Enter the maze

Killer Robot? Evil Scientist?! Helpless Woman?!?

(You can be the one to tell Angelina Jolie!)

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Lots of people think that Computer Science and IT are strictly for men only. That's really bizarre given that right from the start women like Grace Hopper and Ada Lovelace played pivotal roles in the development of computers, and are still at the leading edge today. To be a successful modern IT Pro you have to be a good team player, not to mention good at dealing with clients, which are skills women are generally good at.

'Geeky male computer scientist' is of course just a stereotype, like 'helpless female in need of rescue by male hunk', 'scientist as mad eccentric in white coat', or 'evil robot wanting to take over the world'.

Where do false stereotypes come from? Films play a part in the way their (usually male, non-scientist) directors decide to represent characters.

A Female Climber

Students on a 'Gender in Computer Science' course at Siena College in the US watched lots of films with Computer Science plots from as far back as 1928 to see how the way women, computers and computer scientists are portrayed has changed over time. Here are their views on some of those films.

DO you agree - when you are done read what the real IT Pros think of their jobs...and remember stereotypes are fiction, careers are what you make of them and real robots are (usually) nice!

1928: Metropolis

In a city of the future the ruling class live lavishly while the workers live poorly in the underworld. An evil scientist substitutes a robot for a female worker activist. It purposely starts a riot as an excuse so reprisals can be taken. All hell breaks loose until the male hero comes to the rescue...

1956: Forbidden Planet

An all-male crew travel to Altair-4 to discover the fate of the colony there. They discover all that is left is scientist Dr Morbius, his beautiful daughter Altaira and a servant robot called Robby, programmed to be unable to harm humans. But what have Morbius' machines and experiments to do with the colony’s fate?

1971: THX 1138

In an Orwellian future, an android controlled police state where everyone is made to take drugs that suppress emotion. LUH 3417 and THX 1138 stop taking their drugs, fall in love and try to escape...

1982: Blade Runner

In the industrial wastelands of a future Los Angeles, large companies have all the power. Robotic 'Replicants' are almost indistinguishable from humans but have incredible strength and no emotions. Deckard (Harrison Ford) must find and destroy a group of Replicants that have developed emotions and so threaten humanity as they rebel against being 'slaves'.

1986: Short Circuit

A comedy adventure about a robot that comes 'alive' after a power surge in a lightening storm. The robot, called 'Number 5' built for use by the US military and tries to escape its creators as it doesn't want to 'die'. It is helped by Stephanie Speck (Ally Sheedy) who realises, that like the animals she loves, it is sentient and helps it escape from the scientists of company Nova that built it.

1995: Hackers

A group of genius teenage hackers become the target of the FBI after they unknowingly tap into a high-tech embezzling scheme that could cause a horrific environmental disaster. Dade Murphy and Kate Libby (Angelina Jolie) square off in a battle of the sexes and computer skills.