March 9, 2007

Attached to International Women’s Day, just passed on Thursday, Cisco have launched F_email.

Now, the F_email scheme is apparently aiming to improve the tech skills of women in some nations which might not traditionally be thought of as “tech rich” nations, or indeed nations where more traditional values still hold onto societal roles. If done in a “gently, gently” manner, this certainly isn’t a bad idea.

So why then is it labeled as it is? Isn’t even the very name of this scheme tremendously condescending? To me, it screams “you’re different, but that’s okay. We’ll help you out. We’ll give you the extra help you need to achieve what the men already can.”

I’m sure Cisco means well, but I really don’t think something like this helps.