Human Centered Design & Engineering

June 19, 2019

Atari Women Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

Do you care about diversity and inclusion in computing? Help re-establish the work women did in the early days of computing into the historical archives and join the Atari Women team for a lunch and Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, organized together with Microsoft.

Friday, June 21, 2019
Noon – 4 p.m.
Microsoft Research

Noon-3 p.m.
lunch presentation, discussion
3-4 p.m.
Atari Women Wikipedia Edit-a-thon kick-off

Sign up »

HCDE visiting Professor Pernille Bjørn (Department of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark) and her students will present the Atari Women research project telling the stories about women who made important contributions to computing in the 1970 and 1980, as well as demonstrate Atari Women artefacts (including the Atari 8-bits Heroine Cosplay costume and their re-mixed PacMan game). The Atari Women Wikipedia Edit-a-thon will continue until September 9, 2019, at 3:45 p.m. (the date when Grace Hopper recorded the ‘first computer bug’ in 1947).


About Atari Women

According to media historian Nathan Esmenger, women made up roughly 30% of computer programmers well into the 1970s. Today, this number is lower. The 1980s—a time when women enrolment rates in computer science programs were at its lowest—represent a crucial period for the rise of the computing gaming industry. Computer gaming is one of the world’s fastest growing industries within technology, and while women figures such as Microsoft Bonnie Ross (Xbox) is increasingly entering the public stage in computer gaming, the gaming industry is still predominantly men. When women enter the gaming field it is perceived as a new trend, even though the gaming industry has included diverse gender representations since the early days. The computing industry has neglected the important role of women in establishing and shaping the gaming industry.

Atari Women want to change this misrepresentation of women in computing history – and we do so by focusing on women who made important contributions in the early days of the gaming industry. By focusing on gaming, we seek to impact the contemporary perception of the computer industry by establishing women presence into the historical archives. Atari Women focuses on the work of women who made contributions to Atari games in the 70s and 80s. The Atari 2600 home video console was the first widely popular and highly celebrated gaming console and represents the mass-distribution of computers into people’s private home. As such, the Atari 2600 played an important role in shaping how computing was perceived in the general public; and Atari still has many fans who make digital archives celebrating and appreciating retro games. Atari Women seek to get the work of women to be included in these digital archives, so we remember their stories when we enjoy their games.

RSVP for the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon »