What Women Want: Tech is NOT for Girls!


We’ve come a long way in terms of equality for women. And while Lean In tells us there’s plenty ladies can be subtly doing to further the cause in the workplace, there is one area that I think needs to be a little more aggressively pushed – magazines.

I’m not talking about the content in this instance. Plenty of people much smarter and more informed than me have championed the need for change regarding women’s image in the media. I’m talking about the other magazines.

I’m a loyal reader of Wired magazine, which I purchase monthly. But according to any newsagents you care to visit, they don’t want me as a reader.
No matter if it’s Eason’s, Londis, or a local independent you see, you will find Wired under ‘Men’s Interests’. Right next to NUTS and the porn.

Not for me then? Oh sorry, I’ll just totter back to the ‘women’s interests’ section and pick up a gossip or Weddings&Babies magazine then I suppose?

This initially just bothered me a little… then I started to think about it some more. IAPI (the Irish advertising folks) recently released a really interesting census about our industry. The biggest area of gender imbalance? Digital. Only 10% of those in digital are female in this country. And let’s not forget that not all of those would even be ‘techy’ jobs exactly. This exciting, dynamic and lucrative sector, that may well be the saviour of Ireland,  is becoming what ‘engineering’ was to women the 80s – a man’s game – and we are letting it. We are actively discouraging women and young girls from displaying an interest in digital and tech as a topic. And that’s really sad, because I know if I could get my little sister to pick up an issue and leaf through, she would get hooked and seek other publishers, bloggers, YouTube videos and tech stories in online news. And it’s NOT just a traditional print issue. Go to ‘men’s interests’ in the Apple store right now and tell me what you see?

If you think I’m overreacting, just remember the issue with the marketing of the Dublin Web Summit two years back. Yeaaah… I’m not overreacting.

This is a serious problem and it’s only going to become bigger. Even from an economic point of view, if ‘all the jobs of the future are going to be in digital’ and good ole Obama’s trying to get America coding, just what the hell are we doing cutting half the population of Ireland out of the race?

No, it’s not going to solve the issue of gender imbalance in digital.. but I’m making a point of pushing this particular gripe because it has a really easy fix. Just move the f*cking magazines and get rid of the ‘men’s interests’ and ‘women’s interests’ labels.

This is about more than how we gender label digital. It’s also how we label sport, fashion, politics, cookery. I have some excellent young bakers in my family. How dare stores tell them that cooking or fashion is just ‘for girls’.. or current events and sport is just ‘for boys’?! What decade is this?

If you agree how we gender label reading material needs to stop, please share this and add your 2cents.

More importantly, if you observe it in a store, please snap a pic and tweet the store chain and the publisher #whatwomenwant.

Yes, it’s a rubbish hashtag but I can’t think of a good one. If you’ve a better, lets go with that.

Twitter is the usual @Rachel__Ray (two underscores)

Later gators xx


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