Happy Ada Lovelace Day – Empowering Women in STEM Industries
ALD aims to increase the profile of women in STEM and, in doing so, create new role models who will encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in STEM.
(British mathematician and writer Ada Lovelace, left, – or Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, to give her her full name – is widely described as the world’s first computer programmer.)
Founded in 2009 by Suw Charman-Anderson, it is now held every year on the second Tuesday of October. It features a flagship Ada Lovelace Day Live! ‘science cabaret’ event in London, UK, at which women in STEM give short talks about their work or about other women who have inspired them, or perform short comedy or musical interludes with a STEM focus. For 2016, ALD Live! is held on 11 October at The IET in London, and tickets are on sale now!
The day also includes dozens of grassroots events around the world, organised entirely independently from the ALD Live! event. These events take many forms — from conferences to Wikipedia ‘edit-a-thons’ to pub quizzes — and appeal to all ages, from girls to university students to women with well-established careers. Last year and was the biggest ALD to date with over 150 independently organised Ada Lovelace Day events, in 82 cities, in 25 countries.
Here at Fashion Enter, a manufacturing and training facility based in North London and Sister Company to FashionCapital.co.uk, we are proud to have a progressive and forward-thinking CEO in the shape and form of Jenny Holloway (pictured below).
“It is rare to find all-female top management in British garment manufacturing but at Fashion Enter, we aim for a balance with our senior management. As a British manufacturer, we employ over 100 people – most of them women who are dynamite, strategic and forward thinking.
“Twenty years ago, I never would have considered manufacturing as a career but now it has turned into a passion.
“I love how every garment brings new and diverse challenges. Fashion manufacturing is not glitz and glamour and moody models on the catwalk. It is an engineering science that is complicated but challenging and inspiring.
“Too often we find technical roles within manufacturing dominated by males. To drive change and close the gender gap, we need to go back to grass roots and engage with school children.
“We want to see a new generation of young bright people who love manufacturing as much as we do. That is why the Government’s review on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) is so important so that we can encourage a nation of women who can learn and consider options that they’d never consider before.”
Jenny is adamant that a successful business comes down to teamwork and her advice to others thinking of a career in manufacturing is:
“Absolutely go for it! There’s a wonderful sense of team comradery in manufacturing that was never there when I worked in the buying area of multinationals. You spend as much time at work as at home, so you want to have fun, a sense of fulfillment and create a lasting legacy. That is why our Fashion Technology Academy is so important to us all.
“There’s something very real about manufacturing – taking raw components and making something valuable from them. I used to somewhat undervalue manufacturers, but now I actually see the skills and talent of every single person who touches the garment during the manufacturing process and it’s a skill to be very proud of.”