailing the whole discussion to talk about IQ tests and reverse racism. After Algebra pointed it out, I read most of it, and all I kept thinking was, "This thread would've gone much better if Cortex or Jessamyn or Matt had deleted that first comment."
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:19 PM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


(Sorry, was responding to DarlingBri.)
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:20 PM on March 29, 2012


This is a wonderful story, by the way. I like its presentation; it is spare and gives a good impression of dispassionately highlighting the important turning points in one person's life rather than attempt to overwhelm the reader with obvious emotional ploys. (The fact that those turning points were actually carefully cherry-picked to suit the narrative does not at all detract from the piece; this is a necessary part of any such tale.) It nevertheless manages to use those small, dispassionately-presented, factual axes to paint a picture of triumph over systemic prejudice that is at once heroic, humane, and communitarian. It's a lovely little piece, short and sweet and well-written, and it tells a powerful story with many different lessons embedded within it.
posted by Scientist at 3:21 PM on March 29, 2012 [15 favorites]


Well put, Scientist.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:22 PM on March 29, 2012


Yeah, I think the odds are great that the derail in that thread was a deliberate troll. I mean, come on, "the IQ test isn't racist, blacks just score lower!" is something that we're meant to take as a sincerely-held belief by the commenter? Still and all, let's not let the derail over there spark a derail over here. This was a great article and is worthy of discussion for itself.
posted by Scientist at 3:23 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


When my mother was on track to become valedictorian of her class in 1966, her guidance counselor suggested that because she was so bright, she should consider a new major available at Purdue: computer science. She took a look at it, but was intimidated by the idea of being in a major that was otherwise entirely male, and chose English instead. She later kicked herself for that decision, went back and got a AA in the early 80s, and has been working in IT ever since. She tried to talk me into computer science (the same way she had previously tried to talk me into band, which had also been her thing). If I'd gone along with her wishes, I might have been among AOL's paper millionaires in Northern Virginia instead of serving them at Whole Foods. No regrets, though, I loved the food business, even if there was never any risk of it making me rich.
posted by jocelmeow at 3:23 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just in case you didn't click, if you follow the link to her son's identity, you realize it's about his mum. I know Reg a bit and have invited him over.
posted by unSane at 3:26 PM on March 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


As uplifting as this story is, the cynic in me wonders whether the company hired her after realizing that what they had was a gifted programmer that came at half price.
posted by darksasami at 3:31 PM on March 29, 2012


All too possible, darksasami. Hadn't thought about that. Maybe we'll get lucky and the author will come over and talk about that.
posted by Scientist at 3:35 PM on March 29, 2012


Here I am, AsK Me Anything :-)
posted by raganwald at 3:40 PM on March 29, 2012 [54 favorites]


That was quick!
posted by rtha at 3:43 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was a wonderful piece. Thanks!
posted by rtha at 3:47 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


@raganwald Lovely story, thank you!
posted by Seboshin at 3:49 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


raganwald: Here I am, AsK Me Anything :-)

This Is Not Reddit.

That said, as someone who always wants to know more, are there any online articles or stories about or by your mother? Not because I doubt you, but because I want to know more about her. I searched around a bit, but couldn't find anything, and this seems like just one of many facets to a fascinating life.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:49 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh don't be such a grump, FLT. ;-)

Did your mother suffer much discrimination in the workplace, either in wages or otherwise, after being hired? The story gives the impression that once defeating the final hurdle in the tale she became a valued and respected employee. Was this the case?

In short, what happened next after she was hired?
posted by Scientist at 3:58 PM on March 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sorry if that came off as extra-bristly, I did not intend it to be so.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:05 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


My mother worked at IBM for about 20 years starting in the mid 60s. She had a degree in math and the same sort of aptitude for computers (she always told me that she liked math and computer science because as long as she was doing that, no one would ever try to make her write an essay). She loved the job and her coworkers were pretty reasonable, even though almost all were men, but a lot of the comments she got when representing her company at meetings were pretty appalling.

I once asked her something about whether she felt like her getting hired at IBM was a victory for feminism. She said that it wasn't a victory for a company to hire only the women who were too exception to pass up. She wasn't sure the feminists were winning until she saw her company hiring women who were just as incompetent as the men doing the same jobs.
posted by decathecting at 4:07 PM on March 29, 2012 [84 favorites]


What a nice story. Thanks, raganwald.

