Ian, thank you for shining a light on the reality that the “kind of computing systems that get made and used by people outside the industry…are a direct byproduct of the gross machismo of computing writ large. More women and minorities are needed…because the world would be better for their contributions.”
I can tell you with grave earnestness, I do not have the technology I need to run the “Family Business.” It is no surprise that women still do the majority of the work on the homefront when comes to caring for children and the household (even Pew Research validated the extent in their November 2015 survey). If we are truly serious about addressing gender imbalances, we need to start by leveraging technology to improve daily operations at home. I would love to have a slick “system” to run all the planning and logistics that pertain to family life.
Women need to have a voice in technology, so we can get the tools and user interfaces that we need, but we are grossly underrepresented in the tech world, not to mention that a sizable percentage of women are completely isolated when it comes to technology in general. 29% of women with school-aged children are out of the workforce and another 7% are self-employed without access to an IT helpdesk or even tech-savvy co-workers.
Many women don’t feel confident using technology, and I believe this is largely because it wasn’t developed from our perspective with us in mind. This presents a major problem for big tech companies who want consumers to buy-in to smart homes, AI, and other technology of the future. In increasing numbers, women are becoming the CTOs of their households and have long been the CFOs, making 85% of all purchasing decisions.
Women outside the immediate tech world care deeply about the issues that have been exposed recently in Silicon Valley, but we lack a collective voice. Perhaps a developer’s challenge would be a first step toward addressing the major disconnect and forging a better partnership between women and the tech world. I’m certain many good ideas would surface.
Founder, Heard It From A Friend