Articles about "Women & tech"


The Riveter celebrates its second print issue with more longform journalism by women

Kaylen Ralph and Joanna Demkiewicz have spent the past year helping to change the ratio of women to men in longform journalism.

Today, they’re publishing the second print issue of The Riveter, the magazine they created last year to highlight longform and narrative journalism written by women.

“Our first print issue came out almost a year ago, and since then we’ve built up a dynamic staff of editors and big-picture thinkers who have helped us secure a reliable online voice,” Demkiewicz said via email. “In producing weekly online content, we have broadened our audience and are able to prove that we ebb and flow with the surrounding media and culture.”


Joanna Demkiewicz (left) and Kaylen Ralph.

As part of The Riveter’s growth, Demkiewicz and Ralph have added new departments to diversify the magazine’s content, including one called “Longform as Lifestyle” and another called “Bedstand.”

“One new department speaks to our mission to promote longform as a lifestyle element on par with music, fashion, beauty, health, etc.,” Demkiewicz said.

“Longform as Lifestyle allows us to pair seemingly mundane lifestyle elements with really great texts. In Issue 02, Mary-Louise Parker pairs three drinks with three Sharon Olds poems. Bedstand is a new department that allows us to get nosy and step into the bedrooms of our favorite journalists. In Issue 02, we find out what Jonathan Gibbs and Matt Jakubowski, the two journalists who inspired Joanna Walsh’s #readwomen2014 campaign, are reading right before falling asleep.”

The Riveter regularly features innovative women who have spearheaded a variety of media projects, including Alana Levinson of the online culture magazine “Stevie Zine”Misan Sagay of the film “Belle”; and Sarah Nicole Prickett and Berkely Poole of “Adult Magazine.”

In the second issue out today, “each story approaches and analyzes an issue often ignored in mainstream media,” Demkiewicz said. “Chicago Reporter photojournalist Sophia Nahli Allison reimagines ‘black life’ in her photo essay, ‘Redefining What We See.’ ESPN cricket correspondent Firdose Moonda offers a historical narrative about the Africanization of Johannesburg’s inner city and does not shy away from the xenophobia her country displayed after becoming a democracy. We’ve also got an exploratory science narrative on schizophrenia and a cultural critique on the way films portrays families of transgendered characters.”

The Riveter is one solution to a problem that the media industry has faced for quite some time: the lack of female voices in literary and journalistic publications. A recent study found that female bylines accounted for only one-third of New York Times bylines during the last quarter of 2013. VIDA’s annual look at gender diversity further outlines the disparity. The latest VIDA count found that in 2013:

  • The New Republic had 81 female bylines, compared to 235 male bylines.
  • The Atlantic had 61 female bylines, compared to 113 male bylines.
  • The New Yorker had 176 female bylines, compared to 436 male bylines.

Figures like these have reminded Ralph and Demkiewicz of the need to create an opportunity for change. Ralph alluded to this need in a piece I wrote about her and Demkiewicz last year:

“We are both longform junkies, because we believe in the breadth of creativity, narrative, investigation, research, etc. allowed with this particular kind of storytelling,” she said at the time. “The fact that the VIDA numbers show most longform authors were men in 2012 (and in 2011 and 2010) proves a disconnect when we imagine the capabilities of women as storytellers. Longform is a vital form of communication; we want to make room for the female storytellers who communicate this way.”

The latest issue of The Riveter is available for purchase through the magazine’s online store.

Mallary Tenore is the managing director of Images & Voices of Hope (ivoh), a nonprofit that strengthens the media’s role as an agent of positive change. She’s the former managing director of  Read more


Abrams: Female geeks an underserved audience for

When Dan Abrams launches next year, he’ll be targeting an audience that he believes is widely underserved: female geeks. will feature content on topics such as video games, comics and women in technology, and will be curated from a female geek perspective.

“A lot of it is going to be, ‘here are the cool things on the Internet,’ but it’s from the sensibility of women who are really knowledgeable about the tech and geek world,” MSNBC’s Abrams said in a phone interview., which is set to launch in early February, is among Abrams’ latest efforts as a Web entrepreneur. Earlier this week he announced that he also plans to launch Mogulite — a site about famous business personalities — as well as a media-related job postings board. Abrams is also the creator of SportsGrid, Styleite, Mediaite and Geekosystem. will be similar to Geekosystem — “a geek guide to tech and Internet culture” — but will highlight content that’s of greater interest to women. This type of content is often buried on Geekosystem, Abrams said, and on the Internet at large.

“We believe there really isn’t a lot out there that has a female geek sensibility,” Abrams said. “There’s an enormous opportunity on the Web for women-oriented content.”

Although the content on is intended to be of interest to female geeks, Abrams said he hopes the site will attract women in general.

“The goal of this site is to be of interest as much to a mainstream female audience as it is to a geek female audience,” Abrams said. “We’re hoping that a lot of the content will be really interesting to women who don’t know a ton about the ins and outs of particular video games but who will see something on the site and say, ‘How amazing, that’s really interesting.’ ”

Susana Polo, who will be editor of, said she’s excited about the opportunity to carve out a new space for women on the Web.

“One of the things you want to do as a girl geek is you just want to play with the boys; you want to be part of that culture,” said Polo, who currently writes for Geekosystem. “I think there’s value in having our own space.”

She explained by phone that the name of the site is an ironic twist on the Mary Sue character in fan fiction. A Mary Sue is typically a beautiful female character who represents a standard of perfection that’s impossible to live up to.

“I feel that that is a very familiar concept to women in the geek world,” Polo said. “Women in the sciences often feel that they must be twice as competent as their male counterparts to get to the same regard. If society expects us to be a Mary Sue, well, we can certainly try, but in the meantime we’d like to giggle while pointing out the hypocrisy of the whole thing.”

Ultimately, Polo said she wants to help amplify female geeks’ voices, which she believes can get muffled on sites that have a greater percentage of male readers.

Many of the publications that appeal to women interested in technology and gaming attract more males than females. Geekosystem’s readers, for instance, are about 65 percent male, while Wired’s readers are 80 percent male. Some tech publications, including Wired, have recently been criticized for not featuring enough women in technology on their covers.

Polo stressed that isn’t specifically about women in tech, but said she cares about this topic and plans to write about it for the site. She hopes to approach it in a celebratory manner rather than lamenting the lack of coverage about women’s contributions to the tech world.

“I don’t want to the site to just be wah wah wah, we’re not accepted; I want to showcase exemplary women,” Polo said by phone. “And I hope it’s a place where women can get news about the subjects they might be interested in that aren’t necessarily covered by a broader female site.”

In addition to her editing duties, Polo will curate and write much of the site’s content. She plans to carry over some of the features that have proven popular on Geekosystem, including “power grids” — essentially “top 10″ lists. Some of the power grids Polo has written for Geekosystem include “The 10 Worst Exes in Geekdom,” “The 10 Worst Educational Environments in Geekdom,” and “The 10 Greatest Geeky Mothers.”

A female intern will help Polo produce some of these grids and other content. Abrams said he may hire more people if the site does as well as he expects.

The success of any site, Abrams said, is dependent upon three key factors: quality content, traffic and advertising. He’s confident that will attract both advertisers and a community of readers who can relate to the site’s female perspective.

“I really don’t think that there’s anything exactly like this out there, and I think it will be refreshing to see another perspective,” Abrams said. “We’ve done our homework and we’re convinced there’s a fairly large, underserved community who will find this site to be of great interest.” Read more