Ann Hardy

Ann Hardy (born 1933) grew up in Evanston. After graduating from high school in 1951, she attended Pomona College where she hoped to major in chemistry. She quickly learned that women were not allowed to take the advanced chemistry courses required of chemistry majors so she changed her major to physical education, a major that allowed her to take all the science courses she desired.

After graduation, an old friend who worked for IBM encouraged Hardy to become a computer programmer. She applied, took an aptitude test, passed with flying colors and went on to become an IBM programmer. Starting with office automation and then moving to scientific computing, Hardy’s IBM career progressed as computers evolved. But Hardy learned that she was being paid less than one-half of the salary of the lowest ranked man who reported to her. Hoping to add to her skill set, she applied to Harvard’s MBA program but was rejected on account of her gender.

She left the East Coast, moved to what would become Silicon Valley and worked for a new startup called Tymshare. There Hardy was a key player in developing the first time-sharing systems and computer networks and eventually became the company’s vice-president. Hardy later founded KeyLogic, a time-sharing hardware and software firm.

Why this stop? The Purple Line Linden stop (the northernmost L stop in the CTA) is near Hardy’s childhood neighborhood.

Listen to Hardy talk about her life, her career and the discrimination she faced