In an attempt to drive more women into pursuing science, the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) became the subject of sharp-tongued criticism for launching their marketing campaign, titled #HackAHairdryer.
“Hack A Hairdryer“, a social campaign from IBM meant to entice more women into careers in science and technology, backfired spectacularly over the weekend, forcing the tech giant to abandon the ad and issue an apology.
IBM’s campaign basically said: “Girls don’t like science?” On a since-removed webpage for it, IBM argued that “hair-raising misperceptions” about how girls don’t like science or can’t code were keeping “bright minds out of research labs, scrum teams and engineering tracks – leaving untold innovations on the shelf”.
Woman-kind has voiced its collective opinion across things like Twitter – which is coincidentally another company in which they are under represented – and upped the expectation stakes by explaining that they have better things to do than hack a hairdryer.
The tweet was roundly ridiculed by women on social media. The tech industry has a well-documented problem with the representation and involvement of women – despite women making up around 51% of the population, only a quarter of the workforce in California’s Silicon Valley are female.
However, the company was accused of playing on lazy gender stereotypes to promote the campaign.
Women made up 14.4 per cent of all people working in STEM occupations as of August 2015, according to Women in Science and Engineering (WISE).
@IBM shame I don’t use a hairdryer. It missed the mark and we apologise. Lane-Fox hoped that the Internet would give women in tech an advantage. Men, eh. they just can’t multi-task.
“IBM ended a campaign that urged women to “#HackAHairDryer” after heated online blowback Monday. The company’s chief engineer is a woman, Jane Simpson, and she says seeing another woman do the job she wanted was instrumental in her career success.