And it reminds me of the fact that is so easy to forget: so many people in the past had to put up with and fight past so much stupid crap to get us to where we are today.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:19 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


She wasn't sure the feminists were winning until she saw her company hiring women who were just as incompetent as the men doing the same jobs.

Is this a honeypot?
posted by michaelh at 4:20 PM on March 29, 2012


That is a lovely story - and I'm so happy that she and her family pushed for their rights.

that said, I'm still curious as to what the tech school was - was it Central Tech near Bathurst? Because that place rocks on architecture - it looks like a castle.
posted by jb at 4:23 PM on March 29, 2012


She sounds completely awesome, and I love her point about it not being a victory to only hire a woman too exceptional to pass up. I think that's a point we feminists miss a lot (though I'll admit, success stories like this are deeply necessary for my own retention of faith that someday we'll accomplish an equitable and loving society; it's really easy to get discouraged at how far we often are from that).

I second (third? fourth?) the wish for more information about her.
posted by Deoridhe at 4:27 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


FLT, no offence taken, I should have used a winky instead of a smile. My mother was a very driven women. She was very successful as an analyst, and transcended tthe programming aspect of the job. She once told me that years after she left Empire Life, they were still using an operations manual that she and another woman had written, because it explained their procedures clearly.

One of the most interesting things she did was open something called "The Saturday School," an independent school that taught Afro-Canadian history. I remember reading about Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson, and about grass that grew taller than a man. This kind of thing wasn't taught in Canadian schools at the time, and she wanted us to know about our heritage. ironically, there were very few black kids in the school, it was mostly populated by the offspring of hip white parents. She also wrote a children's book about a black cloud that felt different.

In the sixties, IBM sold a computer to the University of Ibaden in Nigeria, and she took the entire family there under contract to write software for the new system. That's a story unto itself, a black family moving from Canada to Nigeria in 1968. She once told me that the new computer was state-of-the-art, it had 64K of RAM. I remember that clearly, because when Commodore brought out the Commodore 64, we both laughed at how far computers had come in less than twenty years.

We returned to Canada in 1971 or so, and she did a few contracts and then swerved into a career in Real Estate. She was a top producer and was one of the drivers responsible for the gentrification of Toronto's Little Italy, where I grew up. She opened her own brokerage and continued that until she retired.

Lois had a story to tell. When her days as an active mother were over, she went to Toronto's York University as a mature student and obtained a degree in geography at age 54. She volunteered with someone-or-other and went to each ESL in Dar-Es-Salaam for a year, so she found her way back to Africa as well.
posted by raganwald at 4:29 PM on March 29, 2012 [46 favorites]


IBM was one of the first companies that hired women to do "men's" jobs in the early 1970s. I was hired as one of the first 50 female typewriter techs after, yes, scoring off the chart in mechanical aptitude. They paid us the same as the men. This was even before the telephone companies hired women "linemen."

Feminism was stronger (cooler?) in those days, but that didn't stop some people from not wanting me to work on their machines. If they asked me whether they could get a man to come fix it instead, I'd ask if they also had a racial or religious preference, and point out that it might take some time to accommodate their requirements, but I was here right now and could do the work.

I used to say the same thing - the office machines didn't know or care that I was a woman. It was only the operators who had a problem with it.
posted by caryatid at 4:32 PM on March 29, 2012 [49 favorites]


That's a story unto itself, a black family moving from Canada to Nigeria in 1968

A story I'd love to hear! I'd also love to hear more in depth about the stories of her professional life. While she certainly had an interesting beginning, I'm sure the rest of her career was just as fascinating. What was it like to help computerize the City of Toronto? What sort of interesting things happened because of the Saturday School? Did she run into any difficulties as a black woman gentrifying a traditionally Italian neighborhood? (I love hearing stories from the lives of women who've come before me.)

raganwald, have you recorded your mom telling any of her stories? (Or has she? It would be quite easy, with that Mac of hers.)
posted by ocherdraco at 4:37 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the school might have been Central High School of Commerce. I know it wasn't Central Tech. My great-grandfather was the Head of Custodial Services at Central Tech. In those days, that job involved such long hours that he had his own apartment in the school. But while he was working there, he was sending his kids (Lois, Brian, Layson, and Leonard) to Harbord Collegiate with people like Wayne and Shuster.

No, I don't have recordings of her stories. Good suggestion, maybe one day!
posted by raganwald at 4:41 PM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I really enjoyed this link. The last line in particular had an impact on me, but the whole article points to the importance of education - and fighting for that education. Gwen succeeded not just because her mother fought for her and not just because she went to a good school, but because she valued the opportunity she'd been given at that school.

