Last Tuesday, October 15 was a very important day, which I missed due to a pure ignorance including but mot limited to not reading the ACM newsletter:)
I am not going to miss this day anymore, so I put it on my Google calendar with two reminders: one 10 days before, and another 2 days before it… hopefully, this will work!
So, what is this day, which I am so upset I’ve missed? It’s Ada Lovelace Day, the day when we celebrate the achievements of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
The article published in Bits reminds us again, that the first computer programmer was a woman, and it also tells why it’s so important to remember this fact. Here is what the article says:
Women software developers earn 80 percent of what men with the same jobs earn. Just 18 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to women, down from 37 percent in 1985. Fewer than 5 percent of venture-backed tech start-ups are founded by women.
Why does it happen? The author cites recent researches, which indicate that
girls begin to shy away from computer science when they are young, because of a lack of role models and encouragement from parents and teachers
The story of Ada Lovelace is a great example of an intellectual woman, who was encouraged by her mother to study math and science. Let’s not focus on the fact, that the reason for this encouragement was, that she didn’t want her daughter to inherit “insanity” of her father, Lord Byron. So, even in the nineteenth century, when women were routinely considered “half-humans”, she was able to develop an interest in STEM, and to actually study maths and sciences, and perform research. And her researches were recognized and appreciated by many scientists.
This year Ada Lovelace Day was marked by the mass Wiki editing session to recognize women in science.
Now, let me tell you something. Quite often I hear comments like this: why to promote women in any special way? If the goal of the feminists is to establish the real equality of men and women, shouldn’t then we judge their researches just… well, equally? And my answer is: no. Because traditionally, and this “tradition” goes many centuries back, women are under-appreciated, meaning that the majority of people subconsciously have a prejudgement towards women’s ability to produce high-quality research, to work in STEM fields efficiently, and even… hmmm.. think. Think “like a man”…
So for me recognizing a highlighting women’s achievements in science is something like “pushing the pendulum in the opposite direction until we reach the real equality.
This been said, let’s celebrate the First Programmer – who happened to be a woman 🙂