NYT fail: “Men invented the internet”

Grace Murray Hopper: American computer scientist and U.S. Navy officer, one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer and developed the first compiler for a computer programming language. Pic via Boing Boing.

Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing has a great response to this weekend’s New York Times’ piece on Ellen Pao’s sexual discrimination lawsuit against the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which is problematic in its very first line:

MEN invented the Internet. And not just any men. Men with pocket protectors. Men who idolized Mr. Spock and cried when Steve Jobs died. Nerds. Geeks. Give them their due. Without men, we would never know what our friends were doing five minutes ago.

Jardin responds:

Radia “Mother of the Internet” Perlman and the ghosts of RADM Grace HopperAda Lovelace and every woman who worked in technology for the past 150 years frown upon you, sir. Women may have been invisible, but the work we did laid the groundwork for more visible advancements now credited to more famous men.

“Men are credited with inventing the internet.” There. Fixed it for you.

Check out the rest of her analysis, which most notably debunks the implication in some quotes that sexual discrimination and harassment within the tech industry is not commonplace: “I worked in Silicon Valley, and in technology startups in other regions, and have experienced sexual harassment and gender bias. It’s as normal and constant a part of the landscape as the fabled foosball tables.”

Any folks here from the industry who have thoughts/experiences to share?

Join the Conversation