Hack for Her, an initiative led by Microsoft, aim towards gender inclusiveness by creating experiences that successfully fit the lives of men and women alike. According to Microsoft, Hack for Her is ‘a movement that brings together men and women of diverse backgrounds, skills and professions to create products and services that work well for women— and spawn new market opportunities as a result.’
Microsoft hosted its first Hack for Her Summit at Impact Hub in Seattle on 12th January as a part of its goals to increase awareness of gender-inclusive product development. The official website of Hack for Her quotes Ms. Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development, Microsoft saying “Women represent the largest growing market opportunity today. Globally, women’s combined income is rising at twice the growth rate of India and China combined.”
We all have to think about the emerging markets. And you probably have given a lot of thought to the largest emerging markets, China and India. But I think what gets lost is that a bigger emerging market is, surprisingly, women. Women themselves are an emerging market, who have $18 trillion of spending power. Stated Ms. Johnson at Hack for Her summit.
Hack for Her: Women, the Next Emerging Market
Hack for Her initiative sees Women as “the next emerging market.” Women have different values, understandings, approach and behavior than men. Developing with women in mind does not simply mean just making something in pink, according to Ms. Peggy.
The industry hasn’t really accepted the fact that many times we don’t have pockets, so where is our phone? – Ms. Peggy Johnson
As Klaus Schroeder of design-people said at the Hack for Her summit, “Developing for and with women is game-changer for business and innovation. Applying a female lens to the experiences we deliver is a big opportunity for improvement in many industries and organizations, not just at Microsoft.”
Hack for Her: Bringing Everyone on the Same Stage to See Things from Female Perspective
Hack for Her is bringing corporations, universities and other organizations on the same page to form a community that demonstrates a new way of thinking about “designing for everyone”— and a new approach to strengthen the value proposition of products from a “female perspective.”
The Microsoft blog entry suggests that Microsoft is working with design experts like Klaus Schroeder (CEO and Strategy Director of design-people) and Stephanie Yung (Director of Design at Smart Design and member of Femme Den), as well as research experts like Dr. Margaret Burnett of Oregon State University (creator of GenderMag, a method for finding gender inclusiveness issues in software) and Dr. Londa Schiebinger of Stanford University (director of Gendered Innovations, an international collaboration that analyzes sex and gender for innovation and discovery), to provide education and help companies build better products of all kinds using gendered innovation methods
Hack for Her: We Need More of Such Initiatives
Personally I see Hack for Her as a great way to focus on gender-inclusiveness and creating products and services with “everyone” in mind. The market often forgets that the products are not used by only one gender and different gender may have different requirements. I hope such initiative goes forwards as intended and I wish everyone involved very best of luck ahead.