During the 18th and 19th centuries, the word ‘computers’ referred to women who carried out the long repetitive calculations needed to compile mathematical tables and analyse numerical data. When electronic computers were first introduced in the mid-20th century, many women took the opportunity to enter this new field. But before long, women were relegated to monotonous, low-paid work, while the higher positions were almost exclusively occupied by men. Compared with other sciences, there are still relatively few female applicants to study computing at university.