The third installment in our “Women’s History Month posts series is with Annie Brown. Annie Brown is the director of Communications for Codepath which is a non profit organization that serves computer science students who desire a career in tech and also is the founder of Lips. Lips is a social media platform that is designed for women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. What makes this platform unique, is the focus on that community and drastically eliminating the type of harassment that is present on many Web 2 sites that we see today. Annie’s background is in communications with a focus of looking at media through a gendered lens. This approach to media, especially as Web3 continues to grow in popularity, helps tackle the problem many marginalized communities face while navigating Web2 spaces currently. Lips revolutionizes the original idea of the internet, which is the ability to give ownership back to creators. Lips operates within the blockchain, therefore, providing anonymity as well. Continuing with the theme of the previous articles, the same questions will be asked so we can see the broad spectrum of women’s perspectives in such an emerging industry.
Q: How can we as a community focus on bridging more women into roles such as yours within the community?
Annie states that this can be achieved in a couple of different ways. First, from Lips perspective, “We would like to introduce folx to emerging technologies. If someone is interested in gender, anti racist theory, etc. social justice movements. Technology is not always at the forefront of them progressing. Technology is incredibly important, and gives people intersectionality within technology. I think we need to make sure that these communities have the support they need.” This type of representation gives many people from marginalized backgrounds voices that they may not always have had access to in voicing opinions and concerns. Annie states that, “As long as communities can build and populate these technologies, these things can be impactful. Web3 isn’t impactful when it isn’t accessible to all communities. Governance and moderation has been done for the purpose of showing it can be done, what we’re trying to do is provide for the needs within communities. Requires a diversity of voices so that they are built and can continue to be built that way.”
Do you feel women aren’t as comfortable in tech? Why or why not?
Annie believes that this isn’t a universal ideology when it comes to the tech industry and the many branches under the large umbrella term. They believe that it depends on where you are in tech and the culture of the startup and tech of where you are. Larger companies discourage folx femme presenting people from participating in tech, specifically their own communities because they are already aware of the type of culture they participate in. However, instead of implementing better standards of practice to counteract this negative outcome, many companies choose not to change the behavior at all. Annie mentions that not all companies subscribe to that ideology. Companies that are doing well, such as Codepath, have an inviting culture and have a social impact foundation and inclusion from the start rise to the start of tech so that can be the face of tech. Non Inclusive models are not sustainable for society or the industries that they choose to be a part of. When successful companies are not transparent with the type of community they foster, this is not reliable data, because behind closed doors, individuals are secretly being excluded from some of these larger communities’ data.
What are some of your personal goals you would like to see for Web 3.0 and blockchain technology within the next year and within the next five years?
Annie would love to see Lips recognized as an example as a successful use of blockchain and more of a discussion around the importance of inclusion as a necessary part of building good technologies, more buzz and more excitement around the social impact and less about financial growth. They would also like to have the focus be on gender equality when discussing media and the social implications of inclusivity on marginalized communities.
Were you familiar with Women’s History Month prior to this meeting? How did you celebrate? Who are women in your life that you look up to?
For Annie much of her day to day focuses on feminist/queer theory but they do like that women’s stories are brought to the forefront and able to participate as a speaker in events. Annie looks up to Leah, Erika and Betty. All women who are making large contributions in the blockchain community. Also, Silvia Maa she’s an investor in Lips and Barbara Bickam was on the first congressional briefing of women of color in DC, and Kiesha Cash impact America fund. The women who are building and funding these products and the Lips team all women and genderqueer team. Helping them build LGBTQ entrepreneurship and mentors.
This article was written by Goodblock Technologies, Marketing and Administrative Assistant, Joslyn Branham. She holds a Communications degree from The Ohio State University which focuses in Social Media Marketing and a focus in media research.