By Claire Ayles
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg sure has been making the headlines recently, discussing what she thinks it takes for a woman to really make it in business (or, to put it more directly, in order to sell more copies of her new book, ‘Lean In’). Whether you think that she’s a feminist role model or not, her media interviews and book excerpts have once again raised the question of why so few women make it to the top in the corporate world, particularly in the tech sector.
I won’t pretend to know the answer to this question, but a couple of things that have happened to me over the last few weeks which have reinforced that it’s still very much a man’s world out there.
A couple of weeks ago I was kindly invited to an industry awards ceremony, attended by about 500 guests. I’d say there were about 30 women in the room, but that’s nothing unusual. However, on this occasion the number included the can-can dancers booked as the evening’s entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way offended by women showing their knickers during some high octane dancing, but it’s clear that they were booked with only the male majority in mind. Well, as we say in PR-land, it’s important to know your audience...
One company that probably doesn’t know it’s audience quite as well as it should is the firm behind the new ePad Femme. This ‘less complicated’ tablet has been designed especially for us girls, with a nice pink background and pre-loaded apps that make the problematic business of shopping just that bit easier. Come on, give us some credit – my four year old can use an iPad – AND she’s a girl.
I’m past getting stroppy about incidents like this, after all – as Sandberg and many other women illustrate – the tech industry is a place where women can and do succeed. But it would be nice if there was a few more women involved (and I don’t mean more ‘booth bunnies’).