For anyone who doesn’t know who Ada Lovelace was (from my Oct. 13, 2015 posting, ‘Ada Lovelace “… manipulative, aggressive, a drug addict …” and a genius but was she likable?‘)
Ada Lovelace was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron and mathematician Annabella Milbanke.
Her [Ada Lovelace’s] foresight was so extraordinary that it would take another hundred years and Alan Turing to recognise the significance of her work. But it was an achievement that was probably as much a product of her artistic heritage as her scientific training.
You can take the title of that October 13, 2015 post as a hint that I was using ‘Ada Lovelace “… manipulative, aggressive, a drug addict …” and a genius but was she likable?‘ to comment on the requirement that women be likable in a way that men never have to consider.
Hard to believe that 2015 was the last time I stumbled across information about the day. ’nuff said. This year I was lucky enough to see this Oct. 13, 2020 article by Zoe Kleinman for British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) news online,
From caravans [campers] to kitchen tables, and podcast production to pregnancy, I’ve been speaking to many women in and around the technology sector about how they have adapted to the challenges of working during the coronavirus pandemic.
Research suggests women across the world have shouldered more family and household responsibilities than men as the coronavirus pandemic continues, alongside their working lives.
And they share their inspirations, frustrations but also their optimism.
“I have a new business and a new life,” says Clare Muscutt, who lost work, her relationship and her flatmate as lockdown hit.
This Tuesday [Oct. 13, 2020] is Ada Lovelace Day – an annual celebration of women working in the male-dominated science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) sectors.
And, this year, it has a very different vibe.
Claire Broadley, technical writer, Leeds
Before lockdown, my husband and I ran our own company, producing user guides and written content for websites.
Business income dropped by about two-thirds during lockdown.
We weren’t eligible for any government grants. And because we still had a small amount of work, we couldn’t furlough ourselves.
It felt like we were slowly marching our family towards a cliff edge.
In May , to my astonishment and relief, I was offered my dream job, remote writing about the internet and technology.
Working from home with the children has been the most difficult thing we’ve ever done.
My son is seven. He is very scared.
Sometimes, we can’t spend the time with him that we would like to. And most screen-time rules have gone completely out of the window.
The real issue for us now is testing.
My young daughter caught Covid in July . And she recently had a temperature again. But it took six days to get a test result, so my son was off school again. And my husband was working until midnight to fit everything in.
There are many other stories in Kleinman’s Oct. 13, 2020 article.
Nancy Doyle’s October 13, 2020 article for Forbes tends to an expected narrative about women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM),
“21st century science has a problem. It is short of scientists. Technological innovations mean that the world needs many more specialists in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects than it is currently training. And this problem is compounded by the fact that women, despite clear evidence of aptitude and ability for science subjects, are not choosing to study STEM subjects, are not being recruited into the STEM workforce, are not staying in the STEM workplace.”
Why Don’t Women Do Science?
Professor Rippon [Gina Rippon, Professor of Neuroscience at Aston University in the UK] walked me through the main “neurotrash” arguments about the female brain and its feebleness.
“There is a long and fairly well-rehearsed ‘blame the brain’ story, with essentialist or biology-is-destiny type arguments historically asserting that women’s brains were basically inferior (thanks, Gustave le Bon and Charles Darwin!) or too vulnerable to withstand the rigours of higher education. A newer spin on this is that female brains do not endow their owners with the appropriate cognitive skills for science. Specifically, they are poor at the kind of spatial thinking that is core to success in science or, more generally, are not ‘hard-wired’ for the necessary understanding of systems fundamental to the theory and practice of science.
The former ‘spatial deficit’ description has been widely touted as one of the most robust of sex differences, quite possibly present from birth. But updated and more nuanced research has not been able to uphold this claim; spatial ability appears to be more a function of spatial experience (think toys, videogames, hobbies, sports, occupations) than sex. And it is very clearly trainable (in both sexes), resulting in clearly measurable brain changes as well as improvements in skill.”
You can find out more about women in STEM, Ada Lovelace, and events (year round) to celebrate her at the Ada Lovelace Day website.
Plus, I found this on Twitter about a new series of films about women in science from a Science Friday (a US National Public Radio podcast) tweet,
Celebrate #WomenInScience with a brand new season of #BreakthroughFilms, dropping today [October 14, 2020]! Discover the innovative research & deeply personal stories of six women working at the forefront of their STEM fields.
Get inspired at BreakthroughFilms.org
Here’s the Breakthrough Films trailer,