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People Were Asked To Name Women Tech Leaders. They Said 'Alexa' and 'Siri' ( 330

An anonymous reader shares a report: The tech industry has a persistent problem with gender inequality, particularly in its leadership ranks, and a new study from LivePerson underscores just how depressingly persistent it truly is. When the company asked a representative sample of 1,000 American consumers whether they could name a famous woman leader in tech, 91.7% of respondents drew a complete blank, while only 8.3% said they could. But wait, it gets worse: Of those 8.3% who said they could name a famous woman tech leader, only 4% actually could -- and a quarter of those respondents named "Siri" or "Alexa." Now, granted, this represents only about 10 people in the survey group, but that's 10 people for whom the most famous woman in tech is a virtual assistant.
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People Were Asked To Name Women Tech Leaders. They Said 'Alexa' and 'Siri'

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  • by Galaga88 ( 148206 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @03:28PM (#56299273)

    I consider myself pretty tech-savvy and supportive of diversity and the only one I could think of was Melissa something who got fired or something from Yahoo? One from HP I think who was running for office. And another one who was with that bio firm that was apparently faking lab results or something. I can name plenty of female politicians however.

    I don't know if that's my fault, the fault of the press/media/society for not making me more aware, or the industry for having practically no women in it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't care if there are women in the field or not; it's their choice. If we were asked to name some leaders in fashion design, I am sure there could be plenty of women, none of which I would be able to name but that doesn't make it unequal towards men, but there is a clear difference in choice. My wife hates World of Warcraft, but I loved it for years. This has nothing to do with gender inequality. There is nothing unequal about the situation. It is simply life choices. Men by nature choose nerd stuff (as

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bert64 ( 520050 )

        Exactly, women in general are less likely to be interested in tech than men and therefore less likely to get into tech roles. It has nothing to do with inequality and everything to do with personal preference.
        Don't blame the industry, if anything blame gender biases during childhood, or just leave it be.

        • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @04:13PM (#56299711)

          Also, it is silly to say this is a "tech" issue, since tech is actually doing much better than other industries. Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Melissa Mayers, were all CEOs of major tech firms. Even those led by men have women in high levels, such as Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook. 45% of top executives at Google are female.

          What other industry does as well?

          Journalists just like to pick on techies because we make more money, and we are changing the world and they aren't.

          • by dinfinity ( 2300094 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @06:00PM (#56300601)

            Melissa Mayers

            Just as famous as tech CEOs Bob Gates, Steven Jabs and Marco Zurkberg.

            • by geoskd ( 321194 )

              Just as famous as tech CEOs Bob Gates, Steven Jabs and Marco Zurkberg.

              Somehow, "#^@& the Zurk", just doesn't have the same ring...

            • by gweihir ( 88907 )

              Business leader, not tech leader. And a bad one. I have some more of those: Meg Whiteman, Charley Fiorina.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Linus Torvalds is a tech leader. CEO's are typically accountants, managers and business leaders, not necessarily tech leaders.
          • You think Google's discriminatory hiring and promotion process is "doing well"? Interesting. And yes, hiring and promoting based on race and gender is discriminatory even if it gets you a pat on the head from the women in your life for supporting it
        • by Myrdos ( 5031049 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @06:22PM (#56300737)

          Exactly, women in general are less likely to be interested in tech than men and therefore less likely to get into tech roles. It has nothing to do with inequality and everything to do with personal preference.

          I used to think that way. Now, I'm not so sure. When I was in high school in the 90s, only boys were likely to play video games. The girls just weren't interested. Maybe you'd find a girl who played one game because her brothers played it or something.

          Fast forward to today. Girls are playing video games left and right. And it's not just dating sims or Barbie Adventure or whatever, they're fragging people online. My point is that we thought there was an inherent difference in preferences between the genders, and it turned out we were mostly wrong. Games makers catered to boys because there was overwhelming evidence that there was almost no female interest in gaming. It's amazing how people conform to the way society expects them to be.

