Ada Lovelace Day: Ten years inspiring girls and women in STEM

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Ada Lovelace Day, held every year on the second Tuesday of October, aims to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work they admire.

This international day of celebration helps people learn about the achievements of women in STEM, inspiring others and creating new role models for young and old alike.

Ada Lovelace Day was founded by Suw Charman-Anderson in 2009 with a simple pledge on British civil action site, Pledgebank. Nearly 2,000 people signed up to blog post about a woman in technology whom they admired, and another 2,000 joined the event on Facebook. The day was an astounding success, with contributors writing blog posts, newspaper columns and even a webcomic, Sydney Padua’s Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.

In 2011, we launched Ada Lovelace Day Live!, a ‘science cabaret’ event in London, UK, at which women in STEM give short talks about their work or research, or perform STEM-focused comedy, songs or demos. That year, Ada Lovelace Day grew into a global phenomenon when independent organisers from countries around the world began hosting their own events to support women in their local communities.

Now, dozens of groups host their own events to mark the day, create new female role models, and support and encourage girls and women into STEM. These events take many forms — from conferences to Wikipedia ‘edit-a-thons’ to pub quizzes — and appeal to all ages, from girls to university students, to women with well-established careers.

We’ve had events in cities from A Coruña to Zoetermeer, taking in Addis Ababa, Brasilia, Curitiba, Daejeon, Enugu, Florence, Granada, Halley Research Station, Ísafjörður, Johannesburg, Kathmandu, Ljubljana, Maharashtra, New York, Ockham, Pune, Quartu Sant’Elena, Recife, Sheboygan, Tunis, Ulster, Vilnius, Wellington, and York on the way.

The support we’ve had from around the world continues to both delight us and confirm that a broad global community is committed to supporting girls and women in STEM. In July this year, US Senator Ron Wyden introduced a resolution honouring Ada Lovelace and recognising Ada Lovelace Day to the Senate, the upper chamber of the United States Congress. The senator, who represents Oregon, submitted S.Res.592, “A resolution designating October 9, 2018, as ‘National Ada Lovelace Day’ and honoring the life and legacy of Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.”

This year, our annual STEM cabaret, Ada Lovelace Day Live!, will be held on the evening of 9 October at The IET, in London. Tickets are available now, and our fantastic line-up of speakers is:

  • Prof Sunetra Gupta, epidemiologist

  • Chanuki Seresinhe, computer scientist

  • Dr Susie Maidment, palaeontologist

  • Dr Hilary Costello, engineer

  • Prof Emma McCoy, mathematician

  • Dr Diva Amon, marine scientist

  • Natasha Simons, science demo builder

Our compère will be geek songstress and one third of Festival of the Spoken Nerd, Helen Arney!

If you’re not in London, then look for an independently organised event near you on our handy map. And if you would like to hold your own event, take a look at our Independent Event Organiser’s Pack with information, inspiration and resources that you can use, including blanks for flyers and posters.

This is the 10th Ada Lovelace Day, and over the years, it has changed immensely from the day of blogging that kicked it off. We now work year-round to support girls and women in STEM, creating books about women in STEM, crochet patterns for amigurumi dolls, a podcast, free downloadable careers posters, a free education pack for schools, a resources database, and much, much more.

We are now expanding our work and will next year be launching a mentorship and knowledge sharing network for women in STEM. If you want to be a part of that future, please help us shape the project, and become amongst the very first to know when we launch!


Join us for our 10th Ada Lovelace Day on Tuesday, 9 October 
Organise your own event and be part of something fabulous!
Twitter: @findingada
Facebook: AdaLovelaceDay

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