Nov 23, 2020 - Technology

Lynn Conway, transgender and tech pioneer, gets IBM apology

Ina Fried
A photo of the IBM logo.

Photo by Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

IBM last month offered a public apology to Lynn Conway, a pioneering computer scientist whom the company fired in 1968 when it learned of her gender transition.

The big picture: Conway broke new ground in both tech and transgender rights, and IBM's apology, first reported in Forbes, came with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

After IBM fired her, Conway went to work at Xerox's fabled PARC lab, and her research in the 1970s was crucial for the development of VLSI (Very Large Scale Integrated) processors.

Why it matters: That technique makes possible all of today's "system on a chip" devices — from your smartphone to Apple's new M1 Mac processor.

Our thought bubble: All of us — particularly those leading businesses — can ask what injustices are happening under our noses that we can stop right now, rather than waiting decades to make amends.

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