Coding is a human right

Today I was walking down the street, thinking about how barbaric it was that many women were forbidden to learn to read and write in the 19th century in England (some people felt that illiterate women made better wives). Then it struck me:

Preventing women from learning to code is the moral equivalent of preventing women from learning to read and write in the 19th century.

Now, I don’t believe that everyone should learn to code, any more than everyone should learn to repair cars, or write a legal opinion. But I do think everyone should have an equal opportunity to learn to code. Perhaps a better analogy is that access to computer programming is the modern-day equivalent of access to higher education.

I co-founded the Ada Initiative in part to address the stunning gender disparity in open source software: 2% women at the last measurement. And it’s working – as a community, we’ve made more progress for women in open tech/culture in the 2 years the Ada Initiative has been in operation than in the previous 10.

During the month of August, we are running our annual fundraising drive to raise money for our next year’s work: running AdaCamps, teaching Allies Workshops, and working for codes of conduct in online communities. You can help by donating now and by spreading the word about our work. Thank you so much!


Software is changing the world. Women should be one half of the people writing that software.