By Sophia Schneidman
This past week, my mom and I had the chance to visit Bletchley Park. Located just outside of London, Bletchley Park was the headquarters for the Government Code and Cypher School during WWII. At Bletchley, code breakers worked around the clock to decipher enemy codes. On our tour, my mom and I discovered that Bletchley's contributions helped to shorten WWII by up to two years.
What I found most impressive about what I learned at Bletchley was the role women played in code-breaking during WWII. According to the Huffington Post, "Eighty percent of the 9,000 staff at Bletchley were female" (Ridley, 2015). One of the leading male code breakers, Dilly Knox, only worked with females on his team (Ridley, 2015). According to Knox, the female brain was more adept at learning how to code. The girls that worked under Dilly were named the "Dilly Girls" (Ridley, 2015).
Today, the legacy of the "Dilly Girls" continues. The Forbes 2018 list of The Top 50 Women in Technology includes Elina Burgland and Rachel Haurwitz. Elina Burgland created an algorithm that determines when a woman is fertile. (Elina Burgland, 2018). Rachel Haurwitz helped discover the possibilities of CRISPRs to edit DNA and enhance therapeutics and agricultural biotech (Rachel Haurwitz, 2018).
Despite industry leaders like Burgland and Haurwitz pushing women to the forefront of the tech scene, "13% of the global Fortune 500 were women... It's still a very, very small amount that equates to about 65 companies out of the 500" (Griffin, 2018).
Fortunately, several companies, including Cisco and Microsoft, understand the role women have played in tech throughout history. They are using their knowledge to create equality and equal representation. Link Humans rated the top ten companies for diversity and inclusion using their Employer Brand Index Methodology. In doing so, Cisco and Microsoft ranked highest in diversity and inclusion (Ansari, 2019). Cisco has supported its employees by creating the Empowered Women's Network. Also, Cisco funds the Women of Impact Conference yearly during Women's History Month (Enderle, 2018). Microsoft, on the other hand, has worked to create implicit bias workshops that each member of their recruiting team must take part in (Microsoft, 2018).
Other industry leaders must take note of Microsoft's and Cisco's strategies to create a supportive and encouraging environment in which women can grow and excel. If female brains are nurtured instead of humiliated, who knows what conflicts we can help to resolve in the future?
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Ansari, Karim. "Diversity & Inclusion at 10 Top Tech Companies." Link Humans, 29 Apr. 2019,
"Elina Burgland." Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 12 Dec. 2018,
Enderle, Rob. "Cisco: Driving Diversity Where It Counts." TechSpective, 14 Mar. 2018,
"Rachel Haurwitz." Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 12 Dec. 2018,
Ridley, Louise. "Bletchley Park: Meet 'Dilly's Girls', The WWII Women Codebreakers Who
Cracked Enigma." The Huffington Post, 25 Jan. 2015, www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/01/25/bletchley-park-enigma-female-codebreakers_n_6532856.html