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People were asked to name women tech leaders. They said “Alexa” and “Siri”

People were asked to name women tech leaders. They said “Alexa” and “Siri”
[Photo: courtesy of Apple]

The tech industry has a persistent problem with gender inequality, particularly in its leadership ranks, and a new study from LivePerson underscores just how depressingly persistent it truly is. When the company asked a representative sample of 1,000 American consumers whether they could name a famous woman leader in tech, 91.7% of respondents drew a complete blank, while only 8.3% said they could.

But wait, it gets worse: Of those 8.3% who said they could name a famous woman tech leader, only 4% actually could—and a quarter of those respondents named “Siri” or “Alexa.” Now, granted, this represents only about 10 people in the survey group, but that’s 10 people for whom the most famous woman in tech is a virtual assistant.

Meanwhile, more than half of the respondents (57%) were able to correctly identify a male leader in tech, with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg being the most commonly cited names. The results speak to not only the institutional lack of high-profile women in tech leadership roles, but also Silicon Valley’s ever-pervasive “great man” culture, which too often mythologizes the work of male leaders without affording the same cultural cachet to their female counterparts.

The survey was part of LivePerson’s recent report on gender balances in AI. You can check out the full results here.

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