Tracking down the women who programmed the ENIAC

Annie Minoff and Jared Goyette, for Public Radio International:

When Kathy Kleiman started researching the history of computer programming as an undergraduate, she came across old black-and-white photos of the people who worked on the ENIAC, the world’s first all-electronic programmable computer. But they seemed to be missing a key detail.

Both men and women were pictured posing in front of the mammoth machine — ENIAC was 8 feet tall and 80 feet long — but the men were listed in the captions while the women were not. When Kleiman asked why, the response she got was both incredibly wrong and incredibly telling.

And I love this part:

“When I went and started inquiring who were the women, I was told they were models,” Kleiman says. “But that wasn’t the case at all.”

Well, role models, maybe. I’m glad these pioneers are finally getting their due respect. The article mentions Kathy Kleiman’s documentary on the women, “The Computers,” which was the official selection of the 2014 Seattle Film Festival.