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‘Women In Digital’ Drum Awards. A Platform for Celebration or Hypocritical Positive Discrimination?

June 10, 2014

The Drum’s recent blog post “30 Under 30: Help The Drum celebrate talented young women in digital” has sparked off an interesting debate today in the Komodo and Venture Stream office. Whilst I am naturally enthusiastic, hopeful and glad to see such awards being put in place there was, however, interesting counter arguments.

Would I, or any other young female in digital not rather win an award or be nominated just because they were good, rather than because of their gender?

If it were to balance equality then surely there would need to be awards specifically for men too? Otherwise would you be at the risk of being hypocritical? If there were male-only awards would it be encouraged or frowned upon?

It’s a catch 22.

The vast majority of these posed questions didn’t come from men, I must point out, but indeed from the women of digital themselves. My answer to the above would be, yes; of course. Everyone, male and female should be recognised for their talent and awarded for their successes. Why shouldn’t they?

However, my personal beliefs are that women are still poorly represented in digital and design jobs. The Drum’s aim is to create a “Celebration” of young talent. It creates and encourages role models for future generations and hopeful graduates.

Fantastic work is being done by Grameen Bank, which is a microcredit bank helping women in Bangladesh fight their way out of poverty through small business loans creating a new era of business woman. This is emerging with the help and support of others.

My role model throughout my career has been Jane Maas, her book “Mad women” is an inspiration. As time moves on and more women move into the industry our experiences will evidently differ, a more modern equivalent will need to come forth and inspire. Is this not the way in which to do it?

Sheryl Sandberg, who now runs Facebook and is the author of the female empowerment book “Lean In”, is also the campaign leader of #banbossy, which looks at changing gender stereotypes for young girls who may be called “bossy” while her brother, or male school friend would be classed as a “leader”.

“By middle school, girls are 25% less likely than boys to say they like taking the lead.” A quote from the #banbossy website shows that young women and girls need help with confidence and global attitude changes are needed to start making waves.

Awards like The Drum’s 30 under 30 becomes a platform for women to come through and say here I am and this is what I can do.

But what do you think? Is this a fantastic platform for young female talent to emerge and create new, important role models or a hypocritical display of “positive” discrimination?

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