Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Ada Lovelace day - women in technology

In case you haven't heard, today is Ada Lovelace day when lots of people, myself included, have pledged to blog about women in technology they consider to be role models. I thought it would be nice to acknowledge some of the women that I've worked alongside - perhaps not superstars (yet?) but proof that alongside the guys we are out there, playing our parts in driving technology forward.

To cut down the list, I'm concentrating on people who are involved in development or the more technical end of product management - these are people who know how things work. So, in no particular order, and with apologies to many other talented people I've left out...
  • Aside from her day job as software development manager at Figleaves, Anne Currie is a tech entrepreneur responsible for workingProgram.
  • At Skype, the devices product management team was remarkably well-balanced along gender lines. Helen Blackburn, Debby Shepard and Sue Powell all play(ed) important roles in shaping the options for Skype users to communicate away from their PCs.
  • Gemma Harrison is a development manager at MetaSwitch, where they deal with some seriously difficult network protocol technology.
  • Sophie Major runs the international part of the Yahoo! Developer Network - and as an ex-developer knows what it's like on the other side of the fence. Seems I'm not the only one to think of Sophie today.
Let me get one thing straight: I can't stand self-congratulatory women-in-engineering get-togethers where everyone pats themselves on the back for making it past the oh-so-many-incredibly-difficult barriers to making a success of themselves in the industry. Wittering on about how hard it is doesn't encourage more women to get involved. What does work is highlighting positive role models like any of the women listed here.

Who else should be on this list? Sign the Ada Lovelace pledge and let the world know in your own blog post!

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