Looking at inspirational women on Ada Lovelace Day
As a woman who works in a technical role as a web developer, I very much recognise the importance of Ada Lovelace Day. For those who don’t know, Ada Lovelace Day is an international celebration of the achievements of women working in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths.
Now, whilst Ada Lovelace is an icon in her own right and somebody that I admire, it’s great that her name is used to celebrate the women that follow in her footsteps. Computing and web development roles are still seldom filled by women, but there are so many incredible women making waves in the tech industry. As such, I wanted to take today to talk about a modern woman in tech who inspires me, Roya Mahboob.
Decoding Roya Mahboob
Roya Mahboob is one of the first female CEOs working in the IT field in Afghanistan; a country where it is still relatively rare for women to work, let alone to dominate in their field. Mahboob learnt English through volunteering at a French NGO and then enrolled in IT courses offered for women by the United Nations Development Programme, before finally enrolling in a bachelors degree of Computer Science.
Mahboob now uses the profit from her software company, Afghan Citadel Software, to fund ten centres where girls can study computing in Kabul and Herat. Due to efforts to help girls in Afghanistan get into the male-dominated industry of computing in Afghanistan, she was named in the 2013 #TIME100 Most Influential People in the World. Yet celebrations were short lived as the Taliban told her that if she didn't stop, they would kill her.
Although she was forced to flee Afghanistan, Mahboob continues to fund the schools. From coding to graphic design, Mahboob's not-for-profit, Digital Citizen Fund, gives future generations of Afghan women the skills and autonomy they need to succeed and achieve their goals. Mahboob was one of the first people to recognise and appreciate the amount of untapped potential in Afghanistan's uneducated and illiterate females. With the right education, she has empowered these women and helped them to achieve amazing things.
Iconic and inspirational
I consider Mahboob to be a truly remarkable and inspiring person; her achievements aren’t somehow heightened just because she’s a woman, they are iconic enough in their own right. And I think it’s important that people realise this.
Despite religion, politics, death threats and countless other hurdles, she has continued down the route of self-progression whilst always keeping the livelihood of others at the forefront of her mind. It’s because of Mahboob that at least 8,000 female students will have access to a technical education, and that number is still growing.
Here’s to a generation of strong women in tech.