How many successful women in their knickers does it take to make a controversy?

How many successful women in their knickers does it take to make a controversy?


These ones.

This is a shot from the latest lookbook for  lingerie brand Dear Kate.

Dear Kate produces high-tech, leak-resistant underwear. Their new collection is called ‘The Ada Collection’, named after Ada Lovelace, the mathematician widely regarded as the world’s first computer programmer. Each woman featured in the campaign is a ridiculously well-qualified and successful talent in the tech world.

Quiessence Phillips is the creator of the Girltechie Campaign.

Patty Delgado is the web engineering team leader at Refinery29.

Arikia Millikan is the founder of Ladybits Media.

Rebecca Garcia is the founder of Geek Girl Web.

Sarah Conley is the creator of Style It.

Adda Birhir is the founder of Skillcrush.

Tech underwear, tech women.

Six women in tech, posing in a completely non-sexual way with their iPads and Macbooks, coding and running their profitable companies in their undies. As much as we loathe the term, they are ‘real’ women. Different shapes, different colours. Chosen for their contribution to the world of tech, and not for their waist-to-hip ratio.

It’s an undeniably beautiful shoot.

However, while this seems good so far, one big question has been hanging over this campaign since its launch: does putting these women in their underwear hamper their credibility?


Some people think so.

Because, while this is the sort of ad campaign that would be met with thunderous applause if the positions were filled with models, these are women who have to front up to board meetings afterwards. And, with 2013 figures showing that women only hold 12 per cent of positions in Silicon Valley – that’s a compromised position some say the gender with the structural disadvantage in this situation shouldn’t be put in.

“Posing in your underwear undermines the message that you aim to be taken seriously as a technologist,” Elissa Shevinsky, CEO of Glimpse Labs, told TIME.

Critics like Shevinsky argue that in such a male-dominated industry, women do their whole gender a disservice when they partake in this sort of publicity.

But the women involved don’t think that is necessarily the case.

“I run a company and you’re trying to have gravitas when you’re a CEO. I was a little bit like, ‘Is it a bad idea to participate in an underwear modeling shoot?’” Adda Birdir, one of the featured models, told TIME.

“But it’s a feminist company…and I think it’s so important to support companies that are doing work like that. That overshadowed any of my concerns.”

Click through to take a look at some more pictures from the campaign:

Do you think women in tech should be posing in their underwear? Can a lingerie shoot ever be termed ‘progressive’?

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