          Conversely, if IT support became known as a "girl thing", I bet the number of men trying to get in would plummet. And they would be genuinely disinterested, not just faking it to fit in.

          • And yet among early teenager girl they are still a minority playing CS:GO or whatever. And you cite the 90ies , well those boy playing game many of them tried to program their own late 80ies and early 90ies. And later became developer because they found tech interesting. When I was in university for a few lecture to student (lecture about virus how they are made, psychology, and how to protect , late 90ies for developer) and I had a quick conversation with the women there a pattern emerged : SOME (not all)
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Darinbob ( 1142669 )

          And yet, go back in the time machine and you will indeed see many women interested and working in tech. Just because today there is an insane frat boy culture in place in the IT basements does not mean that biology has changed. The first computer operators were very often women, because it wasn't considered a high status job. Sysadmins in the 70s and 80s had lots of women in those roles. The field of programming languages has been highly influenced by women from the start. You have a woman to thank for t

      • This has nothing to do with gender inequality. There is nothing unequal about the situation.

        The first statement may be true, but the second doesn't follow. We can have unequal and unfair circumstances, even if a particular example is fair.

      • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @05:55PM (#56300577)

        Some stats: years ago, I counted kernel developers on "git shortlog -sn" who have a gender-obvious first name (I'm familiar with Western and Slavic names). People whose names I did not recognize were skipped completely; the first 1000 recognizable names had 8 women. There are multiple outreach programs for women, none exclusively for men.

        A more rigorous count, of who maintains Debian packages. I extracted the most recent changelog entry of all "key" packages in Stretch (as defined by autoremoval criteria -- ie, high popcon, d-i, or a build-dep completion of those). Whenever a name is not gender-obvious, I did a quick DuckDuckGo search. Stats:

        • 3 packages had (wrongly) a team as person
        • 42 were maintained by someone whose gender did not pop up in ~60 seconds of DDGing
        • 34 by women
        • 2 by a man who identifies as female
        • 4720 by regular men

        This means, only 0.9% of gender-recognizable uploads were done by a woman. Those 10 women in the analyzed set also did only 60% uploads a man would do. Likewise, outreach programs target women but none targets exclusively men.

    • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @03:50PM (#56299493)

      I consider myself pretty tech-savvy and supportive of diversity and the only one I could think of was Melissa something who got fired or something from Yahoo?

      Ok, but how many *male* tech leaders can you name?

      I can only think of a handful also. Jobs, Gates, Zuckerburg, Bezos, and kind of Musk (though he's almost outside the real of tech as it's normally thought of).

      You mentioned Carly ran HP. Well who runs it now? I have zero idea. Same goes for who runs Yahoo, or Uber, or Github, or whatever.

      There just aren't that many leaders, period, and I'm not sure women are so under-represented since there are three I can think of quickly (though one is sadly probably going to jail, I still feel like she had good intentions at the start).

      Some people mentioned none of the women had a very good rep. Well, look at the men! Of current tech leaders who has a "great rep"? Zuckerburg???

      It would be nice to see more women in charge of companies but it's kind of a hellish job that people have to choose and truly desire, not one that can be thrust on people. I don't know how you get anyone into that mental space, much less convince more women alone it's a good idea.

      • I can't think of who's in charge of most tech companies...
        In fact, those in charge generally only come to prominence if they are big personalities or if they screw up catastrophically. Your average company leader sits in his/her office and gets on with their job quietly.

      • by vux984 ( 928602 )

        "Ok, but how many *male* tech leaders can you name?

        Well... several of the biggest tech companies mostly.
        I can name several of the founders / execs at Google. Brin / Schmidt, etc.

        Nadalla at Microsoft now, Gates before.
        Jobs at Apple before, Cook now. Ives is a memorable person there as well.

        Oracle i assume still has Ellison although i only know him for being an ass.
        Musk at Tesla / SpaceX
        Branson at Virgin if that even counts... but virgin galactic right?

