The Ada Lovelace Initiative has set out to connect women working in the STEM sector. Many large organisations, including Web Summit, have introduced schemes such as cheaper or free tickets for female attendees. In an effort to overcome gender inequality in the tech sector, offering females a completely different entry price to the event never made much sense to us, which is likely why we love the idea of the Ada Lovelace Initiative.
What does STEM mean?
First of all, just to answer a frequently asked question – what is STEM. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. You’ll regularly hear this terms bandied around at big conferences and the likes more now than ever before. Nearly all businesses will have some STEM aspect to them, adding to the importance of gender equality.
Who was Ada Lovelace?
Ada Lovelace was a nineteenth century English Countess and Mathematician. While you may initially think she looked like a typical female of the time, she was far from the generally accepted norm. Her brilliantly analytical mind and abilities led her to work on one of the first computers, with her often being referred to as the first computer programmer. It will become increasingly obvious why she was picked as the face of the campaign.
What is the Ada Lovelace Initiative?
We consider the Web Summit approach, while honourable, to be a bit of a band aid on the problem. It’s also not very sensitive to the deep rooted nature of the problems faced by women looking to join the STEM sector. Currently, less than 25% of the STEM sector is made of of female employees, with lack of access being one of the biggest contributors.
The Ada Lovelace Initiative, will see women from this 25% and from over 75 Irish STEM companies including TripAvisor, Udemy and Restored Hearing meet with Transition year students around Ireland. The initiative will address the deep rooted issues by connecting with young females early in their search for a career, enabling them to obtain the skills required to enter the STEM sector.
The initiative has already had an impact on 14 counties surpassing its 2000 secondary school student target by 1000 in it’s maiden year. There are already plans to expand the scheme for next year, with mentors only asked to volunteer one hour to a school in order to take part. The initiative will now target all schools in Ireland, so feel free to ask when and who will be visiting your children’s school.