Response: Her Code Got Humans on the Moon — And Invented Software Itself

Margaret Hamilton has always been a personal hero of mine. Hearing her story is always something astounding to me, particularly in the climate of inequality that exists in tech today. I’ve had a personal attachment to the cause of creating a diverse environment in technology and engineering.

I recently saw the movie Hidden Figures, which depicted the story of several women who worked hard in NASA for the first space mission, and their names are rarely credited. I’m really happy that awareness of the need for the recognition of these women, and the recognition of women in STEM in general is finally coming to light. There’s still a long way to go, though, to get rid of the constructs that we have about the roles that men and women occupy, particularly in the realm of careers.

I recently took an Implicit Association Test conducted by Harvard University regarding Gender-Career associations. Even though I am the President of weSTEM, and pride myself on being an advocate for gender equality in all careers – I still had a moderate implicit bias to associating men with careers and women with family. This was really eye opening to me and just goes to show how deeply embedded our own biases are based on the influences we encounter in society.

It’s crazy that NASA belittled Hamilton’s idea of error checking, and it became foundational in software as we know it today. I hope that people start to understand the importance of diversity and different view points in technology, from an economic and practical standpoint, it is important that women come into the picture.

Here’s a relevant video I made to illustrate this cause last summer: