Monday, 14 September 2009

Losing Ada

Remember I blogged a few weeks ago about how the Early Learning Centre is doing its bit to write women out of the world of IT?

Well, yesterday it happened again. Nothing to do with wooden toy vendors this time, but I still got the same uncomfortable feeling that for whatever reason, women in IT are being quietly obscured.

This time I was reading John Naughton's column in the Observer, in which he pays tribute to Blogger - the blogging platform that brings you this very blog - on its tenth anniversary.

Here's what John has to say about Blogger's anniversary bash:

On 1 September, there was a party in San Francisco to mark the moment, attended by - among others - Blogger's founder, Evan Williams (who later founded Twitter), and the journalist Scott Rosenberg, who has just published "Say Everything" (sayeverything.com), an absorbing book on the phenomenon that Blogger enabled.

Sounds accurate enough, doesn't it? But Blogger didn't have just one founder, it had two: Evan Williams, now CEO of Twitter, and Meg Hourihan, now...well, according to Wikipedia, now a wife and mother.

I don't know if Meg was at the party, but John's article certainly doesn't mention her. Instead, he chooses to credit Evan Williams alone with creating the application that led to the mass worldwide democratisation of the internet:

Blogging has revived - and begun to expand - the public sphere, and in the process may revitalise our democracies. If it does, then we will have Evan Williams largely to thank for it.

I don't know why Meg isn't mentioned. I sent a tweet to John Naughton to ask him, but no reply has come back. The feminist in me sees a worrying tendency to ignore women in technology, the realist wonders if Meg was mentioned but got edited out due to space constraints.

But at least, thanks to the very software they created, I can take the opportunity to correct the omission here and to congratulate Evan *and* Meg on Blogger's 10th anniversary. I've been using it since 2002 and can honestly say it changed my life for the infinitely better. Thanks to both of you for that.

2 comments:

Tim Footman said...

He got your e-mail, but he couldn't be bothered to read it. It's a boy thing.

Tim Warren said...

One of his tweets contains the phrase: "I once took Ben Hammersley to lunch in my club". Maybe his TweetDeck doesn't admit women?