Ada Lovelace Day – Celebrating women in tech

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Today (March 24) is Ada Lovelace Day, a great idea organised by Suw Charman-Anderson. Over 1,000 people have signed up to write a blog post about a woman in technology whom they admire. Although I didn’t sign the pledge I’m doing a post anyway. I knew about Ada since the day I read about her semi-fictionalised character in that amazing steampunk novel, The Difference Engine, and well, I was impressed. Plus I like the aim of the whole project.

Ada Lovelace Day was founded to raise the visibility of women in tech, and rightly so. This sector is woefully bad at getting more gender balance into the industry, and that is partly why I’ve put a debate about the issue into Geek ‘n Rolla next month.

Ada Lovelace herself was fascinating. Born in 1815 she became the world’s first computer programmer. In 1842 she translated some notes on Charles Babbage’s invention, the Analytical Engine, and then created a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with it. Thus the first computer program was born.

The first computer programming language was thus named Ada. In 1942 the ENIAC was programmed not by men but by six women. A woman, Grace Hopper inspired the development of the COBOL programming language. So computers are steeped in female history.

The Guardian has a great list of women in tech. But I’ll be honest. I don’t know many of them, so allow me to list some of the great women in this business today I that have had the privilege to meet, aside from Suw herself, and some I’d like to meet. This list is not comprehensive and yes – before you ask – it includes people who don’t code because there are plenty of men in tech who don’t code but still consider themselves in tech. Including me! Capeesh? And besides, these women have to put up with all us guys, so I think they deserve a roll of honour don’t you?

In addition to which, the next time you see an advisory board with no women members, or a tech event with no women speakers, then at least now you might have a list to refer to for some ideas, right? Right. (see also

Adriana Lukas,
Aleks Krotoski, The Guardian
Alicia Navarro, Skimbit
Amanda Lorenzani, Excite
Amanda Rose, Twestival
Anna Bance,
Anna Colclough,
Avid Larizadeh, Accel Ventures
Basheera Khan, journalist
Bena Roberts,
Bindi Karia, Microsoft
Caroline Roberts, WE Connect
Carrie Marsh, Mydeo
Cate Sevilla, BitchBuzz
Catherine Williams, Osborne Clarke
Christina Domecq, Spinvox
Clare Logie, HBOS Women
Daniela Arens,
Deirdre Molloy,
Elizabeth Varley,
Elizabetta Camilleri, Tereca
Helen Keegan,
Helen Lawrence, Dare / MeasurementCamp
Hermione Way, Newspepper
Inmaculada Martinez, Stradbrokeadvisors
Isabel Fox, IF Communications
Jamilla Knowles, BBC
Jane Houghton, British Venture Capital Association
Janet Parkinson, Quirk
Jemima Kiss, Guardian
Jenny Fielding
Joanne Jacobs, Amplified 09
Joanna Geary, The Times
Judith Clegg, 2nd Chance Tuesday
Julie Meyer, Entrepreneur Country
Karen Hunton,
Katie Lee, Shiny Media
Katie Lips, Treasuremytext
Katie Moffat, PR
Leisa Reichelt, Freelance user experience consultant
Linda Bernardi, Straterra Partners
Lisa Bilton,
Liz Bolshaw, Lymehound
Margaret Gold, Betavine
Maria Dramalioti-Taylor, Protos Capital
Martha Lane Fox,
Melissa Geffert, Opal Telecom
Meriem Aissaoui, Smarta
Michelle Dewberry,
Michelle Martin, Digital Planet
Miranda Munn,
Natalie Diep, Morrison & Foerster LLP
Nicola Maguire, Reed Smith
Peggy Anne Saltzman, MsearchGroove
Petra Johansson,
Priya Prakash,
Rachel Armitage, Zoombu
Rachel Bremer, Spark PR
Rassami Hok Ljungberg, Rassami PR
Renate Nyborg, Poken
Reshma Sohoni,
Sally Goodsell, Finance South East
Sarah Blow, Girl Geek Dinners
Sarah Cebik, DLA Piper UK LLP
Sarah Eaton, GLE Growth Capital
Sarah McVittie, Texperts
Sasha, “sashinka”
Sayula Kirby, Index Capital
Shaa Wasmund,
Sharon Vosmek, Astia
Sherry Coutu, Cambridge Angels
Simone Brummelhuis, The Next Women
sMary harrington, School of Everything
Sonia Calvo, BlueandPink
Sophie Cox, Worldeka
Sophie Hobson, Smarta
Steph Bouchet, Rougefrog
Sue Guerrieri, SugarPlum Shop
Sue Lawton, WE Connect
Swannny, Gadget Girl
Thayer Prime, just unique
Vero Pepperrell,
Wendy White, Moonfruit / Gandi Group
Yuri Bacas Hosaka, CityAmigo
Zoe Margolis , Girlonetrack
Zuzanna Pasierbinska-Wilson,

(Apologies if I’ve accidentally left you off the list!)

