Book of the Week, and a contender for Book of the Year.

Cover shows author working from home writing programs to analyse the Concorde’ black-box recorder

Ann Moffatt was born in England in 1939 without an entitled childhood, having worked part time from an early age to assist with household finances. An accident which fractured her skull crushed her dreams of studying for a maths degree, and she filled in the days by reading books about computers. With her aptitude for maths and ability to learn on-the-job, Ann became one of the UK’s first female computer programmers, and was soon recognised as a leading authority on software development and the emerging field of database management.

Her first pregnancy prompted the company for which she was working to pioneer teleworking. That is, retaining women in the IT industry by allowing them to work from home whilst caring for their children, ultimately proving more productive than in-house.

In 1974 she came to Australia as a “sponsored expert” after being headhunted to work on the biggest computer implementation in the country (IBM), later moving on to roles including Director of the Institute of Information Technology and National Development Manager for the Australian Stock Exchange.

Moffatt’s professional experience includes as a programmer, analyst, designer, project manager, company and manager, as well as establishing and managing her own ICT service.

Over the years Ann has received many accolades. She is a Fellow of both the Australian Computer Society and the British Computer Society. She was a Board Member of the NSW TAFE Commission from 1998 to 2000 and a Board member of the IT&T ITAB from 1999 to 2000. She was also a member of the Wide Bay Institute of TAFE Council & the Hervey Bay TAFE College Council from 2001 to 2005. From 1998-2010, she was a Director of the Australian Computer Society Foundation, which advances IT through Education and Research.

In 2002, Ann was inducted into the Australian ICT Hall of Fame as the first female inductee. In 2005 USQ awarded Ann an Honorary Doctorate, which was conferred in May 2006. In 2011, Ann was inducted into the Pearcey Hall of Fame, which is the highest Australian professional award for a lifetime achievement in the ICT industries.

In May 2014 Microsoft listed Ann as one of 10 Australian Innovators, and in 2015 during her retirement, Ann established the Silicon Coast Extracurricular Code School (SCXCS) to teach students in Regional and Rural Australia how to program. In March 2016 Ann was named as one of Advance Queensland’s Community Digital Champions.

She remains active in the organisation she co-founded in 1990, FFIT, or Females in IT and Telecommunications, which has grown to more than 4,000 members.

During retirement she also found time to write this book, a fascinating read about her life and career challenges, and working alongside men who both adored her and abhorred her.

Here is a quote from a male colleague that Ann took to an Equal Opportunity Seminar sponsored by her employer in the mid 1980’s. You will either laugh or cry.

Well, it doesn’t work for me. At least my wife is female.She sits by the pool getting brown and plays tennis most days. She is there for me looking beautiful when I get home from work and when it’s time for bed she is ready for sex”.

494 pages in length and despite still being totally clueless about what computer coding is, or even does, this is an inspirational look at a life well lived.

2 thoughts on “Book of the Week, and a contender for Book of the Year.

    1. From reading her book I get that throughout the 50’s and 60’s there was very little gender discrimination, though this changed in the 70’s and 80’s when IT employment had greater financial benefits and men moved in like sharks attempting to push females out of the high end work. Considering my technical knowledge is basic – still can’t change a light bulb – I loved this book which was fascinating on all levels – socially and historically.
      Enjoy your weekend, Muri:)


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