Are women are under-served by software?

These are notes from my presentation at the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) #45.

I’ll link to my full paper when it is available and to subsequent posts as I publish them.

Agile values, product innovation and the shortage of women software developers Part 2 of 7


(11) Lost opportunity in the software industry (Product)

The lack of women on software teams is also a potential loss to product innovation…

(12) Women are our customer

Women directly or indirectly influence 61% of U.S. consumer electronics purchases[18].

(13) Women in gaming

Women are 42% of active game players and 48% of frequent game purchasers. And if you think they’re just buying them for their kids, industry research shows women 18 and over are 37% of game players whereas boys 17 and under are only 13%[19].

(14) Women on the internet

Half (50.4%) of the internet population is women 18 and over. They spend an average of 38 hours per month online. They spend 5% more time than men in online social networking and 20% more time on online shopping. Women account for 58% of internet buyers, 61% of internet transactions and 58% of internet dollars.

(15) Women are underserved

Software products are generally designed with no consideration for women as distinct user groups. In “Gender differences in Web Usability”, Frank Spillars states, “Gender differentiation is barely present in North American technology product design… let alone Web experiences[22].”

(16) how women perceive and use software

In “Towards Female Preferences in Design.” the authors found differences in the ways men and women perceive and describe software products. “The results of this research have revealed female-oriented themes that should… enlarge views of pleasurable product design attributes and language for the genders[23].”

(17) three ways companies fail.

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) highlights three ways companies fail to address women consumers: Poor product design: failing to tailor products to women’s unique needs and challenges.

(18) three ways companies fail.

Clumsy sales and marketing: based on outdated images and stereotypes.

(19) three ways companies fail.

Inability to provide meaningful hooks or differentiation: considering women indistinguishable from the general customer population or thinking of them as one monolithic segment[24].


Next: Can women devs help software better address the needs of women end users…

Previous: Are we driving women away from software development?

All slides published to date.

There is abundant research on the problems women face in our field. I would love researchers to jump in on whether Agile principles and Agile practioners can really make a difference.

I’d also love any suggestions of organizations, institutions and individuals I might reach out to for more information, collaboration, or to take up the cause.

Please comment on my proposal to Agile 2012.

The full citation list for my paper.

One thought on “Are women are under-served by software?

  1. Pingback: Are we driving women away from software development? | Ken H. Judy

Comments are closed.