Viewpoint: Despite optics, the tech industry still fails to recognize women's achievements

Katie Adams - Print  | 

Tech companies often showcase their female workforce to seem inclusive or defend themselves against criticism, but women in the industry still sometimes fail to have their contributions recognized or expertise taken seriously, technology historian Mar Hicks, PhD, wrote in an opinion piece published Aug. 3 in MIT Technology Review.

In their article, Dr. Hicks argues the tech industry often fails to give women credit for their work and lays out several examples.

Two examples involve female voice actors whose work became the basis for voice tools that millions use without their knowledge or consent. The two women are Susan Bennett, the first voice for Siri, and Bev Standing, whose voice TikTok used to read captions aloud before she sued its parent company in May.

Another example focused on the former female co-leads of Google's artificial intelligence ethics team, Timnit Gebru, PhD, and Margaret Mitchell, PhD. Dr. Gebru said she was fired for studies critical of Google's AI approach, and Dr. Mitchell was removed from her position after speaking up about Dr. Gebru's firing and allegedly sharing internal documents outside the company.

Dr. Hicks also points out that whistleblowers such as Sophie Zhang at Facebook and Susan Fowler at Uber are often silenced and/or fired after they try to mitigate nefarious practices they witnessed at their companies.

"These incidents reflect a troubling and common pattern in the tech industry. The way that people’s accomplishments are valued, recognized, and paid for often mirrors their position in the wider society, not their actual contributions," Dr. Hicks wrote.

Copyright © 2021 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.