Category Archives: event

Digital Pinay 2005: Sent mail to Leo Querubin, Special Projects Chair of PCS

Received from Leo Querubin:

Hello Sascha,

Your email was forwarded to me by Bombing of MediaG8way regarding your
reaction to the Digital Pinay competition. I share your sentiments when
I saw the application form.

There was a misunderstanding in the contents of the application forms
(for the co-ed and professional) as the original forms did not include
the info on height, weight, bust, waist and hips. Be that as it may, I
take full responsibility over this as Special Projects Chair of PCS and
I apologise for this. It was never our intention to promote the
competition as a beauty contest.

You have brought several good points in your email. I would like to sit
down with you and discuss these comments and see how we can improve the


Leo Querubin

Sent this reply:

Hello, Leo!

Thank you for your prompt reply. I’m glad to hear that the original
forms did not include such demeaning questions. I would still like to
clarify the rules of the competition and the expected public effect.
If PCS also considers the present form of the competition to be
insulting to IT students and professionals, I would like to help you
do damage control and correct the impression people have received.
After all, this is the form that’s out there in the wild, and that’s
the form of contest people will see it as. Whether it is a mixup or
not, PCS has done something wrong.

I would like a full explanation from PCS so that I can present other
sides of the story. How did this make it past the proposal stage? Why
was it approved by the committee? Did no one consider it as even the
least bit discriminating? How is it that the country’s premier IT
organization can do such a thing?

I would also like to understand how one can calculate scores based on
20% popularity (measured through text votes), 40% appearance, and 40%
intelligence and skills, and still not think of this as a beauty
contest. As
points out:

So let me see: that’s 60% for popularity and appearance based
criteria, and 40% for intelligence and technical knowledge. Oh
yeah, that makes total sense for an ICT professional award.

How is it possible that mature professionals can take all the
terms used in beauty contests—you don’t hear the term “formal wear”
or “reign” in software competitions, do you—and pretend that this is
something about the professional capabilities of women? How is it at
all understandable?

What about the public effect of this contest? The public sees only the
application and the coronation. They will not see whatever care you
put into sifting through applicants’ academic credentials. They will
not see the interviews. They will only see the beginning and the end.
They will only see this form that defines women by numbers and a
“coronation” that involves how well a woman can wear clothes and walk.
This _public_ includes students and children who may not have the
experience or confidence to know that you can be successful in
technology and yet not be an object because of your gender. They may
think that even in this field, women have to be pretty, and brains or
achievements don’t really matter.

What about the “prizes” that these women win? Are you just looking for
a promo girl? You cannot spin this as professional exposure for women
without also exposing the exploitation of women. You cannot even say
that this promotes women in computing when it reduces women to
something pretty to look at.

Perhaps you meant well, but this is broken. This is a release-critical
bug. This is something that should have never made it out the door in
its present form. The contest by itself is wrong, but I am incredulous
about the fact that PCS actually _came up_ with this thing. I have no
idea why it took me to point out how broken this is, but this is not
something you can just quietly apologize for, improve or even cancel.
You realize that that form has made its way to schools and to other
people’s lists, forwarded by people who either thought it was a good
idea or a farce. You must realize that the form brought with it an
idea of how PCS thinks of women.

I need you to think very carefully about the reasons why this contest
was implemented. I need that explanation from you, and I need it
shared not only with me but with as many people as it can be shared
with. I need you to think very carefully about how you’re trying to
encourage more women to get into IT. I need you to start doing damage

What happened here?

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It just gets better and better. This is a “traditional” event.

From Ibarra Gutierrez, Editor-in-Chief of Media G8way:

Digital Pinay is a project of the Philippine Computer Society. It
is actually a take-off from their traditional Ms PCS contest.
Media G8way, with its Events Department, was simply contracted to
manage the project. This is not to say, however, that we are
washing our hands with regards the project’s concept now that
it’s getting flak from the IT community. In fact, we’ve called
the PCS organizers to an emergency meeting tomorrow precisely to
discuss reactions like yours. Rest assured that we’ll do what we
can to make the project truer to its purported objective. And
we’ll keep you and the IT community posted. Thanks for your

Editor-in-Chief & Publisher
Media G8way Corporation
3rd Floor, Eurovilla II Building
118 V. A. Rufino St. (formerly Herrera St.), Legaspi Village, Makati City, Philippines
Tel. (632) 840-4227

It just gets better and better. You mean it’s only getting flak
from the IT community now? You mean this is an old concept? I’ve
e-mailed Leo Querubin to find out how long _that_ has been
running and how it has managed to survive so far.

In the meantime, take a look at this excerpt from :

Special Project: Miss ICT

In-charge of preparing the activities and implementing
guidelines/criteria for the Search of Miss ICT (professional and
student levels):

  • Revive the Computer Girl
  • More than just a beauty contest
  • Reflects ideals of PCS
  • Promote gender equality in the ICT industry
  • Promote ICT as an equal opportunity employer

Director-in-Charge: Ms. Ann Gatmaytan
Chair: Mr. Leo Querubin


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And now for a bit of lighthearted fun…

“Sexiest Geek Alive” is a geek pageant done right. =) Google for it or
be lazy and just check out the following links.

Why does it work? ’cause it’s as geeky as heck.

Positive stuff about women in technology:

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Digital Pinay 2005 on plug-misc

But seriously, the organizers should have thought more about the
matter. Women are not mere trophies to flaunt at events. Gee, if that
were the case, they could have just gotten some actresses who could be
spokespersons for them, I think. I mean, that’s going to be
advertising but with the duties of the “reigning” Digital Pinay –
Hmmm, that seems to be the case. And that is sad, sad, sad.

I hope that the people from PCS would do damage control ASAP. Or else…

– Clair Ching,

When I read the headline of the article “Search for top Filipino
female IT pros slated” I thought it was good as it would duly
recognize Filipina contributors to the growth of Philippine IT. But
now that I know the details I really find it insulting to women.
Asking for vital statistics and requiring the winner to grace PCS
occasions are simply demeaning.

Holden Hao
DabaweGNU, Inc.
Davao City

E-Mail from Holden Hao

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And there are people who just don’t get it

From: Kyo Suayan <[email protected]>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 09:52:12 -0800

Subject: Re: Philweavers Digital Pinay

To be honest, what’s the fuss all about?! Eh totoo naman na
statistically speaking, mas kaunti ang magaganda sa IT field as
compared to other disciplines! This is even supported by observations
back in college wherein usually nasa ibang colleges and departments
ang mga “chikababes”. Seriously!

Finally somebody has come up with a brilliant idea on
how to “put some life” on this very cold and impersonal
industry which is IT. And what does some pseudo-activists do?
Shoot it down. :-)


E-Mail from Martin Gomez

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