When I was studying computer science, we learned a fair amount of the history of computer science including contributions made by Alan Turing, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs. There was not a single mention of Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer. There was no mention of women like Dorothy Vaughan, who programmed on the mainframe computers at NASA. One documentary we watched in class, The Triumph of the Nerds proudly proclaimed “This is a man’s world!” At that statement, my stomach twisted, and I wondered “What about me? I’m not bored here.”
Representation matters. Not just because its inspiring to see people like me doing great things, but because the things they do are great. There are many women who have accomplished many things through grit and innovation, in many occupations (including as homemakers), yet these stories are lost to history because nobody wrote them down.
We have many stories about women who run off to war. We have few about the women who stayed home and kept households running on their own. We have many stories about the birth of children. We have few stories about the discomfort and difficulty of pregnancy, or infertility. We have many stories about the reality of sexual assault. We have few stories about the reality of death in childbirth, disease, or disability.
I want to do better. I want to tell stories about women in all their roles, mother, wife, sister, daughter, politician, warrior, scientist, survivor, doctor. A good writer can make any story interesting. I don’t know yet which stories to tell, but I’m going to do research and find a way to spin a fantastical twist on real women. Because they deserve to shine too.