Open Thinkers

Juliet Webster
Gender and ICT Research Programme (IN3, UOC) Director, Work & Equality Research (London, UK).

My work focuses on employment equality and on actions needed to advance this agenda. My particular concerns are the situation of women in ICT jobs and, at the other end of the labour market, with that of women in unskilled service occupations. Within the Gender and ICT Programme, I am currently engaged in a cross-national comparison of the presence of women in ICT professions, and of the measures different countries have taken to increase women’s participation.

I have held positions at several universities in the UK and beyond, including Edinburgh, East London, Vienna, Trinity College in Dublin, and now, at the Open University of Catalunya. Beyond higher education, I have worked in DG Employment of the European Commission, and in the third sector as a Director of the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA) in London.

My books include Shaping Women’s Work: Gender, Employment and Information Technology; The Information Society in Europe: Work and Life in an Age of Globalisation; and Office Automation: the Labour Process and Women’s Work in Britain.

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Read Webster's contributions: What if Steve Jobs had been a woman? | Will we welcome a Stephanie Jobs any time soon? | GenPORT: sharing knowledge and inspiring collaborative action on gender and science

Neelie Kroes
Vice-president of the European Commission, responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe (2010-2020).

I've been interested in gender issues since I joined student societies at University in Rotterdam in 1959. I've been lucky to do things women before me never had the chance to do, so I want to pass on even more opportunities to the next generations. There's a special place in hell for women who don't support other women.

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Read Kroes' contribution: Innovations by, with and for women

Inger Lassen 
Professor, Department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University (Denmark).

I've been interested in gender issues for most of my life. During the 1970s I attended gender awareness groups in a local community in Denmark. In the 1980s, when I lived and worked in Lesotho in Africa, the interest was nourished by stories told by female academics about limited access to own income. I began as a researcher a few years ago at Aalborg University in Denmark, and since 2007 I'm a Professor at the Department of Culture and Global Studies at the mentioned university, where I am director of the doctoral programme Discourse an Contemporary Culture. In addition to my interest in gender studies, my research also focuses on climate change discourses and public engagement.

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Read Lassen's contribution: Would it have made a lot of difference?

Rebecca George
Deloitte partner, responsible for the Firm’s Public Sector Health practice in the UK.

Before joining Deloitte in 2006, I spent nearly 20 years at IBM in a variety of sales, HR and business process re-engineering roles. For over 10 years, I have been involved in a variety of activities to increase the participation of women in the IT industry. I am a fellow of the British Computer Society (BCS), where I chaired the BCS Strategic Women’s Forum and I am currently Vice Chair, Policy and Public Affairs Board for this Chartered Institute for IT.  

Read George's contribution: Confidence, resilience and self selling

Eduard Aibar
Associate Professor, Department of Arts and Humanities, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain).

I am actually teaching science and technology studies and research design at the undergraduate and tertiary education levels at UOC. I am also member of the Research Group on Electronic Government and Democracy (GADE) at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3). Throughout my career, I have published several works in the interaction between scientific and technological development and society in areas such as eGoverment, town planning and the Internet.

Read Aibar's contribution: Technological artefacts are always socially shaped

Mary Evans
Centennial Professor, Gender Institute, London School of Economics (UK).

I’ve been working in higher education for forty years, writing and talking about the ways in which gender structures the social world. I focus on those narratives (fictional or otherwise) through which we construct our social identity. I’ve written on various aspects of gender and women’s studies and many of those publications have crossed disciplinary lines between the social sciences and the humanities. My last book is Transatlantic Conversations. Feminism as Travelling Theory, coedited with Kathy Davis, from Utrecht University.

Lynda Gratton
Professor of Management Practice at London Business School and founder of the Hot Spots Movement.

Apart from my academic duties at the Advanced Institute of Management Research and the Centre for Women in Business (both at London Business School), I'm founder of the Hot Spots Movement, a group of more than 4,000 members that currently brings energy and innovation to over 20 companies and governments around the world. I'm specialist on people in organizations and the transformations these corporations are nowadays experiencing. I've written numerous academic articles and several books about these topics, the last one being The Shift: The Future of Work is Already Here.

Richard Gerver
Author, teacher and speaker.

