Ada and Women in Engineering today

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Yesterday marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Ada Lovelace.

Ada Lovelace is widely held to have been the first computer programmer. Close friends with inventor Charles Babbage, Lovelace was intrigued by his Analytical Engine and in 1842, she translated a description of it by italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea. Babbage asked her to expand the article, “as she understood [it] so well”, and this was when she wrote several early ‘computer programs’. [1]

Born in 1815, Ada Lovelace was encouraged by her maths-loving mother to study maths and was brought up in a strict regimen of logic and science.As a woman engineer and computer scientist in the 19th century Ada Lovelace was certainly an unusual woman, fiercely independent and intelligent – and her ‘willingness to converse with members of the opposite sex meant that there were often rumours amongst the court gossip’.[2] It seems fair to say that being a female mathematician in a male dominated world was not an easy undertaking in the early 19th century.

But that was long before the suffragettes and before the reforms of the 50s and the 60s [3] and before women – and men – actively pursued gender equality. Undoubtedly we have gone a long way but even the fact that we still have to talk about it and we are still looking at 19.1% gender pay gap in the UK, [4] means we still have work to do.

This article by Jared Mauldin, senior in mechanical engineering published in the Huffington Post today about gender equality and bias (conscious or unconscious) could not describe any better were women engineers stand today:

To the women in my engineering classes. While it is my intention in every other interaction I share with you to treat you as my peer, let me deviate from that to say that you and I are in fact unequal.

Sure, we are in the same school program, and you are quite possibly getting the same GPA as I, but does that make us equal?

I did not, for example, grow up in a world that discouraged me from focusing on hard science. Nor did I live in a society that told me not to get dirty or said I was bossy for exhibiting leadership skills.

In grade school I never had to fear being rejected by my peers because of my interests.

| was not bombarded by Images and slogans telling me that my true worth was in how I look, and that I should abstain from certain activities because I might be thought too masculine.  I was not overlooked by teachers who assumed that the reason I did not understand a tough math or science concept was, after all, because of my gender. I have had no difficulty whatsoever with a boys club mentality, and I will not face added scrutiny or remarks of my being the “diversity hire”. When I experience success the assumption of others will be that learned it.

So, you and I cannot be equal You have already conquered far more to be in this field than I will ever face.

By Jared Mauldin

Senior in Mechanical Engineering


[1] http://findingada.com/about/

[2] http://findingada.com/book/ada-lovelace-victorian-computing-visionary/

[3] http://www.mmu.ac.uk/equality-and-diversity/doc/gender-equality-timeline.pdf

[4]  http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Gender_pay_gap_statistics

Business leaders continue to help inspire the next generation of leaders!

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By now it is known that fields related to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are amongst the country’s fastest growing. Working towards helping students to get jobs in these fields later on is the fact that the new national requirement demands that every child needs to learn computer programming in school. But it also requires teachers to include coding classes as part of the Curriculum. So what sorts of digital learning software are best to use and which devices are best fit for purpose here?

Using digital technology in schools can turn out the be quite an “entrepreneurial endeavour” itself as they struggle to find their way through the “technology jungle”. The organisationTechknowledge for Schools accompanies schools in this transitional phase from “analogue to digital” learning and publishes case studies on their blog each week with experience reports from teachers and students. Take a look if you need tips that could help your school, too.

Talking of entrepreneurial spirit – it is not too late to participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Week and inspire your students to start their own businesses! Invite local entrepreneurs from the STEM industries to your classroom and let your students hear from their successes and failures.


Events organised by fellow teachers

Giovanna Newbery, Curriculum Manager at the Thomas Alleyne School, has invited 3 business leaders of successful and growing businesses to her school at the beginning of November to inspire 25 of their Y12 students about being future entrepreneurs.

Speaking will be: Vic Morris, Chairman at Trovus, which is the Information Insights division of the Logicalis Group, Denise Hicks, Founder and Director of Loco London Comedy Film Festival and Fiona Marshall who is the Founder and CSO at Heptares Therapeutics, a biotech company that creates novel medicines.


Jayne Talbot, Director of Work Related Learning at Ninestiles School & Academy has also invited 3 business leaders to come to the school in two weeks to share with 30 of their Y11 students what skills are needed to start your own business and inspire them about entrepreneurship.

Speakers are: Joel Blake, Founder of Cultiv8 Solutions, an social impact consultancy, David Bailey, Partner at Merryns Accounting company specialised on SMEs and start ups and Rob Rafferty, Managing Director at Amber Real Estate Investments.


Don’t forget to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day next week on the 13th of October by making your students aware of the great contribution Ada achieved to initiate our digital age.
* Help your students develop a true passion for STEM subjects
* Show them other female role models contributing to STEM today
* Make them aware of the infinite career opportunities in the STEM industries

Women in Business!

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Entrepreneurship is booming. Whilst its notion is often tied to technological innovation in Western countries, the spirit of entrepreneurship is perceived very differently in developing countries with emerging economies. Here, innovations that solve social problems such as supporting a community with a supply of food or ensuring that children have a basic education are needed. The Entrepreneur introduces 3 inspiring examples in an article published this week of how entrepreneurial women, who had to fight hard to be heard, made a difference in their communities through applying their entrepreneurial talent.

With the same vigour, the Global Week of Entrepreneurship has set MAKE IT HAPPEN as their motto to promote entrepreneurial women and ideas with a social dimension this year.
We are also excited to share that your fellow enterprising colleagues have invited women leaders to their school and participate in the campaign to inspire young girls to become future entrepreneurs and successful ones, too. Join them!


 

Female Role Models for GEW

We are very pleased to share with you that Joy McArdle, Head of Business & Enterprise at Felsted School, has used our service to invite 4 female leaders of successful and growing businesses to her school to inspire 25 of her Y12 to Y13 girls who study business & economics as part of the GEW in November. Combined their companies make over £28 million turnover and employ more than 169 people.

Speaking will be: Alexandra De’Cort, Director at Beckett Media, a consultancy specialised in data & marketing, Helen Moore, Managing Director of City & Country Group that develops cultural heritage properties in the UK, Helen Withers, Managing Director at Arc Legal Assistance, who designs and implements insurances models and Jane Gurney, CEO at the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust.