As the month of March – Women’s History Month – comes to an end, we at tennerr believe the impact women have had on our lives should never go unnoticed. Their stories are tales of triumph, sincerity in the face of obstacles, daring success, and an unwavering commitment to challenging social expectations. Such is the story of Margaret Hamilton, the focus of our final piece to close out Women’s History Month.
THE FIRST SOFTWARE ENGINEER
Margaret was no stranger to the halls of Project Apollo, having walked them every day in the 1960s. Often with her infant daughter, Lauren, in tow, Margaret would first put her to sleep before entering the lab for a full day of programming, much to the outrage of her peers.
A woman, much less a mother in her mid-20s, going to work at that time was an easy target for public shame, but Margaret, the prodigious University of Michigan graduate, remained unfazed. As Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, responsible for developing NASA’s Apollo program’s navigation software, and as a self-taught programmer, Margaret was undeterred in her mission to send the first astronauts to the Moon. That meant writing humanity’s most complex code in history, pictured here in this awe-inspiring photo.
Besides the impressive feat of sending a trio to the moon, Margaret had to perform against the constant pushback of disapproving male peers – an important part of her enduring legacy. She later aptly invented the term ‘software engineering’ to describe her work.
TECH EMPOWERS WOMEN
Even beyond charting a path for contemporary IT, personal computers and the Word Wide Web through the science of software engineering, Margaret’s imprints are still felt when we consider tech’s healthy, people-first culture and impressive work-life balance, among other benefits, particularly for women.
According to Žydrūnė Vitaitė, co-founder of Women Go Tech – a programme that promotes female involvement in the industry, “The gender gap is still apparent (only 18,5% of EU women work in ICT), but it’s no longer popular to say that women can’t work in tech. We see an increase in female specialists and leaders. Talking about these women will make stereotypes seem less legitimate.” She continued: “In the past five years, around 800 women finished Lithuanian STS studies. During that time, over 400 Women Go, Tech attendees, found jobs. I think we offer practical solutions in helping women find employment. And we’re taking small steps in narrowing the gender gap.”
That’s why we at tennerr believe in Women Go Tech’s powerful mission. They are already creating a valuable collection of talent for the industry in Lithuania and across the world, and they will only grow stronger.
There is a Margaret Hamilton in every woman and this year, tennerr is excited to be your guide into tech. We will be starting our exciting QA workshop to help women build their paths to success and tell their stories.