Women in the IT Profession

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Women have been involved with information technology (IT) since the 19th century, when Ada the Countess of Lovelace served as the first programmer of Charles Babbage’s analytical engine. Grace Murray Hopper’s contributions to COBOL and computing several decades ago are considered so significant that an annual conference is held in her honor (see www.gracehopper.org). In fact, the earliest computer programmers tended to be women more often than men (Panteli, Stack & Ramsay, 2001). As the IT field progressed, however, it evolved into what many still view as a male-dominated domain, some say due to its increasing association with power and money (Tapia, Kvasny & Trauth, 2003). Today, women are estimated to make up nearly half of World Wide Web users (Newburger, 2001), but this has apparently not translated into a proportionate participation in IT careers.