Anyhow, working hard, fighting for yourself and your family, and succeeding due to your merits are all things I value, so Gwen's experience puts her high up on the list of people I want to be more like.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:45 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I, like some others here, was particularly struck by the part of the story where your grandmother brought the whole family into the principal's office to fight for your mother's right to an education, and won. That was a powerful moment and I would have loved to have been a fly on that wall.
posted by Scientist at 4:57 PM on March 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


Me too, Scientist, and I appreciated the update on Lois in this thread.

I was happy to hear she chose to go back to school and get a degree, because a woman that works that hard to ensure her kids go as far as they possibly can in this world deserves to see her own dreams made reality, too.
posted by misha at 5:21 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


In a way, this kind of thing sort of establishes why affirmative action is so necessary. The idea of making your own way in life is great, but what got her to the point that she could was all that help from her family, from going to a good school... a lot of stories of the people who do well for themselves omit those fundamental early experiences. Yet, if you take someone without the credentials you think they *ought* to have and you give them an opportunity to learn... they turn out to do well.

The derail on Hacker News just strikes me as silly, because these days, you don't get into computers by taking a test to get a job, you get into computers by taking a test to go to college, perfectly legally. Which isn't exactly IQ, but it's not all that different, and she still wouldn't have done nearly as well on it if she'd been shunted off into the sort of education that people thought those of her background should have, which is still much the same sort of education that minority and poor kids throughout North America are subject to.
posted by gracedissolved at 5:25 PM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


raganwald: Welcome, and that is indeed a great story. I was wondering about two small things: What did your mother study in college, and what year was it she took the test and was hired? Not that it matters to the story, but I'm curious.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:47 PM on March 29, 2012


This is so fucking awesome that I can hardly stand it. As a woman in IT, it makes me want to bawl with pride. Thanks for posting it.
posted by HopperFan at 5:50 PM on March 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


An inspiring story, thanks! And a great reminder of why solidarity matters -- among families, but also among colleagues and friends. I hope I am as good an advocate for my son.


The story reminded me in a small way of the legacies of insisting women get equal education in my own family.

My mom always insisted that I would go to university, I knew what that meant from the time I was in kindergarten. They saved all my life for it, and when i was in about grade 12 my dad said I could also use the money to start a business if I wished, and my mom absolutely flipped and said no way I had to get a degree. She never did that so it was shocking to me.

Years later we found out my grandma had made it a condition of marrying my grandpa that all their children, including daughters, got a university degree, and they did. My grandma had only 2 years of elementary school and then had to work, while her brothers all got high school education.

No surprise my grandpa was ok with it, his sister was one of the women students in UBC's great trek demanding better facilities for the university (1915).

My mom had no idea about this story until years after my grandma died, but obviously it caused a big influence on her attitudes (and mine) through the generations.
posted by chapps at 5:53 PM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Actually, the Hacker News troll is stumbling onto an interesting point. IQ and aptitude tests are often, and rightly, condemned for their rigidity and implicit racial/cultural biases. But this is a story where the coldness of the test was an asset! Certainly no one at IBM would have thought to invite
Barzey in as an employee. And it's quite possible that Barzey, having been raised on the cultural assumptions of the era, would herself never have thought to apply for a job at IBM. It was the icy, objective test, which does not know who you are or where you come from, that suggested the possibility. It makes me wonder if there's a way to use tests, both in education and in employment, to look for such surprises, and to find people with more potential than they've been able to apply.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 5:54 PM on March 29, 2012


IBM was one of the first companies that hired women to do "men's" jobs in the early 1970s. I was hired as one of the first 50 female typewriter techs after, yes, scoring off the chart in mechanical aptitude. They paid us the same as the men. This was even before the telephone companies hired women "linemen."
What's interesting is that programming was initially considered "Women's Work"
posted by delmoi at 5:55 PM on March 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


Actually, the Hacker News troll is stumbling onto an interesting point.
The hacker news troll is an idiot. IQ testing is completely legal so long as you're hiring for intelligence related jobs (such as programming). The entire thread is based on a false premise.

Apparently all these "hackers" are too dumb to figure that out.
posted by delmoi at 5:58 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, love the Wayne and Shuster connection. haha.
posted by chapps at 5:58 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Its unfortunate that the HN troll is the guy who wrote the Rails tutorial that I keep recommending. Reading his twitter seems to confirm his privilege-blindness; here regarding women as conference panelists.
posted by modernserf at 6:06 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


And it's quite possible that Barzey, having been raised on the cultural assumptions of the era, would herself never have thought to apply for a job at IBM.