        Bezos at Amazon
        Zuckerberg at Facebook
        Kalanick at Uber bef

        • > Intel - I'd recognize the same for sure but its not coming to me right now (male)


          * co-founder Gordon Moore (of Moore's law fame)
          * ex CEO: Andrew "Andy" Grove

          • by vux984 ( 928602 )

            Yeah... i had to look it up... Brian Krzanich is the current CEO.

            Gordon Moore I should have mentioned myself; although i wasn't honestly sure if he was still alive. (although I guess i mentioned Jobs who is definitely not...)

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @04:02PM (#56299609)

      For me.
      Ada Lovelace
      Grace Hopper
      Come to mind. But they are old examples.

      Most of the male tech leaders? Are not really tech leaders just CEO of big tech companies who are rather outspoken.

      Most of the real tech leaders are in the background making meaningful changes and directing technology without getting any real notice (man and women)

      • Does Taylor Swift [] count?

      • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @07:12PM (#56301063)

        Ada Lovelace does not qualify. She is massively over-hyped due to some people desperately needing a shining example. While not a complete air-head, she apparently never did most of the things attributed to her.

        • I was also surprised (or maybe not?) to find out that Hopper is somewhat overhyped, too. For example, what's that stuff about compilers? It is a gynocentric or a US-centric agenda that pushed Corrado BÃhm and Heinz Rutishauser aside? Or both of them?
          • by gweihir ( 88907 )

            Looks like it. Hopper seems to have been a competent engineer, but not a pioneer as far as I can tell. This really comes from a feminist agenda to display women as superior and that fails miserably when looking at actual facts in the computer space. (Fact is that women do pretty much exactly as well there and generally in STEM as men, there are just far fewer active there.)

            Now, "feminism" is not a homogeneous movement. It is the "female supremacist" faction (basically gender-based fascism) that comes up wit

      • by bickerdyke ( 670000 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @07:21PM (#56301121)

        Thanks for going back a bit further..

        Hedy Lamarr. Worlds most beautiful woman (well, according to MGM marketing) AND inventor of frequency hopping!

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      I probably would've said Sheryl Sandberg.
    • marissa meyers is NOT a tech leader. She is business person that was simply in the tech field. However, to be fair, she has a tech background, but never used it.
      Same with Carly Fiorina ( fucking bitch; hope she burns in hell forever when she dies for what she did to bell labs and HP); meg whitman, Ginni Rometty, etc. All of these women have actually been total disasters to the tech field and absolutely are NONE-TECHNICAL.

      OTOH, Admiral Grace should have been a HUGE name here.
      Sally Ride was extremely t
      • Gwynne Shotwell is president of SpaceX. And while she is a leader at a tech company, of all the companies that I've worked for and presidents I've known, none were what I would consider tech leaders. That title would more appropriately go to someone like Tom Mueller.
    • CEO of General Motors, trained as an electrical engineer. She's going to beat Tesla in electric and self-driving vehicles.
  • We don't generally have 'leaders'. Those in the role are too clueless.

  • Go start a company. Entrepreneurs are the only men in tech that people know about. If asked, I could maybe name Grace Hopper, but CEOs of eBay or Yahoo aren't really "in tech" they are in "being CEO."

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @03:54PM (#56299531) Journal

      Grace Hopper

      Good answer! Although she's often associated with COBOL, which has negative connotations to many*, she was a pioneer of higher-level languages regardless.

      Higher-level languages were considered a toy for amateurs or "loser" techies back in the mid 50's, so she had an uphill battle. When the military and big co's eventually discovered they were wasting too many resources re-translating existing programs for specific vendors and models of computers, they went hunting for cross-platform language ideas, and Grace was ahead of the curve.

