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That’s why Evans set out to highlight the women who helped make the internet in her new book, “Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet,” a series of biographical essays about important women in tech history the Wall Street Journal called “engaging,” while also “too-often fannish,” in its review.
Evans followed the stories of women in computing that span from Ada Lovelace, who published the first computer program in 1843, to cyberfeminism matriarch Sadie Plant, who inspired a generation of politically engaged women online in the early ‘90s.
I really want to see it reviewed and just the network as a whole and in the culture of tech as a whole.
I mean, it’s very difficult to do that, I know, because the entire industry is built on obsolescence and constant reinvention, but with [the women in the book], there’s a certain level of mindfulness for the long-term and for care.
There were so many points in the process of making the manuscript when some story would come out, like the Google internal memo or some of many stories of harassment, like the entire #Me Too movement happened while I was writing this book.
And every time that happened I would think, “Oh no, I’ve got to make make sure to include that, I’ve got to put #Me Too in the book, I’ve got to put Gamergate in the book.
Then I started to think, “What else could I have missed? I enjoy those stories too, but it’s just so frustrating that there are other ones that are just as interesting and just as dynamic with just as funny and interesting characters as any of the things that we see in movies and TV now, so I wanted to make sure that we really start going there.
Was it hard to write a book about women in tech that focuses on the past when there’s so much happening in the present?
I’ve got to put all these contemporary things in the book, but ultimately, I wanted the book to be a sacred space where you don’t have any of that shit in it.
It’s just true stories of people doing amazing stuff against extenuating circumstances and succeeding.
So the people that designed this collaborative, exciting neutral egalitarian environment did not at all think about how the women would actually be dealing with using it.
It was very emblematic, I wanted to write about that.
I always defined myself as an internet person and a net native. But I got to a point, I don’t know, maybe three or four years ago, where I started to feel like, as a person and more importantly as a woman, I didn’t really know what my place was anymore.