Ada Lovelace Day, 13 Oct 2020
Ada Lovelace Day (ALD) is an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). It aims to increase the profile of women in STEM and, in doing so, create new role models who will encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in STEM.
Founded in 2009 by Suw Charman-Anderson, it is now held every year on the second Tuesday of October. It usually features the flagship Ada Lovelace Day Live! ‘science cabaret’ in London, UK, at which women in STEM give short talks about their work or research in an informal, theatre-like setting.
This year, Ada Lovelace Day went back to its roots with a day of blogging, Twittering and Facebooking, just like we did in 2009. #ALD20 celebrated women, advocates and educators in STEM. On our blog, we profiled women working in STEM around the world who work campaigning for gender equality in industry, academia and the community, and we also profiled organisations that support women in STEM around the world.
We asked you to join in by highlighting our hidden advocates, the teachers, lecturers and professors, the researchers and technicians, the women you work with, who go above and beyond to encourage and support girls and women in STEM. Who are the unsung heroines whose work is changing the future face of STEM?
You asked you to write a blog post, record a podcast, or take part on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other social media platform. And just like back in 2009, we created a database and you can still give us your links for posterity.
Watch our webinars
We ran five webinars on Ada Lovelace Day and we hope you’ll enjoy hearing from some amazing women in STEM, which you can watch at these links:
Ada Lovelace Day also includes dozens of grassroots events around the world, organised entirely independently from the ALD Live! event. These events take many forms — from conferences to Wikipedia ‘edit-a-thons’ to pub quizzes — and appeal to all ages, from girls to university students to women with well-established careers. Every year, people in dozens of countries across six continents put on their own event to support women in their own communities. You can see if there was an event near you on our map, but due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, many organisers and venues will be unable to do in-person events this year. We'll still keep our map up-to-date, but if it's not possible to run events in your country, join us in celebrating online instead.
The Finding Ada Virtual STEM Conference
Taking place a month after Ada Lovelace Day on Tuesday 10 November, the Finding Ada Virtual STEM Conference will be a 29 hour extravaganza of talks, workshops, Q&As and more, starting at 9am in Wellington, New Zealand, and continuing through until 5pm in Seattle, USA.
We will have a variety of talks, workshops, Q&As and more available to watch as they are streamed, or in catch-up later. Whether you are a woman in STEM who wants to develop her career, a business leader or HR exec, an educator or parent, or an advocate or community organiser, we’ll be running sessions for you. Our themes are Careers, Policy & Advocacy, and Widening Participation, and tickets will go on sale closer to the time, but save the date – Tuesday 10 November!
Introducing the Finding Ada Network
The Finding Ada Network provides peer mentorship and exclusive career development and gender equality content for women in STEM and advocates who work towards gender equality. The Finding Ada Network is for:
- Women in STEM: Women from academia, education and industry, who work in any role with the broadest possible definition of STEM.
- Advocates for gender equality: From women's network organisers to diversity officers to volunteers and staff at campaigning groups, all advocates are welcome, whether men or women.
- Businesses: STEM businesses, large or small, who want to support their female staff and advocates can buy seats in bulk to provide long-term mentorship and support.
Mentoring is a powerful way for people to improve their career prospects and successfully meet career challenges, yet 80% of the women in STEM that we surveyed had never had a mentor. The Finding Ada Network wants to change that and make sure that all women have access to mentorship, no matter where they work or how often they change jobs or institutions.
As a subscriber, you'll be able to take advantage of:
- Seven day free trial
- Structured one-to-one mentoring
- Careers advice and information
- Advocacy guidelines and documents
- Transferrable skills development
- Mentoring guidance for mentors and mentees
- Community forum
- Private messaging
- Job listings from WORK180
Our introductory price is just £9 pcm, so sign up now!
Become a Sustaining Sponsor
A Sustaining Sponsorship is just £1,000 per annum, and is a great way to provide long-term support for Ada Lovelace Day and girls and women in STEM. UK businesses can set up their sponsorship online now. Sponsors outside of the UK should email us.
