Ada Lovelace day celebrates women in IT

Today's the day to celebrate women in IT, as the first Ada Lovelace Day is marked around the world.

Kicked off by Suw Charman-Anderson, the day honours Lovelace for her contribution to technology she is commonly seen as the first computer programmer and asks the rest of us to celebrate other successful women in the industry.

"If women need female role models, let's come together to highlight the women in technology that we look up to," Charman-Anderson wrote in her blog, announcing the event. "Let's create new role models and make sure that whenever the question Who are the leading women in tech?' is asked, that we all have a list of candidates on the tips of our tongues."

Indeed, there aren't enough women in IT, but there are some very successful ones and some very good role models.

A few very famous women in technology have exited top spots at firms this year. Meg Whitman left eBay, Diane Greene was replaced at VMware, and Charmaine Eggberry left RIM, after starting up the Blackberry Women in Technology awards. But others have stepped up, most notably Carol Bartz at Yahoo.

But the best role models for girl geeks aren't just running companies or heading up boards, some are working in academia or activism, too.

So to mark Ada Lovelace Day, we celebrate 10 successful women in IT all of whom would make good role models for young girls (and guys) looking to get into the sector.

Carol Bartz Formerly of Autodesk, Bartz stepped in this year to take over from Jerry Yang running Yahoo with a salary worth millions. She's already gone head to head with Steve Ballmer, and said her firm won't be picked to pieces.

Vivianne Reding Forget running a company, or even a government department, Reding runs telecoms and technology regulations for the European Union. Her department is responsible for setting caps on roaming costs so even if you're not a fan of politicians, you owe her if you've ever made a mobile call in Europe.

Mary Lou Jepsen The founding chief technology officer of One Laptop Per Child, the charity that helped convince the world that laptops can indeed be cheap, Jepsen has since moved to Pixel Qi, where she's working on display technologies.

Padmasree Warrior Warrior is the chief technology officer at Cisco, a firm which also features Rebecca Jacoby as its chief information office (CIO). Warrior was previously the first female executive at Motorola, and has been named as one of the most powerful women and Indians in business. In 2004, she was awarded the 2004 National Medal of Technology in the US.

Barbara Liskov This noted academic was recently the second woman to win the Turing Award, for her developments in software development and languages, after Frances Allen picked it up in 2006. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) said: "Her legacy has made software systems more accessible, reliable, and secure 24/7."

Wendy Hall How much time do you have? The professor was recently awarded the Order of the British Empire and has previously served as Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton University. She also helped found the Web Science Research Initiative alongside Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Dubbed the First Lady of Web, she's helped develop the ideas behind the semantic web, and is the first non-American to run the ACM.

Diane Bryant The vice president and chief information officer at a little firm called Intel, Bryant also holds four patents.

Sue Black Dr Black heads up the Information and Software Systems at the Harrow School of Computer Science at Westminster, and has also started up the BCS women specialist group. At present, she's among the staunch supporters leading the charge to save Bletchley Park.

Caterina Fake Flickr, you may have heard of it? Fake is one of the founders of the popular photo site, which has since been bought up by Yahoo. She now sits on the Creative Commons board.

Suw Charman-Anderson One of the co-founders of Open Rights Group, Charman-Anderson is a blogging expert and the person behind Ada Lovelace Day so let's definitely celebrate her today.