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Top Secret Rosies

Posted By On March 9, 2011 @ 8:15 pm In The Download | No Comments

You’ve certainly heard of Rosie the Riveter, the iconic symbol of women who worked in American factories during World War II. But have you heard of the Top Secret Rosies?

These Rosies were women who worked as human computers during WWII, and Top Secret Rosies is a recently released documentary that tells the story of these female computers:

Women "computers"Computer, at that point, was a job title, not a machine. Long before [they] were businesswomen, community activists, mothers or grandmothers, they were recruited by the U.S. military to do ballistics research. They worked six days a week, sometimes pulling double or triple shifts, along with dozens of other women.

The weapons trajectories they calculated were passed out to soldiers in the field and bombardiers in the air. …

It wasn’t factory work, but they were “Rosies” nonetheless, filling jobs that men would’ve taken if they hadn’t been at war or wrapped up in other military research.

The story of the Rosies doesn’t end with the end of WWII. The very first programmers — programmers of the ENIAC, the “first general-purpose electronic computer” — were members of these mathematical Rosies!

To view Top Secret Rosies, check out the 2011 tour schedule, contact your PBS station or buy the DVD.


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