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WiCipedia: Fintech Flexibility, Snap Missteps & Women of Wearables

Eryn Leavens

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Snap Inc. corrects equal pay snafu; fintech offers flexibility; an inspiring Google application; and more.

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  • Fintech, the WiFi-connected lovechild of finance and tech, has been a rapidly evolving industry in the past few years, and women have been drawn to it -- yet the gender split is nowhere near equal. The Guardian reports that fintech offers more flexibility in terms of location and timing than regular finance, which may be a better fit for women with families and other responsibilities. It's also an industry that is innovative and ready to break the status quo. "Given that it's a new and expanding sector, women in fintech have more opportunities to move up the career ladder, which can lead to 'plum jobs in bigger, well-established banks.' The old establishment is beginning to embrace innovation and is open minded to changes in banking culture, that was so very male-oriented for so many years," The Guardian states. (See WiCipedia: Feminist Fight Club, FinTech Femmes & Feminine Freebies.)

    The Equality Equation
    Innovation + Flexibility = Equality. We hope.
    Innovation + Flexibility = Equality. We hope.

  • It's been a big week for issues surrounding women in tech and pay inequality. Shortly after the hire of Jennifer Park Stout as head of global public policy, Snap Inc., parent company of Snapchat, has amended the public salary of its sole female director, Joanna Coles. The New York Times explains that Coles's salary was leagues below her male counterparts at the company, and has been rectified with a new four-year contract, which puts her earnings on par with the two lower-paid men on the board, while the other two appear to make more than twice as much. Recode, on the other hand, claims that Coles's compensation was even with the boys' club from the get go; her contract just needed to be updated and the media latched on to yet another "women get paid less" headline: "The bad report got amplified, resulting in an uproar on social media, including attacks on Snap for continuing to be such obvious frat bros and also on Coles for being such a lady wimp." The NY Times lists the current full compensation breakdown, much of which is composed of stock. (See Is Magic Leap a Mirage of Misogyny & Deceit?, WiCipedia: Gendered Job Descriptions, Glass Cliffs & Gaslighting and US Sues Oracle for Pay, Hiring Discrimination.)

  • We often say that girls need to be immersed in STEM by a very young age, but how young is too young to actually apply for jobs? Chloe Bridgewater of the UK decided that seven seemed old enough, at least for an informational interview. In her handwritten letter (ironic, isn't it?), posted below, Bridgewater tells Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s CEO Sundar Pichai (a.k.a. google boss) about her love for robots, go karts and bean bags, even though her sister Hollie prefers dolls, the BBC reports. "My dad told me to give you a application to get a job in google. I don't really know what one of them is but he said a letter will do for now," Bridgewater pens. Pichai responded with a very warm (typed) letter to the girl, encouraging her to continue learning about technology and to apply when she finished school. He better keep this little one's letter on file; we'd like an update in 15 years. (See 5 Things We Love for Women in Comms Now .)

    Getting a Head Start
    (Source: BBC)
    (Source: BBC)

  • Reaching a female audience doesn't come naturally when the creators of the product are all male, and this is especially apparent in the wearables industry. When men design wearables, they're historically bulkier and clunkier than when women have a hand in the design process (virtual reality headset, case in point). TechCrunch interviewed Marija Butkovic, co-founder of†Women of Wearables, who "pointed out the mistake the industry makes when there are only men developing a range of products that are unintentionally tailored to alienate half of their potential customers. 'They are clunky, oversized and just not visually appealing for women.'" Not only would hiring more women in wearables create gender equality within the industry, it would undoubtedly sell more product, which is the goal after all, isn't it? (See IoT for Idiots.)

  • Lest we forget the world of politics in this week's WiCipedia, President Trump has announced that he wants to make it easier for women to start companies. Along with daughter Ivanka Trump and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, The Independent Journal Review reports that a joint task force between the US and Canada is being formed to discuss how issues around work and family affect women. Trump admitted that "the system is not working so well for [female] entrepreneurs," and Trudeau stated that diversity in the workforce is a priority for the success of companies. The issues on the table so far address equal pay, family leave and access to funding for entrepreneurs, and will include a panel of successful women in business. (See WiCipedia: After-School Coding, Salary Probing & Pro-Parenthood Companies, WiCipedia: Icelandic Inequality, Diminishing WiT & Presidential Impact and WiCipedia: Election Aftermath, Telecom Advances & Wunderkinds.)

    ó Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading

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    User Rank: Light Sabre
    2/17/2017 | 12:25:55 PM
    Re: Wearables
    Great point, Kelsey! I used to have a FitBit one (I put it through the washer/dryer a few times and it eventually died...) and it was tiny and easy and designed to fit on a bra. I also really like the collaborations with designers. This really seems like a sector that women would want to be involved in and that stands to create a huge amount of jobs in the near future.
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    2/17/2017 | 12:22:08 PM
    Re: Google & Gaps
    Love the Google application! Just so cute and brave. I wonder how often this actually happens...

    I agree that the Joanna Coles sitation is very believable and I can see how the media would latch on. According to the NY numbers though, she is being paid a lot less than two of the other male board members, but maybe that has nothing to do with gender.
    Kelsey Ziser
    Kelsey Ziser,
    User Rank: Blogger
    2/17/2017 | 10:19:22 AM
    FitBit wised up pretty early on that wearables need to be fashionable and functional for both men and women. I noticed that shortly after the first edition of wristband FitBits came out a few years ago, they teamed up with Tory Burch to develop a more fashionable wearable. Their design has been pretty slender from the beginning and I liked that even in the early editions, they provided two sizes of adjustable wristbands.

    I struggled when choosing a Garmin Forerunner 220 watch -- there was the option of one with a black and red wristband or one with a purple and white band...I felt like I was choosing between Barbie or G.I. Joe. Can we not have a blue or green option? I think the newer model is also slimmer than the one I got...I don't know about color options though. All that is to say, we do need more women on the wearables design teams!
    Sarah Thomas
    Sarah Thomas,
    User Rank: Blogger
    2/17/2017 | 9:36:11 AM
    Google & Gaps
    First of all, love the "application" to Google. Just adorable. And, love that he responded. Looks like those Google perks are catching the eye of the next generation of workers too!

    I also thought Recode's point on Joanna Coles was spot on -- even if she was being paid (almost?) equal to the other male board members, it is so easy to believe that she's not. That's because it's entirely common today for women to make less (just look at the infographic on WIC now). It feels true, and that's a problem!
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