      * Although Grace was not directly involved in COBOL's definition, her languages had a huge influence on it. As far as the technical merit of COBOL, it's clunky by today's standards, but has survived because it does its niche well, having many built-in operations for the typical work found in back-end business, finance, and inventory processing. To match that with say Java or C#, you'd have to create bunches of data-processing and finance API's, and it would probably still be more code for the same task compared to COBOL.

      • The big advantage of Cobol is the way how you can describe data stuctures in code to represent the layout on disk or paper. So you basically never need print or parse logic.

  • No control group (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @03:32PM (#56299311)

    How did they do when asked to name a famous man leader in tech?

    • by taustin ( 171655 )

      My thought exactly. The only names most people are going to come up with are people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, who aren't famous for being tech leaders so much as for being billionaires, and famous for being famous.

    • How did they do when asked to name a famous man leader in tech?

      Well let's got Clippy, you got Jeeves, you got the guy from Apple who throws the thing through the face of big brother, the annoying guy from the Verizon commercials who I think started a company...

      That's about all I got. Wait, is Clippy male? I'm pretty sure he is, but I never got close enough to check.

      • by Merk42 ( 1906718 )

        How did they do when asked to name a famous man leader in tech?

        Well let's got Clippy, you got Jeeves, you got the guy from Apple who throws the thing through the face of big brother, the annoying guy from the Verizon commercials who I think started a company...

        That's about all I got. Wait, is Clippy male? I'm pretty sure he is, but I never got close enough to check.

        That wasn't a guy [].

  • Did they ask those same people to name any ten leaders in tech? Is it a gender issue or the usual not being aware of something they don't particularly care about problem?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's only 3 paragraphs, but let me RTFA for you:

      "Meanwhile, more than half of the respondents (57%) were able to correctly identify a male leader in tech, with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg being the most commonly cited names."

      • by tippen ( 704534 )
        What is this "RTFA" you speak of? Something new they are rolling out on /. now?
      • by Wycliffe ( 116160 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @03:57PM (#56299561) Homepage

        It's only 3 paragraphs, but let me RTFA for you:

        "Meanwhile, more than half of the respondents (57%) were able to correctly identify a male leader in tech, with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg being the most commonly cited names."

        All 4 of which are famous not for tech but for being rich figureheads. If you excluded the half dozen super famous then people would likely not do any better. Ask the average person to name 3 people (male or female) in a specific field like AI, biotech, etc... It's not surprising that 3 of the 4 people who were named were in charge of some of the largest companies on earth. Elon Musk is the outlier but that's just because like Trump and Tony Stark he intentionally keeps himself in the limelight.

        • They're 4 businessmen in the technology sector that successfully built their own companies into billion(?) dollar enterprises and household brands. I wonder why people might know their names. Must be because they're men.
          • by Merk42 ( 1906718 )
            No, you see, because they lead their own company in the technology sector, GP doesn't think it's enough to count.
  • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

    When the company asked a representative sample of 1,000 American consumers whether they could name a famous woman leader in tech...

    Ask 1,000 American consumers whether they could name a CEO of a Fortune 500 company and, unless they happened to be an employee of a Fortune 500 company and named their own CEO, 90% would probably draw a blank.

    It's not useful information to your average consumer. The only reason that people can name Zuckerberg and a few others is that they're (in)famous and extraordinarily obsc

  • by MrLint ( 519792 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @03:41PM (#56299409) Journal

    Just like many other surveys regarding ppl who really aren't tuned into a particular segment of a thing.. they are gonna say whatever.

    Lets also contrast the names ppl said for men. Bill Gates (not really a tech leader anymore does philanthropy) Steve Jobs (IS DEAD), Elon Musk... literally currently in the news because rockets, and making a big PR thing about it. Mark Zuckerberg, in the news well its facebook, and everyday is a PR disaster there.

    So who'd currently in charge of MS or apple? Whos in charge of google? Is this more related to who makes (or is made into a big PR presence.