The three principles that underpin my philosophy are communication, empowerment and impact. I began my working life as an actor, specially related to advertising, and in 1992 I began my career as a elementary school teacher. In 2005 I was honoured with the School Head Teacher of the Year Award at the British National Teaching Awards. I worked as an advisor on education policy for Tony Blair's Government (UK) and I am currently travelling around the globe sharing my experience and philosophy. I'm author of Creating Tomorrow's Schools Today and I'm currently working on a brand new book that will see the light later this year.

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Read Gerver's contribution: Beyond pigeon holes

© Marion Ettlinger.
Siri Hustvedt
Novelist, essayist and poet.

I am a novelist and essayist, who first moved to New York City in 1978. I received my PhD at Columbia University in 1986 and am the author of a book of poems, five novels, three collections of essays and a work of non-fiction. I spend most of my time writing and reading. In recent years, however, I have also been giving lectures at conferences and universities on interdisciplinary subjects that cull insights from philosophy, literature, neuroscience, and psychoanalysis. My work has been translated into over thirty languages.

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Read Hustvedt's contribution: A biased culture for heroes

Carolyn Danckaert
Co-founder, A Mighty Girl.

A Mighty Girl is the world’s largest collection of books and movies for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls. Founding it has allowed me to combine my long-time interest in girl empowerment and women's issues with my experience in technology. I have worked at several public interest-oriented non-profit organizations, generally in the capacity of an organizing or program director. I also received dual master's degrees in Public Administration and International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

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Read Danckaert's contribution: Imagining Sarah Jobs: An Exploration of Gender Roles and Technology

© Josef Fischnaller.
Gerald Hüther
Professor of Neurobiology, University of Göttingen (Germany).

I studied Biology and graduated in Neurobiology at the University of Leipzig, and I am head of the Neurobiology Research Unit at the University of Göttingen. My main interests in research are the influence of stress and the role of emotional reactions in brain structure and function. I am also author of several popular science books that have been translated into different languages, like The Compassionate Brain: How Empathy Creates Intelligence.

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Read Hüther's contribution: A problem of personal potential and innovation

Teresa Torns
Professor, Department of Sociology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain).

My teaching and research work began thirty years ago in the Department of Sociology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). I became part of the Women’s Studies Seminar and I have been part of the Centre of Sociological Studies on Everyday Life and on Work since 1989. I have been a member of the Association of Women Researchers and Technologists in Catalonia since 2002. My areas of interest are gender inequalities and labour: the labour market, domestic work and everyday life, time and wellbeing, time policies and conciliation. I also study women and science.

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Read Torns' contribution: Paddling against the wind

Signe Kristine Nørgaard
Guest writer for The European Women’s Lobby (EWL).

I am a Danish-born freelance journalist and communications professional. I hold an MSc in Global Studies from University of Roskilde, Denmark and have studied at Centre of Gender Excellence in Lund, Sweden specialising in gender issues. My work experience ranges from diplomacy to public affairs and internal communication in the private sector. From January to June 2012, I worked at the EWL on socio economic issues. At present I am based in Brussels and Copenhagen and run a communications start-up.

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Read Nørgaard's contribution: The European Women’s Lobby on the Role of Recognition

Jordi Bernadó

I am a photographer who understands the photographic discipline as a way of knowledge. Contradiction, absurdity, hazard and often irony are the sources which I flirt with to point out what’s around me. My photographs have been acquired by major public and private collections and they have also been shown in many solo and collective exhibitions in Spain and abroad. I won the Fotopress scholarship in 1993 and, since then, I have published more than 20 books focusing on contemporary architecture and landscape.

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Read Bernadó's contribution: We see what we want to see

Joanne McGrath Cohoon
Associate Professor, University of Virginia (USA).

I joined the Department of Science, Technology and Society at the University of Virginia in 2003, where I teach about gender, technology and education; and I am also a Senior Research Scientist at the National Center for Women and IT. My research interests are, basically, women's underrepresentation in IT and gender segregation in higher education. I focus on local factors that influence recruitment and retention at all educational and workforce levels. I coedited with William Aspray Women and Information Technology, Research on Underrepresentation, published by The MIT Press.

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Read McGrath Cohoon's contribution: Different genders, different worlds

Mariam Shambayati

I was born in Tehran in the 70’s under the Shah’s regime. My childhood and adolescence were spent moving from country to country, trying to "fit in". I obtained an architecture degree from the École d’Architecture Paris La Seine, but soon afterwards discovered painting and decided to explore in that direction. I think after about 13 years of exploration I can say that my work is about the unveiling of human nature on one hand, and of our social behaviour on the other.

