The Ada’s List Agenda

Ada's List
4 min readDec 23, 2015

Background: We have had an emergent approach built on our innate values of openness and inclusivity. And that got us so far. But now we’re bigger than we ever imagined starting out, it’s time to write down what those values are and deliberately design a community that meets our aims and aspirations for ourselves and women in tech. This is the Ada’s List Agenda.

Ada’s List is a group for women (or individuals that identify as) who are committed to changing the tech industry.

Ada’s List exists to make women in technology stronger as a community and as individuals. We want to create change at scale — change in existing, patriarchal and racist power structures — whether these structures are a part of the culture of a company, a more overt policy, or work processes that consciously or unconsciously sideline women.

Ada’s List is intersectional. We aim to provide a platform for a holistic approach to addressing issues surrounding the under-representation of women in tech; this includes tackling any implicit or explicit bias around gender, race, disability or sexual orientation.

We are all about changing communities, our workplaces, and the industry for the better.

Radical, systemic change starts with you.

We are each capable of making small decisions that impact larger change. For Ada’s members, this can be as simple as introducing yourself to the list, having conversations with other women in tech, providing resources, sharing advice and stories, asking questions and answering calls for help. It’s committing yourself to making change and joining a community with the same goals. We believe that these small changes inspire women to become more confident and capable, thereby changing the status quo for all women over time.

Specifically this is achieved by:

  • new members writing an email to introduce themselves to the list when they join, featuring big accomplishments, their bio, and what they can offer to the community
  • bringing up uncomfortable questions when necessary, asking for other points of view and working towards change when required. Tough conversations will and should happen — and they won’t become personal.

Change is necessary at our workplaces.

Women in tech and digital are under-represented, both across management and teams. Change starts with all of us, as we commit to changing our workplaces to make them work for everyone — irrespective of gender, ethnicity or any disability. We are women who want to increase the number of women in our workplaces. We are women who want to make our teams more diverse. We are women who, once promoted, bring people along with us.

Specifically, we achieve this by:

  • We promote, support, provide top cover, stand up for, hire and interview other women.
  • For every position we are recruiting for, we will recommend one qualified woman or person of colour to interview.
  • For women who report to us or work with us, we will work on making the environment friendly and positive overall, and we will help those junior to us progress in their careers.

(Sound familiar? It’s our take on the Shine Theory, h/t Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman)

Once we change ourselves and our workplaces, we can change the industry.

Individuals who share their thoughts about making the industry better in public — through writing or speaking at conferences — are key to driving industry change, as are those in positions of power who can be role models, make an impact on women in the industry and advocate on our behalf.

Specifically this means:

  • Finding speakers for technology events we organise through Ada’s List
  • Accepting invitations to speak at conferences or events
  • Suggesting other qualified women in tech who can take our place if we are not able to accept an invitation
  • Making our voices heard when we see conferences with a non-diverse line-up of speakers
  • Suggesting that female conference organisers who are not part of the list join Ada’s List to find female speakers, and become instrumental in driving industry change in the process

Ada’s List is a conversation. It requires members to listen, to ask, to answer, to support, and to participate. To be thoughtful. To be helpful. To be open, honest, and respectful. Email listservs, while imperfect, are democratic and lower the playing field for all to participate; this is the reason we wanted a low barrier to entry.

Ada’s List has high expectations for industry behaviour.

Ada’s List is action-oriented. You are signing up to disrupt the status quo.

We are Ada’s List. We are moving women in tech forward, together.

The Ada’s List team is Merici Vinton, Anjali Ramachandran, and Karoline Kirchhübel, as well as a team of awesome volunteers and an advisory board. Ada’s List launched on Ada Lovelace Day 2013 in London and is now over 1800 members globally. Read more about Ada’s List in Fortune and the Evening Standard. Some other good readings to check out are Has Diversity Lost Its Meaning? #FFFFFF Diversity The Other Side of Diversity.

We’ll soon start accepting donations and sponsorships to support our programming and work; if you’d like more information, email merici at

If you’d like to join Ada’s List, please apply here.