Update: there’s a theory shot dead in the water. Michal points out that it was a female – Margaret Hamilton – who invented the term ‘software engineering’. You can see the reference here.
It is interesting to observe the difference between the way in which something is denoted if a female activity, compared with the same thing done by a man. Cooking is the most obvious example – look at what it becomes when it is a profession and that means dominated by men.
Another example is the inability to concentrate. When it was the province of the female to do a hundred things at once, that’s what it was called: ‘women can’t concentrate’. Once email, the internet, the mobile phone became an integral part of the work day for office jobs, that is to say sedentary jobs done by men, the same inability to concentrate became touted as ‘multi-tasking’. Suddenly, once men had to do it, it was a skill instead of a handicap. Have I made up the history of the word here? I like the story, so I’m not going to check, but please go correct me if I’m wrong!
Most recently I understand that when computer programming was done by women, as it largely was in the early days, it was called ‘key punching’. Once men decided that it should be their territory, it became ‘software engineering’.
I wonder what other examples there are?