WiT of the Week: Karen Catlin

WiT of the Week: Karen Catlin


Karen Catlin has been on the software industry for nearly thirty years, and during her career she has committed to train up women to lead the technology industry. During her path in Adobe, where she became the Vice President, she founded “Adobe & Women”, an initiative that aims to attract, retain and provide opportunities for women during their professional careers.


Karen also has participated in TEDx with a talk called “The missing Force”. There, Karen reflects on the disproportion of women in the technological industry, on how along her professional career she has seen the index of feminine presence decrease and the paradigms that explain that fall: how considering that boys will innately like programming or playing with robots more than girls. The disproportion that Karen mentions is backed on real facts and data:
1. The first machines that were able to recognize voice failed when trying to recognize female voices
2. Automatic air bags failed because of miscalculation: they were designed for the average male height and weight.
3. It could be concluded that the most successful projects related to solving the lack of water in Africa were the ones where teams were multidisciplinary and inclusive with female participation.

Karen calls anyone that can contribute on making the female participation in the industry increase:
– Encourage the participation of girls and female teenagers in programs or initiatives related to robotics, teen hackathons or any programming classes.
– If you are an educator or are related to education, raise awareness to address the intimidation factor
– Encourage women to keep on going and build themselves a way in the world of technology

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