  • If you ask 1,000 people to name any famous male tech leaders, I'd bet of those that can name any, only 95% of the people could only name Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

  • by GoJays ( 1793832 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @03:44PM (#56299431)

    This gender inequality stuff is really starting to get to me. *facepalm*

    What if, a certain gender just doesn't naturally have an interest in a certain subject? When I went to school for computer network administration almost 15 years ago now, there were 6 girls in my program of about 600. It is not that they weren't allowed or being held back from applying. My program was in the same course application guide as all the rest. I imagine females just don't care to work/learn about computer networks. Similarly, males just generally don't care to go into Early Childhood Education, or Nursing. With that said, you don't see me screaming out how men are misrepresented in the day care workforce! Not everything in this world has to be equal, that's what makes it so special. People like different shit. It is not that males are keeping females out of their "club", in fact I think some males would be MORE THAN welcoming to have a few female companions working in IT, as it would be the only exposure they have to the opposite sex.

    So if women aren't going into IT related jobs because they don't have an interest for it, how can one expect a woman to be in a leadership role for one such company? Generally people who lead companies, started said company and have a deep interest in that subject. Makes sense to me.

    • +5 million informative because you're aware that reality is different than what the SJW crowd wants

    • Be careful, there was a bro at Google that got into big trouble for saying virtually this exact thing.

    • by dwye ( 1127395 )

      When I was in school, the field was 1/4 female or more. Since then, women have decided that CS/IT is a male preserve more than being chased out. No idea why, but it is probably related to more people going in from high school or college than earlier, where some working stiffs just had to pick it up and then got really interested. Once, supposedly, secretaries could just pick it up. Now, you have to decide before college, spend years at it, all with people like us. Might explain it (or just a great excus

      • by SEE ( 7681 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @09:55PM (#56302243) Homepage

        What happened is the personal computer.

        BYTE Magazine ran a few reader surveys back in the late 1970s, and they reported that its readership was 98-99% male. This was at the time that, indeed, people working in CS/IT were a quarter female; but the people who made a hobby of computing were effectively all male from the very start of personal computers making it a viable hobby.

        As personal computers became more common, more and more people were exposed to them early, so the number of (male) people taking up tech as a hobby increased, and the CS/IT intake pipeline got more and more dominated by hobbyists who decided to turn their interest into a career. People who decide that it might be a worthwhile career in college (or the workplace) wind up in classes with people who have years of experience with tech as a hobby and spend their free time getting better at it.

        Which means that interventions at the college and employment levels are far too late, and even high school is probably not soon enough. Whatever filter is behind boys and not girls getting into computers as a hobby acts in early adolescence at the latest.

    • Literally every time we have a discussion of gender roles here, someone says "people should all do what they want and women don't want computing"... well let me see if I can frame this up.

      Fallacy #1: People seldom "naturally" like things:
      You "like" things many of the things you like when you're young because people showed them to you/shared them with you/included you in them. If you never spent much time with them, you might stumble across them at random and decide you LOVE them. It does happen, but it's a

    • It is the social norm that does it. More than 50% of engg grads from India are women, enrollment rate is in favor of men, but graduation rate is in favor of women.
    • My program was in the same course application guide as all the rest. I imagine females just don't care to work/learn about computer networks

      The problem here is you assume the only relevant input to the situation is the application guide and biology.

      There's a little under two decades of societal programming going into you and into women before you even open that guide. Which then leads to people making choices in that guide.

      For example, did you take any time to look at the parts of the guide that covered, say, early childhood development? Or other courses that would lead to being a kindergarten teacher? Probably not. Wanna know one of the bi

