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T3 have announced their Tech100 list for 2009, naming the 100 most influential people in technology.
Whenever these lists are published, I always immediately scan through to:
a) see if I actually recognize any of the names listed.
b) see if there are more than five women listed.
Well, congratulations women in technology, 9 of you are influential! N-I-N-E!
90. Liz Schimel, Nokia, “Free music for the mobile generation”
86. Maggie Shiels, BBC, “Frontline news hound in Silicon Valley”
89. Claudine Beaumont, Telegraph, “
Gadget Inspector and Telegraph tech guru”
81. Helen Keppel-Compton, John Lewis, “Your mum shops there, yes”
79. Ilse Howling, Freeview, “Most TVs have it”
66. Carol Bardtz. Yahoo!, “New Yahoo! helmswoman”
50. Dr Tanya Byron, UK Government, “A controversial name for this list”
41. Emma Scott, Freesat, “HD content for next to nothing”
37. Martha Lane Fox, UK Government, “One of nine women on the Tech 100”
I believe Martha Lane Fox’s quick description really sums it all up, doesn’t it?
9 out of 100.
Not even 10%. Not one woman in the top 5, 10, 20 or even 30. There are 3 women in the 1 – 50 zone.
Now before I go off on one about how T3 probably would have added more women if they had been standing around in bikini’s nonchalantly holding an XBOX controller at their well-oiled side – let’s be calm.
The first thing that people ask when you complain about a “top whatever” list, is, “Who would you have put on this list and why?”
And then, angry bloggers and journalists everywhere, will spend hours creating a list, and writing reasons for why they should be on the other person’s list, and then get in some sort of troll-esque Twitter argument about it.
So, who would I have put on the list?
Some names I can think of straight away are Sarah Lacy, Mike Butcher, Paul Carr, Liz Stone, Nick Halstead, Andy McLoughlin, Julie Meyer, and Jemima Kiss…
These are people I can think of straight away who are big influencers in the tech scene – whether they’re reporting on it, giving commentary, running a successful start-up, or helping give entrepreanuers in Europe exposure.
I can also think of a few entreaprenuers who are more fitting on the list than Jonathan Ross (yes, he uses Twitter. Waheeeey!) and Trent Reznor (great, he “understands what the internet can do for his brand”, so does Lily Allen).
I’m sure if I went through my contacts and searched around I could find some more women. I’m sure if I thought about it I could add some women to their list. Certainly I could make the number out of 100 bigger than 9.
My honest opinion, is that I don’t understand why bringing Lucky Voice to the UK grants Martha Lane Fox the highest ranking spot for a woman on this list. She’s helping getting the poorest people in Britain online, but is she more influential in Tech than Julie Meyer?
People and especially women who are in tech get very defensive when discussing lists like this. Especially when people like me are honest and say that other than a handful of names, they’re not sure what other women should be on the list.
If T3 really cared about having more women on this list, they would and could have found a way.
However, you can always argue that women don’t want special handouts, and therefore there shouldn’t be a quota for how many women are on this things. These lists should be truly reflective of the tech industry, right? We don’t want a BS list, littered with PC handouts!
Ultimately, I’m sure we can name loads of influential women in tech, or just women in tech in general – but can we name women that have similar ranking to Shigeru Miyamoto? Marc-bloody-Zuckerberg?
Aside from the crap people on this list, and the absence of some key women, perhaps what people passionate about getting more women in tech don’t like about these lists, is that – like it or not – they mirror our the mainstream tech culture.
At the end of the day, it’s still exclusively men at the top. It’s men in the top 10 and we can’t exactly rattle off the names of 20 more women who absolutely deserve to be in those top spots, so that frustrates us even more.
I would love to see more women on this list, and I think T3 could have easily added more women in there. (Again, THE LEAD SINGER FROM NINE INCH NAILS?!) But at the end of the day, this list just proves that it’s technology’s biggest influencers are still male…