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Facing criticism, IBM retracts video asking women in STEM to “hack a hairdryer”

By WITW Staff on December 8, 2015

IBM is taking heat from female scientists and engineers for a social media campaign designed “to reengineer misperceptions about women in tech” that encouraged women working in science and technology to “hack a hair dryer” and share their results on IBM’s website. The “hack a hair dryer” project has existed in quiet obscurity since early October, but on Monday finally managed to go viral. Unfortunately for IBM, the response was overwhelming negative.

“The #HackAHairdryer campaign is a poorly designed attempt to inspire women to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers due to the fact that it reinforces gender stereotypes,” said Rocket scientist Stephanie Evans. “Getting women interested in STEM is as simple as making educational resources readily available for them to freely pursue their interests without being placed in a glittery, pink box.”

Involving hair dryers isn’t a means of making science appealing to women. In fact, it’s precisely those kinds of preconceived notions that tell  women they shouldn’t be working in STEM fields. IBM tweeted a response, admitting they had “missed the mark.”

Read the full story at The BBC.


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