“I have grown up with no fear of math and only slight fear of computers.”

My Mom was a renaissance woman. She started college in 1966 as a math major, changed to home economics and became a teacher, and later got a master’s degree in technology education and switched to teaching computers. (To say that last decision shaped the trajectory of my life would be a huge understatement.)

My Mom (and Dad) circa 1984.

Going through old stuff tonight, I found something she wrote from 1984, presumably towards her master’s degree. I’m both proud of her attitudes about gender and sad at how far we still have to go.

Full text below:

“Computer Equity Comes of Age”

A critique by Helen Snyder

Winkle and Mathews’ article, “Computer Equity Comes of Age” begins in a very factual manner. We learn that the introduction of the microcomputer has started a second computer revolution, one that has been significant to educators. We learn how it can make positive changes for the handicapped, for administrators, and for reading teachers. The controversy begins when we learn that the authors feel that the female homo sapien holds down the back seat rather than the driver’s seat in the computer world.

Having grown up in a home where there were two daughters and no sons, my sister and I were urged to try anything towards which we had an inclination. We were never told we could not do something; we were told we could do anything to which we set our minds. Therefore, I have grown up with no fear of math and only slight fear of computers. This kind of background makes me wonder if the inequity of sexes in the computer field is as bad as this article leads one to believe.

I have seen, on the other hand, how boys in our school have a better computer aptitude and attitude. Few girls are seen using or requesting to use the computers. Therefore I can see some merit in instituting the three steps to promote computer equity. In any area of life it is wrong to make one sex feel inferior to the other. Boys should feel comfortable tending children and cooking meals, and girls should feel equally at ease punching a computer and making computations. One’s environment will determine how easily each slips into these roles.

April 12, 1984