Got a bigger budget? We also have larger sponsorship packages available, starting at £2,000 and covering photography, video, schools tickets along with other sponsorship options. Just download our prospectus or email Suw for more details.
Organise your own ALD event
Every year, people around the world, people like you, organise their own events for Ada Lovelace Day. We've put together a handy organisers’ pack for advice and resources to help people get involved by organising their own events. You can also chat to other organisers about what they are doing on our community forum or sing up to our indie event organisers mailing list.
Posters, notebooks, greetings cards
You can now buy Ada Lovelace posters, prints, greetings cards, and notebooks from our RedBubble shop! We have a full range of merchandise featuring Ada Lovelace and palaeontologist Mary Anning, plus our two careers posters available for sale.
All profits go to supporting Ada Lovelace Day, and we'll be adding to our range over coming months.
Our Passion for Science
Our mission at Ada Lovelace Day is to raise the profile of women in STEM, and we think our two anthologies about the inventors, pioneers, technologists, scientists, engineers and mathematicians, both modern and historic, do exactly that! Indeed, only one thing unites these stories, whether it is the ground-breaking use of scuba diving to study sharks, or the rigorous physical and psychological testing of Mercury astronaut hopefuls — all our protagonists are women.
A Passion for Science: Stories of Discovery and Invention brings together inspiring stories of how we achieved some of the most important breakthroughs in science and technology, from the identification of the Horsehead Nebula to the creation of the computer program, from the development of in vitro fertilisation to the detection of pulsars.
Journalist and TV presenter Maggie Philbin said that the book is "a brilliant read" and a "powerful, important and engaging record of women’s experiences in science and technology. Some stories I thought I knew, others were completely fresh to me, but every one captured the spirit of a woman I would have loved to have been."
Our second book, More Passion for Science: Journeys Into the Unknown, explores topics as diverse as the Air Transport Auxiliary ferrying planes around the UK during the Second World War under incredibly dangerous conditions, the programming of the first electronic general purpose computer, and the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.
“This is a wonderful collection of stories written with charm and eloquence by a wonderful collection of people," said mathematician and broadcaster Dr Hannah Fry. "There are captivating tales of celebrated characters and intriguing hidden stories from those sidelined from the spotlight."
From Kiribati to Howland Island
In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on Kiritimati Island, Ada Lovelace Day begins. Also known as Christmas Island, the coral atoll is situated in the Line Islands and is a part of the Republic of Kiribati. It lies 14 hours ahead of GMT/UTC, and 13 hours ahead of British Summer Time.
It continues for a mindbending 50 hours, until midnight on Baker Island and Howland Island, two uninhabited atolls which are actually further west than Kiritimati Island but which sit on the other side of the International Date Line. Both islands are 12 hours behind GMT/UTC, or 13 hours behind BST.
Who was Ada Lovelace?
Born in 1815, Ada Lovelace collaborated with inventor Charles Babbage on his general purpose computing machine, the Analytical Engine. In 1843, Lovelace published what we would now call a computer program to generate Bernoulli Numbers. Whilst Babbage had written fragments of programs before, Lovelace's was the most complete, most elaborate and the first published.
More importantly, Lovelace was the first person to foresee the creative potential of the Engine. She explained how it could do so much more than merely calculate numbers, and could potentially create music and art, given the right programming and inputs. Her vision of computing's possibilities was unmatched by any of her peers and went unrecognised for a century. Read our biography of Lovelace to find out more!
People often ask why Ada Lovelace Day is the day that it is. The explanation is rather mundane: the date is arbitrary, chosen in an attempt to make the day maximally convenient for the most number of people. We have tried to avoid major public holidays, school holidays, exam season, and times of the year when people might be hibernating, so we use the second Tuesday in October.
Why not just used Ada's birthday? Well, Ada was born on 10 December and, in the UK where Ada Lovelace Day is based, December is swamped by Christmas parties, making venue hire tricky and putting us in competition with traditionally unmissable employee booze-ups. Given her tragically early death at just 36, it would feel inappropriate to celebrate her deathday on 27 November.