I think we’ve reached an acceptable compromise. The Philippine
Computer Society is dropping the offensive beauty-pageant-like parts
of “Digital Pinay 2005” and they’ve clarified their position.
If the contest is clearly marked as a search for future managers, I
think it will not negatively affect the image people have of the
technical side of things.
I still believe there are more effective ways to get an idea of
someone’s leadership potential than through text voting or clothes
modelling. Presentations and business case analyses could give
contestants a more realistic idea of what skills will be useful in
their professional lives. Women who can speak and write well will be
far more effective leaders than those chosen on the basis of looks or
on the number of friends who are willing to sink money into a text
popularity campaign. Then again, all contests make some kind of
simplification. As the organizer, PCS decides what to search for.
I think it is time to let PCS figure out what to do with their
concept. Perhaps they’ll make it a success; perhaps they’ll have
problems fulfilling their admirable goals. Whatever happens, we have
all learned much from the experience. We have learned the power of
protest, and perhaps PCS has learned to be a little more careful. (At
the very least, it knows it needs better public relations.)
I believe that “Digital Pinay 2005” can be a good idea if handled
well. PCS has invited influential women like Sun head Cynthia Mamon to
judge contestants. If these judges could make time in their busy
schedules to guide the winners, perhaps having lunch every other week
or even just once a month, then the winners of “Digital Pinay 2005”
would win far more than monthly participation in PCS activities. They
would gain guidance and mentorship.
I do not regret speaking up about this. I do not regret going public
with my opposition to the original form
that circulated through e-mail. I do not regret pointing out
the deficiencies in the original contest structure. I do not believe
this was something that could be handled quietly. PCS needed to
clarify its position not only to those of us noisy enough to complain
about it but also to other people who might have received only the
form. I am glad that the furor caused by this has revealed that most
people won’t take this kind of nonsense.
In the course of checking this out and keeping track of the activity
through my shared bookmarks, I have met so many wonderful people
through their blogs. Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring.
Let’s get together on a couple of projects—that summer camp idea
looks like a good start, and I’d gladly volunteer time for that.