Cookie of the Week* is an occasional series highlighting action in the geek community to fight sexism, in order to show that fighting sexism is possible and happening.
This week’s winner is the IEEE, for their excellent apology after an editorial gaffe. Within hours of getting the notice that a dubiously-named article had gone up on the IEEE Spectrum site, subscribers received the following email from editor in chief Susan Hassler:
Please accept our sincere apologies for the headline in today’s Tech Alert: “With the Arduino, Now Even Your Mom Can Program.” The actual title of the article is “The Making of Arduino.”
I’m an IEEE member, and a mom, and the headline was inexcusable, a lazy, sexist clichÃ© that should have never seen the light of day. Today we are instituting an additional headline review process that will apply to all future Tech Alerts so that such insipid and offensive headlines never find their way into your in-box.
Spectrum’s insistence on editorial excellence applies to all its products, including e-mail alerts. Thank you for bringing this error to our attention. If you have any additional comments or recommendations, do not hesitate to contact me or other members of the editorial staff.
Apologies are surprisingly difficult for people to get right. We suggest three properties for a good apology:
- Recognise that someone was hurt, and in what particular way they were hurt
- Accept responsibility for it, whether intended or not
- Promise to avoid doing it again, or at least to work on it
And the IEEE not only did all of these perfectly, they also responded quickly, clearly, and with a defined plan to avoid mistakes in the future. We all make mistakes, but we can aspire to handle them as gracefully as the IEEE has this week.
So, here’s that cookie:
Does anyone else have any cookies to spare this week?
* Disclaimer: cookies may not be baked weekly! This offer does not commit Geek Feminism, its bloggers, affiliates, sponsors, commenters or fans to a posting schedule.