Women in STEM - ENIAC Programmers
Updated: Jan 2, 2022
Today is the Sunday before the kickoff of Computer Science Education Week! In honor of that, we’ll focus on some true pioneers for this week’s Women in STEM Sunday…
The ENIAC 6
In 1946, the secret “Project PX” was released to the public. It was called the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC).
ENIAC was the world’s first programmable and fully electronic computer.
A labor shortage in the US at the time helped pave the way for 6 women to be hired on as the initial programmers of the ENIAC.
Kay McNulty, Betty Jenkins, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Meltzer, Fran Bilas, and Ruth Lichterman were the women brought in to study the logic, structure, operation, and circuitry of the machine in order to develop the programming. At the time, no programming languages existed, and so, it is thought that these ladies are the precursor to all of the programming languages we now rely on every day.
Though none of these pioneers were recognized for their efforts until the mid-1980s, they were all inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame in 1997. As well, a couple of documentaries have since been created to celebrate their contributions to computer science and technological advancement.
It should be mentioned that even after the war, these women (and others) were kept on to continue their work because it was found that they were able to outperform their male counterparts in both their rapidness and accuracy.
Learn more about the 6 ENIAC Programmers: