happy ada lovelace day

10 Oct

I haven’t called this occasion out in a while, though it’s definitely something worth disucssing more often.

To quote the official website of the celebration:

Ada Lovelace Day (ALD) is an international celebration day of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). It aims to increase the profile of women in STEM and, in doing so, create new role models who will encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in STEM.

The day itself derives from the celebration of the birthday of Ada Lovelace herself, who, back in the early 1800s, worked with Babbage on the Analytical Engine, and was the person who really recognized the potential of such equipment beyond simple calculation, and is credited with creating and publishing the first computer program (an algorithm to generate Bernoulli numbers) to be run on the machine, as well as really start the thinking about how “computers” and technology could be applied by humans and the affect of such application on society.

I heard a bit about her this morning on The Writer’s Almanac on the way into the office Monday morning (which always reminds me of things to think about) on the commute Tuesday morning, and it got me thinking, with some sadness, how few actual women there are working in my particular Information Technology department – my agency’s IT shop is very much a boy’s club beyond a couple of non-technical program management types, and I think the culture and potential of our organization is so much the poorer for it.

I’m definitely of the opinion that we’d do a better job with a bit more diversity around these parts (I’m not in much of position to do much about it right now, but if I ever find myself there, I will); it feels an awful lot like a men’s locker room these days, and some different perspectives would most certainly improve our thinking and processes beyond the virtual towel snapping, especially since I know a lot of women in technology in more social rather than professional contexts, and I see the work their organizations are doing, and I’m honestly envious, both in terms of the cool stuff they’re doing and the environments the get to do that stuff in.

So, here’s to all those women doing pioneering work in STEM fields, and here’s to the intention of doing what we can to empower them to do even more, and to inspire the next generation of girls to code, calculate, and innovate!


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