Tech

"We took a close look at the Board membership of seven of the world’s most influential tech companies," writes My Tech Letter. "We also looked at Fortune 500 companies and Silicon Valley companies. Women are either not represented or under represented in a profound way." These findings are represented in an infographic (after the jump), which targets Facebook, Zynga, Twitter, Angie's List Pandora, Foursquare, and -- perhaps surprisingly -- Pinterest.

Jon Evans of TechCrunch discusses how the startup Geeklist was recently called out for producing a sexist video and in turn lashed out at critics. "I like to think — in fact, I genuinely believe — that the tech world, despite the fact that socially awkward young men are currently massively overrepresented in its ranks, generally wants to be helpful and welcoming," writes Evans. "Unfortunately, subtly but systematically excluding a huge pool of capable people from the tech community is a very large tech problem indeed, and all the ostriching and fauxpologizing in the world won’t help to solve it."

From an early age, girls have higher average IQs than boys, take more math and science classes, and get better grades. And yet, only 3 out of every 25 engineers are women, and similar statistics are found in other professions in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. What happens between childhood and adulthood for women that makes them less likely to have STEM careers? A new infographic from EngineeringDegree.net (after the jump) explores just that issue.

The winner of the White House Apps Against Abuse Technology Challenge, the Circle of Six iPhone app helps women fight back against dating violence and sexual assault by allowing users to send quick, easy messages to six trusted friends or family members. Users can ask members of their circle to give them a ride if they feel unsafe, call to interrupt them if they need help getting out of a situation, or report abuse to an emergency hotline. The following video (after the jump) shows you how it works.

The following network map created by start-up accelerator Women Innovate Mobile illustrates the impressive reach of several women who have started tech businesses: Deborah Jackson, Kelly Hoey, and Veronika Sonsev. From those three women, the map branches out, showing all the investors, tech companies, networks and mentors who are "connected" to these entrepreneurs.

TechCrunch writer Alexia Tsotsis brings us a Valentine's Day story that could only happen in the modern era: Kaitlyn Trigger, marketing director of Rally.org and girlfriend of Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger, decided last winter to learn computer coding so she could make an elaborate V-Day gift for her beau. The present is now an app called Lovestagram, "a way to take the Instagram photos you’ve shared with a specific person and turn them into an e-Valentine," Tsotsis writes. Aww!
Sit With Me, a project dedicated to "validat[ing] women in computing and IT and recogniz[ing] the important role they play in creating future technology," offers a compelling list of ways to retain women in technology. Among the suggestions: "Steer clear of embedded stereotypes: Stereotypical associations (e.g., men like violent games, women like to communicate) can harm performance and motivation by reducing feelings of competence, belonging, and trust in others. Stereotype threat, an awareness of others’ low expectations for 'people like me,' can prompt women to set harsher standards for their work and to opt out if they can’t live up to them."
A new Facebook app from South Indian wedding website Shaadi.com is stirring up controversy among feminists and others. Fem2.0's Nicole Varma explains that in the "Angry Brides" game, "the player is an Indian wife beating her husband with frying pans, shoes and rolling pins. The game, Shaadi says, creates awareness for dowry-related abuse, in which a groom abuses his bride to blackmail her family for a larger dowry." Varma argues, however, that the game is sexist and offensively misuses goddess imagery -- a worthy message, but poorly executed.
The long-held myth that men buy more technology products than women is untrue, at least when it comes to tablets, smartphones, and laptops, according to a recent study. As Mashable's Samantha Murphy reports, "Women expressed more interest in tablets (18%), laptops (20%) and smartphones (20%). Only 15% of men planned to buy a tablet, while 14% sought a laptop and 17% intended to buy a smartphone." "The tech industry has long been dominated by men — even at CES — but women are really the powerhouse in the household driving purchase decisions," said Jill Braff, executive VP of digital commerce for HSN.
According to a new study, women now outnumber men in the online gaming world, and "they're not sticking to just games of the 'female-centric' casual and social variety," reports eMarketer. The recent comScore Media Metrix study found that about 48 million women play games online, compared to 47 million men, with the gender gap becoming most pronounced after the age of 35. Furthermore, "[women] are much more likely to prefer to play solo than men, and play games for less competitive and more narrative- and character-driven reasons," Interpret analyst Courtney Johnson told the site.
Facebook's annual College Hackathon gives teams of university students 24 hours to create an application for the social networking site. My Tech Letter reports that this year's winner was a predominantly female team. "Coming out on top, Princeton University’s Angela Dai, Tiantian Zha, Amy Zhou, and Daniel Chyan created “Color Me Bold”, which employs various algorithms to offer jewelry and accessory suggestions based on uploaded images of the user’s outfit." The contest was judged by Facebook engineering directors.
"Imagine a world with 50% women in every open source software project, 50% women editing Wikipedia, 50% women in every online creative community. Women founding the next Google and designing the next Facebook. Women creating and leading the culture of the open Internet. Sounds great, doesn't it?" So asks the Ada Initiative, a project dedicated to increasing the participation of women in open technology and culture through education. The initiative is named for Ada Lovelace, who's considered by many to be the world's first computer programmer for her work on Charles Babbage's analytical engine in the mid-1800s.
A new report from the mWomen program, an effort of mobile phone association GSMA, shares preliminary findings from its Citizen Centre Enterprises pilot program. The 11-month pilot focused on distributing mobile phones to women entrepreneurs in Tamil Nadu, India, where there is a pronounced "mobile phone gender gap" -- women in the region are said to be 31% less likely than men to own a mobile phone. The pilot was conducted in partnership with NGO Hand in Hand and Indian mobile network operator Uninor.

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