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Losing Lena

Creatable and Code like a Girl

Issue 54 | March 2020

Background

In 1984, women earned 37% of degrees in computer science. By 2020 they earned just 18%. The real problem wasn’t that women weren’t wanted in tech, it’s that they weren’t made to feel wanted. Women studying and working in tech often felt like outsiders and imposters due to male dominance and a ‘brogrammer’ culture. There was no greater example of this bias in tech than Lena, a Playboy centrefold, who provided the test image behind almost every digital image ever seen, from Google Images to Apple iPhones.

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