She only took the test by walking in to apply for the job. I'd say she absolutely had considered doing so, it wasn't a 'oops I fell into your job application test' moment. (note that the test and job were both for Empire Life to work on the IBM machine they had bought, and she ended up working at IBM much later it sounds like).
posted by jacalata at 6:48 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Great story! It reminded me of the story Malcolm X recounts in his autobiography. He's an A student, in spite of all kinds of family problems, he goes to the junior high guidance counselor and says he wants to go to the academic high school so he can go to college and become a lawyer. Guidance counselor tells him he's nuts and should go to the vocational school and become a carpenter. It's a shame he didn't have a family that could fight for him.

It also made me remember applying for a job at IBM in NYC when I was a (female) teenager in the 1960s. I was applying for some low-level job. They gave me an aptitude test, lots of math. They called me in and told me I wasn't qualified for the job. I asked them why and they told me I'd scored too high on the test and I'd get bored. They didn't offer me anything more challenging.
posted by mareli at 6:55 PM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ah, I see you're right jacalata---she had applied for a "data processing" job, though not a programming job.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:56 PM on March 29, 2012


Man, oh, man, did I really need a good story after the Trayvon Martin thread, the health care thread on Metatalk, and the unemployment thread on the blue today.

Thank you so very much, spiderskull. Welcome to MeFi and thank you, raganwald!
posted by lord_wolf at 7:23 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is so fucking awesome that I can hardly stand it. As a woman in IT, it makes me want to bawl with pride. Thanks for posting it.
posted by HopperFan at 19:50 on March 29


Aha! You're a Grace HopperFan, rather than a Dennis HopperFan.
posted by Jpfed at 7:34 PM on March 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


This is terrific, thanks for posting it, and thanks for popping in raganwald!
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:37 PM on March 29, 2012


This is a great story and thanks raganwald for coming by to participate.

Leaves me pretty sad about all the everyone who didn't get a chance. My father's sister was a brilliant student and got a scholarship to a university. Her parents declined since she was a girl and instead she spent her life as a homemaker.
posted by latkes at 9:02 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Certainly no one at IBM would have thought to invite Barzey in as an employee. Well, firstly the company wasn't IBM, but also, IBM actually has a totally awesome history of hiring diversity, especially women, compared to many of their contemporaneous peers.

Disclaimer: I only know this because I work for IBM. I am the last person to be blind to the company's flaws, but this is an area where they actually have a record that makes me if not proud, at least pleased, to be associated with the company. It's always been a progressive company in this regard.
posted by smoke at 9:16 PM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


smoke -- it was an IBM team brought in to help the company setup their computer infrastructure that tested her and (begrudgingly) acknowledged that she was a good candidate for the job.
posted by spiderskull at 9:21 PM on March 29, 2012


Oh hi tears! yes, you may run freely.
posted by roboton666 at 9:27 PM on March 29, 2012


spiderskull, thank you for this. That the struggle for equality does sometimes succeed is too easy to forget when it feels like we're constantly bombarded with all the ways in which it has emphatically not succeeded (yet). This was much needed encouragement.

Can we stop talking about the Hacker News derail?
posted by bardophile at 1:52 AM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Aha! You're a Grace HopperFan, rather than a Dennis HopperFan"

Totally correct! (and also Edward Hopper)
posted by HopperFan at 6:49 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Smoke: That's a neat link---thanks! Of course, there's also this, so I'll perhaps refrain from raising a glass to IBM every night, but still, that's impressive.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:27 AM on March 30, 2012


smoke: "Certainly no one at IBM would have thought to invite Barzey in as an employee. Well, firstly the company wasn't IBM, but also, IBM actually has a totally awesome history of hiring diversity, especially women, compared to many of their contemporaneous peers."
In the 1970s, an IBM programmer was gravely injured in an auto accident, to the point where he'd lost the ability to walk, and entered into a long period of rehabilitation in a residential facility. In that facility, he met many other people who could not walk or were perhaps injured in another way but their minds worked just fine, and though this guy was accustomed to working with people with college education, it seemed pretty clear to him that many brains that could easily program computers resided in the bodies of people who had been plumbers, or truck drivers, whatever else they were.

