Technology is often sold to us as a great leveller: a way to connect and empower people over the world. But behind this utopian promise is a more familiar reality, characterised instead by enduring inequalities. One group that remains at a disadvantage is women.
As we continually move forward, we also risk widening the gap between those who benefit from new advances and those who do not. A recent report found that women are set to bear the brunt of our increasingly automated future, with women workers most affected by related job losses.
Technology is largely designed by men, for men. In many instances, it is fundamentally not made to meet women's needs—take the example of a potentially lifesaving artificial heart that doesn't fit most women's bodies, or a prosthetic limb that comes in mansize only.
Even where the technology is available, the issue of access remains. Worldwide, women are at the forefront of the digital divide; 16 percent fewer women than men in developing countries are online, and women in low- and middle-income countries are 14 percent less likely to own a phone.
Then there's the industry itself, where women remain woefully underrepresented in STEM jobs and where Silicon Valley's perks and promises to address the gender gap so far fail to show much improvement.
The gender divide is real, and it's fucked up. That's why we're planning a themed week taking a closer look at stories focused on gender equality in tech, science, and the future. We're calling it "The Silicon Divide" and we're looking for pitches and stories that have gender equality at their heart.
Issues of access, representation, bias, discrimination and general inequality pervade the stories we cover at Motherboard every day, and while we don't pretend to have all the answers, we think it's well worth diving deeper into the problem. Of course, gender is far from the only issue in the battle for equality; it is one of many that remains prominent.
What's up with Silicon Valley's bro culture? Do women experience technology differently to men? Can we use tech to fix gender equality? How can we bring women the future men take for granted?
Send your pitches to your favourite Motherboard editor (pick me, pick me! firstname.lastname@example.org) or to email@example.com. As always, all writers are welcome.