microsoft cortana

So, why is Microsoft Cortana a female?

Ed’s note: You’re going to be bombarded with Windows 10 coverage this week. To make it a little more fun we thought we’d give you some information about certain features we love. One of those features is Cortana.

Cortana is the Siri of Microsoft, but after the virtual assistant app release, it raised a few questions on why all virtual assistant apps are female? *cough*Because women get things done*cough*, but that is just my point of view.

Microsoft Cortana via Dutch Matrix
Microsoft Cortana via Dutch Matrix

So let’s see where Cortana originated. For all you die hards out there, you will notice that Cortana is that awesome powerful chick from the Halo game. The game was designed by Microsoft, for the magical Xbox. Let’s forget about the whole losing-her-mind-thing in the recent game as well, because I would also go crazy if I couldn’t eat cake (because she is a hologram). So she is sort of like Tony Stark’s Jarvis; if Jarvis ever appeared in hologram form, and also looked like a stripper.

Halo's Cortana via
Halo’s Cortana via

But hey, what’s wrong with looking like a stripper, or being a stripper. Especially if you are a highly intelligent stripper inspired by the great Nefertiti! No really, that is how you spell it, and I didn’t know who the hell this lady was. So according to Nefertiti was an Egyptian queen renowned for her beauty and power. She was like the Angelina Jolie of 1300 BC, and ruled alongside her hubby Pharaoh Akhenaten. Why would anyone name their child that? From now on I’m calling him Achy, so Achy died and then Nefertiti became Pharaoh. Her name meant “the beautiful one has come”. You know what my name means? Carla stands for the Canadian Condom Fairy. Thanks mom, you’re hilarious.

Nefertit via
Nefertit via

According to, Michael Calgano, the Cortana director of engineering, said “If you want a dude, we’re doing it.” So we get to change Cortana to Cort or something male-ish. Soon we can choose if we want a male or female assistant, I hope Cort is voiced by Ryan Gosling.

While wondering why Cortana was a woman, I asked my friend Dutch Matrix – yes he really calls himself that – to ask Cortana why is she a woman. She replied sarcastically, I like her.

Asking Cortana why she is female via Dutch Matrix
Asking Cortana why she is female via Dutch Matrix

I don’t think making Microsoft’s Cortana a woman is sexist. I think it’s empowering: a bad ass sarcastic woman who lives in your phone and knows everything? Yep, that’s a woman alright. We know how to listen, and we get things done. Don’t send a man to do a woman’s job! Which is everything, because women can do everything.

With the introduction of Windows 10 expect Cortana to do some rather incredible things. Our editor got a first look at the revamped personal assistant in China – she wrote about it here. 

Do you think female virtual assistants is sexist or not? Let us know in the comments below.


  • Reply Dutch Matrix July 30, 2015 at 08:07

    From all this I take away that your name means Canadian Condom Fairy. And you have the gall to try and make fun of my name????

  • Reply Graeme Norval July 30, 2015 at 09:38

    Of course it is sexist; Microsoft made her female so that the male users would be comfortable with expecting her to respond to all their requests without ever feeling the need to do anything in return for her.

    • Reply Graeme Norval July 30, 2015 at 09:44

      Where is the “how are you, Cortana?”
      “Let’s go to your favourite restaurant tonight, Cortana”
      “Don’t worry, I’ll look it up myself, you’ve had a tough day, Cortana”
      “What would you like to know, Cortana?”

      Men are such pigs.

      • Reply Carla Mouton August 3, 2015 at 20:20

        Bahahahaha oh Graeme, thank you.

    • Reply Tech Girl August 1, 2015 at 08:39

      But they’ve said a male version is on the way?

  • Reply Graeme Norval July 30, 2015 at 10:34

    Seriously though, I don’t like that they’ve modeled their digital assistant / Siri-clone/ whatever after a character in Halo. Aside from the fact that, as you pointed out, one of the major plot points of Halo 4 is Cortana’s impending rampancy which is not ideal for someone you’re supposed to be taking advice from, it kind of cheapens the character in the fiction to have her telling you what the weather is supposed to be or where the nearest chinese restaurant is.

    It is a bit like Sony launching an app for cellphones where Kratos takes time out of his busy schedule of murdering the gods to give you traffic updates.

    • Reply Sam Wright July 30, 2015 at 15:05

      Dude, when you see the upgraded Cortana in action you will be so blown away. It is so much more than what you think.

      • Reply Graeme Norval July 30, 2015 at 15:31

        Oh, I think it will most likely be a fantastic service. I just don’t like that they named it after a character in a currently running fiction. I prefer my fantasy and reality separated, that’s all 😉

  • Reply Dawid Eduard Roestorf July 31, 2015 at 10:36

    Awesome article. But disagree with the point on woman listening. Talking yes, listen never.


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