Female oriented software developers Cyrus Innovations have developed a Chrome extension, "Just Not Sorry", in a bid to "help" women avoid undermining themselves.
The mission statement for the project reads: "Let's 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 tool is based on the idea that women can harm their careers by being overly apologetic, making them less likely to be listened to by their colleagues.
It underlines words like "sorry", "I'm no expert", "actually" and "just", commonly used as apologetic qualifiers.
While some women have found the plug-in useful, others see the project as patronising, or even shaming. Jessica Grose for the Washington Post commented:
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.
Telling women to apologize less isn’t about empowerment. It’s about shame. https://t.co/V2XOgflFrH— Ellen McCarthy (@engmchannah) January 5, 2016
Women's tech initiative Gadgette agreed, tweeeting:
In 2016 do we really need an app that screams: "Hey gals, remember to monitor your own behaviour at all times". Probably not. Nope.