Fran Henig graduated in 1964 from Wheaton College, an all-women school in Massachusetts, as a math major. She accepted a job with Bell Labs and began work at the Whippany NJ computer center, doing part time study for a master’s degree. With the advent of time-sharing, the computer center moved from IBM to GE/Honeywell machines to run MULTICS. Henig initially worked on adapting IBM programs and applications for the GE computers using FORTRAN, machine language, and SNOBOL. She emphasizes the importance of affirmative action for women at Bell Labs, including the women in the work environment workshops; and discusses strategies for making women’s voices heard in meetings. She accepted a technical supervisor position in 1971, then moved to a development division working on phone-system troubleshooting and became a department head. She shares observations about the organizational and cultural changes at AT&T in the 1980s.
This material is based on work funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation award B2014-07 “Tripling Women’s Participation in Computing (1965-1985).”