October 16, 2012 | By Kellie Brownell

Celebrating Women in Technology for Ada Lovelace Day 2012

Defending rights online means more than just standing up for abstract principles. It means supporting the users and developers who want to make technology better. And needless to say, women are an essential part of that project.

That's why we're excited to participate in Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of the accomplishments of women in technology and technology policy. Who is Ada and why should you care? Ada Lovelace is believed to have written the first algorithm read by a machine, making her one of the first computer programmers.

Originally organized by Suw Charman-Anderson in 2009, Ada Lovelace Day inspires thousands of peple to write blogs in support of women in science, technology, engineering and math fields. We're proud to have had our fearless leaders Shari Steele and Cindy Cohn featured by Ada Lovelace Day participants Adafruit and BoingBoing in the past.

Here's a round-up of some of our favorite posts in celebration of Ada Lovelace Day 2012 (and we'll keep updating this list throughout the day):

  • Women, Tech and OER by Cathy Casserly of Creative Commons: [We've] formed a task force to determine how open educational resources (OER) can support the success of girls and women in STEM fields. As I said in that announcement, the challenges of the future will require bright, ambitious, well-educated people of both genders.
  • Ada Lovelace Day San Francisco: Join Wikimedia, Mozilla and the Ada Initiative, Tues. October 16th for mingling, a short talk about Ada Lovelace, light snacks and drinks.  People of all genders and interests are welcome to attend!
  • Feminist blogger Clarisse Thorn released her newest book, Violation: Rape in Gaming, an anthology about consent and online communities with tech journalist Julian Dibbell. She timed the release to be in conjunction with Ada Lovelace Day and the authors are donating 10% of the proceeds from ebook sales to the EFF. Thanks Clarisse!
  • Renata Avila of Global Voices has published an inspiring articleabout the women doing pioneering work in technology and free expression around the world. 
  • EFF looked back at our past Pioneer Award winners and did a roundup of the 12 women we honored for their contributions to technology and tech policy. 

The people who make design decisions and write company policies are more aware than ever of marginal use cases that primarily affect women. We've been fighting to defend the use of pseudonyms on social networks and keep control over gender identity in the hands of social network users. Organizations that track Internet censorship are highlighting the damage done to family planning and reproductive rights websites when censorship is carried out based on sexual language. And social networks are facilitating online collective action around controversial issues that could not be discussed on the street. But these victories did not happen by themselves. It took activists, technologists, lawyers, and policy makers who understood the problems to speak out.

Please join us — it's easy! Just blog, tweet #findingada, post on Google+, and tell your friends. You can write about women in technology that have inspired or influenced you, or you can write about technology issues that particularly affect women. If you do, we'd love to add your article to our list. Email kellie@eff.org.

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