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As much as that’s kind of a “rah rah” thing, I just wanted there to be that document, and I didn’t want to have to be in a position of retreat or reaction or defensiveness. I really wish I had the chance to talk to Susan Kare [an artist and graphic designer who created many of the interface elements for the Apple Macintosh in the 1980s], for example. I wanted to do a chapter on the women of Xerox PARC.What are some of the stories you wanted to include but didn’t have space for in this book? That’s one of those super mythologized spaces in early tech literature — all the the coders and anthropologists and computer scientists all hobnobbing it together in bean bag chairs.I really believe that it’s much easier to see yourself in the future of something when you can see yourself in the past and you’re rooted in it.
Evans followed the stories of women in computing that span from Ada Lovelace, who published the first computer program in 1843, to cyberfeminism matriarch Sadie Plant, who inspired a generation of politically engaged women online in the early ‘90s.
There was a backlash and the band later apologized.
Recode spoke with Evans about her book and the overlooked figures in tech’s past. A more personal reason is, I grew up on the computer — my dad worked for Intel and I had computers in my home from a very young age.
There were so many points in the process of making the manuscript when some story would come out, like the Google internal memo or some of many stories of harassment, like the entire #Me Too movement happened while I was writing this book.
And every time that happened I would think, “Oh no, I’ve got to make make sure to include that, I’ve got to put #Me Too in the book, I’ve got to put Gamergate in the book.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity. I never had a feeling when I was a kid that computers were for boys or girls or for anyone in particular.