As we have often reported on V3 there is a clear lack of female workers in the tech and science industries. This is not just an issue about balance in workforces but one that could affect the whole industry as a growing skills crisis looms
As such, the importance of events such as Ada Lovelace Day being celebrated on Tuesday cannot be overlooked. Not only are they vital to ensure the historic legacy of the likes of Lovelace herself are remembered, but to show future generations the potential for exciting and fulfilling careers in the IT industry.
The day itself runs across the world, with events in Brazil, Canada, Ecuador and of course here in the UK. A full list of all the events – some of which run later in the month – can be found on the FindingAda.com website.
The efforts by the organisers to celebrate Lovelace – a Victorian mathematician who is often referred to as the first computer programmer – have been welcomed by many.
Sheila Flavell, the chief operating officer of IT consultant firm FDM Group, which has been a vocal supporter of getting more women into IT, said Lovelace is the ideal role model for female techies.
“Ada Lovelace Day is always an important date in my calendar. Writing computer programmes in a time when women rarely received the same education as men (let alone in science, technology and mathematics), Lovelace is a role model to every woman in the industry, which is why we chose to launch our global Women in IT campaign two years ago on this day," she told V3.
“It is not only important to create a positive working environment to develop the careers of your current female workforce, but it is also vital to encourage and support women of all ages to consider an IT career. Whether it is your daughter, your sister, your mother, your aunt or your grandmother, FDM aims to create a new generation of Ada Lovelaces and I hope that other companies do the same.”
Jane Richardson, head of Oracle Academy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the IT industry must take on its burden of responsibility too, and ensure it does everything it can to appeal to young females. “The IT industry will have an important role to play in helping attract women to IT. In the short term, for young people and adults today this role will lie in showing to women just how open to them a career in IT is, and how rewarding they will find it,” she said.
“Longer term we need to work closely with governments to place IT at the heart of curricula, making it a core skill that all students, regardless of gender, will learn at the earliest stage possible.”
Clearly, with support from firms such as Oracle and the FDM Group, the Ada Lovelace Day has major backing and V3 would also add its support to anything that encourages any individual, male or female, to realise the IT and tech sector offers the opportunity for a fascinating, diverse and challenging career, with huge potential for the future.
If the efforts result in the discovery of a few more Ada Lovelace geniuses, all the better.
Plaque celebrating Ada Lovelace in St James's Sq, London
15 Oct 2013