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WiCipedia: Gendered Job Descriptions, Glass Cliffs & Gaslighting

Eryn Leavens

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Gendered job descriptions eliminate candidates; The Girls' Lounge uniquely demonstrates equality; being a woman at work should work in your favor; and more.

Women in Comms will be hosting its first networking breakfast and panel discussion on Wednesday, March 22, in Denver, Colo., ahead of day two of the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference. Check back to WIC Online for more details.

  • Snap Inc., creator of Snapchat, recently hired Jennifer Park Stout, former deputy chief of staff to the US Secretary of State, to join its ranks. Stout will serve as Snap's head of global public policy, Business Insider reports. Though the company has not released diversity hiring stats, we're going to assume it's a largely male-dominated company, similar to other major social media sites. Considering the high proportion of female users that catapulted the app to the big leagues, Tech.Mic reports, this is an important hire for all women who use and work in tech. Then again, as Snap faces two lawsuits -- one for inflating pre-IPO performance metrics and the other for a logo on its new Spectacles, is this just a "glass cliff" hire? (See Snapchat Files for $20-25B IPO – Report and Clearfield CEO Takes Fiber to the Glass Cliff .)

  • In a newly released TED talk, actress, activist and advocate Ashley Judd fiercely and fearlessly uncovers the abuse women are privy to online and via social media, and how this harassment impacts our education and career options, not to mention our personal lives. Whether it's revenge porn, gaslighting or perpetuating lies, all of these vicious tactics impact life beyond the Internet. With a focus on tech's issues with workplace sexism and global gender equality, and a direct plea to white men to be a positive force for the future of women, Judd harnesses her career success to create change for us all. You can watch the entire TED talk below. Please be forewarned that the video uses graphic language and may be triggering for those who have experienced harassment and violence. (See A Women in Comms Glossary.)

  • A study by Textio analyzed 50 million job listings for gendered descriptive language, The New York Times reports. The study found that certain types of work, such as healthcare, geared job descriptions towards women with subtle word choices such as "sympathetic, care, fosters, empathy and families." Job descriptions that were more geared towards men used words such as "manage, forces, exceptional, proven and superior." This tactic may not work well for the employer or the potential employee, however. "There is a benefit to the employer in changing the wording. Gender-neutral language fills jobs 14 days faster than posts with a masculine or feminine bias, Textio said, and attracts a more diverse mix of people." (See Why Diversity of Geeks in Tech Matters.)

  • Women-only spaces have come up a lot in WiCipedia lately as the business world seems to see a need for them. Conferences are no different. The BBC reports that at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where there are five male participants for every woman, a "Girls' Lounge" was set up to promote female empowerment. Though some (mostly men) have questioned why this kind of separatism would be a good idea, or even necessary, "Shelley Zalis -- who started The Girls' Lounge five years ago -- is unapologetic: 'This is their boys' club -- for women to get to know other women.'" Yet our favorite part about the Lounge isn't the female bonding; it's the quirky ways in which Zalis has illustrated the pay disparity between men and women. "For example, there are ten clocks from various countries. Based on a nine to five day, they point to the time a woman should leave work according to the wage gap in the country... To make the same point, men in the Girls' Lounge are charged $1 for a bar of chocolate, while women pay 79 cents." Genius! (See WiCipedia: Male Allies, Co-Working Spaces & Automation and WiCipedia: Badasses, F Bombs & Deodorant and WiCipedia: The Women Helping Women Edition.)

  • It seems like there's a constant struggle to assert our differences while also making it clear that we're equal. A new book by ex-Wall Streeter Sallie Krawcheck, Own It: The Power of Women at Work, proves just that. In an interview with Krawcheck, The Wall Street Journal states that, "The attributes women tend to bring to the job -- relationship skills, an awareness of risk, a more collaborative, deliberative approach to decision-making -- are increasingly valued, and women should showcase them, not try to be more like men." Krawcheck analyzes the state of women in business and how gender differences often create problems at work, when really they should be solving them. (See WiCipedia: After-School Coding, Salary Probing & Pro-Parenthood Companies.)

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

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    User Rank: Light Sabre
    1/20/2017 | 12:22:38 PM
    Re: Ted Talk
    I thought it was a great talk too, Kelsey! It's interesting that as a celebrity she has this elevated platform where people listen to her, but she also has to deal with so much more harassment. She's definitely a very resilient person.

    I can't get over the Girls' Lounge chocolate bars and clocks though. I love it! I think there should be a day every year like this where everything women buy and do is equal to their pay gap.
    Kelsey Ziser
    Kelsey Ziser,
    User Rank: Blogger
    1/20/2017 | 10:41:10 AM
    Ted Talk
    I thought Ashley Judd gave an excellent Ted Talk. It's easy to think celebrities should just ignore negative comments on social media but she makes a good point that it's hard not to take the barrage of negativity personally -- whether you're a celebrity, a kid being cyberbullied, etc.. She also made an astute point that if L'Oreal can meet the minimum standards for gender equality in other countries, Silicon Valley should be able to meet those standards as well and "stop making excuses."
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