The platitude that “women make the world go around” belies the hard graft of people producing and cooking food, collecting water, raising children, cleaning, caring for the sick and elderly and managing the household budget. Behind every well-oiled production line or high-powered workplace are women doing the often unglamorous work that makes life possible, quietly sharpening the kitchen knives and managing the flow of blood, tears, bleach and water.
Before computing became electronic, women were seen as ideal for what was considered mundane calculation work. Though this work often required advanced mathematics knowledge, it was perceived as unintellectual. Before a computer was a machine, it was a job classification—these women workers were literally called “computers.” In fact, IBM UK measured the manufacturing of computers in “girl hours” (which were less expensive than “man hours”) because the people who built the machines were nearly all women.