This is a guest blog from Lana Burgess, advertising coordinator at FDM Group.
Ada Lovelace, is widely regarded as the world's first computer programmer. Her notes, written in the 1840's on Charles Babbage's "Analytical Engine" an early form of computer, contained an encoded algorithm to be processed by the machine; a computer programme.
Ada was very forward thinking about the potential uses of computer technology, beyond the standard number-crunching functions. However, could she have ever anticipated the enormous range and power of technology that we have at our finger-tips on a daily basis in 2013? How would Ada, a self-proclaimed "poetical scientist" have viewed the exponential growth of social networking in recent years? How might she have used this to spread her ideas?
Celebrated annually, Ada Lovelace Day is an opportunity to celebrate women's achievements in the field of science and technology; achievements such as those of Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. In June 2012 Sandberg became the first woman on Facebook's board of directors, having excelled as the Vice President of Global Sales and Online Operations at Google. By August 2013, Sheryl had become the COO of Facebook, known for her success in opening up new opportunities and increasing revenue from mobile advertising for the site.
Sheryl has not only become a prominent and well respected woman in her field but is also the face of a new movement "Lean In" which aims to address the fact that women are still not reaching the top of their professions. The movement tries to address assumptions and stereotypes that are made and reinforced in childhood, such as the fact an outspoken and opinionated young boy might be praised for his leadership skills, whereas the same qualities in a young girl are often dismissed as "bossy".
The aims of Lean In are very much in keeping with the aspirations and initiatives of FDM's own Women in IT Campaign. Sandberg encourages women to network and share experiences and inspirational stories as a means of enabling them to reach their goals and climb the career ladder. Similarly FDM offers mentoring and support through its Female Champions initiative and the hosting of "Women in IT Advantage Sessions" aimed at inspiring undergraduates to go into IT.
FDM's Women in IT campaign has been met with success with female staff figures increasing month on month to 24% globally. As global campaigns such as Lean In also go from strength to strength, hopefully we will soon have many more leading female figures in technology to celebrate, and honour the legacy of Ada Lovelace.