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WiCipedia: Momism, Lead With Values & Demand Equality

Eryn Leavens

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: 'Momism' puts mothers at a disadvantage; lead with values when opening shop; telecom industry comes in last for diversity; and more.

Interested in joining Women in Comms on our mission to champion change, empower women and redress the gender imbalance in the comms industry? Visit WiC online and get in touch to learn more about how you can become a member!

  • Despite making headway with returnships and increased family leave work options, maternal bias (or "momism") in tech is still going strong, reports CBS News. "Maternal bias; I called it the deadliest of the types of implicit bias directed toward women. So women who are mothers are 79% less likely to be hired as compared to other women. They make on average $11,000 less as compared to other women and they are half as likely to be put up for a promotion," says diversity and inclusion specialist Kristen Knepper. See below for the full scoop from CBS. (See WiCipedia: 'Persona Non Grata' Tech Moms & the Refugee STEM Pilot and A Women in Comms Glossary.)

  • When starting a company, it's easy to see how one might get caught up in the financials and disregard the morals, yet a new Forbes article stresses that to make any impact, we need to create values-based businesses. Radhika Duggal, head of marketing at CommonBond, a student loan lender, says that before CommonBond even had customers, they had "social promises." These included giving back via a one-to-one model (every loan funded provides education to children in developing countries), for example. CommonBond also recently celebrated Women in Tech week. If every company were so involved and dedicated to values and change from the get-go, think where we might be right now. (See Netflix's Lesson in Culture Expectation Settings.)

  • Microsoft may be the first of the tech companies with gender discrimination scandals to reach a class-action suit. The Seattle Times says the ongoing lawsuit, started by three women, is poised to add 8,630 more employees and former employees to the case who have worked at Microsoft since 2012. The article states: "The women said their expert consultants have determined that discrimination at the Redmond company cost female employees more than 500 promotions and $100 million to $238 million in pay, according to Oct. 27 court filings. They also accused the software maker of maintaining 'an abusive, toxic 'boy's club' atmosphere, where women are ignored, abused, or degraded.'" Microsoft has denied any of the allegations. (See WiCipedia: Twitter Threats, Diversity Hires & Oracle in Hot Seat.)

  • The 2017 Owler Perceptions of Leadership Team Diversity Study finds that telecom ranks 16th for diversity on the list of 17 industries. The survey results are based on the perceptions of employees within the individual industries, rather than actual diversity numbers, and the word "diversity" is not defined. Here's how Owler explains the importance of these metrics: "Measuring people's perceptions about diversity is arguably as important as measuring diversity itself. After all, perception is nine-tenths of reality, as they say." While telecom ranked second to last (with only real estate bringing up the rear), tech made it to seventh place. So now we ask, what has telecom got to do to bring itself into this century? Why has this industry fallen so far behind, or more likely, just never progressed? (See Light Reading's 2017 Survey of Women in Comms.)

  • Light Reading and Women in Comms hosted two excellent events this week. Our "Why Male Allies Matter" luncheon in London at "OSS in the Era of SDN & NFV," moderated by Light Reading's Carol Wilson, focused on demanding equality. Sigma Systems CTO Catherine Michel said, "We don't have to stand for it anymore; a lot of people 30 and younger won't stand for it anymore. That's an improvement over ten years ago. Women don't have to sit back and be quiet about it, and tiptoe around the issue. If there is genuinely an issue where we are being put at a disadvantage because of gender, we just have to speak up about it." (See Time for Women to Demand Equality – Panel.)

    Over in Dallas at the AT&T Summit, Light Reading's Kelsey Ziser spoke with Anne Chow, president of national business AT&T Business, about her biggest piece of professional advice. Chow said women can be their own self-limiters and worst enemies (i.e., get out of your own way!). She also said to be your authentic self and that women should remember it's never too late to "dream anything, create anything, do anything and be anything." Truly advice to live by. (See AT&T's Chow: Work-Life Balance Is Bogus.)

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

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