Women, Technology and Webkinz

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Tom Peters, management guru, has written, “there is little disagreement about what businesses must become: less hierarchical, more flexible and team-oriented, faster and more fluid…. One group of people has an enormous advantage in realizing this necessary new vision: women.”

I agree with Tom Peters, but there is a rub.

During the play that our family was in, when there was downtime, I found myself observing how the children entertained themselves.

Two vignettes, in particular, come to mind:

One of my 6-year old daughter Miranda playing with her Gameboy (remember she has a 10-year old brother whom she adores and emulates), surrounded by several boys, either playing with, or tutoring her.

The other vignette is a group of girls aged 6-10 who, having no interest in playing Gameboy, had invited Miranda to set up a make-believe home/beauty salon.

Which is why there's a rub to Peters' argument.

While it is true that businesses, and even the world, need women's collaborative expertise, Tom Peters seems to be making an a priori assumption — that girls and women are technologically savvy.

Based on the recent NY Times article, Computer Science Takes Steps to Bring Women to the Fold, and my own personal experience, we aren't, nor do we necessarily want to be.

I think I know why.

Technology, in the broadest, most generic sense, is often about gadgetry, the gee-whiz factor, an end, in itself, rather than a means to an end: how can I harness this technology to get done what is important to me, which is connect with others. Remember Psyche's journey: she went on her hero's journey — of figuring out the world — because of her relationships.

But when technology works on behalf of relationships, we become fascinated, even enamored.

Take blogs for example.

And Mac stores. These are not stores just about gadgetry, they are about getting jobs done that are important to us.

And Webkinz — those unremarkable stuffed animals that our daughters can love and cuddle with in the real world. AND for whom they must also care for in the virtual world.

Sure, it's a craze.

But if it it gives our daughters the tools they need to dare – and do – their dreams, I'm just a bit crazy about Webkinz myself.

Have you found yourself wanting to make something happen, whether for scrapbooking, a community project, or starting a small business, but you just didn't have the technological expertise? And so you had to outsource, or worse yet, you just didn't do it?

What if you did have the expertise? How much better would you troubleshoot?

Any other ideas about jobs our daughters can do, and will want to do, using technology?

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