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Ada Lovelace Day: lessons learnt from my mother

Today is the Ada Lovelace Day, “an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology” (more at findingada.com). Reading about the research results showing that “women need to see female role models more than men need to see male ones” made me realising how lucky I am with having my mother as a role model.

I grew up with stories of BESM-6, recipes written on used punch cards, and my mom at the driver’s seat in the car when it was pretty uncommon for a woman.  I’ve never thought that whatever technology might not be for me because my mom is always there as an example. She also taught me a couple of  important lessons about dealing with technologies.

It happened that I spent a lot of time figuring out databases and queries with Robotron to help with my mom’s NGO work just before my computer classes at school started. It was fun to be able to skip classes (as I new most of the material covered by then), but it is only now I’m starting to realise the importance of learning to use computers while doing meaningful work rather than working trough textbook exercises. I guess it’s because of this (and many similar) experiences I’ve came to view technology as just a mean to an end, not an end by itself.

The funny thing is that when technology is just a mean it’s ok not to be perfectly smart with it. Getting work done and having fun in the process matters more than having an image of being an expert. I’ve learn from my mom to ask help when I’m lost or to outsource stuff I didn’t want to or couldn’t do.

And, thinking of the things I’ve learnt from my mom I start wondering if the Ada Lovelace Day should be about women excelling with technology, not in it 🙂

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Stephanie March 25, 2009, 11:07

    Nice post, Lilia. I too prefer the idea of women working *with* technology rather than *in* it. To borrow the ‘give a man a fish metaphor’, giving someone a tool is much different than setting the tool in a context that preps for success and letting the user push their own boundaries. It sounds like you had a great role model for using technology to achieve rather than as a toy.

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