Thus began Project Independence*, a program in a number of US cities over a period of perhaps 15 or 20 years, a program wherein people with the ability to program mainframe computers were given the training to do so, and then given a shot at a new life. Many lives turned around, many good people placed in good jobs -- it was A Very Good Thing. Over the years, not near as much need from people to program CoBOL on IBM iron and Project Independence died.
*Project Independence had died out so thoroughly that hardly any links found to any stories about it; the date on the linked article is from 1989.
posted by dancestoblue at 8:26 AM on March 30, 2012 [11 favorites]


I love how Gwen's family stood up for her right to go to a different high school. It's interesting in juxtaposition with the discussions we've had here regarding helicopter parents. There are definitely times when it is appropriate and needed for family to come in to the picture and make a stand for something, but it can be a thin line.

Thanks for posting this story - as I get ready to have my own first child, it gives me a lot to think about for the days when I have to make those decision about whether to intrude in his life or not.
posted by bibbit at 9:03 AM on March 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


raganwald, your mom is my new heroine.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:11 AM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I knew Reg before he was Internet Famous. Hey Reg. :)
posted by GuyZero at 9:24 AM on March 30, 2012


My mother graduated from Rochester in 1966 and got a job with IBM. She was the only woman in a large class of men being trained to be programmers. I have a wonderful class picture of a couple hundred young guys with brush cuts and dark suits, and my mom in a white dress in the front row. She worked as a programmer for 30 years and always commented when a woman would come into whatever job she was at. She was always the first.
posted by kostia at 11:26 AM on March 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I read "A Woman's Story" and burst into tears at the end. The followup gets at why:

Overcoming odds, not settling for society’s expectations, and most especially the fact that while most things are imperfect, programming can be less imperfect than other things because the computer itself is blind to who you are.

But for me it was the flip side of that -- we've created these machines that are more objective than we are, more meritocratic, more potentially egalitarian,* and then we sabotage ourselves with the counterproductive biases, keep those useless barriers up, guard the Platonic forms with concentric circles of pitchforks and prejudice. I cried with despair.

And now I square my shoulders and get back into outreach for women in open source, doing my bit for the fight.


* Potentially.
posted by brainwane at 11:45 AM on March 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


from raganwald's follow up post (also worth a read!):


"As the size of a community grows, the probability that every discussion becomes dominated by tenuously relevant axe-grinding approaches one. That could be Libertarianism, it could be Affirmative Action, it could be Hate Speech, it could be IQ Testing, it could be Men’s Rights. You can moderate it down or you can embrace it, but to lament it is to lament the fact that we are humans, not machines, we are flesh and blood and sometimes our blood boils."


I think this is an important point... interesting in the context of his mom's comments on how computers didn't have the same prejudices about race and gender, too.

It is worth considering, too, that it was the humanness of her family that brought them to the school to demand her right to education and to the achievements she had earned. Humanness, and love, I guess.

It makes me wonder at how our love for others can help us overcome the axe grinding, and rearrange our priorities. (not saying anyone had to do this in Grace's story, they sound awesomely supportive!)

Finally, I keep thinking, what can we do to make things even better for each other, wherever we are? So thanks, brainwane, for your post about outreach for women in open source.
posted by chapps at 12:06 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good stuff. Toronto represent!
posted by chunking express at 1:07 PM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure metafilter is a larger community then hacker news. We probably do have plenty of axe grindy stuff. But having good moderators counts for a lot. A lot of stuff that does start to get ax grindy gets killed. Isreal/palistine is a good example.

Plus we stay on topic. Stuff we don't "do well" doesn't bleed into other topics. A post about food doesn't tunr into a flamewar about overweight poor people. A post about, I don't know porn or something doesn't turn onto a flamewar about circumcision
posted by delmoi at 11:16 PM on March 30, 2012


I love this, thank you! Please encourage your mom to record some of her history, it sounds like she has lead a fascinating life. As a woman in IT, we still need to hear tales of such success.
posted by Iteki at 12:58 AM on March 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


My aunt is a program director at IBM. I'm not sure what exactly she does - I asked once, and got a lengthy reply that both summarized and obfuscated her career history - but I am sure she's faced quite a lot of opposition on the way to where she is now, because she spends a great deal of her free time in nonprofits dedicated to helping other women advance in the tech industry.

Now I work in IT consulting. I can't say she's had a huge influence on my life - she lives in a different country, I see her maybe once every couple of years - but I am sure I'm where I am today partially because of her example.

Good article. Always great to hear stories of the first women in technology.
posted by Xany at 3:24 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


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