What does “gender neutral” really mean in software?

The software industry has an interesting past.

From the very first programmer, who was a woman named Ada Lovelace… followed by a time where computer work was relegated to “secretaries” and men were deemed too good to be bothered.

Then along the way, there was an ousting of women in tech and now the first image that comes to mind when you hear “developer” is far from a secretary.

But I often wonder what kind of software we’d be using if women had stayed on as the primary programmers and taken on more of a creative role…

Which brings up a hot topic:

Gender neutrality.

I see it all the time:

Men are asking software companies like Drip and Infusionsoft to “be more gender neutral” and to stop feminizing their products.

But what if these companies ARE making their software and branding more gender neutral…

And it feels “off” because the majority of software up to this point has been masculine?

When men complain about something not being “gender neutral” they’re saying that it’s not “masculine”… because in the recent past, everything was designed for and by men.

But as more women enter the software and marketing space, the concept of neutrality has shifted more toward center… which means it’s more feminine.

That is understandably jarring for men, and it can make them question if a piece of software was designed for them or not.

Here’s the take away: as a woman, every single time you look at software that was designed for and by men, you assume it was not designed for you.

Every. Single. Time.

But does that stop you from using it? No.

Women have adapted to living in a male dominated software world, and it’s time for the balance to shift…

Does that mean men aren’t welcome? Absolutely not!

Instead, it means that finally *everyone* is welcome.

Especially at AccessAlly, where our software comes from a husband and wife team (with an amazing crew).

If you’re ready for truly gender neutral software, I can say with certainty that AccessAlly fits the bill for your WordPress LMS and membership plugins.

Here’s to building a more inclusive world wide web,

-Nathalie “neutral means feminine, too” Lussier

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