He knew that mining workers were intelligent, trainable, and frankly already steeped in technology. “We’re perceived by people that we’re not smart, that we’re hillbillies,” he tells me. But coal miners already work like programmers: They sit in one place all day long, patiently running high-tech equipment and solving problems.
By 1967, there were so many women programming that Cosmopolitan magazine commissioned a feature on “The Computer Girls.” Illustrated with pictures of beehived women piloting computers that looked like the control deck of the Starship Enterprise, the story described this crazy, new Wild West that was paying women $20,000 a year—or over $140,000 in today’s money. Coding had quickly become a rare white-collar professional field in which women could thrive