Today marks Ada Lovelace Day, which is in honour of the first computer programmer.
Ada Lovelace was the daughter of Lord Byron and her mother raised her after her father died. Fearing that her daughter would inherit several of her infamous father’s poetic traits, Lovelace was raised in a strict environment based on logic, science and mathematics.
In 1833 she was introduced to Charles Babbage and she helped to develop a device called The Analytical Engine; an early predecessor of the modern computer. A few years after the publication of her “Sketch of the Analytical Engine, with Notes from the Translator” Lovelace died of cancer, aged just 36. Alan Turing was inspired by her work in the 1940s when he started worked on designs for the first modern computers.
Today, events will be taking place across the UK to celebrate Ada Lovelace as a role model for women in technology and science.
A report from CEB, found that the number of women choosing to work in IT is set to increase over the next four years. According to the data this figure currently sits at only 31 per cent globally and 18 per cent in the UK.
Previous research, conducted to highlight gender breakdown in the tech industry, has found that a more equal balance can have an effect on a company’s bottom line.
A study by McKinsey in 2010 found that companies with the highest representation of women on executive committees had, on average, a 47 per cent higher return on equity.
Furthermore, Credit Suisse research found that companies with one or more women on the board had an average return on equity of 16 per cent, compared with 12 per cent for firms with all-male boards.
Lynn Collier, Chief Operation Officer, Hitachi Vantara: “Today marks a chance for us to celebrate women’s achievements in science, technology, engineering and maths. When we consider Ada Lovelace herself, we’re reminded of the remarkable achievements of all women – past and present – in these fields. But it also presents the opportunity to step-back and reassess our current educational landscape. Ada was a woman brave enough to pursue her passions, and she paved the way for other women to follow, but there is still a long road ahead.
Encouraging women and girls to pursue STEM subjects remains a challenge, and although much has changed since
Ada was first encouraged by her mother to study maths and science, improvements can still be made. Human innovation is essential to solve increasingly complex real-world problems. Whether its combating global warming or developing smarter AI, STEM subjects have never been more essential than they are right now. So let’s use today to celebrate the great women of our time who have made leaps and strides in STEM, and reflect on how we can continue to cultivate the talents of women and encourage them to strive to become the industry leaders tomorrow.”
You can join in the Ada Lovelace Day conversation on twitter with #ALD2018 and #AdaLovelaceDay.