      • Men are creepy in all industries. Tech does not have a monopoly on bad behavior. Just look at Hollywood. Think that's bad? Look at Wall Street. Guys in that industries are way worse than tech guys or Hollywood actors/producers. This notion that nerds are sexual predator savants is all in your mind. It does not actually exist.
  • theres a few (Score:5, Informative)

    by doronbc ( 1434117 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @03:46PM (#56299449)
    Gwynne Shotwell (COO of SpaceX), Meg Whitman (CEO of HP), Carly Fiorina (former CEO of HP), Marissa Mayer (former CEO of Yahoo), Limor Fried(CEO of Adafruit), Jeri Ellsworth(CEO of CastAR, self employed electrical engineer) current and former women of STEM: Peggy Whitson, Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, Marie-Sophie Germain, Stephanie Kwolek, Katherine Johnson, Vera Rubin, Mary Somerville, Jill Tarter, Gertrude Elion, Beatrice Shilling, Katharine Burr Blodgett, Maria Mitchell, Marguerite Perey
    • Was going to say I'm not sure Ada Lovelace & Grace Hopper should be on theist as they are not current... but people bring up Steve Jobs so carry on I suppose!

  • I guess this is a good click-bait article, so good job in that sense Slashdot. I liked how neither the summary, nor the article itself, nor the other website that that first article was citing, could list off any examples either. Why? It's pretty simple but not overly politically correct to say it, but here goes: there aren't any.

    There are not currently any female equivalents of Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, or Bill Gates.

    I have a hard time seeing that as a problem that we must somehow solve, and have

  • >> The tech industry has a persistent problem with gender inequality. That's as valid as to say that women have a free will problem that prevents them from choosing to occupy all areas of employment in the same numbers as men. Is it as big an outrage that the coal mines are under-represented by women? Particularly when sampling at extremes of distributions (CEO level being one), outcomes are heavily distorted by any intrinsic bias (in choice, importantly) that slightly shift the mean of that distrib
  • by ScrappyTheObscure ( 82234 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @03:51PM (#56299495) Homepage

    This is a really poor quality Slashdot story - and I say that as a woman.
    Yes of course *I* can name women who are or have been company leaders in tech (Melissa Mayer, Sheryl Sandberg)
    And I can also name hands-on technologists. Grace Hopper, Ada Lovelace, Kathy Sierra and Sandi Metz all come to mind without trying.

    That said, "we have a problem with an absence of women in tech -- most people can only name Siri and Alexa" is a story without real merit.
    If you must discuss gender imbalance in our industry could you pick something smacking a bit less of click-bait as your only link? I mean, please.

    If you'd like a link talking about why gender diversity is actually a boon to companies, try this one: []

    If you'd like a link on ways of actually getting women to take the computer science plunge, try this one: []

    I should really not allow myself to be trolled into commenting, but this is garbage and Slashdot can do better without even trying very hard.

    • I am glad you allowed yourself to get trolled. Otherwise I wouldn't have found the links you posted. So for that, I thank you.

      Typically I try not to give a shit what someone's gender is (I'm already married, so dating's out). I do think that subconsciously society may tend to steer women away from tech, and I'm sure there's WAY more to it than that. Someday I'd like to be running my own company, and want it to be welcoming to everyone. I'm no SJW, but also don't want a "boy's club".

      So again, thanks for ge

    • This is a really poor quality Slashdot story - and I say that as a woman.

      beep. I detected that you are of the WOMAN gender. Slashdot harbors an inclusive environment. Please notify us if someone touches your SHARP KNEES without consent. beep boop.

  • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @04:01PM (#56299595)

    In today's gender-fluid world, perhaps the actual problem is that not enough people in tech identify as women.

  • I can only name you a handful of men off the top of my head that I would identify as tech leaders. e.g. Elon Musk, Steves Jobs (obviously deceased) and Wozniack, Linus Torvalds, Gates used to be there. But other than that...
  • by Jodka ( 520060 )

    Women are often psychologically unsuited to be tech leaders. Here are four rules of women in the tech workforce.

    1. Men compete by outdoing each other. If Sam builds a rocket which goes to 1,000 feet, then Jim competes with Sam by building a rocket which goes to 2,000 feet. Women compute by undermining each other. If Sally builds a rocket which goest to 1,000 feet, then Jill disses her on Facebook, spreads a rumor that Sally has venereal disease, and flirts with her boyfriend.

