The article 'Elon Musk Follows Zero Women on Twitter' by Motherboard created quite the controversy. How dare a media organisation challenge an influencer on an issue related to gender equality, especially something that pertains to almost half of the world's population? This made Musk wake up from his diversity slumber to give this hard-hitting response.
@motherboard I use twitter for news orgs. My Insta has same women as men. What's up with the phoney PC police axe-grinding?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 4, 2016
At least he follows women on Instagram! He doesn't seem phased by this news piece at all. Not enough to finally follow a woman on Twitter, right? That would be GQ Magazine's Caity Weaver for you, who deals with this amazing honour with this satirical interview in her magazine.
An article in The Guardian reinforced that tech leaders in fact hardly follow women on Twitter. Silicon Valley leaders like Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and many others are guilty of following a disproportionate amount of men. While Motherboard is already getting attacked for this story, with certain news outlets calling them social justice warriors, this is a trend worth following up on.
Equality and diversity have always been a contentious issue in the tech industry. Forbes reported that according to a Reuters study, 30% of 450 technology executives said that their groups didn't have any women in leadership positions. Having women in leadership positions isn't just important to have their voice heard or to have enough representation, but also because gender pay gap is still a reality. The World Economic Forum believes it will take another until 2133 until the global pay gap between men and women will close, that is a sum of 118 years.
As the Motherboard article itself reports, neither Tesla Motors nor SpaceX publish Equal Employment Opportunity reports, so not following women on Twitter is only part of the problem. Nonetheless, we believe in reforming things, one step at a time. So here are five Twitter accounts of women in tech that you should most certainly be following:
Melinda Gates- @melindagates
Since we mentioned Bill Gates, it was only fair to include his significant other, who has been hard at work to diversify the tech industry, on this list. The philanthropist has been working since the past 16 years through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help women help reduce poverty and increase access to education across the world using information technology. A strong advocate of closing the gender gap in tech, she often retweets articles and insights from 'news orgs'. Elon Musk, are you listening?
Lean In- @LeanInOrg
This initiative is the brainchild of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg who has been an active voice for more inclusivity in the tech community. She even hosted the Women in Product community event recently to acknowledge the innovations of female product managers in the tech community. This account may help teach the male tech magnates a thing or two about how to empower women to achieve their ambitions. We also recommend that Musk and co. see this enlightening video by Sandberg if they still aren't convinced.
Allyson Kapin- @WomenWhoTech
Allyson Kapin has many feathers of her leadership cap. She's the founder of Women Who Tech, a telesummit for women in the industry. She is also the founder of the web agency Rad Campaign, a collective that helps organizations change the world from a digital capacity. She has also made a handy guide of all her expertise via the book Social Change Anytime Everywhere: How to Implement Online Multichannel Strategies to Spark Advocacy, Raise Money, and Engage your Community. Maybe these male tech leaders could give this book a read and finally start engaging their female counterparts.
The 'Queen of the Electric Car Biz' might give Tesla a run for its money. She's the CEO NextEV USA, a company that builds connected electric vehicles. Her insights and advocacy on technology, entrepreneurship, equality and global business make her a must-follow on Twitter. If you need someone else to vouch for Padmasree and women in tech, here's what her son has to say.
— Padmasree (@Padmasree) September 24, 2016
Zeynep Tufekci- @zeynep
Zeynep Tufekci is proof that diversity in tech is important as it not only affect the business and politics of the industry, but it affects the society as a whole. Hence she is a writer, academic, advocate and a 'techno-sociologist' who writes with a focus on the effects of technology on politics and society. An advocate of online social change, her Twitter account carries regular constructive critique on the tech industry. Here's a video where she discusses the challenges of online social change in case you still aren't convinced.
There are many other female leaders who are reforming and disrupting the technology universe. Have any other recommendations of women in tech who are killing it on social media? Let us know what you think about this issue.