Women's Day - In Honor of Women Who Chose

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Fri Mar 8, 2024 · 757 words · 4 min
Tags :  off-topic

I have a background in computer science. Being on the edge of my final year at university, I realize people here are still (mostly) unaware of the important personalities in the history of computer science.

It so happens, that the person credited with being the world's first computer programmer was a woman - Ada Lovelace. I know the name since school days, because I used to be active in quizzing events.

Later, I bought and read The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage1. It was only after I read the book, that I got to know Lady Lovelace suffered a premature death. And the name has stuck with me ever since. The author of this book, Syndey Padua, also gave a talk2 at Google about the book, briefing about Lady Lovelace' work.

There was a deeper observation though. The role played by Lady Lovelace' mother, Lady Byron3, was crucial. Lady Byron was separated from Lord Byron and going against the laws of that time, she took young Ada Lovelace in her custody. She raised young Ada in the right way, provided her with the right tutors and helped her immerse in the world of science.

Yet, its difficult to come across the name of Lady Byron when discussing about Lady Lovelace.

The contributions of women takes various forms and often goes unnoticed. Parallely, artificial restrictions or expectations from women restrict them till date.

But a certain class of women are missing from the talks of "women who changed the world". At times, I feel we seem to have become more focused on pushing women into activities which we were taking notice of since before, and we never actually took notice of the contributions women were already making.

I wrote about the declining trend of home cooking few months back4. If you grew up in a home where you were regularly served home cooked meals, count yourself as a lucky person. In Indian families, it is almost always the lady who cooks. Rather than calling this stereotyping, we should instead recognize and respect this important contribution too.

Women who choose to devote their life to serving the family too deserve equal respect as a corporate CEO. Being a mother, being the uniting thread of family and the lead of the house are noble contributions too.

Eras will cycle through. For some women, being an executive is a step of risk - going against the norms and expectations and setting new standards. For some women, claiming equal respect for a larger society is an act of bravery - Rosa Parks didn't have it easy coordinating the Montgomery Bus Boycott5. Whether it was Florence Nightingale or Marie Curie or any of the well known women - they all chose their path and followed it despite whatever resistance society pushed on them. They deserve respect.

For others in this century, being a devoted mother is an act of rebellion - punch on the face for a society which sadly judges a woman by what money she "brings to the table". For her to cook and say she brings delicious and healthy food on the table is a revolt. To follow a dream, however away from mainstream it may be - that is a difficult task for women.

I wait for a day when a woman will be respected by her ability to take intelligent decisions and not by how well they follow the prevalent societal standards. When they will be respected for their own unique contributions and not by how well they fit into our old standard of whats important.

Till then, a note of respect to all women who make life possible. A day is too less to remember women's contributions. It needs to be done everyday, all year.

To the important women in my life, who chose to make my life worth living - thank you!



Someone reading between the lines might want to question why I chose to refer to Ada and her mother Anne by their husbands' surnames.


Decline of Home Cooking - blog post


Montgomery Bus Boycott was a protest against the policy of racial segregation in public transport of Montgomery. Read more - Montgomery bus boycott - Wikipedia

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