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Ada Lovelace Day: Inspirational Women in Action

Ada Lovelace Day (7 October) aims to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work they admire. Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) was an English female writer and mathematician, widely held to have been the first computer programmer.

Our tribute for Ada Lovelace Day goes to women who are constantly working to make our world a more transparent and fair place; brave social leaders denouncing corruption while providing tools and directing campaigns who are increasing our awareness and uniting us to act for change.

'One Laptop Per Child' project. Image by Flickr user venkylinux (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

'One Laptop Per Child' project. Image by Flickr user venkylinux (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

As we have done in the past, this year we are including smart women in the intersection between technology and social change who are a central presence in projects promoting a more accountable and transparent society.

Our tributes

Fernanda Viegas (@viegasf) is on the list of the top 100 more influential Brazilians. She is a computational designer whose work focuses on the social, collaborative, and artistic aspects of information visualization.

Viegas is a co-leader, with Martin Wattenberg, of Google's ‘Big Picture’ data visualization group in Cambridge, MA. She is also one of the great minds behind public visualization platform Many Eyes, an experiment in open, public data visualization and analysis. In this video you can see her talk in TedX Sao Paulo:

Hok Kakada from Cambodia is creating a software program that will help Cambodian hospitals store data more accurately, allowing for better treatment. All her work is based on Open Source software. She challenged the difficulties girls face in her country and obtained a master degree in Japan.

Linda Kamau (@lkamau) is one of the coders behind the well known Ushahidi initiative. She is a software developer based in Kenya with a degree in Business Information Technology. Kamau develops both web and mobile applications and is contributing to change across continents, from election monitoring to corruption mapping.

Brenda Burell is the technical mind behind the Freedom Fone Project, a voice database where users can access news and public-interest information via land, mobile or Internet phones. Previously she directed the Kubatana initiative in Zimbabwe.

Camila Bustamante (@cabude), from Peru, is working on the design front, on design strategies for participatory processes mainly related to urban mobility, public space and new media. In 2010 Camila iniciated Todos somos dateros (“We are all data providers”), a participatory mechanism for sustainable urban mobility in Lima.

Working from the UK-based Open Knowledge Foundation, Kat Braybrooke @kat_braybrooke is a front-end web developer and Lucy Chambers (@lucyfedia) is in the process of learning how to code. They are involved in the organization of the world's biggest open government event, the Open Government Data Camp in Warsaw.

Kristin Antin (@kjantin) from the United States is participating in the design and organization of New Tactics in Human Rights, a technical on-line platform providing resources to human rights advocates that offer innovative tactical solutions for confronting specific local challenges, using technology.

Stephanie Hankey is the co-founder of Tactical Technology Collective, a small non-governmental organization dedicated to advance the skills, tools and techniques of rights advocates, empowering them to use information and communications as a critical asset in helping marginalised communities understand and effect progressive social, environmental and political change.

Daniela Silva (@danielabsilva) from Brazil is the founder of Sfera Brazil and Transparencia Hacker a community of over 800 designers, developers, coders and even government officers developing huge projects together to promote transparency and accountability.

These are some examples of brilliant women who are not afraid of the mouse, the screen, or the complexities of coding. They are inspiring others by doing amazing projects, all of them contributing to social change.

If you have an example in mind today, we invite you to write about them, to describe the amazing women working in technology you know; women who are an example and inspiration for girls in the generations to come as Ada Lovelace, more than hundred years ago, was for many others. Share your stories and inspire others!


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