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The enchantress of numbers

Categories : IT industryDiversity

This is a guest blog from UK CEO of Capgemini Application Services, Paul MargettsPaul Margetts, UK CEO, Capgemini Application Services

Today has been set aside to recognise the achievements of a remarkable British woman – actually let me rephrase that the achievements of a remarkable Briton: Ada Lovelace
Being the only child of Lord Byron and Annabella Milbanke (a would be mathematician), Ada was probably not going to be an ordinary 19th century lady. In fact her story is one that has great resonance for us today. And one I’ve been dwelling a lot on recently. Ada is widely considered the world’s first computer programmer, the fact that she was a woman and born in 1815 makes hers a truly remarkable story. 
This year it’s the 200th anniversary of her birth. So, on Ada Lovelace Day perhaps there’s time for a bit of reflection.  
I asked my nearly teenage daughter for her perspective; she felt that Ada’s legacy is she’s open and enthusiastic to the many career opportunities in computing and science irrespective of her gender. She also mentioned the next release of SIMs! 
I have to agree.  Personally I’d like to thank the two great maths teachers she has had, who’ve inspired her to follow in their footsteps. Thank you Ada!
On a professional note, a day celebrating Ada’s life is powerful not for focusing on how few women are joining the tech industry, but because she shows us what is possible. Think about it for a minute: the world’s first computer programmer was a pre-Victorian English lady. If you keep that in mind, pretty much anything has to be possible for the next generation of girls and boys just staring to think about their careers. Let’s not burden them with the “there’s not enough...” message.  Let’s celebrate what Ada achieved and what it could mean for any bright spark out there – let’s inspire and celebrate.
If you are wondering about the Enchantress of Numbers reference, rumour has it that’s what Charles Babbage called her.
Some of the Capgemini team are going to join me in celebrating what Ada achieved and thanking her – please join in. The more the merrier.
#thanksAda for inspiring us 200 years on, I’m in awe!

About the author

Tom Barton
Tom Barton
Tom’s career in communications spans 20 years in the consulting, telecommunications and music industries. He joined Capgemini in 2005 and led the merging of PR, web communications and internal communications into one team. This recognised the convergence of channels and platforms that support an effective communications programme for external and internal audiences. Before joining Capgemini, Tom was global head of media relations at PA Consulting Group, marketing and communications director at his own record label, and had various internal and external communications roles at Cable & Wireless. He plays guitar, darts and cricket, and is still trying to do the Times crossword.

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