Ada Lovelace was one of many women pioneers in computing, but today the computer programming profession is dominated by men. Only 18% of computer science undergraduate degrees in the U.S. in 2010 were awarded to women. In open source software, used heavily by Facebook, Google, Twitter, and many more, the percentage of women was only 2% in 2006. These numbers aren’t surprising when you learn women in computing face sexism, harassment, and even groping and other forms of sexual assault.
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (also known as Ada Lovelace) was born in 1815 – and was the world’s first computer programmer. In 1843, she published a scientific paper containing the world’s first computer program. Unfortunately, the machine that could have run the program – the Analytical Engine, designed by Charles Babbage – was never built.