Make a Difference: Ada Lovelace Day

Just a quick reminder to you good folks that Ada Lovelace Day is happening on Wed 24th March 2010. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it is a fantastic initiative that was kicked off last year to highlight and celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.

The goal of the day is for people across the world to blog about women who are doing great work in technology and science. From the website:

Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines, whatever they do. It doesn’t matter how new or old your blog is, what gender you are, what language you blog in, or what you normally blog about – everyone is invited.

This year as part of the day there is a goal to get 3072 people to sign a pledge to blog on Ada Lovelace Day: it is a simple pledge to do something that doesn’t take much time but joins a chorus of people who support gender equality in technology and science. I have signed it and so should you. :-)

My Contribution

I will be writing my blog entry to appear on Wednesday, highlighting many of the women who I think are doing awesome work in technology, and I will also be delivering one of my At Home With Jono Bacon videocasts which will be themed around Ada Lovelace day and also include the usual Q+A session. The videocast will be streamed live at 11am Pacific / 2pm Eastern / 6pm GMT/UTC. You can watch it live here.

So, are you folks going to go and pledge and blog?

  • adminZ

    Their “contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised.”

    Is this because they’re women or because the aforementioned list didn’t contain works significant enough to warrant the recognition? There’s a big difference.

    I don’t think it’s right to promote any group over another, whether they be women, blacks, disabled, whatever. Let each work to the degree they can and receive commendation when it is due. Forcing that isn’t right and only serves to provide a perception of equality where none may exist.

    Now, if that equality, in terms of rights, isn’t there in advance, then that should be addressed. If the quality isn’t there due to real differences that are insurmountable, then leveling the playing field artificially isn’t right, either.

    Addressing inequalities, whatever they are, after-the-fact, doesn’t solve the problem – it creates bigger ones (consider affirmative action programs in the US).

  • Melissa

    Adminz, please take a moment to read up about Ada Lovelace and her work with Charles Babbage. If you did, you would understand.

    Also take a look at the various things said about the ENIAC women, who were often credited not with being the programmers of the first all-electronic computer, but mere decoration — a discouragement to the next generation of women computer engineers.

    That’s what Ada Lovelace Day is about. Fighting to get acknowledgement for people whose achievements are taken from them. Ada’s achievements were minimalized because she was a woman working with a man. Lets not relinquish women of today to the same fate.

  • jono

    I think you mis-understand the function of equality campaigns and Ada Lovelace Day: the goal is not to provide any elevated level of special treatment for women, it is to bring positive focus to a demographic in the tech/science world that is recognized as being unusually low. This is particularly pertinent for Open Source.

    I don’t there is any kind of cap on positive re-enforcement: yes, Ada Lovelace Day is a positive event for highlighting the achievements of women in technology and science, but this does not diminish the efforts of other demographics and I see it as a valuable component in encouraging more women into these fields of endeavor which are typically pretty male-centric. I can’t see anything wrong with it – it is just good positive outreach. :-)