By @MariaJesusV for The Viral Media Lab
How The Latest Issue of Newsweek Magazine became the perfect example of misrepresentation in the Tech World.
Last month’s Newsweek magazine launched a new issue featuring the top 100 Most Powerful Digital Disruptors of the year. Another tech list that named a group of influential people in the internet world divided into 10 different categories. The list included names like Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook), Jack Dorsey (Co Founder of Twitter), Julian Assange (Founder of Wikileaks) and the Anonymous group among others. Later that same week Rachel Sklar, writer, media blogger and contributor for CNN and the Huffington Post wrote a piece called “Invisible Woman” criticizing this particular list and the way it was put together. The reason? Just 9% of the list were women.
According to Deanna Zandt, writer, blogger, consultant and author of ”Share This!” How You Will Change the World with Social Networking” (2010), most users in social media are actually women. An investigation named “View From The Social Inbox” by Merkle, a privately-held marketing agency in the U.S dedicated to consumer email and social networking trends report, exposed that most of the digital connected users are in fact women, African Americans, Asians and Hispanics. Yet, people representing the digital world to the public are predominately white “non ethnic” men.
In an effort for calling the attention on this issue, Andrew Rasiej, head of the Personal Democracy Media in New York and named among the “Evangelists” category of the Newsweek issue, wrote an editorial letter asking the magazine in question to take his name out of the list and to put a woman in his place. The letter published by the TechPresident Blog, and later by the Huffington Post, immediately started calling people’s attention. It criticized Newsweek magazine for having “ratio” issues in the past when two years ago Jessica Ellison, Jessica Bennet, and Sarah Ball, wrote an article chronicling gender discrimination in Newsweek offices, plus the same magazine had to deal with a very public lawsuit about the same problem in 1970. The letter also was a calling for the rest of the men in the list to take action and name a woman in their space and begging the conversation.
And the #One4One game was born, Deanna Zandt, advocate for women’s representation in the tech world, who was also named by Rasiej to take his place in the list, is currently leading this new campaign to change the ratio of this particular list (and others), setting an example for the future. Zandt has been part of several campaigns before including “Planned Parenthood Saved Me“, a site that advocated for women’s right to access affordable healthcare like cancer screenings thanks to the Planned Parenthood program, which brought a lot of people attention including mentions from “The Rachel Meddow Show” in MSNBC.
The #One4One game asks digital influencers to name someone whose identity has a radically different trait as their One. If you’re a dude, name a woman. If you’re white, name a person of color. If you’re straight, name an LGBTQ person, etc. So far, more than a 1000 people have named their “One” through twitter and among them, men from the Newsweek Power Index have participated too. Example of this is Alec Ross, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Senior Advisor for Innovation, named by Newsweek among the “Visionaries” category, who chose Neliee Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission, responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe in his place.
Other influentials that were not on the list have participated too, such is the case of Tim O’Reilly, who under the category of “Ally” named Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, as his “One” for the game.
One4One by Deanna Zandt and Change the Ratio by Rachel Sklar, are examples of people starting to fight back misrepresentation in the Tech World. Hopefully for next lists to come, this won’t be necessary.
Read: A Challenge to Digital Influencers: Join The #One4One Game by Deanna Zandt for Forbes.com