Creative technology platform Creatable and social enterprise Code Like a Girl have collaborated to remove one image to make millions of women feel welcome in tech.
The campaign, called “Losing Lena”, stems from a story about how a Swedish Playboy model named Lena posed as the Miss November centerfold in 1972. A year later, the centrefold was chosen by male researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) as an ideal test image for the algorithms they were working on to turn physical photos into digital bits.
The research laid the groundwork for the creation of the Jpeg, which is now a widely used standard for images.
However, 46 years on, Lena is still being used as a test image. According to Creatable and Code Like Girl, this is symbolic of how women were left out and pushed out of the industry.
To highlight this, both organisations is using a documentary as part of the campaign that questions the tenets of the tech industry and makes the viewer think about why Lena’s image is still being using.
It aims to ultimately highlight the similar challenges and biases women in tech have experienced around the world.
The documentary will be screened at a series of events hosted by Code Like a Girl and on the Facebook Watch platform from November 26 onwards.
The campaign also calls on members of the tech industry, businesses, universities and organisations to commit to Losing Lena at www.losinglena.com, as well as find substitute images that can be used for image processing testing.
People can also express their support via Code Like a Girl’s Facebook Messenger chatbot.
"The role of Lena’s image in tech’s history is representative of so many of our industry’s shortcomings. Tech is used by everyone – no matter your age, gender, ethnicity, or sexual identity. But when our tech is developed by a small subset of homogenous individuals, it’s impossible for the end product to be without bias,” said Ally Watson, founder and chief executive of Code Like a Girl.
"This documentary illustrates just how much effort is still needed to increase diversity in the teams building tech. It’s a call to the leaders of our industry to commit to Losing Lena. Because with the removal of one image, we’re better positioned to welcome millions of women to the table."
Lena added: “I retired from modelling a long time ago. It’s time I retired from tech, too. We can make a simple change today that creates a lasting change for tomorrow. Let’s commit to losing me.”
GREG ATTWELLS – CO-FOUNDER
CLIENT: CODE LIKE A GIRL
ALLY WATSON – FOUNDER & CEO
JOSEPHINE COLSON – CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
CREATIVE AGENCY: CLEMENGER BBDO SYDNEY
BEN COULSON - CCO
BRENDAN WILLENBERG - CREATIVE DIRECTOR
BRENDAN FORSTER - HEAD OF CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY
CHRIS PEARCE - SENIOR COPYWRITER
ROWAN FOXCROFT - SENIOR ART DIRECTOR
DAVE LIDSTER - CREATIVE
DANIEL MORTENSEN - HEAD OF CRAFT
IVAN SO - DIGITAL DESIGN LEAD
JAY YOUNG - SENIOR DIGITAL DESIGNER / DEVELOPER
DALE EMROSE - FRONT END DEVELOPER
DENISE MCKEON - HEAD OF INTEGRATED PRODUCTION
CLAIRE BISSET - INTERACTIVE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
NICK GARRETT - CEO
CATH BOSSON - GROUP ACCOUNT DIRECTOR
SMARAN JWORCHAN - SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR
REBECCA DE BEER - COMMUNICATIONS PLANNER
JOE MAURICI - EDITOR
ALEX GUTERRES – EDITOR
EMILY CORNELIUS- EDITOR
JESS MORGAN – ONLINE EDITOR
ROBBIE BALATINCZ - SOUND ENGINEER
PAUL NAGY – ECD
PRODUCTION COMPANY: FINCH
KYRA BARTLEY - FINCH - DIRECTOR
FRANCESCA WALKER - FINCH - PRODUCED BY
MICHAEL HILLIARD - FINCH - PRODUCER
LUKE MAZZAFERRO - FINCH - PRODUCER
ROB GALLUZZO - FINCH - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
COREY ESSE – FINCH - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
LOREN BRADLEY - FINCH - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
ANNA HOWARD ACS - DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
KRIS ROWE - EDITOR
MEDIA PARTNER AND FILM DISTRIBUTION: FACEBOOK
ANDY BLOOD – CREATIVE STRATEGIST, FACEBOOK CREATIVE SHOP
KAREN MAURICE-O’LEARY – CREATIVE STRATEGIST, FACEBOOK CREATIVE SHOP
DIGITAL AND BOT DEVELOPMENT: KAMBER
JONATHON BINK – BOT UX DESIGN & PRODUCTION
REBECCAH CHURCHWARD – PRODUCER
TECH PLATFORM: THE BOT PLATFORM
SYD LAWRENCE – CEO & CO-FOUNDER
PR (AUSTRALIA): CLEMENGER PR
NICK ZONNIOS – HEAD OF CLEMENGER PR
SOPHIE TRUTER – SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER
GEORGIA RANDALL – PR & SOCIAL COORDINATOR
PR (USA): PORTER NOVELLI
STRAHAN WALLIS - PROJECT LEAD, MANAGING DIRECTOR, PORTER NOVELLI LA
SARAH LEWIS - PROJECT LEAD, ACCOUNT MANAGER, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION CHAMPION, PORTER NOVELLI LA
KYLIE BANKS - MEDIA RELATIONS LEAD, ACCOUNT SUPERVISOR, PORTER NOVELLI LA
ROSIE DE QUELJOE - MEDIA RELATIONS CO-LEAD, SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE, PORTER NOVELLI LA
SARAH VASQUEZ - ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE, PORTER NOVELLI LA
GLADYS CARDENAS - ASSISTANT ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE, PORTER NOVELLI LA
MIRNA GORGY - ACCOUNT COORDINATOR, PORTER NOVELLI LA
HEIDI DEHART - ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE, PORTER NOVELLI SEATTLE
CAROLINE REGAN - ACCOUNT MANAGER, CONE COMMUNICATIONS (A PORTER NOVELLI COMPANY).
SANDY SKEES, US PANEL MODERATOR, GLOBAL LEAD OF INNOVATION & IMPACT PRACTICE, PORTER NOVELLI SF
WHO HAS FEATURED IN THE FILM:
ALLY WATSON, FOUNDER AND CEO OF CODE LIKE A GIRL
ALICIA MORRIS, COMPUTER SCIENCE TEACHER, MENDEZ HIGH SCHOOL IN CALIFORNIA
DAVID LOWE, DEPUTY DEAN OF ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
DEANNA NEEDELL, PROFESSOR OF MATHEMATICS, AT UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES
DEBBIE STERLING, FOUNDER AND CEO OF GOLDIEBLOX
EMILY CHANG, AUTHOR ‘BROTOPIA’ & BLOOMBERG NEWS ANCHOR
GREG ATTWELLS, CO-FOUNDER OF CREATABLE
JANE MARGOLIS, SENIOR RESEARCHER, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, AUTHOR AND WHITE HOUSE CHAMPION OF CHANGE
KÁRA MCCULLOUGH, NUCLEAR SCIENTIST AND FORMER MISS USA 2017
LENA, 1972 NOVEMBER PLAYBOY CENTREFOLD
TOK THOMPSON, PROFESSOR OF ANTHROPOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES
LOSING LENA FILM PRODUCTION CREDITS:
PRODUCTION COMPANY: FINCH
DIRECTOR: KYRA BARTLEY
PRODUCED BY: FRANCESCA WALKER
PRODUCERS: MICHAEL HILLIARD AND LUKE MAZZAFERRO
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: ROB GALLUZZO, LOREN BRADLEY AND COREY ESSE
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: ANNA HOWARD ACS
EDITOR: KRIS ROWE