    2. Men deduce causal relat

  • I suspect the respondents were just being smart asses with their Alexa and Siri answers. As for me, about the only women tech leaders that immediately come to my mind are Sheryl Sandberg (mainly because of her Lean In book, as prior to that I heard very little of her), Meg Whitman (former eBay CEO), Carly Fiorina (formerly of HP), and Marissa Mayer (formerly of Yahoo).

    There's many more women tech/business leaders that, by accident or by design, just don't get the limelight. A few that immediately come to m

  • (quickly) Name 10 male romance novel authors

    Can't do it? Huh, seems to be based on some kind of "availability heuristic"

    • by dwye ( 1127395 )

      The problem is that male romance novelists use a female-sounding name, just as George Sand and James Tiptree used male names.

      • The problem is that male romance novelists use a female-sounding name...

        Oh yeah, you're right. Pseudonyms are CLEARLY the biggest factor here...

  • by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @04:34PM (#56299917)
    Any female at the top of the corporate ladder is given such outsized attention that their flaws become outsized too. Examples off the top of my head:

    Elizabeth Holmes...fraudster

    Marissa Mayer...OK at Google, failure at Yahoo resulting in ugly buy-out. Bit of an limousine-SJW streak about her, but not possible to tell how good she actually is, just that she's cocky and the dice rolled her way at Google but bit her in the rear at Yahoo.

    Carly Fiorina...enough said.

    Ursula Burns...seems like a solid person, and but it's not clear whether Xerox did well or poorly under her.

    Whitney Wolfe...bumbling gun-grabber who wants to censor the rest of the internet too, not just her own app, which I had never heard of until she made it clear that guns are verboten on her app. OK...who cares?

    Cheryl Sandberg...thinks every woman wants to be a superwoman who gives a 110% of her attention to both work and home life. And she does something at Facebook...right?

    Ginni Rometty...maybe she's the exception here, because as far as I can tell she's just another run-of-the-mill PHB without anything glaringly wrong with her that isn't wrong with any other CxO at a big tech company.

    Mary Barra...they sent (yet another) accountant to do the job of a car guy.

    Gwynne Shotwell...OK SpaceX is successful. And you'll notice that she's more likely to be a rocket geek than a hard-core feminist in her NPR appearances. At least the ones I've heard. An Elon Musk hogs most of the camera time anyway.

    Male CEOs certainly have their scandals, but their maleness isn't so front-and-center in their public personae that when they fail, they fail, when they succeed they succeed. But if it's a woman CEO...good Lord, the press falls over themselves talking about her clothes and her diet and her everything that doesn't matter about running a company that then they go splat, they leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth.
  • Ok (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @04:39PM (#56299979) Homepage

    OK, I'm not anti-feminist, I have a fairly good grounding in tech fields (I mean, it's my career, hobby and interest, so you have to have, no?), I read the news, I see new tech come out, I know the main brands, I am aware of some famous people associated with those brands and things they've said and done - over the last 30-something years.. So long as we're constraining it to tech as in consumer-brands, things you'll have heard of, not "science" as such, etc.

    Erm... well, I'm struggling. I'm sure that someone can reel off 20 names, but I honestly can't think of one that springs out that the random person in the street will have heard of. Who's the female Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates? Even Jeff Bezos etc. is pushing it expecting people to know who he is, but who's a female in a similar position that a person in the street will go "Oh, yes, I forgot about her!" or "I didn't think you meant that type of company".

    Sure, it's indicative of a problem in the tech field but is it really that damning if there aren't any female household names in tech? People who you'd say "Oh, this should be a good interview / discussion / court case / advert, it's got her in it"? I can't name one.

    Okay, I'm going to cheat. Google. "famous women in tech" (the equivalent male version of which gives me Elon Musk,
    Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai (?),
    Evan Spiegel (wasn't he in Ghostbusters?))

    Sheryl Sandberg. Nope.

