I loved this story from the era of Byte. Most of my penile-brethern in the industry are not old enough to be connected to the earlier eras of computing where women were far more involved in the process. Not just the hardware, but also in software.
It is Grace Hopper who was among the early pioneers to crystallize the idea of a high level computer language (COBOL), and unlike a lot of other languages that have come and gone, COBOL is still around and much of Western civilization still depends on it, hidden away in the logic of CICS transactions. The role of women in computing was actually a lot more involved in its early years than now. To sell very expensive mainframes to corporations, ad men had to sell the idea that the machines were easy to use and took advantage of the "WOMEN R DUMB" stereotype by involving women nearly everywhere around the system from the operator console down to the armies of women driving IBM 029 card punch machines to enter lines of text in "files" of punched cards. System brochures nearly always featured women at the terminals, loading the tapes and pouring through printouts. That legacy showed itself again when the Y2K crisis hit and there was a sudden desperate urge to find COBOL programmers. I remember departments filled with nothing but old-hat ladies who still remembered how to set up their JCL and editing their "job cards" [IBMspeak for 'lines of text'] to test date-fixed code. Seated nearby was a team C++ where if there were 100 of them, perhaps only 1 would be female. The C++ males, all in their 20s, were working on cheap PCs. The grandma coalition next door had control over a Sysplex beast with a $2 million dollar lease in a center with its own air conditioning plant.
When CompSci took off, computing was a new, unknown science to laypeople and it was sexy and exciting, much like biochem is now to girls who are being woo'd at to pursue a major in STEM. Women filled jobs as cryptoanalysts and manually programmed sorting machines with jumper plugs. Women dominated the role of the Systems Analyst, a job type that's still with us and is a role that many women still fill. In many fields of business, women still dominate user communities as women still outnumber men as users of tech.
The problem that exists right now is that there's not a lot of women who are writing instructions to feed into a compiler. I'm in a skyscraper with over 30 floors and I think I can count on one hand the number of women right now who are churning out code and with two hands the number who are debugging and syncing repos to GitHub.
Back when society was far more unkind to women, women had far more influence in tech than they do now. Now that there are legal protections, women have been enticed by recruiters into other sciences (there's a lot more women studying Chemistry than CompSci). The problem today isn't with some perceived gender barrier, or a glass ceiling. The problem is that male programmers haven't had any inclination to walk up to women that they know, show them what they do, how creative programming and system architecture can be, and that it's potentially lucrative and exciting.
STEM conferences only do so much, and nobody gives a rat's ass what celebs and pandering politicians have to say. It's really the folks who actually code day-in day-out who could help get more women back into a field they used to be in with far more gusto.