Tag Archives: ada lovelace day

Ada Lovelace portrait in woodcut style

Reminder: Ada Lovelace Day on 7th October

Ada Lovelace Day is a week from today. This is the third year of Ada Lovelace Day, a day devoted to blogging or otherwise writing profiles of women in science, technology, engineering and maths.

From their 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.

This is a good day to reach out to your own readers, to give them a name or two more the next time they think or are asked about women in science and technology.

Want some inspiration? Check the Geek Feminism wiki for women in science, women in computer science, women in Open Source and other women in geek culture collections. See also our Wednesday Geek Woman profiles.

In a week, when it is Ada Lovelace Day, we’ll be asking for ALD cross-posts for future Wednesday Geek Woman entries.

Ada Lovelace portrait in woodcut style

Wednesday Geek Woman: submissions thread preparing for Ada Lovelace Day!

Our Wednesday Geek Woman series of profiles has been on partial hiatus for half a year or so, but we’d like to have a run of profiles leading up to Ada Lovelace Day on the 7th October. Depending on submission volume it may also run as a regular feature again.

Wednesday Geek Woman is like Ada Lovelace Day only throughout the year. Most of our submissions are by guest posters, and these posts allow you to submit entries to the series.

Submit your profile of a geek woman in (hidden) comments here and selected ones will be posted (perhaps lightly edited) on Wednesdays. Here’s what to include:

  1. Optional: a quick one sentence bio paragraph about yourself, with any links you want. For example: Mary is a humble geek blogger and you can find her at <a href="http://geekfeminism.org/">geekfeminism.org</a&gt; Notes:
    • if this bio line is missing, you will be assumed to want to be anonymous. This applies even if you put a name and URL in the comment field.
    • don’t feel pressured into revealing things about yourself you don’t want to. A pseudonymous, mysterious, vague or simple bio is fine.
  2. Compulsory: two or more parapraphs describing your geek woman, ideally including why you admire her in particular.
  3. Optional: links to her biography, her Wikipedia page, and so on.
  4. Optional: agreement that your post can be used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (posts that have this can be used in the Geek Feminism wiki).

See previous posts for examples.

Here’s a form you could copy and paste into comments:

My bio (one sentence only, optional):

Name or pseudonym of the geek woman I am submitting:

A few words summarising the woman’s geek accomplishments (for example “AI researcher” or “discoverer of supernova” or “engine mechanic”):

My post about this woman (two or more paragraphs):

Links to this woman elsewhere (optional):

[Please delete this line if you don’t agree!] I agree to licence my post under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Notes on things we do welcome:

  • a broad definition of ‘geek’: crafters, writers, community organisers, scientists, hackers and creators all welcome
  • profiles submitted by anyone, including men
  • multiple submissions by the same person are fine, so if you’ve submitted before, or you’ve already submitted this time, no problem!
  • famous geek women: no geek woman is too well-known for this series unless we’ve featured her before. If more than one person submits the same woman to this round, their profiles will be combined.
  • living women
  • historical women
  • women who use pseudonyms
  • profiles you’ve published elsewhere (as long as you kept the right to allow us to republish it), for example, an Ada Lovelace Day post you made in previous years. If your piece has appeared at another URL, please give us that URL.

We may not publish your profile if it falls into these categories:

  • there are lots of geek women past and present, so for now we will not be re-posting a woman subject who has already been featured. See previously posted women. (Exception: if the woman was featured as part of a group profile, an individual profile is fine.)
  • profiles of women, especially living women, who don’t have some kind of public profile, which might include things like a public blog, a professional homepage with a professional bio, an academic homepage listing her publications, a Wikipedia page with her biography. It’s fine if she’s not famous, but we don’t want to highlight someone who’d rather not have a Web presence at all.
  • profiles of fictional women
  • per How Not to Do Ada Lovelace Day, profiles of women focussed on them being a supportive life-helper to a man geek will not be accepted (collaborative geeking with men of course accepted)
  • this really shouldn’t need to be said, but your post should be about the woman’s geeking, not about her appearance or personal life

Want some inspiration? Check the Geek Feminism wiki for women in science, women in computer science, women in Open Source and other women in geek culture collections.

