Women and tech…

An interesting piece of research by USA research agency Forrester has highlighted that technology firms such as Sony and Apple could be missing out on a massive opportunity by not marketing their products well to the fairer sex. This caught my eye because it suggests that marketers are assuming that male brains are hard wired to be more mechanically minded and would therefore enjoy the delights of a new phone/gadget/tech toy more.

But surely there is an argument that women equally have a reason to be passionate about tech too – if you read up on evolutionary psychology and sociology you’ll find reams of discussion about the need for women to be more social and natural communicators. There is some evidence that women are more left brain dominant and this has been particularly linked to creative and language functions.

Surely technology enables better communication?

You only need to look at the huge rise and influence of the so-called “mummy bloggers” to see that women actually have just as much influence online and so will probably also want, and need to be influential in the ways they access that online space.

In this blog by academic Alexandra Samuel there is a discussion about the pros and cons of the internet on our generation with reference to a recent experiment where the New York Times had asked a group of volunteers to give up using the internet for a period of time and relay their experiences.

Alexandra points out that the language used in these accounts is hugely telling – talk of purging, internet addiction and “time away from the madness”. I fully agree with the blogger’s point that actually it doesn’t make sense to slate our love of the online world in this way.

For example why would you ever go back to doing things in a low tech – more time consuming manner? Just think of looking up train times in a timetable; we have to scrabble around to find it, then it may be out of date, or we may find its wrong due to engineering works. How is this beneficial when the internet makes it so much easier?!

The internet has given everyone a huge opportunity to become writers, photographers, creators of all kinds of content, and a place to share that content. So returning to the original research – why are women who have always been traditional communicators not on a level with men in their purchase of technology? Is it just technology companies missing a trick and not appreciating women’s role in this space or is there a wider discrepancy in how men and women are interacting online?

One thing’s for sure, as the Forrester research showed there is a massive opportunity just waiting to be tapped. Those with the bright ideas and inspiration to tackle this will surely reap rich rewards.

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