Title: Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet Author: Claire L. EvansSource: Library
Summary: This included many fantastic women I’d not heard of, but also played to stereotypes of women as good at the people stuff in some annoying and boring ways.
This is the story of the women who made technological advances that gave us the internet and computers as we know them today. I love stories about women in tech history, so I knew I had to pick it up. The author won me over immediately with her enthusiasm for her own first computer. Then she lost me as she started talking about how the women she interviewed were all people especially good at making computers accessible, although they didn’t create them. Even with her caveats disavowing gender essentialism, this reductionist view of the women in her book was an unfortunate and inaccurate capitulation to sexist stereotypes. Granted, the women she discussed (mostly) didn’t come up with new computer architecture, but some of the software they created was just as fundamental to the technology we have today. For instance, I wouldn’t describe contributions to the development of the internet as simply ‘making computers accessible’, even though that was one result of the technology. Read more »