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Read Shambayati's contribution: Steve Jobs - The Woman

Cristina Ribas
Associate Professor, Pompeu Fabra University (Spain).

Throughout my career, I have been working for newspapers, radio and TV shows, and I have been in charge of several projects related to communication. Currently, I am Business consultant and I teach Digital Journalism at Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona) and codirecting a postgraduate programme in Strategic Digital Communication (IdEC-UPF). My background is biology and journalism, what explains why I have been interested and working on science journalism ever since and why I accepted to head the Catalan Association of Scientific Communication (ACCC).

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Read Ribas' contribution: How to promote female 'geek' vocations

Gillian Marcelle
Associate Professor, Wits Business School (South Africa).

My research and teaching at Wits Business School focuses on strategy, innovation and capability building. I approach my work on ICT from multiple perspectives as a feminist, a public policy specialist in innovation and a management science scholar. This means that I consider ICTs and their role in society both as a platform technology for economic activity and a factor that has had significant societal implications. My fascination with this field has now spanned close to three decades and dates back to my very first undergraduate course in science and technology policy. I have also been an advocate for countries doing everything they can to produce more Steve Jobs in his role as a risk-taking, dynamic, driven, entrepreneur who through their actions produces changes that disrupt an industry landscape and creates value, jobs and other economic benefits.

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Read Marcelle's contribution: Genius is gendered: what would happen if Steve Jobs had been a woman?

Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke
Founder and Managing Director, Women's WorldWide Web (W4).

I manage, with a international team of social entrepreneurs, Women's Worldwide Web, an online collaborative platform that aims to empower girls and women around the world through education, microfinance, access to ICTs and networking. I have worked for many years in the humanitarian/development sectors, first at Human Rights Watch in New York, later at the West African regional office of UNICEF, and more recently at Enfants d'Asie, a Paris-based NGO with humanitarian programs in south-east Asia, where I am still Director of the Philippines program, and Caméléon which has programs in the Philippines. I obtained my BA at Cambridge University and an Executive MBA at ESCP-Europe in Paris.

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See Nefesh-Clarke's contribution: ICTs and a new opportunity for women's empowerment

Gillian Shapiro
Managing Director, Shapiro Consulting Ltd.

Through Shapiro Consulting Ltd, which I established in 1998, I undertake research and consultancy to help leaders understand how diversity and inclusion impacts on their business, and to develop the skills and approach their organisation needs to proactively manage diversity and inclusion. I have worked with many multi-national as well as national private, public and third sector organisations. My academic research work has focused on the career progression of women in technology roles and the links between employee inclusion, employee engagement and workplace innovation. I am also an external diversity and inclusion advisor to the strategic leadership group within the Department for Energy and Climate Change (UK).

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Read Shapiro's contribution: What will it take to bring about change?

Henry Jenkins
Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts and Education, University of Southern California (USA).

My research interest revolves around the effects of participatory media on society, politics and culture, what has led me to conduct studies on the success of social-networking websites. Currently, I am leading Media, Activism, and Participatory Politics, a research group which has done several hundred interviews with young activists, trying to understand the structures and practices of innovative networks that deploy new media platforms and participatory practices to get young people involved in the political processes. I arrived at USC in 2009 after a decade as the director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program. I remain actively involved with the Convergence Culture Consortium, which seeks to build bridges between academic researchers and the media industry to help inform the rethinking of consumer relations in an age of participatory culture. I am the author or editor of fifteen books on media and popular culture, including Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide and most recently, Spreadable Media: Creating Meaning and Value in a Networked Culture and Reading in a Participatory Culture: Remixing Moby-Dick for the Literature Classroom.

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Read Jenkins' contribution: Doll heads materials or the different ways of addressing challenges

Gloria Bonder
Director, Gender, Society and Policies Area, FLACSO Argentina.

I hold a Psychology degree (University of Buenos Aires) and an MSc in Education (University of Cambridge) and have been working in the area of women/gender studies and policies for more than 20 years now. Since 2001, I am director of the Gender, Society and Policies Area at the Latin American Post Graduate Institute of Social Sciences (FLACSO), which coordinates two regional programs: the UNESCO Regional Chair on Women, Science and Technology in Latin America and the Master's Program on Gender, Society and Public Policies (PRIGEPP). Since 2010, I am also director of the Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on gender. Throughout my career I have planned, coordinated and evaluated several training programs and social policies addressed to women from different social backgrounds and have been consultant for many national and regional organizations on gender issues.

