Gender Bias in Technology

The Atlantic published an article this week about issues of gender bias in technology. Check it out here.

“[…] Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi bragged that the app [Apple Health] would let users “monitor all of your metrics that you’re most interested in. As promised, Health is a powerful app. It allows users to track everything from calories to electrodermal activity to heart rate to blood alcohol content to respiratory rate to daily intake of chromium. But there’s a notable exception. Apple Health doesn’t track menstruation, an omission that was quickly seized upon by many tech writers as, well, ridiculous.”

The article frames all of this as bias against women. While there is lots of bias against women and female bodies in technology, I want to qualify that at least some of this bias is I think more accurately bias against bodies that do not conform to (culturally ideal) male bodies.

As a point to consider, not everyone who experiences menstruation is a woman, and not all women have experienced menstruation. It is absolutely true, however, that our dominant cultural norms do not take menstruation to be a process of the (ideal) male body. Therefore, leaving out menstruation affects people of various genders whose body does not conform to what we tout as the ‘normal’ male body, which includes many women.

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