Verily: What problem can’t be solved with a PowerPoint presentation?
Need to introduce a new iPhone, convey the importance of the law to a room full of dolor executives, or communicate how your governmental agency spies on an American company?
So a writer, Joanne McNeil, and a developer, Divya Manian, today introduced a deck of their own—a deck meant to address the vast inequality between the number of men and number of women who speak at technology conferences.
The problem, as they see it: All those technology conference leaders—who are mostly men—just don’t know how to search the Internet. Their proposed solution? Learn to search.
“Experts agree that most ‘best of’ lists that ignore women are the result of poor search skills,” Learn-to-Search.com reads. “Poor Internet search skills result in homogeneous communities.”
So it provides—along with a heap of beautifully contrived stock photos—helpful instructions on how, exactly, to search for female speakers on the Internet. Here’s an example:
This is hard stuff.
“It is a parody, but the point we are making is serious,” said McNeil, who has contributed to The Atlantic before, in an email:
Look around! It is not hard for me to name talented women and people of color in tech or any field, but these are people that often work behind the scenes because their talent isn’t as widely recognized as their white male colleagues.”
Putting together a project with only white men is sort of like saying your favorite books are The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Da Vinci Code. Those books are not necessarily representative of the best of literature, but they are prominently displayed by the register in an airport bookstore so if you are in a rush, you’ll take them.”
Learn to Search also lets people anonymously alert Twitter users to the existence of the site. Any Twitter user’s name can be entered, and it might be a good tool when a male conference leader needs to be reminded how to search the Internet.