When I hear about the need to push gender diversity in tech and improve gender disparity in the industry, it takes me a second to appreciate the full reality of the situation.
When the industry’s playing field is devised and maintained mostly by men, it leaves women at an inherent disadvantage. The bias is hardwired into the very building blocks of the system, making it hard for men, who enjoy the upside of that same bias, to see the problem.
It’s not a conspiracy, but an error on the part of the architects who don’t realize that diversity has to be invited to the room from the very beginning. Otherwise, the whole platform will be built on elements that estrange itself from diversity without even realizing it.
Let’s take wearables as an example.
“It comes down to the psychology of wearable tech products since I think many of them are a problem for a solution, rather than a solution for a problem,” Marija Butkovic, co-founder at Women of Wearables (WoW), told me. “One part of the problem is due to the design of those products — they are designed by men for men.”
Butkovic and her co-founder, Michelle Hua, launched WoW last March in order to create and foster a community of women in tech, particularly in emerging industries that include fashion tech, IoT, and VR/AR/MR. In the case of wearables, she pointed out the mistake the industry makes when there are only men developing a range of products that are unintentionally tailored to alienate half of their potential customers.
“They are clunky, oversized and just not visually appealing for women,” Butkovic says, who also co-founded Kisha, the world’s first smart umbrella, which offers a collection that caters particularly well to women.
Read the rest of the article on the Tech Crunch website.