[Laura Slingo | News Editor]
The Guardian decided to honour Ada Lovelace Day with a tribute piece to extremely successful women in technology and at the forefront of major companies. For those that do not know, Ada Lovelace was the world’s first programmer and what makes this so riveting is that she was female.
The Guardian went on to explore pioneering women such as Sheryl Sandberg – chief operating officer at Facebook, Joan Clarke – code breaker in WW2, as explored in blockbuster The Imitation Game and Zoe Quinn – prominent developer in the games industry.
With recent campaigns like #ilooklikeanengineer aiming to raise awareness of the gender imbalances in certain industries and the recent release of Sarah Gavron’s film Suffragette, it is clear that the battle for female equality is still going strong.
I am so proud of how far Britain has come with more women across the nation being recognised professionally in roles once deemed suitable for only men. However, I’m forced to question, are women scared of taking up the traditional roles they were once only allowed to fill such as cooking, cleaning, housekeeping, seamstry, etc?
It seems that there is a very distinct aim to prove that women are just as capable of filling roles in a male-saturated industry as men. I’m not disagreeing with this, I think there is definitely a point to prove. But what is happening to the women who do take up those ‘traditional’ roles? Are they shunned because they are perceived as weak and the women that enter male-dominated industries are strong? Are they forgotten about because if the world knew that women were professional seamstresses it might start to unravel the hard work focused on gender equality?
I’m not saying that women should fall back on the traditional roles and conform to the backwards way of thinking that women can only cook, clean and look after their children. But it might be worth considering that women who do achieve success in these types of roles deserve just as much credit as a female ‘pioneers’, such as a nineteenth century woman who was the world’s first programmer.