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Apple is trying to encourage more women into technology careers by publishing an article through the App Store about four women trying to “create change and energize culture”.
Tuesday’s editorial, which appears a week after International Women’s Day, discusses the backgrounds and work of four prominent female developers. The quartet has worked on a number of well-known titles in the App Store.
The profile asks the quartet questions about the challenges faced by women that are being addressed by the efforts of their respective companies, and how their experiences have influenced creating apps and running their businesses.
Wolfe said there was a “confidence gap between genders” that starts from age 6. “Then girls start to think they are less smart and less capable than boys,” she says, citing a study that goes on to say that self-esteem drops in girls by 30 percent between the ages of 8 and 14.
“We want every girl to open the Rebel Girls app — or one of our books — and find dozens of role model stories where she can see herself.”
According to Fitzgerald, women “face issues such as pay and gender equality, barriers to leadership and rigid working hours.” Creating an inclusive and supportive work environment is, according to the COO, “fundamental to creating a sustainable and thriving business”.
Akinrinade explained that Wisdom’s goal is to “replace the inequality of closed networks with an open, diverse community of experts and helpful people.” This includes providing a safe space to talk about important topics that matter to them, including women’s rights, domestic violence, leadership and well-being.
On the impact of the apps, Wolfe reveals that 86% of parents told the app that Rebel Girls had boosted their girls’ confidence, and 92% said the stories in the app inspired them.
Experience and hope
While discussing how experiences influenced app creation and the business, Cole leaned on working across multiple creative industries and wanted to become a leader.
“I wanted to take the best parts of it [people] who inspired me through their values-based and selfless leadership, creating a culture that promotes mental well-being, values diversity, and addresses inequality head-on,” Cole told Apple.
Akinrinade saw how “a lack of social capital contributes to systemic inequality and disadvantages founders of minority groups,” which led to the creation of Wisdom.
Wolfe refers to her favorite question to ask people: “Who is a woman who inspires you?” and her disappointment at how few people could actually answer it. “Women are still fighting to tell their stories and have them told authentically,” she adds.
As for what they hope for the next generation of female technologists, Akinrinade wants them to “be able to emerge as their authentic selves and thrive in a technology field that accommodates a variety of different leadership styles.”
After noting that only two percent of U.S. venture capital was secured by female founders, Wolfe wants female founders and designers to receive “at least 50 percent of venture capital funding to make their products, impact societies, create jobs, create and build the future.”
Fitzgerald hopes that a focus on gender diversity and inclusion will eventually become a natural part of how all companies do business, not just the outliers.
“So many areas of our lives relate to some aspect of technology, and it just makes sense to involve a wide variety of people and perspectives as we innovate for a future that works for everyone,” she concludes.