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12. 08. 2004

TIF: Technology Involved Female

Intel has just released the results of a survey conducted with Harris Interactive about womens' attitudes toward technology. "The Women, Technology, and Lifestyle" online survey of 2545 adults (half women, half men) has found that women are catching up to men in they way they use and embrace technology. Intel has decided to call these tech-savvy women Technology Involved Females, Tif for short.
She spans generations and backgrounds, from the young women who have grown up with technology, to women who have been exposed to technology at work, to motivated self-learners. Tif is closing the technology gender gap, with women at the youngest end of the spectrum actually surpassing men in their intent to purchase a laptop.
Dr. Genevieve Bell, Intel's resident cultural anthropologist likens computers to the "little black dress - reliable and functional, there when you need it, and readily accessorized to be as individual as you are." Dr. Bell also points out that companies are starting to realize that women are users and consumers of technology and are finally designing products with women in mind.
All good news, but I'm still troubled by how often a woman's version of a product is merely the same design in pink, or with a mirror glued on for lipstick touch-ups. I think it's not so much that women need their own separate products, but that companies (from the conceptualizers all the way to the retail end) need to recognize that their products are for everybody, not just men.

It's true that no computer or game console actually says "for men only" but if you look for any women in ads or articles about technology, you're still likely only to see them straddling the computer in a wet t-shirt (sorry friends at Sync, it's just too easy!), instead of actually using it. It's no wonder that women have to play catch-up, they haven't been invited to play.
About those "woman gadgets"- CES just announced their 2005 Technology is a Girl's Best Friend honorees and for the most part they appear to be well-designed products that anyone could use, except for the GlamCam a far less than average (1.3 megapixel and 8 mb memory) little digital camera that happens to have a vanity mirror. Uh, great, that's more important than image quality. Don't pander to women, it's not necessary.
Read the Intel Press Release.
Related links:

It Doesn't Have To Be Pink (Telegraph).

Hotwired: Women and Technology panel discussion.

Closing the Gadget Gap (StarTribune)

Posted by Mia    Category: current affairs
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