Unraveling the Masculinization of Technology

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 21, 2016 from 2:30 – 3:15pm in B202/203


Have you ever wondered where the perception that technology is a masculine pursuit comes from? Or why we have to explain that, "no really, women are interested in computers too"?


At the beginning of the modern technological era, to be a computer was to be an actual literal woman—someone trained in math and computations. Decades later, women are desperately underrepresented in most technical pursuits, with an increasingly “leaky” pipeline leaving fewer and fewer women throughout our career progression. Not only are we excluded, but the contributions of past women are erased almost as soon as they happen. Women of color, queer women, trans women, and those on other axes of marginalization encounter this even more strongly.

Would it surprise you to discover that this isn’t an accident? Or that it isn’t merely a reflection of biases in society in general? I’ll talk about the ways that masculinity in tech has been constructed over time to create a more “elite”, higher paid, more homogenous workforce, and to sell technology to a highly targeted population.

In the end, we’ll explore how to write a new narrative: one that includes everyone who desires to create better technology, without the gatekeeping and bias.


gender, masculinity, capitalism, bias, history

Speaking experience

I have spoken at Open Source Bridge several times, as well as at conferences like Open Source and Feelings, and ACT-W.


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