Seed 100 funding campaign update: The good news is that we are 3/4 of the way to our target, the bad news is that we had only 11 donors in the last week. Meeting our target of 100 donors by June 30th (or earlier!) is important to show the depth of community support for the Ada Initiative to major corporate sponsors who will fund the majority of our work. Now is the time that your personal donation is the most powerful and will make the greatest change in our community. Donate now.
Daughters and the Ada Initiative
Becoming parents, especially of daughters, is a wake-up call for many people about the problems facing women in open technology and culture. We asked several of our donors about how having daughters influenced their decision to donate to the Ada Initiative, including Rachel Chalmers (The 451 Group), Luke Kanies (CEO Puppet Labs), Rusty Russell (Linux kernel developer), and Mike Shaver (Mozilla).
When you decided to help fund to The Ada Initiative, did the fact that you have daughters influence your decision?
Mike Shaver: Yes, very much. I’m the son of a female software developer, and — though she would never complain about it — I know that her career was harder than it would have been if she were a man. It bothers me that it happened to my mom, and it honestly infuriates me a bit that it might happen to my daughter if she chooses software, and if we don’t change the world enough in time.
Rachel Chalmers: Probably yes. When you are childless, you can mostly shrug discrimination off, or frame it as a series of coincidental bad interactions. Pregnancy changes that: I had a male colleague ask if I could push the date of my maternity leave back a few weeks.
Rusty Russell: Yes. Mainly because I really wanted the poster for her room. :)
Have your opinions on the status of women in open technology and culture changed since your daughters were born?
Mike Shaver: I wouldn’t say that my opinions have changed, but it resonates more with me emotionally. I’ve always felt that diversity in the workplace is both a moral imperative and good business, and that position has become much more concrete for me now that I have my daughter to frame it against. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to work without hindrance in the field of open technology, but I know that it wouldn’t be the same today for daughter to get involved. Not OK.
Rachel Chalmers: Yes, and not just for my own daughter. Middle-class white girls like my own, especially those growing up in technology hubs like San Francisco, do have access to extraordinary resources: hackerspaces, Maker Faires, science books and documentaries, Arduino kits, science and technology museums. The same is not always true of girls of color or who are from socioeconomically disadvantaged families. It’s for them, and not only for my daughters, that I want to make STEM careers more attractive and accessible to women.
What would you like The Ada Initiative to have achieved by the time your daughter(s) finish their education?
Rusty Russell: Ideally? Create a world where she has no concept that her gender would ever put her at a disadvantage in any technical community. Realistically? Ensure there are enough role models and overt acceptance that she feels welcome and her skills and passion can be nurtured.
Mike Shaver: I want it to be quaint and silly that an organization like the Ada Initiative was so badly needed. Assuming that my daughter chooses to pursue a career in software, rather than more respectable work, I want her gender to just be a non-issue. I suppose that’s the cliched answer, but it’s what I was thinking when I clicked the button to donate.
Luke Kanies: I frankly think it’s achievable that women will become the dominant force in software delivery, like they are becoming in medicine and science, and the Ada Initiative is an important part of that. [Heck, yes! — Ed.]
Donate for your daughters. And thank you!