As a feminist who was an active member of Queensland’s Women in Technology for many years, helping promote IT as a career opportunity for girls and women, I am absolutely gobsmacked at this local fundraising effort. See http://www.thoughtware.com.au/hosting/calendar2006.
The founder of Women in Technology, Sonja Bernhardt, has helped organise and is spokesperson of the release of a calendar that depicts women looking sexy in order to position IT as a sexy career option.
Is WIT one of the non-profit groups receiving funds from this calendar? I am waiting to hear a response from them. WIT is an organisation I hold dear and gave me a lot of support and networking opportunities early in my career. My business at the time was a finalist in the Business Innovation category of the 2002 WIT Awards.
I believe this initiative is absolutely appalling. Interestingly, the image that head of Australian Computer Society – a man – is quoted as being concerned about is the one where it almost reveals a woman’s nipples. That doesn’t concern me. What concerns me is the calendar as a whole. What concerns me is that women are under enough pressure to be gorgeous and perfect and super attractive and intelligent and sexy AND mothers and we (and young girls) don’t need an extra pressure to make us feel we have to be beautiful AND successful in our careers. The naked image is only a tip of the iceberg. All the images fail to reflect the reality of women in the profession.
Additionally, women are not going to be the ones buying this calendar. The men are going to be buying it – further affirming the place of women in the IT professional as “simply eyecandy, no IT savvy” and in the workplace as sex objects.
They say they’re doing this to smash through the perception of the geeky technologist.
What’s wrong with being a geek? Let’s celebrate smarts, savvy, diversity and denounce aspirations of material success, fight against media hype and dispell beauty myths. Women and men, mothers and fathers and the IT profession as a whole should be encouraging girls and women to spend less time grooming and striving to please society’s and the media’s unrealistic expectations or how they should look and instead encourage and educate girls and women to increase their knowledge, ability and independence to achieve fulfilling careers.
They say they’re doing this to generate media sensation to put a spotlight in the industry and increase national interest and awareness.
Great – it’s got my attention, but at what expense? At the sacrifice of a women’s right to be respected in their workplace and as an intelligent and competent professional and contributer to public knowledge and society? Instead be treated as a sex object? This is a step backward for women in the workplace and the work of past feminists who have secured this for today’s young ambitious professional woman.
They say they’re doing this to raise awareness of the diversity of Women in IT
Diversity? These women are all size 8-10 wearing skimpy clothes, provocatively posed, some in bikinis. I’ve been to many a Women in Technology function. I never saw any woman dolled up like this or any woman who wanted to be dolled up like this. We were all just normal, real women – not digitally enhanced posers.
They say they’re doing this to raise money for non profit groups that run initiatives to encourage females to take up technology studies and to enter technology careers
I am a fundraising professional. You must consider the ethical boundaries and dilemmas before taking on a project. You can’t sacrifice the future wellbeing and image of your core membership or potential target market. Feminist organisations should help foster and change through re-education of women’s abilities and skills – not pander to the whims and sexual fantasies of men in order to make a buck.
They say it’s to promote organisations and companies involved in and supporting IT, through sponsorship/promotional opportunities on each page of the calendar.
I will be boycotting all these sponsors. I encourage you to do so as well.
In anger – full article at http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/stories/2144.asp