A lens—not a ceiling
Exciting news: we’re launching a new newsletter, written by the supremely talented Taylor Majewski! Taylor is the founder of Lemon Lab, previously worked at Product Hunt and The Information, and has had her writing published in the New York Times, Vox, and OneZero.
The new newsletter is called Glassy, and it’s a weekly study of technology through the lens of gender. To get emails when new posts are published, just click the “follow” button:
(By the way, if you ever want to follow or unfollow publications in Every, just login and visit the Publications page. I’d recommend doing this especially if you have been with us since back when we were on Substack. They used to auto-subscribe y’all to every newsletter when you signed up, so I’m guessing a lot of you are getting too many emails and might want to tailor your experience a bit more.)
Why I’m excited to read Glassy
First, I should note that I completely understand if you’re not particularly interested in reading a white cis guy explain why he is excited to read a newsletter about gender and technology. (I get it 😅.) If that’s you, feel free to scroll past this and skip straight to Taylor’s letter introducing Glassy, which I’ve included below.
But I wanted to provide a little extra context first for anyone who might not ordinarily think they’re in the market for a newsletter about gender and technology.
The newsletter I write for Every is about the theory of business strategy, so I spend a lot of time thinking about power. The more I learn about strategy, the more I become convinced that we live in a world dominated by compounding feedback loops. These exponential functions explain why viruses and social networks can turn the world upside down with breathtaking speed, but they also explain why power can sometimes stay concentrated in particular companies and communities for decades, or even centuries. They explain everything from the British Monarchy to Harvard to Coca-Cola. And it’s these same types of forces that perpetuate systemic inequities along gender, race, sexuality, class, and religious lines.
And that fucking sucks. I’ve lived most of my life barely comprehending the magnitude of how much it sucks, but over time—especially recently, thanks to many hours of conversations with my wife, Sonia—I have become more aware of what it’s like to navigate this world without the sense of power and safety that so many of us take for granted, and it has moved me deeply. I want to help create a world where everyone feels powerful and safe. I don’t want to be the kind of person that just sits on the sidelines. It’s hard, and I fail all the time, but I try to live up to that commitment every day.
I know there are some people who will read this and think, “why does everything have to become about politics? I thought Every was supposed to be a bundle of business newsletters?” To which I answer: technology, the economy, culture, and government are all just parts of one big swirling mess of a thing called “the world” and they are impossible to separate—even if it would be convenient for some people to try to do so. The purpose of our writer collective is to help people flourish at work. A lot of times that’s going to look like productivity tips, or hot takes on the latest industry news. But we would be failing at our job if we ignored the forces getting in the way of the flourishing of people who need it the most. This work isn’t optional—it is essential.
That’s why, back in June, I wrote What good is strategy right now?. It’s why in September we launched Free Radicals with Sherrell Dorsey and Annaliese Griffin (who, by the way, has been publishing some amazing stuff lately). And it’s why today we couldn’t be more proud to be launching Glassy with Taylor Majewski.
Over the past few months, Dan and I have had the chance to get to know Taylor and work with her closely, and it’s been a joy and a privilege. We’re excited for you to get to know her now, too :)
So here’s Taylor, introducing you to Glassy!
Welcome to Glassy
A lens—not a ceiling.
What is Glassy?
Glassy is your weekly study of barriers and breakthroughs in technology through a gender lens. We explore the concrete solutions, wide-open market opportunities, and new voices working to solve the gaps in pay, leadership, and respect that continue to plague the tech industry. Glassy helps you see clearly. Because it's complicated.
Glassy is written by me, Taylor Majewski. I’m a journalist who has covered things like Silicon Valley’s #MeToo moment, the gender divide in death tech, how old products get rebranded for the internet, and the adoption of gender-neutral UX systems at big companies like Bumble, Tinder, ZocDoc and Lyft. I’m also the founder of Lemon Lab, a site that brings together deep reporting and community reviews to surface quality health and technology products.
Glassy is not a series of op-eds, but a study of the many gender and sex inequities in tech, how different people experience these gaps, and how individuals, companies, and organizations are building better systems.
What does all this look like on the ground and who are the people making it happen? Glassy is written for an audience that understands that these systems are complex. If you are a builder—of products or companies—Glassy is for you. If your work is related to internet culture (or want it to be!), Glassy is also for you. If you are looking for ways to invest in healthier, responsible technology for all, this is the place to find inspiration.
In its first few months, Glassy will cover stories on:
- The people trying to make the internet safer for women.
- How online communities are changing with the rise of a more inclusive generation of creators.
- The impacts of gender discrimination lawsuits in big tech and feeling the trail go cold.
- The people trying to bring inclusive data in product design, as builders of a wide variety of products and services routinely rely on data from the “reference man” (white men, age 25 to 30, who are around 150 pounds).
- How social networks, journalists, and activists will reduce the spread of misinformation when it comes to health for women, trans people, and non-binary people.
It’s clear that no silver bullet will solve systemic gaps in tech, which is why Glassy is excited by the potential of broad, structural industry shifts. This includes things like more women and non-binary people starting their own companies. It also includes changing the incentives of venture capital, such as LPs pushing for more inclusive investment approaches. These changes could extend to government regulation, such as a bill that provides pregnant women with clear protections at work or more states following California’s lead by mandating corporate board diversity.
Who am I?
I became interested in looking at technology through a gender lens based on my own experiences working for tech companies (Product Hunt) and media organizations who cover tech (The Information). Tech companies wax poetic about diversity efforts, but even their own highly publicized reports show little progress in the last half decade. Sexist workplace cultures still pervade the interview process. Researchers focusing on AI ethics are stifled for critiquing their employers. And female-founding teams and mixed-gender founding teams are receiving less venture capital year over year. As I became more and more aware of these discrepancies, I wanted to turn this industry inside out.
I more recently founded Lemon Lab in response to my own health being commodified as a woman. Bodies are big business—the global wellness economy represents a $4.5 trillion market. More staggering numbers: the physical activity sector will surpass $1.1 trillion by 2023, mental wellness is a $121 billion market and personal care makes up a $1 billion sector. It’s also worth noting that dietary supplements—a mainstay in modern wellness—is a $30 billion industry.
I am a cis woman in America, which means I’ve been told that everything from CBD tampons to natural deodorant to expensive at-home lab tests to vitamins “for women” will fix my body and calm my fears. But beyond the illusory promise of D.I.Y. medicine, it’s still difficult to find actual solutions to my actual health concerns, the result of biomedical research continuously leaving out women and pseudoscientific products capitalizing on the subsequent research gap through streams of misinformation. As an operator, I’m hyper-aware of the same wearying story: Women’s health startups prioritize growth over safety. Healthtech products target everyone in their marketing while forgetting to factor half of the population’s biology into their products. Pseudoscientific ads for “alternative cancer care” are just fine on social media. Corner cutting and misinformation should not be the model when it comes to the health of women and non-binary people, and my goal is to report on these problems with impact.
How to get in touch:
Glassy will come out 4 times per month (weekly-ish). Paid subscribers will get access to interviews I have with experts in this space, where there will be concrete takeaways and recommendations for your work life.
To get in touch with Glassy, email me here or send me a DM on Twitter. I want to hear your unique perspectives, suggestions for stories, relevant research, or anything else you think is underreported or needs to be uncovered.
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Cool I guess, might check it out every few months. I’m not the target audience though, excited for other readers who may be interested in this though!