Female wartime ‘computers’ would be aghast at pay gap

Seventy years on from female programmers’ work for the Allies, too little has changed

Kay McNulty Mauchly Antonelli, one of the Eniac programmers

Kay McNulty Mauchly Antonelli, one of the Eniac programmers

In 1999, two historic “computers” arrived in Ireland. Not the chips-and-wires kind. This pair had big hearts, sharp minds and real guts. Kathleen (Kay) McNulty Mauchly Antonelli and Jean Bartik were two of six of the world’s first computer programmers – all women – who worked with the world’s first electronic computer, a legendary Goliath called Eniac (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer).

The other four were Betty Snyder, Marlyn Wescoff, Ruth Lichterman and Frances Bilas.

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