Yes, There’s Still a Need to Celebrate #WomenInSTEM
Ada Lovelace Day, which occurs on the
Portrait of Ada Lovelace by British painter Margaret Sarah Carpenter (1836)
Eventually, Ada noted a series of operations that would be known as the first algorithm, which would ultimately help earn her the title of the first programmer. Ada also communicated the radical idea that such an engine could go beyond numbers, towards more elaborate creation in other areas. This meant moving us along an important path from just mathematical calculation to overall computation.
Whether Ada was the “prophet of the computer age,” the “princess of parallelograms,” or the “enchantress of numbers” as her various titles seemed to go, there might still beg the question. Why should we care about a seemingly small part of “herstory?”
If we look back at a number of attention-grabbing headlines on #womeninstem topics over the past year, there’s a lot to talk about. There are positive things, such as the recent letter from a male engineering student who acknowledged the difficulties his female counterparts most likely endured, as well as Tu Youyou, the woman who won the 2015 physiology/medicine Nobel prize along with two colleagues for advances against malarial disease.
But overwhelmingly, the challenges facing women come to mind. From the most recent story of the groping (and potentially much worse) very famous astronomer Geoff Marcy, to the Nobel laureate Tim Hunt who earlier this year was heard to say that women in labs were a “distraction,” there are still discouraging signs for women entering STEM fields. These examples represent an environment that exists where women in STEM are not an accepted part of the supposed establishment where such acts are allowed to occur.