Does everything always have to be a competition?

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Rather than simply publicizing the accomplishments of a group of women involved in technology, the website Fastcompany.com decided to compile a list of “The Most Influential Women in Web 2.0

The list compilers now say they “inadvertently” set off a firestorm. Because for some reason folks writing about the tech industry never expected a ranking system that chose some successful women over others based on completely subjective criteria would be controversial. In addition, the site reports that “While some comments focused on the accomplishments of the women chosen, or suggested others we might have named, many were graphic, sexist, and nasty.” Another development that you would think would have been entirely predictable to anyone who knew her way around the Internets.

It’s great to recognize women who have succeeded in technology related fields. But this can be done without framing the enterprise as some kind of contest, where who is younger, hotter, richer, and most intriguingly paired romantically inevitably become part of the contested terrain. Women in technology deal with all that quite enough already.

–Ann Bartow

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