IBM pulls plug on #HackAHairDryer campaign after backlash

woman drying her hairThe technology giant, IBM, has come under fire for their ‘Hack A Hairdryer’ campaign for promoting ‘patronising’ gender stereotypes.

The campaign aimed to encourage girls and women into science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) industries and careers. IBM asked women to hack a hairdryer and then share the results on their website, aiming to “reengineer misperceptions about women in tech, and to focus on what really matters in science.”

The video was originally uploaded to the company’s YouTube account back in October but it failed to garner much attention until this week when a number of female scientists posted their reactions on Twitter.

The hashtag, #HackAHairDryer was trending on the social media site with many users commenting on the use of stereotyping to encourage women into the industry.

Stephanie Evans, engineer and rocket scientists tweeted, “That’s ok IBM, I’d rather build satellites instead, but good luck with that whole #HackAHairDryer thing”.

Another user, theTrendyTechie, tweeted “How to make progress in equality: start treating women like modern human beings instead of the 1950s housewife trope.”

The video has since been removed from YouTube and a spokesperson from IBM said, “The videos were part of larger campaign to promote STEM careers. It missed the mark for some and we apologise. It is being discontinued.”

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.
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