Happy (belated) Ada Lovelace Day

Girl Geeks    ald09    2009-03-25

Whoa, look at the date on that last post. A lot has changed since then - I went back to work in a PHP shop, all the while intending to keep doing Python/Django on the side, but I haven't been able to make as much time for that as I thought I would.

Ironically (or coincidentally considering the occasion) today I'm in Chicago for my first PyCon, where I expect to be one of, oh, maybe five women in the place. I'm used to being in the minority at these things - it makes it kind of hard to blend into the background, but I do my best.

It's not particularly easy being a woman in technology. I'm well aware that I am always going to be in the minority, at work or at social events. Most of the time I feel like I have to make a choice between being a programmer and being a woman. Maybe this oversimplifies the matter, but if I dare to express myself as a woman by, let's say, wearing makeup and high heels, then I am automatically not taken seriously as a developer. That's what happens, that's just how it is. But I'm not willing to sacrifice my femininity. I shouldn't have to sacrifice either part of my identity - to do so would make me no longer a whole person.

And yet I can't imagine doing anything else. Writing code is probably in my blood - my dad was a programmer in the early-ish days at IBM, and in our house we spoke Cobol and Pascal and Fortran. My boss (and best friend) says I'm one of the only people he knows who can list so many languages on a resume and have written something meaningful in all of them.

And so I'm grateful to Ada Lovelace for giving me the opportunity to do what I do. As one of the first programmers, she paved the path for all of us, men and women alike.

Ada Lovelace Day: Bringing women in technology to the fore

The inspiration of Ada Lovelace [BBC News]

with Ada.Text_IO; 

procedure Hello is
  Ada.Text_IO.Put_Line("Hello, world!");
end Hello;