WOMEN

Women In Tech: Why Female Representation Matters

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 07:  Yahoo! President and CEO Marissa Mayer delivers a keynote address at the 2014 International CES
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 07: Yahoo! President and CEO Marissa Mayer delivers a keynote address at the 2014 International CES at The Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on January 7, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 10 and is expected to feature 3,200 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to about 150,000 attendees. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Rewind to one afternoon in 2006 and I'm at my first academic conference about computer games. I've been a technology journalist for a decade, a veteran of countless tech events on both a grand and small scale and this is the first time in 10 years I've had to queue for the loo. "Ah," I think to myself as I wait my turn, "this is where all the women are." The men make the technology, while the women think about it.

However, any suggestion that the consumer and software technology industries are demographically stratified is an overwhelming understatement. The industry does little to help itself: networking socials in strip clubs; "booth babes" at trade events – scantily clad models swamped by hungry geeks; the misogynistic-toned "brogrammer" culture that's making women uncomfortable with questionable recruitment tactics, and perks such as bring-a-girl-to-the-office-days. There's a virtual absence of anyone with an XX chromosome on prestige panels at the biggest conferences of the industry calendar, and that's just the stuff the public sees.

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