One of the historical figures I most admire is Ada Lovelace. Possibly an odd choice for someone writing about politics, but there it is. Lovelace (1815-1852) was a brilliant mathematician and her notes on Charles Babbage’s difference engine are widely recognised as the first computer program. The programming language ADA was named after her – and, coming from a family of programmers and mathematicians, I heard about the language before I heard about the woman.
Last year 24 March was “Ada Lovelace Day”, celebrating women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This year it’s 7 October instead. I’m not a mathematician or a scientist, and I don’t work in a technology-heavy industry, but I still use maths and science in my daily life. I think it’s important that we celebrate women in male dominated industries and challenge stereotypes about what women can do. So next time you hear someone talking about how girls don’t “get” computers, tell them about Ada Lovelace.