But he’s really a nice linkspam (24th February, 2011)

  • Ada Lovelace Day, the once a year blogswarm highlighting women in technology will be held on October 7 (unlike the previous two years when it was held in March).
  • More keynoters in the open source space: Runa Bhattacharjee and Lydia Pintscher are two of the three keynotes for conf.kde.in 2011.
  • My mom has a PhD in Math” – fighting back against gendered advertising.
  • @victoriajanssen tweets: “FIVE of the SIX Nebula nominations for novel were written by WOMEN!!!” as well as 4 women nominees for short story. (via @skud)
  • Top Secret Rosies is a documentary made last year about the computers of WWII, “when computers were human and women were underestimated.”
  • Hillary Rosner writes about learning that she really did like science after all.

One year I took an introductory genetics class (“genes for jocks”), just to confirm that science still sucked, and when I earned a C+ I retreated, satisfied, to the comfort of literature, politics, and cultural theory.

And then a strange thing happened. Several years into my journalism career, I became captivated by stories about the environment. I couldn’t read enough of them.

  • Cordelia Fine of “Delusions of Gender” fame writes about sexist speeches by former Harvard Presidents, and straw-feminists [trigger warning for discussion of essentialism].

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the geekfeminism tag on delicious or the #geekfeminism tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

You’re not gonna reach my linkspam (31st March, 2010)

If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism†to bring them to our attention. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.

How Not to Do Ada Lovelace Day

I’ve seen a couple of ways of observing Ada Lovelace Day that seem to be missing the point a little. Here’s what it would be great if Ada Lovelace Day ended with: the end of invisibility of women in science and technology. There are thousands, hundreds of thousands, of us. And yet, when people are asked to name prominent scientists and technologists, many are capable of coming up with a list entirely of men’s names, and even when asked especially for women’s names some people draw a blank. A blank. From hundreds of thousands of possibilities.

There are a few examples of posts that don’t help with this, and which in fact contribute to the invisibility of women by suggesting that the author couldn’t think of even one specific woman and the work that she does:

  • a general non-specific celebration of women: “I want to salute all women in science and technology! Yeah!”;
  • doing no more than naming a woman and highlighting her as a woman you’ve heard of in science or technology; no hint of what she does or why you admire or remember her in particular; or
  • highlighting a woman or several women for facilitating your own work in tech with their non-technical activities. The most obvious example is “thanks to my significant other, for allowing me to spend time on technical hobbies.” It’s absolutely good to acknowledge the shoulders your own work stands on, but it doesn’t advance the goal of ending the invisibility problem if you choose to use Ada Lovelace Day to do it.

Ada Lovelace Day is about women’s own work in science and technology. Contribute to women’s visibility with specific names and with examples of work you admire deeply or use every day or can’t imagine how to do in such an elegant way as she did.

Let’s spin this around! Commenters, which woman in science or technology is more visible to you today as a result of someone else’s Ada Lovelace Day entry? Did you discover a new heroine? Or find that someone’s achievements were twice as big as you’d ever heard? Link us up!

Ada Lovelace Day Roundup

Here at geekfeminism.org we admire many women within the Technology and Science fields. We’ve gathered some short tributes to the women who inspire us:

Melissa: On a warm spring night in 2002 Bali was rocked by the bombing of a few popular nightclubs. One result of this was a lot of survivors with really bad burns — as much as 90-something percent of their bodies. Ouch!

It was at this point that I, and the rest of the world, first heard of Dr Fiona Wood; a British plastic surgeon working in Perth, Australia. Dr Wood had pioneered the development of “Spray-on skin”, a grafting technique that cultures cells in a suspension formula. This technique substantially reduced the delay to the first graft and hence drastically reduced the risk of infection and scarring. While the technique is patented, the licensing royalties are fed in to a fund that supports further research in to burns treatments.

