Pronouns and abstract nouns matter

I’ve been reading and watching tv a lot over the last couple of days. Here are some things I’ve noticed:

  • people who work at Google are guys
  • people who work in Silicon Valley have beards
  • the tech people behind the Obama campaign digital strategy are smart guys
  • when traveling, you need your moisture wicking briefs

Do you see a pattern? I’m starting to wonder if there are any women involved in tech at all, even in tech journalism. If I worked at Wired, I’d sure as hell make sure that stories don’t leave women out. And if I was a producer for a big news network, I’d make sure pronouns and nouns that referred to gender in tech stories were inclusive. You may claim I’m being too PC, but these things matter. They are part of the way that girls are subtly (and not so subtly) told that tech careers are not for them.

3 Replies to “Pronouns and abstract nouns matter”

  1. Hear, hear! It’s not being PC, it’s being reflective of what is there (there ARE women in these places) and how writing only about men is not neutral.

  2. My sister works at Google. If you look at her personal photos (that she sends out to friends and family only) of Google retreats, you would think that only women work at Google. My husband has a close (male) friend at Google, but his wife also works there. A former coworker and another acquaintance, both women, work there. I thought Google employed mainly women from my sampling. 😉

    My sister worked at Amazon before Google. A mother I met from Brownies used to hold the exact same (v. high level) position that my sister held at Amazon before she quit and moved to follow her husband’s career. Both that woman and my sister left Amazon due to burnout, but they could point to lots of men who did, too.

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