I love a good bad ass woman. A woman who goes out into the universe and makes it a better, more interesting place. I’m not talking about women who are bad. I’m talking about women who kick ass and don’t stop to take names until they’ve cleaned up and reapplied their lip gloss. These are the women who make the world go ’round. The women that our daughters need to know about and hear about and learn from.
So today I’m starting a new monthly series that I’m affectionately calling Bad Ass Babes. This series will feature some incredible women who have accomplished amazing things but aren’t exactly household names.
Ada Lovelace, computer programmer and mathematician
Also known as: The Enchantress of Numbers
Why you should care about Ada Lovelace, in five random facts:
- Ada is recognized as the first computer programmer—her notes on Charles Cabbage’s Analytical Machine contain what is thought to be the first algorithm.
- Ada was also one of the first people to think about computers as more than just big mathematical machines. Her notes questioned and examined how they could be used as a collaborative tool, which sort of makes her like the grandmother of social media.
- When she was little, Ada’s mother insisted she learn math and science (which was not typical for girls at the time) because she didn’t want her daughter to inherit her estranged husband, Lord Byron’s, unpredictable moodiness and poetic inclinations. In the end, Ada was a poetical mathematician, writing things like: “The Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.”
- At 12, Ada decided she wanted to fly and methodically researched the anatomy of birds and different materials to construct wings. The result was a design for a flying machine.
- In the 1970s, the US Department of Defense named a new software language after her.
Ada Lovelace by Lisa Congdon for The Reconstructionists
Teach girls about Ada Lovelace:
- This graphic novel is a fun take on Ada’s story.
- While paper dolls aren’t exactly teaching tools, it’s definitely different to see a doll with an I love math t-shirt.
- Watch this BrainPOP video about Ada Lovelace (my daughter loves these!).
I want to highlight women—both famous and those who are quietly doing their thing—who have made or who are making a difference in the world. But I need your help! If there’s anyone you think needs to be featured, whether a historical figure or someone from your community, let me know! Either leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will most certainly investigate your favorite Bad Ass Babe.