[+] Bonder's pages: PRIGEPP - UNESCO Regional Chair - UNESCO Global Network
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Read Bonder's contribution: ICTs are not synonymous with knowledge society and woman is not synonymous with gender

Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin
Vice-Chancellor, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

I hold a MD and I am Vice-Chancellor of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia) since 2006, where I have been working in a transformation program aimed to raising the university’s academic reputation internationally. Within the organization, I have also introduced academic entrepreneurship as a way of nurturing a culture of innovation for human capital development and for commercializing research output. I strongly believe that, apart from rankings, universities should also be evaluated on their impact in raising the quality of lives of their communities. Besides my position at UKM, I am also President of the National Council of Women's Organisation (NCWO) and I have been Chairman and CEO of the National Accreditation Board, from where I worked to formulate the legal provisions for the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) Act, responsible for the quality framework of higher education in the country.

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Read Sharifah Hapsah's contribution: A portrait of Stephanie Jobs

CC Joichi Ito
Isaac Mao
Co-founder and director, Social Brain Foundation; philosopher at

I am a software architect, an entrepreneur/investor and a social technologies researcher. I co-founded to evangelize grassroots publishing in China, which evolved into the Social Brain Foundation later on. I am also putting lots of energies into, a platform to show the benefits of building and developing contents and ideas in a collaborative way, and Sharism Lab, an initiative to provide experimental and theoretical background for a real-world implementation of Sharism. I am also leading the Creative Commons China team and advising some non-profit programs and several for-profit businesses within the country. I hold a BS degree in computer science and, as a faithful blogger, I keep my website updated to promote the use of blogs as a way to learn, express and build democracy.

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Read Mao's contribution: Towards a new generation of versatile "Jobs"

Rebecca Chiao
Co-founder and director, HarassMap (Egypt).

Established in 2010, HarassMap is a volunteer-based initiative that combines internet and mobile technologies, as well as community activism, to end the social acceptability of sexual harassment in Egypt. Besides this, I am also development and communications consultant at INJAZ-Egypt, an NGO that addresses the gap between the skills learnt from the education system and the needs of the business sector. I have also worked for the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights and other NGOs in Egypt. I hold a BA in Pre-Medicine and Politics from the New York University and a MA in International Development and International Economics by the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

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See Chiao's contribution: Women can have a family and at the same time excel in the sphere of innovation

Athene Donald
Professor, Department of Physics, University of Cambridge (UK).

I have been at the Cavendish since 1983, and became a professor in 1998. My activity sits within the sector of Biological and Soft Systems, and focuses on using the ideas of soft matter physics to study a wide range of systems of both synthetic and biological origin. Within the university, I am member of the Equality and Diversity Committee, among other bodies, and I chair the Gender Equality Group and direct the Women in Science, Engineering and Technology Initiative. Moreover, I also serve on the Royal Society's Equality and Diversity Advisory Network (EDAN) and I am char of the Athena Forum, whose mission is to provide a strategic oversight of developments that seek to, or have proven to, advance the career progression and representation of women in science, technology, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) in UK higher education. I regularly contribute to The Guardian.

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Read Donald's contribution: Women in the techie world, far from being a bed of roses

Anne Bouverot
Director General, GSMA

The GSMA is the association that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide and also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and the Mobile Asia Expo. I was appointed director general of the GSMA in 2011 and have served as a board member since 2009. Before joining the GSMA, I was executive vice president for Mobile Services for France Télécom-Orange, and previously I worked at Equant and Telmex. Outside the tech industry, I serve as a non-executive director for Groupama and Edenred. I hold MS and PhD degrees in mathematics and computer science from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris (France) and an MS degree from Telecom ParisTech.

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Read Bouverot's contribution: Beyond a pink phone

Zeng Jinyan
Blogger and human rights activist (China)

I am researcher, commentator, documentary film-maker and a devoted human rights activist. Currently, I am doing my postgraduate research at the University of Hong Kong. My research topic focuses on how Chinese women struggle for social justice through documentary and new media. Co-directed with Hu Jia, I made a 31-minute documentary called Prisoners in Freedom City, telling our experience of being house arrested in Beijing. For more information, please read this in-depth interview featured at The China Story.

