I watched Apple’s new product presentation yesterday with my girlfriend. She had never seen one of these before, and found it interesting. In part, because she’s living with someone who has lots of Apple hardware, and she’s not been very familiar with this stuff before. But also because she has an iPad, and uses it for all her computing. She’s been converted.
After the presentation, she pointed out something that wasn’t obvious to me: the fact that there were no women. There were none on stage, and none doing demos in the videos. There were some token women – and non-caucasians – in the videos showing people buying new iPhones, and in the ads, but nowhere else. It was all white men.
When you think about it, it is surprising that Apple has no women in the top ranks of its organization, at least who could be on stage during a product presentation. The company did just hire Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to run the company’s retail operations, but I can’t recall ever seeing any women from Apple stand up at a keynote or product announcement. (I do recall women from other companies demoing software in the past.)
At a minimum, they could have found a woman to show how they work with the Mac Pro. There were three men in that video: a filmmaker, a photographer and a record producer. I’m sure there are women in those jobs that Apple could have found.
The tech industry is certainly dominated by men, but women shouldn’t be ignored as much as they were yesterday. Women buy a great deal of Apple products, and, while the people watching yesterday’s product presentation aren’t average consumers, I personally know several women who write for Macworld who were watching. It’s easy to feel that you’re not part of the club when you see the faces that Apple presents.
I’m not suggesting that Apple just find token women to fill a gap, but rather that the company broaden its horizons a bit. Apple looks like a boy’s club, in product presentations, and in the videos on its web site presenting its products. Perhaps it’s time to change that.