Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of the first computer programmer
Today is Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of a tech visionary and the influential role of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Founded in 2009 by Suw Charman-Anderson, this annual event serves to amplify the profile of women’s contributions in STEM careers and raises awareness of STEM studies among girls and women.
Who is Ada Lovelace?
Born in 1815 in London, England, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was a mathematician, writer, and visionary.
Considered a software pioneer today, Lovelace was the first person to envision the greater potential of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, a calculation machine with a printing mechanism. While working on a translation of a paper on the machine from French to English, Lovelace added her own notes. Published in 1943, her translation along with her notes describes how Babbage’s device would work and recognized that given certain input it could be used to create much more than calculating numbers. She also wrote how it might perform a particular mathematical calculation and set out a detailed plan to weave a long sequence of Bernoulli numbers, considered as the first computer program.
Lovelace was ahead of the time, so much so, that her vision of computing’s potential and possibilities was unrivaled by her peers and went unrecognized for a century.
Studies show that teams with a diverse workforce – across gender, race, age, and other factors – perform better, are more innovative, and lead to more profitable businesses (Hupfer et al.). Despite this research, the tech industry still has a long way to go to reach equal representation for women in the workforce.
Today we commemorate Ada Lovelace and her contribution to computing and information technology. The IGEL4Women in Tech employee resource group is a voluntary, employee-led group that nurtures a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with IGEL’s mission, values, business practices, and objectives. We aim to support female employees and increase recruitment, retention, and advancement by improving the work environment for women at IGEL in all locations. To achieve this the group builds on a global network to transfer ideas, offer support, and host and attend events with inspirational speakers to encourage women at IGEL to develop their professional skills and expand their horizons.