Goggles Are In

October 16, 2012
CSSquirrel #105: Goggles Are In

October 16th is Ada Lovelace Day, where we get to celebrate and support the presence of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). I’m reliably informed that web development falls in there somewhere, so today’s comic features three STEM ladies: Brighton developer and console browser expert Anna Debenham, Greek CSS superstar Lea Verou, and Bellingham web designer (from my very own Mindfly Studio) Janae Cram (in her chinchilla alter-ego, Naepalm. Because a CSSquirrel comic wouldn’t be right without a rodent somewhere).

The Countess of Lovelace is traditionally considered the world’s first computer programmer, having been credited with writing the first program for Charles Babbage’s incomplete Analytical Engine. Today, in her honor, people are encouraged to “create role models for girls and women in these male-dominated fields by raising the profile of other women in STEM.”

As anyone who’s been to a web dev conference can tell you, our field has a habit of being a sausage-fest. As someone working in a studio with a very heavy ratio of women to men (3 women to 2 men in our “production” team), I can tell you that this is a low down dirty shame. Women like Anna, Janae and Lea have a great deal to offer to our industry. It bothers me to know that a sizable (although hopefully shrinking) percentage of the men in our field don’t see the industry’s gender discrepancy as a problem, or believe measures made to make women more welcome is somehow an attack on men.

Sigh.

I doubt any readers of this blog are so backwards. If you are, feel free to just stop reading me, because I’m not interested in catering to dickwads. Sure, I could use traffic, but not that badly.

To those who do care, I’m sure you’ve seen much of this, but let’s point out how these three contribute.

Anna’s becoming the go-to expert on the impact of console browsers on your designs. She’s written a well-received article in ALA on the topic.

Janae is an integral part of the Mindfly team, responsible for many of our designs and a surprising amount of our code (she’s far better than I am with databases despite my having a good five year head start on her with them). She’s also been involved in developing several web apps for our local gamer community.

Lea seems to have an annoying habit of producing awesome, useful tools for web designers that she’s constantly putting online for everyone to benefit from. Just a couple days back she put out this nifty contrast ratio tool.

That’s just three women. There’s tons more in the field contributing to our industry every day, and millions more yet to enter the field who need to be inspired to join. Our species isn’t going to be getting any less involved with technology as we progress forward, each gender should have a strong role in what our future looks like.

Know any women in the field that inspire you? Please share their story. Tell me about them via one of the methods below, or tell people on your own website. And don’t wait for October 16th every year to bother telling people.

Oh, and Tesla coils? They rock. Miss Naepalm and I saw one in action last weekend.

Tesla Coil

That sphere on the right? It’s a cage big enough for up to four people to stand in. Which gives you a clue how big that coil on the left was. It’s blasts weren’t quite as deafening as lightning… but it was pretty damn close.

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