Today is the birthday of Ada Lovelace, widely recognized as one of the first computer programmers. Her claim to fame was that she wrote programs for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, along with the very first description of a computer and software. Why is this of major importance? She was born in 1815, surely a time when women were not even considered to be a major force in science and technology. And in so far as successful women programmers or even women in tech, there are no Ada Lovelaces around in 2009 either.
Women in IT are a rarity in most cases; but instead of complaining about it, let’s be all intelligent women and think of ideas on how to pop the bubble of ignorance and how we can change the future of women in IT.
What we try to do with Geek Girl Camp is not just throw fun boot camps and events; we have an underlying commitment to education, scholarships for women and never leaving ANY woman behind who wants to learn more about technology. Some of the components of what we do (mostly anonymously) are here as follows:
1.) Though we are a volunteer organization, we provided quite a few women to go to the Boot Camps who were unemployed, in transition, and out of work.
2.) We work with local women’s groups whose main objective is to provide scholarships for women; mostly for women going back to school or who need computer training if they are unemployed.
3.) We work with the local schools, and tech schools, on advisory committees and through the guidance counselors to identify girls who want to have a career in IT; such as programming, design, computer networking, etc., and offer them scholarships to Geek Girl events and assistance.
4.) We raise money for scholarships for women and hope to keep making this a priority in our mission.
5.) We give back, pay it forward, pass on the legacy of knowledge, support, assist and mentor any woman who needs assistance, but they have to want it.
The people behind Geek Girl Camp are all professionals in one form of technology or another. As the founder, I own my own programming and web application company. Janel is a designer. Reiko’s company produces video for clients. Paula and Sue are web developers. And so it goes. We are all “in the biz” so of course it is no surprise to any of us that getting others into the biz is our mission.
Unlike an inordinate amount of snooty Internet celubutards, Geek Girl Camp is comprised of real, compassionate people. We answer your emails, follow you on Twitter, connect with you on LinkedIn and friend you on Facebook. We are real. And we want to help.
And we want to make sure that every girl, woman and lady, has the option to be a part of this great social experiment and learn more about technology. And succeed.
So please pass on the concept of Geek Girl Camp to other women you know and let us all work together to see more women in tech succeed, whether it is your daughter, your sister, your mother, your aunt or your grandmother.
Are we succeeding? You bet. Even if our efforts are small, you need to start somewhere.
We have a long way to go, baby….but with more passionate women who want to be a part of the future of women in tech, we will succeed.
Find out more about Ada Lovelace Day.
Your comments are very welcome here, and in leaving a comment, mention a woman in tech who turned you on to technology….your very own “Ada Lovelace”….