Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Professional is Political

Today is Ada Lovelace Day.

Last year I celebrated the occasion with a cryptic lament and a celebration of two women involved in  Drupal development and whose very presence made me feel comfortable in the Drupal Community.

This year's cryptic lament is this: work done by women is frequently ascribed by others to personal motivations as opposed to professional ones. As a result, personality becomes a liability.

I've been blessed to have worked with a number of great women managers over the course of my working life. When I was just out of school, I wondered why many of these managers were always so staunchly professional all the time and kept 'themselves' to outside of the office. Now I know why.

Ok, that's enough lamenting. Today is a day to celebrate women in science and technology.

My Ada is ladyada, aka Limor Fried, founder of Adafruit Industries:

Adafruit was founded in 2005 by MIT engineer, Limor "Ladyada" Fried. Her goal was to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. Since then Adafruit has grown to over 25 employees in the heart of NYC. We've expanded our offerings to include tools, equipment and electronics that Limor personally selects, tests and approves before going in to the Adafruit store.

Now, I didn't select Limor because of the obvious word association. I chose her because I'm trying to learn and play with electronics and while I haven't bought anything from Adafruit yet, I've already made much use of their amazing tutorials and explainers. And I love the Adafruit badges. My inner Girl Guide LURVES THEM.

And I'm learning about electronics at the moment for a reason: I'm now a director of the newly minted Hackforge board - a group dedicated to setting up a Hacker/Maker Space in Windsor, Ontario. And it looks like we have a space... in the front section of the Windsor Public Library.

And I'm very especially excited about this group and the work we're going to do because there is a commitment not to turn the space into a foreboding clubhouse - but to make the place open, awesome and welcoming to anyone and everyone. Even to girls and women with strong personalities.

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