22 Mar

Women’s History Month: Edmonia Lewis

Picture 215

I created this illustration of Edmonia Lewis in celebration of Women’s History Month, in the style of some of her work. Lewis was an African American sculptor specialising in marble portrait busts. She spent the majority of her adult working life in Rome, using the marble to create amazing neoclassical pieces.

Find out more about Edmonia Lewis here.

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09 Mar

Women’s History Month: Grace Hopper

Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper was an American computer scientist, and often celebrated as “The Queen of Code”. She was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, back in 1944. She developed the first working compiler, as well as working to develop the programming language COBOL.

Grace Hopper by Ashley Nye

She is also often associated with the first use of the term “debugging”, after removing a moth from malfunctioning equipment. She has paved a way for more women in computing, and her name is used as a celebration for women in technology.

“The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is the World’s Largest Gathering of Women Technologists”. – gracehopper.org

There is still a huge gender gap in this field – women account for just 18% of undergraduate degrees awarded for computer science. An interesting article by Selena Larson highlights a few possible reasons for this.

The best way to tackle this problem is education in schools. Getting girls interested in computing can change the way we see this male-dominated industry. There are also more women-orientated coding meet ups, such as She Codes in Brighton. A quick google search reveals more and more of these popping up, a great encouragement for a female in the digital industry!

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04 Mar

Women’s History Month: Rosa Parks

March is Women’s History Month.

Rosa Parks by Ashley Nye

© 2015 Ashley Nye

This year will be 60 years since Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat to a white passenger while riding a bus in Alabama. She became an important symbol of the Civil Rights Movement.

Directly as a result of her arrest, a boycott was arranged, asking all black people to avoid using the buses in Montgomery.

“The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became.” – Rosa Parks

One of the interesting parts of this is the way in which the boycott was arranged. Jo Ann Robinson knew that something had to be done urgently, and mimeographed over 35,000 handbills in one night announcing a bus boycott. The Women’s Political Council distributed these thousands of leaflets, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott went ahead successfully.

Today, we have it much easier; access to quick, creative tools and the most fantastic distribution method imaginable. It will always take courage to speak out against injustice. But if Parks can stay sitting on that bus, facing what she faced. And if Robinson can arrange to spread the word without all the benefit of technology we have now, just think what is possible.

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