Celebrating Ground-breaking Creators to Encourage New Voices

08 March 2018

On its 200th anniversary, Mary Shelley’s ground-breaking Frankenstein still has the power to resonate with today’s readers. She started writing it at eighteen and managed to get the book published when she was only twenty years old; this was during a time where few women were given the opportunity to have a voice and occupy the published space. Mary was one amazingly talented woman.

The gothic speculative tale of a scientist and his creature creation was one of the first works of science fiction and reached far beyond where other writers had previously tread. Exploring themes of life, dangerous knowledge, family, prejudice and revenge, the fundamental question at the heart of the novel is one which scientists and contemporary thinkers are still asking: what makes one human?

What’s quite amazing about the creation of Frankenstein is that the story began as a fun competition between friends to see who could write the best horror story. Clearly Mary won, but the friend who came up with the challenge was Lord Byron, whose daughter, Ada Lovelace, would later go on and quietly change the world herself, by inventing what many claim to be the first computer program.

I say quietly because if you’d asked most people who Ada was five years ago, they couldn’t have told you and yet Ada was a pioneer in computer engineering at a time when computers didn’t exist. She defied the status quo through her mum’s support and persistence to be educated in science and maths, both areas of study which weren’t deemed suitable for noble ladies in the period. Although Ada’s legacy has continued, her voice has been silent for too long and only in recent years has her story being told.

Historically, and still to this day, science has been a male-dominated industry. However, throughout history there have been trailblazing women like Ada who, against all odds, overcame adversity and have made powerful transformative breakthroughs that have shaped our world.

These days, some of the biggest breakthroughs in science all start with a line of code. This is why coding is rapidly becoming an essential part of a child’s education. The world is going through a digital transformation with some of the loudest voices causing disruption through technology.

You can learn the basics of coding with our upcoming release The Coding Book. Striking the right balance between education and fun, The Coding Book is designed to help build programming skills, teach coding concepts and develop essential coding habits. Written by Virginia King from Invent the Wold, Virginia has been teaching, inspiring and empowering children of all genders to learn computer science, love what it can create and support each other along the way so that kids can find their own voices in an intensifying digital world. Ada would be proud.

The power of writing, science, technology and coding have all enabled women to find their voices over the past 200 years. It’s important that their stories are heard and shared. We need to recognise their achievements and learn from them. But most importantly, we need to be inspired to find our own voices and share them with the world and take the time to find and support others’ voices, to ensure that they are heard too.

International Women’s Day is the perfect reminder to do that today and every day.