People are less than impressed with an internet app that’s designed to stop women from undermining themselves in emails.
The program’s been designed by Cyrus Innovations and is called ‘Just Not Sorry’. The app underlines words like ‘sorry’, ‘I’m no expert’, ‘actually’ and ‘just’ which are commonly used as apologetic qualifiers. The idea is that when women use these qualifiers they can harm their careers, as they make themselves less likely to be listened to by their colleagues.
The Huffington Post report that the Google Chrome app was created as part of the Female Founder Initiative, which is a software development partner that helps women in tech and business succeed.
In the words of the developer the project’s goal is:
To stop qualifying our message and diminishing our voice… this Chrome Extension for Gmail will warn you when you use words or phrases that undermine your message. Words will be underlined for correction with additional information about how using the phrase is perceived.
The CEO of Cyrus Innovations, Tamara Reiss, explained in a post on Medium that she was inspired to design the app after she went to a brunch celebrating successful women, and noticed that they frequently softened their speech in situations that called for directness and leadership.
Despite the app being developed to help women, and having a positive goal, some see the project as misguided or patronising.
Jessica Grose for the Washington Post wrote:
My fervent hope for 2016 is that there are fewer articles and tech hacks preaching at women — particularly young women — about how they should be speaking, writing and presenting themselves to the world.
Women’s tech site Gadgette agreed, tweeting:
— Gadgette (@Gadgette) January 5, 2016
However, despite the criticism I think it’s important to remember that Ms Reiss had good intentions, and the app’s official description doesn’t say it’s a tool exclusively for women.