Today we celebrate the achievements of women in science and technology, and while there are plenty of the obvious inspiring and heroic women that spring to mind in everyday life, when it comes down to those heroines that we are to honour today, most of us will be scratching our heads. I’m sure that many will not have even heard of Ada Lovelace, our inspiration for today.
Even a Google of likely candidates in the field, to refresh my memory was less than encouraging – there simply are not that many women who have made a name for themselves in this male dominated arena. Which is hardly surprising – I’m sure that female scientists and geeks have had as tough a time to earn recognition as female doctors, politicians, and such. And if a woman did not have a certain position in society, such as Ada, Lady Lovelace (she was the daughter of Lord Byron), what chance did they have in those “olden” times?
These days there is a far more level playing field – some may dispute that, but get a grip. No more are the standard, expected career paths focused on being secretaries or nurses – now women can be whatever they choose. And young women know this; there is a sense of them just getting on with it. Young women are our heroines today, I suggest – those that boldly forge ahead with what they want, seeming almost oblivious to any struggles that have gone before. And quite right too – it’s time for us to not have to say that we’ve fought to choose our path, that we are going to have children and a career because what the heck else are we going to do. From my view, young women just do it, they expect to be supported because they are essential to modern life, and if their menfolk are not able or prepared to embrace this, they roll up their sleeves and get on with it themselves, finding the support around them, from friends, family and sometimes even their employers!
You mums who are working away at your laptops while caring for your children and babies, keeping a modicum of order in the household, breadwinning – you are my heroines. Using the technology we now have to do what you must and want to do. The playing field is far from level and never will be, but it’s a darn sight better than it used to be so we’re getting on with getting on with it!
Years ago women would take in laundry, sewing, or do some cleaning while their mums or sisters helped out with the kids. Our families are often scattered now but thankfully the work can come to us.
I just explained what I was doing to my boy, he’s 9 and will grow up with as equal a view as I can encourage in him (as well as in my daughter!), saying that I was writing on heroines within science and technology. Bless him, his immediate retort was “You’re one!” – gosh – but he’s right – you, reading this and USING the technology available. He did also mention Prof. Sue Hartley who presented the Royal Institute’s Christmas Lectures – she was good and just got on with presenting in a great way that kids enjoyed, so I’ll let him have her too .
So this may not be quite an expected blog in praise of those heroines who have contributed to the equality we do now enjoy, but instead it looks forward, nods to those who have gone before, picks up the baton and celebrating the multitude of new heroines.
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