Mother's Day and Women Who've Gone Before: 5/12/97

As we celebrate Mother's Day, and all that the holiday embodies, I thought of all the mothers and women who have gone before us, paving the way in many arenas. One group in particular caught my eye this week. Fifty years after they programmed The ENIAC, the world's first computer, the world's first programmers are receiving long-overdue recognition for their work. Six women will receive the Hall of Fame award from the Women in Technology International Assn.

The ENIAC was invented to calculate ballistics trajectories during W.W.II. Prior to this, the task had been done by hand by a group of mathematicians, eighty females. The six women who made the ENIAC work toiled six-day weeks, inventing the field of programming as they worked. But although they were skilled mathematicians and logicians, the women were classified as "sub-professionals" and never got the credit due to them.

Anna van Raaphorst-Johnson, a director of WITI, said "Somebody else stood up and took credit at the time, a typical problem in a male-dominated industry." These women, categorized as "clerks", were rediscovered by a Harvard student named Kathryn Kleiman in 1986 during her research for a paper on women in computing. Kleiman and WITI believe that the women's pioneering role in the industry will serve as inspiration for girls, to help them avoid the "math is for boys" mentality, as well as to women in the programming industry. Each of our successes paves the way for others.

Also released this week was a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. It found that most American women felt motherhood was easier a generation ago, and that their own mothers did it better. Fully half of American women with children under 18 now work full time, and the biggest challenge they face, in their own words, "is dealing with time pressures attendant to being a mother as well as a worker and a wife." Another survey sponsored by Vanderbilt University found that one in four Americans believes a woman will be president in the next two election cycles. 78 percent believe that women will play a larger role in politics 10 years from now.

The world will become a better place when we all, regardless of race or gender, pull together as one team, united for peace and prosperity. This week's memo is dedicated to my mother, my mother-in-law and grandmother, to my 4 wonderful daughters, my precious granddaughter, to all the women it's been my pleasure to have worked with and connected with as well as to those men who have been such an important and integral part of my professional and personal life - you know who you are - including my special son, my son-in-law, my Dad, and to my partner in business and in life.

I leave you this week with some of my favorite quotes: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" - Eleanor Roosevelt. "Whether women are better than men I cannot say, but I can say they are certainly no worse" - Golda Meir. "Nobody can figure out your worth but you" - Pearl Bailey. "You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist" - Indira Gandhi. "God does not ask your ability or your inability. He asks only your availability" - Mary Kay Ash. " is the only thing that we can carry with us when we go, and it makes the end so easy" - Louisa May Alcott.

MarleneB.Brown,CEO:MarmeL Consulting Firm,POBox 83,ClarkMills,NY 13321 Speaker/Consultant Tel: 315/853-1318 Fax: 315/853-4636 Email: marlenebb7 Topics: Future Change& Technology, Leadership&Teamwork, Sales&Marketing Author: the book "TechnoTouch:Managing Change for 21st Century Leadership"© & "TechnoTouch Marketing Trends"© a bi-monthly newsletter. Visit our Web site at:

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