Fran Allen interview: Selected quotes

Fran Allen

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Change in role of women

… the change in the role of women from early days — in my case 1957 — to what was going on in the 1970s in which I observed that the role of women had changed. The specific way I observed it and the place where I observed it was, having joined IBM as a programmer at IBM Research in 1957 — I had worked there; been very successful; was a manager a few years; and I was on some fabulous projects. And ended up leaving the workplace there — the research laboratory — working on shipping projects … shipping some products on the projects I’d been working on. And coming back in 1970-1971, that period, and finding an entirely changed workplace.

Quote from video interview with Fran Allen
  • Transcript lines: 2-8
  • Audio clip [1 minute 9 seconds] located at 0:16 in this brief video

Shift in professionalization over a decade

… computer science came into existence in the mid-1960s — in that period where I’d been away — and the advent of computer science (computing), professionalization of computing, many of the people that were being hired were coming out of the engineering schools, which had almost all men at that time. And it was the training that they were getting there, in the engineering school, that would enable them to fulfill the requirements that were now expected in order to join a company in computing. And so what I had kind of missed about that period was that it changed because of the professionalization. And the change meant that there were many more levels of structure, almost all of them filled by men whose qualifications I didn’t have, really. So I had the experience, I had a great track record, but the qualifications weren’t there.

Quote from video interview with Fran Allen
  • Transcript lines: 11-18
  • Audio clip [1 minute 20 seconds] located at 1:53 in this brief video