Have you heard about Ada Lovelace Day?
If you’re a girl who likes programming, who are your role models? Too few and far between, says UK-based freelance software consultant and tech blogger, Suw Charman-Anderson. Which is why she’s named March 24, 2009, Ada Lovelace Day, the first of what could become an annual Internet event.
Ada Lovelace Day is meant to be an international day of blogging to highlight women in technology – more than 1000 people have pledged to write a blog post today focusing on women and their contribution to technology. Charman-Anderson called for the day after observing the feelings of disempowerment experienced by her female friends in the tech industry, and after recent research showed that women need to see positive female role models more than men need to see male role models.
First. I love Ada Lovelace! “Lovelace” was actually one of my first online handles. (Although it was back in the old AOL chatrooms, so it was probably more like Lovelace2575820582.)
But I’m rubbed the wrong way by the kind of female empowerment that makes a big fuss when a woman does the same thing a man does. If we were really equal, there wouldn’t be this excitement when a woman does something men do all the time. Commemorating Lovelace as a brilliant proto-geek is awesome, but the focus on her gender bugs me. It makes it seem like smart girls are really unusual.
I’m a bit of a hypocrite in this, because I blog over on my gaming site about women in game development whenever I can. It’s pretty much the same thing, highlighting a woman for doing what guys do all the time, because even though I want everything to be equal, there just aren’t as many female game devs. I’m also connected to a bunch of female China expats, like Gabrielle and Anna, it’s a stronger connection because there are so few girls in the expat blogosphere.
What do you think? Does Lovelace Day have a bit too much amazement that someone can have a uterus and be good at math? Or is a long-overdue appreciation of women in technology?