I had to enter a pledge and join the call today to post in response to Ada Lovelace Day - an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology.
Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines. Entrepreneurs, innovators, sysadmins, programmers, designers, games developers, hardware experts, tech journalists, tech consultants. The list of tech-related careers is endless.
Recent research by psychologist Penelope Lockwood discovered that women need to see female role models more than men need to see male ones. That’s a relatively simple problem to begin to address. If women need female role models, let’s come together to highlight the women in technology that we look up to. Let’s create new role models and make sure that whenever the question “Who are the leading women in tech?” is asked, that we all have a list of candidates on the tips of our tongues.
read more from Ada Lovelace Day
It was soon after this blog first appeared that I learned of the news of Enid Mumford's death. I never had the pleasure of meeting Prof. Mumford, but came across her work whilst doing my own studies and a degree at Bolton. We have something in common in being raised in Merseyside. In the NW of England there is also a tradition of mining...
Studying geology at school we went on a field trip down the pit at Golborne Colliery. Strange to be told after an underground train ride we where under the East Lancashire A580. Enid Mumford's early work took her underground, but her impact extended far beyond her perfume bottle:
'A woman down the mines?" Enid Mumford's classic sociological research for the National Coal Board had a strong impact on unbelieving miners. Later, as an active advocate for women's rights, Enid, who has died aged 82, enjoyed recounting her early experiences: "They were terribly nice to me whenever I turned up, but they were awfully embarrassed at what I might catch them doing." Enid would "drench herself with perfume", so that the ventilation system would give the miners a chance to prepare themselves for her arrival at the coalface. In such ways, Enid began her contributions to social theory, with its challenges to action researchers like herself.As posted previously this year sees a chapter published on Hodges' model and socio-technical structures in nursing informatics. I really latched on to Enid Mumford's approach and needless to say Professor Mumford's invaluable work figures in my overview:
The Guardian obituary
Background: Existing socio-technical structures and methods
This section scratches the pages of the socio-technical literature by introducing two seminal contributions and briefly references other sources. The two authors discussed are Mumford (1983) in the socio-technical sense and Giddens (1984) who is more generic socially and organisational oriented. Enid Mumford created ETHICS, a systems design methodology: Effective Technical and Human Implementation of Computer-based Systems. The need for ETHICS is to help manage change with three objectives.
First, ETHICS stresses that the future users of computer systems, whether directly or indirectly involved should play a major part in designing these systems. User involvement is closely related to subsequent job satisfaction and efficiency gains and hence the realization of benefits. The users of systems are credited as experts; if this knowledge and experience is recognized and utilized then job satisfaction gains are likely as the users are active agents in the change process and not passive. There is an interesting correspondence here with the continuing emphasis on patients and carers being acknowledged as experts in their care assessment, management and evaluation.
The second objective focuses on the human – behavioural response to change. It is important that specific job satisfaction objectives are factored into the design from the outset and not left to chance, lost amid technical specifications and objectives. In this way potential negative change impacting the quality of work life can be anticipated and avoided or at least ameliorated. Technology has frequently been associated with de-skilling and of course the loss of traditional jobs. The prospect of technical, management led change can cause consternation in the user community. If alienated employees may be absent, seek alternate employment, and overall be less productive.
ETHICS is not restricted to the computer system; the third objective highlights the need for a new computer system to be ‘surrounded by a compatible, well functioning organizational system’ (Mumford, 1983). Design must be viewed globally as a whole. The technical design is just one part of a very complex design process that must also incorporate the details of human-machine interaction; what would be called gap analysis, the differences in existing processes and proposed new processes and procedures. In addition, as per objectives one and two, individual jobs and workgroup activities must be reviewed; how are existing roles and relationships altered and newly defined? What new management arrangements are needed, since (middle) management is rarely untouched?
Women must have role in IT - not just to ensure the social in SOCIO-technical.
Whether in programming, instructional technology, internet infrastructure, semantic web, the games industry and a whole host of other areas - Ada Lovelace, Enid Mumford - and of course others past and present must not be lone pioneers. ...
Intellect Technology Association: Women in IT Scorecard maps gender imbalance in IT workforce
Daphne Jackson Trust
Information Age (2008) Women flee IT industry
The Register (2008) Women IT EU Job Shortage
UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology
WITI - Women in Technology International
Women in Technology