Ada Initiative

Research into the history of women in technology prepared the soil for the Digitise The Dawn campaign. I was looking for women who worked in technology before the rise of modern computing. Discovering the basic story and achievements of Louisa Dunkley, I turned to Trove to see if I could find out more. I thought there might be a reference to Ms Dunkley in Louisa Lawson's publication. Discovering that The Dawn was not yet online was the seed.

The research was for a talk called "We Are Here, We Have Always Been Here" that I was preparing for the linuxchix miniconference at in 2011. Women in Open Source Software communities speak of "The Unicorn Law" - which states if you are a woman in open source, you will inevitably be called upon to give a talk about being a woman in open source. The reason being, women in open source are such rarefied creatures, they are like unicorns.

I wanted to argue this was not the case, but in fact there have always been women in technology, but their role has generally been marginalised, devalued or unacknowledged.

The Ada Initiative was formed at around the same time I kicked off the Digitise the Dawn campaign. I was honoured to be asked to join their advisory council. This non-profit organisation seeks to increase the participation of women in open technology and culture in ways that really matter. They seek to do this by employing staff to work on the issue, because too many great women in the open source community have expended many hours, and vast stores of personal energy, only to burn out just as they were making headway.

For more details, please check their website

The Digitise The Dawn campaign would not have been possible without modern communication tools. Many of those tools rely on open source software. If you can, please donate to the Ada Initiative's fundraising campaign for operational funds for 2012.

Whether it's a little, or a lot, we have learned it all adds up. Please also, help me spread the word about this organisation and their fundraising campaign.