Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, was the first computer programmer. The story is that her mother, Anne Isabella, was spurned by Lord Byron, and because of that, Anne encouraged Ada to pursue subjects that were rational and not romantic, wishy-washy, or crazy, like the subjects Lord Byron pursued. So Ada studied mathematics from an early age, later working with Charles Babbage on the design of his Analytical Engine and creating the first computer program. Most computer scientist know her namesake--the computer language Ada.
Unfortunately, the fact that computer programming started with a woman doesn't mean that women are flocking to careers in science and math today. To recognize the women who are and encourage others to follow their lead, Suw Charmna-Anderson declared March 24 to be Ada Lovelace Day and asked the blog-o-sphere to write about women excelling in technology.
I spent a fair amount of time thinking about who I wanted to highlight, and I decided that I couldn't choose just one. Today, you are getting a list of three.
- Beth Kanter - Beth uses technology to build community and connections with other people and then shares her experiences at Beth's Blog. Through her blogging, which is part thinking aloud, part reference, and part resource guide, Beth looks at how technology is being used in the nonprofit community and from that distills best practices as well as areas for additional research.
- Allyson Kapin - Allyson has a variety of titles, but I think that she's best described as a cheerleader for good. Not only does she work with nonprofits to develop online strategies that will help them to change the world, but she is also Blogger-in-Chief for Care2's frogloop, where she explains the finer points of online networking, and the founder of Women Who Tech, an annual telesummit for women in technology. In her spare time, she reminds technology conference planners to include women on panels and as speakers.
- Michelle Murrain - Michelle is a nonprofit techie, who focuses on open source content management systems; however, she has a variety of interests. One thing that I admire about her is that she is able to talk and write about technology in plain language but also able to talk "geek." And from following her on Twitter (@pearlbear) and reading her blog, I get the feeling that she's not afraid to call a spade a spade.
And, of course, there are many more that I could easily add to this list. If you have a particular woman who you think should be recognized, please let me know in the comments. - K