Mary: I found out about Fan Chung in Paul Hoffman’s The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul ErdÅ’s and the Search for Mathematical Truth; Chung and her husband Ron Graham were two of ErdÅ’s’s closest collaborators. Hoffman tells a great story about how when Chung had finished, and come first in, her PhD qualifying exams at the University of Pennsylvania, her eventual PhD advisor gave her a textbook on Ramsey theory to browse and she came back and explained that she’d improved one of the proofs. That was a core part of her PhD dissertation, completed in a week. Those kinds of stories are told about the best mathematicians.

Chung’s website has a copy of a chapter about her in Claudia Henrion’s Women in mathematics: the addition of difference. Among other things it talks about her move to the United States from Taiwan for her graduate work, and her thoughts on having a child while at graduate school.

Mackenzie: I can’t think of any big world-famous type names that aren’t obvious things like Marie Curie or Grace Hopper. Instead, my mind keeps drifting to the book Three Cups of Tea and how big of a difference Jahan, a young woman from Korphe in rural Northern Pakistan, will make. She was one of the first girls in the village to receive any education at all. Then, she went off to study at a big school in Skardu to become their town’s first medically-trained health worker. She changed her mind. She decided to become a full doctor and start the first hospital in that area. I don’t know if she’s succeeded yet, but I’m sure she must be an inspiration to girls from neighboring villages, and she’s a shining star in a part of the world where a woman’s rights and opportunities are often so limited. (PS: to support building more schools for girls in poor rural villages in Pakistan and Afghanistan, donate to the Central Asia Institute)

Elsewhere: some of us have also made Ada Lovelace Day posts on other blogs:

Quickhit: Remember Ada

The first post I made on geekfeminism.org mentioned that Ada Lovelace Day was approaching. That day, March 24th, is now merely hours away.

Celebrated for the first time last year, Ada Lovelace Day is a day when those of us who curate blogs take the time to write about women in IT and Science fields whom we respect and whose achievements we believe are deserving of acknowledgement.

Get your writing hats on!

[From Mary: Also, as you make your Ada Lovelace Day posts, feel free to comment on this thread with a link to your post and a short excerpt. You can also add your post to your profile once you’ve pledged at findingada.com.]

Quick Hit: Events for March – IWD2010 and Ada Lovelace

A few relevant things are going on in March which our readers might find interesting.

The first off the rank is International Women’s Day (IWD) which will be on March 8th. From the website:

International Women’s Day (IWD), annually on 8 March, is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, IWD is a national holiday. The first IWD was run in 1911.

March 8th this year will be a weekday (Monday), which is useful for things like organised breakfasts and lunches and so forth, so keep your eyes peeled for an event near you. I’d be looking especially to your local Girl Geek Dinner sites as it seems the perfect thing for them to organise an event around, but of course, no guarantees.

Ubuntu Women is currently running a competition which will be drawn on March 8th to celebrate the day. If you’re an Ubuntu user and you’d like a chance to win a prize pack, then consult this email and get your entries in by the 22nd of Feb (Disclosure: Rumours say I am at fault for initiating this competition. I take full credit!)

The other event I want to highlight is Ada Lovelace Day which is March 24th. From the website’s about page:

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.

The first Ada Lovelace Day was held on 24th march 2009 and was a huge success. It attracted nearly 2000 signatories to the pledge and 2000 more people who signed up on Facebook. Over 1200 people added their post URL to the Ada Lovelace Day 2009 mash-up. The day itself was covered by BBC News Channel, BBC.co.uk, Radio 5 Live, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Metro, Computer Weekly, and VNUnet, as well as hundreds of blogs worldwide.

In 2010 Ada Lovelace Day will again be held on 24th March and the target is to get 3072 people to sign the pledge and blog about their tech heroine.

Why they want 3072 pledges, I don’t know. I cannot seem to find anything on the website to explain it. However, I am also noting a deviation from the phrasing used last year (“but only if 1,000 other people do the same”). I can totally understand the reluctance to go it on your own — I just don’t like that kind of wording. Other personal preferences may apply, of course.