Emma Rogers writes:

In speech this week under the strange title “Now the dog has caught the bus, what next?” Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo made these observations about what women want from telecommunications companies:

Service and applications must better cater to the needs of
women. A blackberry’s ability to fit into a shirt pocket or clip onto a
belt is irrelevant to women.

Of greater relevance is whether a
Blackberry fits into a handbag, whether the keyboard can be locked to
prevent unintentional dialling from knocking against sunglasses;
whether the screen can be cleaned if it’s picked up by a toddler with
sticky fingers; whether the screen is scratch proof from keys in the
handbag; and whether there’s a choice of colours.

Women are
likelier to be interested in services and application that minimise
travel time to Saturday morning soccer practise and keep track of
grocery items that need to be restocked. Women can bathe a baby or
prepare dinner and talk to their mother on the phone at the same time.
Women are great multi-taskers and prime beneficiaries if wireless
services and applications.

These are not words of
wisdom from my great-grandpa, they’re part of a speech delivered by
Telstra’s CEO. I could go to great lengths to express my disgust at
this outdated, sexist and patronising viewpoint, but I think it’s been
captured best on Telstra’s own blog, Nowwearetalking. Here’s what some of them are saying:

Penny Bryant: Oh, Sol! Like it or not, as a leader
of business within our country, you have the charter of crafting social
responsibility though your communication, approach and action. This
clearly states you are not in touch with women, their issues or their

Julie Cleeland Nicholls: How many patronising generalisations about the role of technology in women’s lives can Sol cram into one short article?

Karen Kirton:
Sol’s comments on what women want from technology indicate to me that
he needs to improve his market research. That is assuming that this is
not just his own sexist ramblings.

Carol Anderson: This afternoon I shifted my mobile, internet
& landline accounts from Telstra to one of their competitors.
Perhaps if every financially (& otherwise) independent woman who
happens to be a Telstra customer does the same, old Sol will get the

Andrea Symes: What planet is Sol on? To talk
about innovation & then dismiss women as 1950’s archetypes is
inexcusable in today’s society.