I told a number of people at work today that it's Ada Lovelace Day, to be greeted with blank looks and shrugs by many.
Today I took the women on my team to a restaurant called Le Petit Dejeuner.
I was going to take a photo of us out for lunch, and alas, forgot.
One user experience specialist, two technical communicators, and me. We work in a software company. There are seven women on our floor, and 35 men.
Most people are young enough that there is no overt sexism. For most people, there is probably no conscious sexism, either. There's just a terrible lack of women.
Really, there aren't that many more women than there were 20 years ago. This is unfortunate. Where do the problems lie? I hear from my good friend and technical hero Sandy that there weren't many more women in the engineering class she lectured within the last 10 years than when she was an engineering students.
We had one woman at work who left to pursue her PhD at MIT -- very smart woman. But I wanted to throw her in front of the streetcar when she self-deprecatingly said she'd probably never use her degree, and would likely end up "just a housewife." I'm not putting down housewives, but if you're going to get a PhD in math, why not use your brain for the betterment of many? Your children will become independent people in spite of (because of?) your brilliance in motherhood, and then what will you do for the next 25 years of your life?
I know some brilliant women in technology: Sandy. Lynn. Julia. Christine. Alice. Susan. Veronica. Yet somehow we seem not to be hitting a critical mass that is resulting in an equal balance of men and women in the work force.
I cannot but believe the questions we raise, the problems we choose to solve, and the directions we would take as corporate citizens, members of the public, and 51% of the population would change the world.
But I don't know how to get there. I hope we'll find our way.
I want to say positive things to the women in technology I know who are also photographers: there seem to be a lot of us. I raise a glass in celebration and point back to Georgia O'Keeffe, who knew her way around that technology, and used it to inspire her paintings.