Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Transferring Passion for Shoes to Technology? How Could That Be Possible?

Christina Tynan-Wood writes a simple yet direct article on why there aren't more women in technology and why they are needed on the Product Design and Development site. She recounts a time in 1996 when she was the @home technology editor for PC World, and after spending time with the 'suits' presenting new home computers asked why they were so ugly if they were for the home. At that time she was brushed aside. Yet, really home PC for the home should be more attractive - she had a point. She mentions that while men may say that women are the ones who are fussy about trend and color in fact men are actually possibly more fussy. Women put up with the black technology that is obviously geared to men's decor, whereas make it for women and men won't use it. (Isn't this true of women being more accommodating of seeing block buster male movies, than insisting taking partners to women movies? - too darn accommodating is our problem at times).
So yes, she says today it's more important than ever that we speak up and let it be known we want choice. I love her comparison to shoes. Have technologists not realized how much insane money women spend on shoes - it's completely irrational spending but a wonderful defining experience. And thank you Christina also for saying that we can't say what those technologies will look like because we don't have a room full of women designing the technologies. A possible example is some research done at HP Labs, where they have used their color matching technology to assist women in finding the perfect foundation make-up shade - this is applying technologies previously used for color copiers for more creative uses - yes there were women in the room when the idea came up.

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