CES booth babes: A step back for women in technology, readers say

In this CIO Chatter, readers discuss CES booth babes and whether these vendor exhibits stymie the progress of women in technology.

Women in technology have long endured scrutiny and inequality in a primarily male-dominated IT field making it

difficult for more women to break into IT leadership positions and attempt to close the gender gap. Things are starting to look up, but the showroom floor at International CES 2013 in Las Vegas reminded us that women might still have a long way to go when it comes to feeling comfortable in the technology sphere. What are we referring to, you ask? CES booth babes -- and half-nude booth babes, in particular.

In a CIO Matters column from the show, SearchCIO-Midmarket senior site editor Wendy Schuchart wrote that these half-nude CES booth babes don't align with what so many women are trying to accomplish in IT: to gain respect amongst their peers.

Who honestly thought that mute naked models was a great way to sell technology?

To get a sense of our readers' opinions, SearchCIO-Midmarket asked, "Did the International CES models in body paint contribute to a hostile environment for women in technology?" Readers talked back -- and yes, they were largely offended:

  • "This is ridiculous that this type of objectification is still happening. It is hard enough being a woman in the tech field without this kind of crap."
  • "Enough of the 'booth babes.'"
  • "It's very offensive. I am sick of this kind of treatment of human beings. Yes! Women are human beings. I would feel the same for men if/when they are treated with this kind of objectification and disrespect for their humanity. Get a brain, people!"

Who's to blame? Should someone be reprimanded for the CES booth babes? Our readers pointed fingers at the vendor hosting these showy exhibits:

  • "Who honestly thought that mute naked models was a great way to sell technology?"
  • "Why tolerate such a vendor? Say no to their product."
  • "The vendor with the painted semi-naked women should be banned [from CES] for life."

More talk about women in tech

Gender diversity in IT under the spotlight

Report: Women in IT and the gender gap

Of course, there are two sides to every argument, and not everyone thinks that this one requires a radical response:

  • "You pick your battles. You don't want to always be the person saying, 'That's offensive.' I am always saying it."
  • "Methinks thou complaineth too much. You sound very hetrophobic [new word]."

Do CES booth babes and other showroom models contribute to a hostile environment for women in technology? Should vendors rethink their tactics? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Let us know what you think about the story; email editor@techtarget.com.

This was first published in March 2013

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