Portraying Women in Technology, Science, and Media


women in technologyLast week, I had lunch with Geena Davis.  I didn’t get to talk to her personally since there was over 1,000 women joining me at the Dallas Women’s Foundation Fundraiser.  However, Geena Davis did appear to be as personable and humble as many of her roles personify.  She spoke about her mission to improve the portrayal of women in technology and media through  The Geena Davis Institute.

One of the interesting marketing research she mentioned was that in family films from 2006 to 2009, not one female character was depicted in G-rated family films in the field of medical science, as a business leader, in law, or politics. In film group scenes, only 17% of the characters are female. She mentioned that the 17% female representation in media is echoed in real world statistics such as percentage of women in engineering, senate, medical doctors, and film producers.

Unfortunately, the gender imbalance issues hasn’t gotten better over time. For example, gender inequality on screen has remained largely unchanged and unchecked for 60 years. However, some companies are engaging some tactics to help women achieve equal representation in the workplace. The small business association is  supporting federal contracts to employee women-owned businesses. Forward Vision is a technology marketing, women-owned small business that qualifies under the SBA WOSB definition.

Here’s a few more research facts that I learned about women in technology and media:

  • Males outnumber females 3 to 1 in family films. In contrast, females comprise just over 50% of the population in the United States. Even more staggering is the fact that this ratio, as seen in family films, is the same as it was in 1946.
  • Females are almost four times as likely as males to be shown in sexy attire. Further, females are nearly twice as likely as males to be shown with a diminutive waistline. Generally unrealistic figures are more likely to be seen on females than males.
  • Females are also underrepresented behind the camera. Across 1,565 content creators, only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers are female. This translates to 4.8 males working behind-the-scenes to every one female.
  • From 2006 to 2009, not one female character was depicted in G-rated family films in the field of medical science, as a business leader, in law, or politics. In these films, 80.5% of all working characters are male and 19.5% are female, which is a contrast to real world statistics, where women comprise 50% of the workforce.

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Social Media Exploding in IT

Forward Vision B2B CommunicationsRecently, a new company from China wanted to launch in the US market and decided to try social media marketing instead of a traditional marketing strategy.  The company, Xerafy, leveraged nearly every type of social media that exists to build a substantial brand. Employees and partners published weekly blogs along with Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In posts. Xerafy focused on fueling end-customer conversations by providing basic whitepapers on applications from IT-Data center re-architecture to tool tracking. Simple YouTube videos showing their products averaged 100 views in the first month to thousands in the first year. Xerafy started in 2010 with a forward vision for leveraging social networks for their RFID tags and now have a global sales channel with $5 million in funding.

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