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12. 02. 2005

CEA's Technology is a Girl's Best Friend Showcase

techgirlsbestfriend2006.jpg
I find it somewhat puzzling that despite year after year of CEA coming out with studies showing that women make most of the product purchasing decisions in American homes, and actually also spend more on consumer electronics than men, the prevalent female presence at CES remains as gadget booth babes. I absolutely don't believe that products that are appealing to women have to be specifically "for women", especially if all that means is that the basic models have been pinkwashed, but when a high percentage of companies have their product brochures passed out by women clad in bikinis, with company logos painted on their bare bellies, it's difficult not to assume that those companies aren't thinking too much about female consumers. There are also no women speakers listed for CES 2006. There is, however, the "Diamond" showcase, which features the products deemed worthy of the Technology is a Girl's Best Friend mark of distinction. Some of the 2006 honorees:

The Magna Donelly video rearview mirror with a built-in monitor which can display a live image of your car for better navigation.
magnamirror.jpg

The Magenta RAZR phone (but of course), available only through T-Mobile at the moment.
magentarazr.jpg

Swan Speaker's high-end S200a speakers.
swanspeakers1.jpg

The Icon Female Laptop Tote.
iconlaptopbag.jpg

I hope the physical showcase next year is better than the rather dilapidated and easily overlooked little glass tower it was last year. Not a booth babe in sight to lead the way in that part of the convention center either.

See the full list (all really cool products, by the way, I don't mean to sound so dismissive, just thought there'd be more to the whole CEA/women/tech "initiative").

The full press release at TMC.

Posted by Mia    Category: current affairs
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Comments (3)

Rosa Spicer:

For any UK readers, the pink RAZR is actually being offered by The Carphone Warehouse on a variety of networks. They're even supporting its launch by offering an upside down auction to win a pink mini.

www.carphonewarehouse.com/pinkmini

Totally agree that 'pinkwashing' is not enough, although am excited by recent trends (at least in the UK market) towards recognising the purchasing power of gadget savvy women! Meanwhile, have quite a few male colleagues who are quite jealous of my stylish laptop bag. Isn't pinkwashing be part of a broader trend towards marketing technology as fashion items?

Women are key power players at the International CES just as they are in the CE industry. A woman, Karen Chupka, runs the show as CEAs VP of events and conferences. And we have a full slate of women speakers. With 199 conference sessions at CES, heres the link to check out the 2006 CES lineup of SuperSession speakers: http://www.cesweb.org/attendees/conferences/supersessions.asp and a link to our conference sessions overall:

http://www.cesweb.org/attendees/conferences/default.asp. In addition, the Tech Girl awards program is based on market research about womens product and feature preferences and the program is run by a team of women at CEA.

Mia:

Thanks Rosa, for the updated RAZR information! I also totally agree with you that pinkwashing is part of a bigger movement to make formerly utilitarian items more stylish, and have never believed for a minute that men were any more immune to the allure of something that was sleek and shiny. How many men do we see with RAZR phones? What's particularly special about that phone other than it being incredibly thin and cool-looking? Quite ridiculous to think that all men are holding out for the phone that, I don't know, can call far-away galaxies or some such nonsense.

Thanks Tara, very good to hear that women are key players at CEA. I would still argue, though, that women could be better represented at CES. I certainly wasn't disputing the solid research behind the Tech Girl awards (and is this initiative aimed at reaching very young women, thus the "girl" rather than "women"?), just saying that as far as I could tell at CES 2005, the entire awards program was presented as a single, small, very difficult to locate display. Please do let me know if I was missing something as I don't want to miss it again, come next January.

I see that there are two (out of 10 total speakers/moderators) women involved in the SuperSessions , but no female keynote speakers or "industry insiders". Let us know who we've overlooked because Popgadget would certainly like to be at those panels/addresses and would like to help get the word out as well.

We have had difficulty, over the last 3 years, in fact, in getting in touch with anyone at CEA, although we've tried reaching out to help get news out about programs for women. I hope to remedy that and hope we'll be able to work together in the future. Thanks for responding.

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