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Celebrating Ada Lovelace

10 Oct 2022

Who was Ada Lovelace?

Ada Lovelace was a mathematician and writer born in 1815. Today, she is often considered to be the first computer programmer. She worked with the British inventor and mathematician Charles Babbage on his Analytical Engine, an early precursor to the modern-day computer. In 1843, she published the first computer program, which generated Bernoulli numbers; while Babbage had written parts of programs before, Lovelace’s was the first complete one and the first one to be published. Lovelace was also the first to recognise the future potential of the Analytical Engine; she predicted that it would be able to create music and art given the correct programming, which we now see computers can do with ease! Her understanding of computing remained unparalleled for 100 years and she provided inspiration for Alan Turing when he developed the first computer.

What is Ada Lovelace Day?

Founded in 2009 by Suw Charman-Anderson, Ada Lovelace Day is now held every year on the second Tuesday of October. Ada Lovelace Day 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.

There are many different things that you can do to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day. The obvious place to start is by getting to know more about Ada Lovelace and her achievements. Finding Ada has curated several resources about Ada and her insights into the Analytical Engine.
You can also spend some time on Ada Lovelace Day learning about other women in this industry who have had a massive impact and are pioneering both in the technical space and in diversity and inclusion, by paving the way for the next generation of women in STEM.

Finding Ada brings together a list of all the different events that take place on Ada Lovelace Day every year. An official event is being held at The Royal Institution in London. We would also encourage you to celebrate women who are closer to home: your colleagues, friends and family. As well as recognising and celebrating their contributions, talk to them about any issues they have faced as a woman in the industry and try to understand what you can do to help.

The Capgemini Engineering UK Women’s Network

The Capgemini Engineering UK Women’s Network is marking Ada Lovelace Day by celebrating our achievements and the achievements of our members over the past year. Currently, the network has grown to over 130 members who actively participate in our monthly sessions. This year we have discussed topics in various formats such as part-time work, Menopause and role models. By collecting feedback from these sessions, the network has enacted change in the business by working closely with HR. International Women in Engineering Day was celebrated by a panel session made up of Capgemini employees sharing insights into their careers and journeys, whilst also discussing why it is important to celebrate women in STEM-related subjects.

Earlier this year, we were delighted to confirm that Jason Glew, Managing Director of Capgemini Engineering UK, would be the executive sponsor of the Women’s Network. With Jason’s participation, we have been able to push the network to achieve our goals. This can be demonstrated by us holding our first in-person event in October this year.

A notable achievement for the women’s network this year was the opportunity to meet and discuss diversity-related issues with the CTO of Capgemini Engineering, Keith Williams. This took the form of a presentation from the co-leads followed by a round-table discussion with Keith, his team, and several members of the women’s network. Following this event, follow-up meetings have been arranged to discuss how we globally can help to improve diversity in engineering.

Alex Hazle, Susie Dixon, Yasmin Hanson, Bea Lloyd, Gabriela Pomery, Sakinah Merali, Ben Blackwell, Beth Clarke, Tekpeki Anim
Beth Clarke, Keith Williams, Gabriela Pomery, Sakinah Merali

Finally, the network owes its achievements ultimately to its members. They have been engaging, helpful, and honest about their experiences.

Achievements of the members:

“I’d like to share that I’ve just been allocated as Technical Lead for my current project. Following that, I’ve passed my probation, and I can’t forget the chance of getting to meet the CTO and be involved in the Women in Engineering’s network day at Holborn” – Yasmin Hanson

“Getting my 1st team lead role, despite working part-time and shortly back from maternity leave” – Kate Darbyshire

“I have cleared driving test in 1st attempt in the UK. This was a big thing for me as I have no past driving experience” – Pooja Dandana

“I am going through separation currently and managing my daughter on my own, like this newly single mom life is so challenging and rewarding at the same time, making me closer to my future best friend: My daughter.” – Anonymous

“I’ve had an exciting year taking on work package leadership – developing my people, commercial and technical management skills. I’ve led critical customer projects at Airbus and Vertical Aerospace with visibility at customer director level. And I represented Capgemini Engineering at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as part of Team England’s ‘team behind the team’! (bottom right figure) ”- Emma Clarke

Emma Clarke at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Maria De Arizaga Barrachina, Hassiba Ikken, Emma Clarke at the Vertical Aerospace event.