Ann Moffatt, a legend of Australian IT and a long time champion of women’s role in the industry, has released her long-awaited biography. ‘The IT Girl: 50 years as a woman working in the Information Technology industry’ is the story of how a young girl who grew up in wartime England defied convention to become one of Britain’s top computer programmers. In a society and a profession dominated by males she had to constantly prove her abilities, which she did by sheer hard work and unconventional thinking.
Ann Moffatt writes about her early career in England and her entry, in 1959, into and progress through the growing profession of information technology. She survived a horrific accident and a marriage breakup to become recognised as a leading authority on software development and the emerging field of database management.
In her early 30s she moved to Australia, where again she succeeded through hard work, intelligence, and an unquenchable belief that ultimately she would succeed on her merits. The IT Girl is an engaging story of personal development, the growth of an industry, and the constant battle for equality of opportunity.
This is her story.
Why did I write The IT Girl?
Reflection by Ann Moffatt
I’ve worked in the Information Technology industry since 1959. From the first days I’ve loved every bit of it. Yes, there have been a few days I could have done without but overall, I’ve been paid handsomely to have tremendous fun. It’s enabled me to successfully raise two wonderful children and to indulge my passion for travel.
Over the years I’ve been approached by many women who thought they were going through ‘sticky patches’ in their careers or their personal lives. Almost invariably they felt they were the only one experiencing career roadblocks or treatment that they felt was unfair. I wished that rather than just talk to me, they had been able to share their stories with other women.
In January 1990, I gathered together 16 senior women from our industry and together we formed FitT (Females in IT & Telecommunications) as a self-help network where women in our industry could share their experiences of what worked for them and most importantly, what they had tried that didn’t work. It’s given me great pleasure to watch FitT grow over the past 30 years to a network of now over 4,000 women.
I decided that when I retired I’d write a series of short stories about what I have learned from other women about the situations they faced and how they resolved their issues.
Having never written anything but technical reports, I tried writing the stories but found that each time I was writing my own story. In discussing this with people who had written successful books, I was told to just write my own story. That would be authentic, because I was writing about things I’d experienced myself.
I didn’t want to write my own story. I was just a very ordinary woman with ordinary experiences that I’d heard many times from other women. Most books are written about extraordinary women like Commander Grace Hopper or Rosalind Franklin or Dame Steve Shirley, who have achieved amazing things with their lives. But then I thought, why not write about things that most of us experience and that we can relate to?
So this is my story. It’s set against the fast changing IT industry. When I joined the profession in 1959, the stored program computer had been invented only 12 years previously and there were about 300 computers in existence. There are now many billions of computers in the world. This is also their story.
About the book and how to order
‘The IT Girl: 50 years as a woman working in the Information Technology industry’ is available as an Amazon Kindle eBook or as a print edition from Amazon or Australian distributer Books Online Australia.