Happy Ada Lovelace Day!
Huzzah, it’s Ada Lovelace Day - the day to celebrate the fantastic and brilliant Ada Lovelace, credited with writing the first computer program. (Pause to dust off shoulders.)
Who was Ada Lovelace, you ask? From Mind/Shift (with a nice Change The Ratio shoutout to boot):
Born in 1815, Ada Lovelace was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron, although he had no relationship with her and died when she was only nine. Ada pursued her interests in mathematics, studying with some of the best-known mathematicians of her time. In 1833, she was introduced to Charles Babbage, with whom she worked and corresponded about his early computing machines. She also translated the Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea’s memoir on Babbage’s proposed machine, the Analytical Engine, and in doing so added her own notes to the translation. These notes included an algorithm designed to be processed by the machine — the first computer program.
Ada Lovelace Day aims to help correct the ways in which women’s contributions to science and technology are overlooked. If you’re looking for inspirational women to highlight, the Geek Feminism blog has a wiki about women in science and in computer science. We’d love to hear about the women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics who’ve inspired you.
I didn’t know she was Lord Byron’s daughter! How romantic. (Bad pun alert.) At FindingAda.com they ask for you to blog, tweet, write or otherwise share a story/tribute to a fabulous woman in STEM, like so:
This Ada Lovelace Day on October 7, share your story about a woman — whether an engineer, a scientist, a technologist or mathematician — who has inspired you to become who you are today. Write a blog post, record a podcast, film a video, draw a comic, or pick any other way to talk about the women who have been guiding lights in your life. Give your heroine the credit she deserves!
Awesome! But why is it important? Why, that goes back to the core tenets of Change the Ratio: Visibility, Access & Opportunity. You can’t fund/partner with/laud/put on a panel what you can’t see! And women are just less….seen than similarly-situated dudes. From the FAQ:
How does blogging help women in tech and science?
Women in tech and science tend to be less well known than their male counterparts despite their valuable contributions. The aim of Ada Lovelace Day is to focus on building female role models not just for girls and young women but also for those of us in tech who would like to feel that we are not alone in our endeavours. Psychologist Penelope Lockwood discovered that women need to see female role models more than men need to see male ones, so the idea of creating these role models is not just some airy-fairy idea, but based on a real need.
So - let’s do this, people! How you can do it: (1) Reblog this post with your Lady-STEM shout-out so we can all see/share/celebrate; (2) Tweet it out with the #changetheratio hashtag; (3) Tell your menfolk to do the same! Pretty sure lots of them benefited from Ada, too.
A few Ada Lovelace Day posts:
Happy Ada Lovelace Day! [Little Oracle]
Ada Lovelace Day: Lisa Randall [Courtney Williams]
Ada Lovelace Day Celebrates Women in STEM [Mind/Shift]
Ada Lovelace Day: Women In Science Wiki and Other Resources [GeekFeminism]
My Pre-CTR Take on Ada Lovelace Day, When Challenged [Charitini - March 2009]