A women leaning over an old computer.
Image: UNSW Centre for Ideas

Women and the Internet

Presented by UNSW Centre for Ideas

The history of technology is one of men and machines, transformation tales of garages to grand mansions, alpha nerds and ‘brogrammers’. But female tech visionaries have always been at the forefront of technology and innovation, yet they’ve been overlooked, until now.

In her breakthrough book Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet, VICE reporter and musician Claire L Evans tells the story of internet’s unsung female heroes. From Ada Lovelace who wrote the first computer program back in the Victorian Age (100 years before the first computer was built), to Elizabeth Feinler who helped create the first domain names, women have been a huge part of every significant milestone in web development. These women joined the ranks of pioneers who defied social convention to become database poets, information wranglers, hypertext dreamers, and glass ceiling shattering entrepreneurs.

Following her solo talk, Evans will be joined by a panel of experts including cultural anthropologist and futurist Genevieve Bell, best-selling author Ginger Gorman, UNSW President of Robogals Sandy Aung, and science journalist Natasha Mitchell to discuss how women will continue to shape the technology of our future.

Claire L Evans is a writer and a musician. She is the singer of pop group YACHT, the founding editor of Terraform (VICE’s science fiction vertical), and the author of Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women who Made the Internet. She is the former futures editor of Motherboard, and a regular contributor to VICE, RhizomeThe GuardianWIREDAeon and many more leading tech publications. She is an advisor to graduate design students at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and a member of the cyber-feminist collective, Deep Lab. She lives in Los Angeles.

Genevieve Bell is the Director of the 3A Institute (3Ai), the Florence Violet McKenzie Chair, Distinguished Professor at the Australian National University (ANU), and Vice President and Senior Fellow at Intel Corporation. She is a cultural anthropologist, technologist and futurist, who is best known for her work at the intersection of cultural practice and technology development. Bell joined the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science in February 2017 after having spent the past 18 years in Silicon Valley helping guide Intel’s product development. Bell established the 3A Institute at the ANU, in collaboration with CSIRO’s Data61, with the mission of building a new applied science around the management of artificial intelligence, data, technology and their impact on humanity. In 2018, Bell was appointed Non-Executive Director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Board, she became a member of the Prime Minister’s National Science and Technology Council, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE). Genevieve completed her PhD in cultural anthropology at Stanford University, USA.

Ginger Gorman is an award-winning social justice journalist based in Canberra. In 2013, Gorman experienced online hate firsthand – an experience which set her on a professional journey into the world of trolls and led her to write the book, Troll Hunting. She is the 2006 World Press Institute Fellow and has penned online articles for Huffpost and The Guardian that went viral. She has spoken extensively about trolling and social media self defense in Australian and around the world.

Natasha Mitchell is an award-winning science journalist, radio host and podcaster. She presents ABC Radio National’s science and technology program, Science Friction, and previously hosted Life Matters, and was the founding presenter and producer of the popular science, psychology and culture program, All in the Mind. Mitchell served as Vice President of the World Federation of Science Journalists and is currently a member of the Executive Advisory Board of Women in Science Australia, Mitchell was also the recipient of a prestigious Knight Journalism Fellowship at Harvard University(USA) and a Marine Biological Laboratory Journalism Fellowship at Woods Hole (Massachusetts, USA). Her broadcast work has received accolades internationally, including the overall Grand Prize and four Gold World Medals at the New York Radio Festival, four Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Broadcast Media Awards, the Yooralla Broadcast Media Award, the Public Health Association of Australia Media Award, the Australasian Association of Philosophy Media Professionals’ Award, among other awards. She was finalist for two Human Rights Awards.