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Read Zeng's contribution: Jobs, the mother

Judith Astelarra
Emeritus professor, Department of Sociology, Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain)

I am an Argentinian-born Spanish researcher interested in women and politics and public policy regarding gender issues both in Latin America and Spain. I am now emeritus professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, where I have also been dean of the College of Political Sciences and Sociology and founder of the Women's Studies Seminar, the first one in a Spanish university. I hold a bachelor in Sociology by the Catholic University of Chile and another one in Political Sciences and Sociology by the Complutense University of Madrid, and I obtained my PhD at Cornell University. I am author of several books concerning feminist and gender issues and I have been regular contributor for the Spanish newspaper El País, among other media.

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Read Astelarra's contribution: An overview on women in tech (and on this blog)

Ann-Christin Nyberg
Gender and innovation researcher (Sweden)

I am a gender and innovation researcher representing Sweden in the Management Committee of EU COST action GenderSTE, where I am also part of the Innovation in Industry Task Force. Till March 2013, I have been the programme manager of the Gender for Innovation programme at the Swedish innovation agency VINNOVA. I got my PhD in 2009 at Luleå University of Technology, with a thesis titled Making Ideas Matter: Gender, Technology and Women’s Invention.

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Read Nyberg's contribution: Challenging the "normal" gender order in society

Inés Sánchez de Madariaga
Director, Women and Science Unit, Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Spain)

I am head of the Women and Science Unit, whose responsibilities are to put the principle of gender mainstreaming into practice in the science, technology and innovation areas. Since last year, I am also chairperson of GenderSTE, a COST policy driven network which aims to promote gender analysis and structural change in the fields of science, technology and environmental research, in order to promote more socially inclusive but also technically effective innovations. I am professor of Urban Planning at the Madrid School of Architecture, where I also founded the first Spanish research group on Gender, Planning and Architecture. I have edited and authored several books regarding gender and urban planning like Fair Shared Cities. The Impact of Gender Planning in Europe and Esquinas inteligentes. La ciudad y el urbanismo moderno, among others.

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Read Sánchez de Madariaga's contribution: Could Apple have been founded by a woman?

Jack Linchuan Qiu
Associate professor, School of Journalism and Communication, the Chinese University of Hong Kong 

I am associate professor of the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and I work on ICTs, social class, China, and the Global South. I regularly visit factory zones in Shenzhen, home to the world's largest electronics manufacturers, home to a new working class in the making. In 2009, I published Working-Class Network Society (MIT Press). Now I continue this line of work to focus on one factory, Foxconn; one idea, the rise of network labor through working-class public spheres and digitally networked action; and one ultimate goal, a better world after capitalism.

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Read Qiu's contribution Avisit of Stephie Jobs to Shenzhen

Dóra Groó
President of the Association of Hungarian Women in Science

I am medical doctor by profession, I worked for a decade in pharmaceutical research of aging and received my PhD in experimental medicine. I have been director of the Hungarian Science and Technology Foundation from 1994 to 2011. Since 1999, I have been engaged in European research programs, some of them gender related, and I represented Hungary in the Enwise Expert Group. Presently, I am president of the Association of Hungarian Women in Science (which organizes Girls' Day in Hungary, among many other activities), as well as national program committee member of the GenderSTE COST action and board of administration member of the European Platform of Women Scientists.

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Read Dóra Groó's contribution Filling the gap with Steve Jobs

Marta Aymerich is currently the Vice President for Strategic Planning and Research at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC). She holds a PhD in Medicine and Surgery (2002; MD degree in 1993) from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and a Master in Public Health (MPH) from the Harvard University (1999).

Previously she has been the Head of Health Research and Innovation at the Ministry of Health of the Government of Catalonia (2011-2013) and earlier the Director of the Catalan Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Research (2006-2008), where she developed her professional career as a researcher since 1995. Since 2008 she is assistant professor at the School of Medicine of the University of Girona and member of the research group Translational Medicine and Decision Science Lab (TransLab). From 2004 to 2006 she was appointed Director of the Interministerial Council for Research and Technological Innovation by the Government of Catalonia

Read Marta Aymerich's contribution Steve Jobs was a women because he bit the apple