What % of software developers were women in the 80's?
Eric Barker stashed this in Fixitfixitfixit!
"In 1987, 42% of the software developers in America were women. And 34% of the systems analysts in America were women. Women had started to flock to computer science in the mid-1960s, during the early days of computing, when men were already dominating other technical professions but had yet to dominate the world of computing. For about two decades, the percentages of women who earned Computer Science degrees rose steadily, peaking at 37% in 1984."
It's also worth reading the post that popularized these numbers, Girls Go Geek... Again!
That article (by Joel Spolsky) says that women who program are now expanding as a group, after many downtrending years.
When I shared this comment on Google+ here's what a friend wrote:
This is heartening news--I'd known that women had largely abandoned proramming from early dominance, but hadn't known the trend was finally turning around.
I suspect the main reason women got driven out was that programming became a higher-social-status operation. Women could compete and dominate as long as it was seen as a low-echelon clerical operation (the first professional programmers had started out as human "computers" themselves, who were overwhelmingly female) while the male engineers who built the iron got the glory. When people started to see that the software was such a vital part of the computer, the men pushed them out, over a period of decades. And only now is female participation recovering.
I also note that not all female founders are developers, but female founders of web companies are also on the rise.