Goldman Sachs gives mirrors, nail files to women coders

Here's a tip to corporate sponsors: If you're a supporter of a women's tech event, it might not be a good idea to stuff your goodie bags with mirrors and nail files. 

Goldman Sachs (GS) is coming under fire for handing out swag bags with what some view as gender-stereotyping items at Harvard's WECode, a conference for women interested in computer science

An Instagram photo shows the bag included a mirror with the Goldman Sachs logo, with the poster noting that it also included nail files. "Not sure if this is #sexyfeminism or gender stereotyping," she wrote. 

While Goldman Sachs said it meant no offense by including the gifts, the issue comes at a time when girls and women are increasingly urged to enter the so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. At the same time, gender discrimination is hampering women's participation in science and technology across the globe, Unesco noted in a 2007 report. 

Only 17 percent of all computer and information sciences and support degrees were earned by women in 2010-2011, according to the nonprofit Catalyst, which examines issues related to women and business. 

"We are strong supporters of efforts to recruit and retain women in technology. We apologize if the gifts gave anyone offense," Goldman said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch.

Still, Goldman wasn't the only company giving away products that were targeted toward women. Google, another sponsor, gave socks branded with the company name and the woman's circle-and-arrow symbol in the place of one of the "o"s. 

Some poked fun at the giveaway, with one person writing, "The mirror comes in handy to see approaching code review ninjas in your cube. Then you can keep them honest with the nail file. You can run away in your Google socks; a gift from the same event. That must be how they code on Wall St."

  • Aimee Picchi

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