    Grace Hopper. Not by name. Picture suggests possibly one of those NASA calculator people from decades ago? (Google tells me she was a programmer... okay).

    Ada Lovelace. Now I know who she is. It's possible a few of my science-y friends will have heard of her. But the person in the street won't have. And how far back are we going here.

    Meg Whitman

    Radia Perlman.

    Hedy Lamarr (I know she did some cool stuff, including something like inventing the glider plane or something? But nobody's going to have her on the tip of their tongue for tech innovation alongside, say, Bill Gates).

    Okay, I'll go more recent: Sheryl Sandberg (again), Susan Wojcicki (?), Ginni Rometty, Meg Whitman, Angela Ahrendts, Safra Catz, Ruth Porat, Lucy Peng, Amy Hood, Jean Liu, Zhou Qunfei, ... I've not heard of any of these people, sure as hell none of my friends have.

    Maybe the reason that people can't name a famous woman in tech is because there aren't many (or maybe any depending on your definition of "famous" and "tech"... is Julian Assange?). That, sure, is a problem. But making it sound like we're dumb because we can't name one when... well, there aren't any... that's just attacking people on the basis of them being ignorant of a fact which you possess. That's not a fair fight. How many of those reporters could name one BEFORE they started writing the article? How many of the people interviewing the people in the street?

    For sure women are under-represented, and I don't see why that couldn't and shouldn't be changing. But I don't see why a "man-in-the-street" quiz is somehow detrimental to that.

    If you want us to name a famous woman in an industry - be that person. Make us remember your name. For sure, nobody is ever going to remember mine. But if you say "tech" and "woman" together, pretty much the Venn intersection is exceedingly narrow and niche.

    ((I'd also like to point out that all the guys I can name, I dislike. Because to a tee they are business and mouth-piece over any kind of actual technical innovator, loudmouths, eccentric, say stupid things, etc. etc. These aren't engineers, they're salesmen and stock-brokers.))

  • How come Amazon, Apple, and Google's virtual assistants are ALL Female, at least by default?

    Are they trying to conform their product to traditional gender stereotypes --- regarding the gender of person who would most often have the job role they see their assistant as filling?

    Why can't we have Alex and Sean instead of Siri and Alexa?

    Or, are they saying people would think their virtual assistant was incompetent or weird, OR expect it to do more advanced functions if it was male by default?

  • I'm not surprised ...

    On the other hand I'm super bad with names, I basically only know them 'passively'.
    You can ask me: do you know Zuckerberg? I would say yes. But if you asked me for tech leaders I would first of all not call him a tech leader and secondly his name would not come to my mind anyway.

  • It's been a long time since Dr. Sbaitso. I don't think I've heard a digital assistant with a male voice since.

    Women complain about gender bias all the time. How come men don't complain that our cars, computers, smartphones, and household assistants don't sound like us?

    I cry foul sexism. We ought to be insisting that Siri come with a male-voice option. It's only fair.

    I am person, hear me roar.

  • Once again, Microsoft gets no respect. Maybe they need to make commercials or something, showing Cortana is a woman [].
  • I bet the answer would be entrepreneurs and CEOs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Probably Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. And that's probably it.

    Most people would only recall something or someone they saw in the news, not who invented binary logic or created a revolutionary mathematical theory of computation.

    Albeit Alan Turing has gained popular appeal or late, given his conflicted life and the movies dedicated to depicting it. Oh and because Benedict Cumberbatch played him.
  • I don't think of Marissa Mayer and Carly Fiorina as tech leaders.

  • This is the problem with selective polling and ad hoc reasoning. Many Americans can't name a single Supreme Court justice, why would you expect them to know female or male tech leaders.

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Thursday March 22, 2018 @11:12AM (#56305517)

    Name the top 5 women in nursing?

    Now do the reverse -- name the top 5 men in nursing?

    The point? Whether it be nursing or tech -- no one gives a fuck.

BLISS is ignorance.