TODAY IS International Women's Day, when we celebrate all the ways kickass women have changed the world, and all the ways that same world holds them back. The tech industry is particularly rubbish to the female of the species, not only in the boardroom and at Uber but in trying to design products for us as well.
Why do they find it so hard? Perhaps because most of them forgot to hire any women, and therefore don't know that 'pink it and shrink it' isn't the way to go. Like men, women are human people, which means we want smart design, good value for money and decent durability from our gadgets - but that wouldn't make a very interesting article.
So here are the products us geeky women are dying for tech companies to make. Take note, startups: but don't hang about if you want a slice of that sweet Pinterest pound because if you make us wait too long we'll just do it ourselves. We usually have to.
1. VR-proof makeup
The only thing more awesome than virtual reality would be taking off the headset that pretty much welds itself to your face and not seeing a creepy mask of your makeup on the foam.
Clearly, no one thought of this while developing HMDs, because they all sit uncomfortably close to your skin and passing one round an office of women often results in a disgusting palimpsest of foundation and eyeshadow that won't come off.
Obviously, women who don't wear makeup are beautifully immune to this, but those of us with complexions like the bottom of a Domino's box would really appreciate a way to cover it up without leaving a layer of our eye-wateringly expensive foundation on the headset, and walking around for the rest of the day with a pale ring round our eye area like we've been skiing.
2. A VR headset that makes us look like Leela from Futurama
While we're on VR, might as well mention that if we're going to be wearing a rounded oblong thing across the top third of our faces, it's basically a crime for said oblong not to have a massive eye on it so we look like Leela.
We wouldn't be able to see it ourselves, of course - we're busy in the virtual world - but just knowing we appear to be a cyclops to onlookers is more than enough for us.
3. Catcall-cancelling headphones
Noise-cancelling headphones are amazing for cutting out those low droning sounds that ruin your enjoyment of Taylor's latest, like aeroplane cabin noise and the office air con. What they're not so good at is human voices, particularly crying babies (which is a good thing except on the aforementioned aeroplane) and men in white vans.
If literally any headphone company - including Monster, which has made some very questionable comments about women in the past - advertised their products with the tagline "guaranteed to block 100% of catcalls," they would sell squillions.
Imagine sailing past that prat leering out of his window at the traffic lights, having absolutely no idea what planktonic moronicisms are oozing out of his ketchup-scented mouth as he ogles your fast-retreating butt in your running outfit. All you can hear is "Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it off, shake it off." Ahhh.
4. Catcall-translating headphones
Let's go one better. We keep getting press releases about real-time language translation gadgets that can tune into what people are saying around you and translate it, Babel fish style, in your ear. Can we have one of those that understand what the catcallers are really saying, and lets us hear that instead?
Before: "Oi sweetheart, get em out for the lads would ya? There's a good girl"
After: "I am shouting at you because I'm worried women can tell I have absolutely no idea how to give them an orgasm and therefore need to keep them well away so they never find out how bad I am at sex."
5. The anti-Uber bra
Having lovely bouncy boobs is a great thing except in almost all circumstances that involve movement. If you've ever been in the back of the car while an inexperienced Uber driver kangarooed his way over a set of speed bumps, you'll appreciate the need for a new bra that can deal with this kind of motion.
I'm envisaging something with a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, with real-time support that kicks in when excessive boinging is detected. Would also be useful on the Central Line, and anywhere with potholes.
6. The lovechild of a fitness tracker, a smartwatch and Pokémon Go Plus
Finding a fitness tracker or smartwatch that not only fits our delicate ladywrists but also doesn't look like something the police put on when you've broken probation is hard enough. But I'm going to go one further and ask for one with built-in Pokémon catching abilities, so we can hit our fitness goals and hatch our eggs at the same time.
Image: Amazon UK
Yes, you can wear a smartwatch and a Pokémon Go Plus and achieve sort-of the same thing, but I want one all-encompassing device that I promise I will never take off (until they release gen 2 and brick it, or sell it to Fitbit).
A wrist-mounted Pokéball - bling optional - that tells me the time, delivers notifications, keeps track of how far I ran with my catcalling headphones on earlier, and lets me know if there's a Lapras nearby. Too much to ask? Do you want my money or not?
7. A phone that doesn't do phone calls
OK, so no millennials like doing actual voice calls with their devices that were literally invented for the purpose, but I would argue women have it worse. As in every other situation, we're expected to be unfailingly sweet, polite and available to whoever happens to be interrupting our time via cellular network - and many of us absolutely hate it.
Women have got much better things to do than answer your pointless calls about whether they've read the email you sent yet (why do people do this?) or whether they'll speak at your tech event "for exposure," but even though my voicemail greeting says "email me," people still ring. The solution, surely, is a phone that's not a phone: one that does all the app stuff we want and need, but none of the time-sucking audio conversation we don't.
I call it the ByePhone 7. µ
No women were harmed in the writing of this article
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