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September 10, 2013 — Women now outnumber men at elite colleges, law schools, medical schools and in the overall workforce. Yet an obvious imbalance of the sexes continues in the high-tech world, where change typically happens at rapid speed. Women currently own 40% of the private businesses in the United States, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research, but create only 8% of the venture-backed tech startups. This shows that women are growing in dominance but still have a long way to go in opportunities for leadership in the male-driven tech world, which needs and wants women in the industry for fresh and diverse ideas that appeal to all consumers.

The tech industry holds the annual International CES (Consumer Electronics Show), which is a major technology-related trade show held in Las Vegas. Every year following the convention, the board receives numerous calls for “less sexism and more gender inclusiveness.” Case in point: Hyper, a company that specializes in making accessories for Apple products, decided this past year to turn women into physical props by portraying them as lifeless robots, covered in body paint and standing immobilized at its display booth. The tech industry needs to move forward and stop marginalizing women.

Tech marketers seem to be missing the mark when it comes to creating and inventing tech products. Dell, the world’s second-largest manufacturer of PCs, launched a sub site back in 2009 specifically tailored to attract a female clientele to its newest netbook, the Della. Some of the features offered ranged from tips on finding vintage clothes to using “your mini” to track calories, carbs and protein with ease while watching fitness videos. Within only a few weeks of its introduction, the Dell site had removed all evidence of Della’s existence. And this doesn’t seem to be only a U.S. trend — in Europe, the ePad Femme was released as the first tablet designed exclusively for women — pink, of course. It came preprogrammed with shopping and grocery list apps. The VP of marketing for the company said that the tablet “makes the perfect gadget for a woman who might find difficulties in terms of downloading these applications.”

So what are a few ways businesses can embrace the design process to effectively market to women? Stop push-marketing. Marketers must make women part of the discovery. Brands can no longer just tell women what they want. They must think creatively to gain females’ trust through relationships and engagement. They must display a product’s benefits instead of its specs. Great design ignites an emotional state necessary to move female shoppers to consumers. Need help gaining females’ trust in the constant changing technology world?

Brittany Leinbach About the Author
Brittany Leinbach Senior Negotiations Specialist

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