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Google Women's T-Shirt Is Small Step In The Right Direction

06/28/2012 01:01 pm ET | Updated Jun 28, 2012

Silicon Valley is notorious for its still-pervasive gender gap (Sheryl Sandberg's success notwithstanding). But it seems like slowly but surely, tech companies like Google are familiarizing themselves with "the second sex" and letting women in -- emphasis on slowly but surely.

Today kicked off Google I/O 2012, the company's annual conference for developers with panels like "What's Next For Chrome Extensions?" and "SQL Vs NoSQL: Battle Of The Backends" (we know, scintillating stuff). But the conversation turned from tech to culture at "Women Techmakers," a panel where female techies discussed the current state of women within the tech world.

The many problems for women, an attendee named Alex Maier pointed out at the panel Q&A, could be illustrated by a single garment: the I/O event t-shirts. According to Wired.com, Maier stated:

“They gave me a t-shirt and it’s a size small, men’s... That makes me feel unwelcome. I don’t want to make this a big issue or confrontational thing…. But the thing is, I show up, and I want my shirt, and I don’t want to be told that I can sleep in it."

In response to Maier's well-made point (and the hearty applause it engendered), senior vice president and panelist Susan Wojcicki told her, "We’ll communicate it — and make sure we have women’s t-shirts."

Jezebel points out that the t-shirt fix is just one small piece of a larger battle, which includes getting more women into the tech industry in the first place. But while they're at it, we'd like to put on our fashion editor hats for a second and suggest another change: how about actually making the I/O t-shirts attractive?

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