Brianna White

Staff member
Mar 25, 2020
When the world’s first programmable computer was introduced in the 1940s, as part of American war efforts, the technology’s potential was obvious—but so, too, was the need to house its systems in a centralized space.
Within months, President Harry Truman had Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) centers built at various military sites and assigned a slew of engineers and researchers to these early data centers. In the decades that followed, rapid innovation brought information technology to the forefront of the economy, and as personal computing became ubiquitous in offices everywhere, users began to rely on servers and data centers around the world. During the dotcom era of the 1990s and early 2000s, the data center became essential to national security, economic output, and online infrastructure. And even while that bubble burst a few years later, the obsession with data storage persisted, eventually giving rise to cloud computing, which now allows organizations to move their data off-site by leasing infrastructure from a third-party partner.
But even as the global cloud computing market reaches an estimated $483.98 billion in value, women make up just 14.2% of its workforce, a disparity that many attribute to the technology’s deep historical roots.
“Women were never exposed to the mainframe data center, because women were not working in that space, or in some cases, at all,” says Chaitra Vedullapalli, the founder of Women in Cloud, a community-led economic development organization working to generate new economic access and opportunity for women in the space.
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