CBI Web Exhibits Gendered Bits
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An evolving web resource based on the exhibit curated by R. Arvid Nelsen and designed by Darren Terpstra

The following pages show images of the physical exhibit that was presented in the Andersen Gallery of the Elmer L. Andersen Library, May 28 - June 23, 2008. Text from the exhibit and scans of some of the materials exhibited can be found from links on pages reached via the thumbnails below. Please explore! New content will be added regularly.

An Early Start
A 1985 report from the U.S. Department of Labor states:

"Women and girls continue to be discouraged from pursuing courses which would prepare them for the most lucrative technology-based jobs. They are influenced by parents, the educational establishment, and media advertisements, among others. In various ways women are made to feel that they cannot handle abstract thought, and that they are often tracked by guidance counselors and teachers away from mathematics, computer sciences, and other hard science disciplines. Yet women constitute 80 percent of the students enrolled in business education courses—the training ground for the lower paid computer operator jobs." Women and Office Automation: Issues for the Decade Ahead.  U.S. Department of Labor, William E. Brock, Secretary. Women’s Bureau, Lenora Cole Alexander, Director. 1985. P. 13.  James W. Cortada Papers, circa 1890-2007 (CBI 185)

Concern over the education of boys in respect to computers and the sciences in general - as been explicit, while books and toys aimed at youths also appear to demonstrate bias.  In many cases it may be seen that boys are explicitly addressed in texts.  At other times pictures show boys enjoying computer-related pursuits with a complete absence of girls.  Over time this discrepancy has been recognized and some authors have written books attempting to show girls and young women the possibilities of careers traditionally associated with males.  Even in these books, however, there often seems to be an absence of explicit mention of computing careers.

Brainiac
Boy Scouts Merit Badge Letters

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COMING SOON

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COMING SOON

Katie and the Computer

These materials are covered under the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).