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During WW2 in America, some young women assisted the war effort by doing number crunching (such as computing bomb trajectories given wind speed, etc) that nowadays would be done by computer. In fact, the job title was "Civilian computer." My grandmother was one such, and it was in that job she met the man who would be my grandfather. Other women in similar programs on the east coast went on to pivotal roles in the development of ENIAC, becoming the first computer programmers. (A good starting point for more reading on this is here
Being a computer programmer myself, I find this little slice of history doubly interesting.