Britain sabotaged its Computing Industry being male chauvinists

The Imitation Game highlights the British efforts by Alan Turing to break the Enigma code. I like this picture from the movie because it kind of looks like a data center

Movie makers are smart enough to show a women in the movie to make it more interesting and diverse to the audience.  Who wants to watch a bunch of guys build a computer?

Hidden Figures went even better to show mostly women working as computers.

Did you know that one of the contributing factors in the decline of British computer technology was efforts to give preference to men to be computer programmers and operators?

In Programmed Inequality, Marie Hicks explores the story of labor feminization and gendered technocracy that undercut British efforts to computerize. That failure sprang from the government’s systematic neglect of its largest trained technical workforce simply because they were women. Women were a hidden engine of growth in high technology from World War II to the 1960s. As computing experienced a gender flip, becoming male-identified in the 1960s and 1970s, labor problems grew into structural ones and gender discrimination caused the nation’s largest computer user—the civil service and sprawling public sector—to make decisions that were disastrous for the British computer industry and the nation as a whole.
— https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/programmed-inequality

This male chauvinism was government sponsored.

Hicks traces the role of women in computing in the UK from the 1940s to the 1980s. During those years, women were marginalised within the industry as computing moved from being considered low-paid, unskilled and therefore “women’s work” to higher paid, skilled “men’s work”.


This categorisation was created and perpetuated by the UK’s largest employer, the civil service, which wanted to preserve the societal status quo (men as the main breadwinners, women as homemakers) and power in the hands of an elite few (white, middle-aged men) even at the expense of economic progress.
— http://www.thenational.ae/business/the-life/book-review-britains-code-breaking-women-overlooked
Is that "Steve" on the book’s cover?  No. That’s Cathy Gillespie. She started her operating career at the UK government’s Post Office computing centre, after quitting secretarial college because of the dead-end nature of the work. She had to swear she wouldn’t have children in the near future to clinch the job.  What happened after that? After two years, Ms Gillespie moved to IBM, which is where this publicity shot was taken in 1970. As the author writes, the way the photo is staged, "Gillespie sits in a seeming passive role … in a way similar to a secretary at a keyboard". By contrast, photos of men show them "striding around with a sense of gravitas that seemed to heighten their importance".

Is that "Steve" on the book’s cover? 

No. That’s Cathy Gillespie. She started her operating career at the UK government’s Post Office computing centre, after quitting secretarial college because of the dead-end nature of the work. She had to swear she wouldn’t have children in the near future to clinch the job. 

What happened after that?

After two years, Ms Gillespie moved to IBM, which is where this publicity shot was taken in 1970. As the author writes, the way the photo is staged, "Gillespie sits in a seeming passive role … in a way similar to a secretary at a keyboard". By contrast, photos of men show them "striding around with a sense of gravitas that seemed to heighten their importance".