  • Elsa

    A great list thanks Mike. I think the fact that you don’t recognise those women on the Guardian list just highlights why this is a really good idea.

    Also if people are looking for women speakers for events I was recently pointed to which is another great initiative to promote women speakers in the tech industry.

  • Cate

    Great list, Mike! Thank you so much. Very honored to be on a list with such fantastic women.

    • Zuzanna Pasierbinska-Wilson

      Very honoured indeed! Thank you Mike for your continuous support! With your help, we will get more women into tech and get them adequately recognised.

  • Elizabeth Varley

    Great list Mike and thanks for the inclusion – I’m in some seriously great company!

  • Wendy Tan White

    Thanks Mike, honoured to be on the list with peers I respect.

    Would be good to encourage more girls into tech and the industry. Don’t know if anyone knows of organisations that go into schools/universities to encourage this?

    I first came across Ada at uni while studying computer science, but rather isolated with 7 girls on the course out of 120.

  • Andraz Tori

    Mike, the list idea was great! :)

    no more excuses!

    I’d add Nicole Simon, great thinker, blogger and speaker from Germany (and a good friend :)

    Andraz Tori

  • Kristoffer Lawson

    Cool article.

    I think I’d add Esther Dyson to that list, considering she is with Dopplr, Meetup and several other tech startups (as well as training to be a cosmonaut!).

  • Falafulu Fisi

    How about the prominent particle physicist Prof. Lisa Randell from Harvard? Prof. Randal was included in the 2007 Time Magazine top 100 most influential people.

  • bena roberts

    Thank-you so much for the mention Mike! I really appreciate it. Bena

  • Katie Lips

    Thanks for the mention Mike; great list, great initiative!

  • alan p

    I’d add these women from Tuttle Club who I’ve worked a bit with in the last year or so, they do heavy lifting:

    Helen Lawrence (Dare / MeasurementCamp)
    Joanne Jacobs (Amplified 09)
    Janet Parkinson (COO, Quirk)
    Jamilla Knowles (BBC)

    And if I had to reach into my Client base, Twitter directory, Conference cards or Linked In network, then far more….

  • Yuri Bacas Hosaka

    Cheers Mike!

    Very honoured to be next to other women I respect
    (sorry to sound repetitive, but I share the same feeling than Wendy)

    Hopefully we will inspire more women to join us


  • Nicola Robinsonova

    The whole point of Ada Lovelace day is that (according to research) it’s important for women and girls to see examples of women as role models, so the list above is a nice contribution. Thanks.

    Hmm, maybe I’ll start using the hashtag #femaleCEO .

  • Simone Brummelhuis

    Hi, thanks Mike to have included me. We have just published the first part of our database of women investing, leading or founding internet companies (about 300).
    It’s work in progress, but a good start.

    • stephen

      Hi Simone , congratulations on your sucses, is this rearly the sweet girl i met all those yers ago ?

  • Deirdre Molloy

    Thanks Mike! Apologies the online community I’m building hasn’t launched quite yet, nearly there though :)

    I’d add Brighton-based Flash accessibility goddess Niqui Merrett who’s also graced SXSW panels and many other conference and event line-ups

    And Laura Jordan-Bambach, group creative director at LBi

    • Helen Keegan

      Thanks for including me Mike! In such fantastic company too.

  • Meriem Aissaoui

    Great idea Mike and well done for the initiative.

    Honoured to be in the company of such fantastic women.

    Hats off ladies! keep up the good work!

  • Claire

    Nice initiative!

    I would add the following two women, who in my mind are as relevant as the given list:

    Sophia Raw/Java Programmer, Quirk

    Janine Carpenter/Group COO, Quirk

  • Vero Pepperrell

    Thanks for the mention, Mike, and for including so many great women to your list.

    If I might add, I wrote about Ada Lovelace day as well, on the 24th, to explain how I feel about this day. As long as the aim is to celebrate the actions of proactive and enterprising women, I’m thrilled. If it’s about nattering about the victims that women become when working in tech, then I’m uncomfortable with the purpose of this day.

    We all need to buckle down and work hard, just like (most) boys do, in order to get recognition.

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  • geekess

    thank you so much for an article on women in tech. I used to hide my gender when I first started out—many years ago

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