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WiCipedia: Pinkification of Tech & Australia's Diversity Endeavor

Eryn Leavens
4/21/2017
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This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Australia focuses on diversity needs; pinkification of tech discourages girls; Women in Comms' biggest event of the year is just around the corner; and more.


Women in Comms' biggest event of 2017 is coming up on Monday, May 15, ahead of the Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas. Register here to join us for a networking luncheon with top-notch keynoters and panel discussions!


  • National Australia Bank (NAB) has decided that the best way to get women working for the company is to hire an ambassador, of sorts. NAB's "girl geek in residence," Girl Geek Academy's Chief Executive Sarah Moran, "will join the NAB technology team from April until December and throughout this time implement some of Girl Geek's main programs within the big bank, such as the all-female hackathon #SheHacks and #SheMakes," the Australian Financial Review reports. Moran states that NAB is all about action, in a way that household name tech companies are not: "I went to Silicon Valley ... but the companies there weren't doing things that were actually creating results. Then we realised NAB [was] in our own backyard and had created a program that [was] shifting the needle and seeing results, when companies like Google and Facebook weren't." Brilliant marketing campaign or a term as flimsy as "girl boss"? Let us know your take in the comments section. (See WiCipedia: How to Make Companies Work for Women.)

  • Despite NAB's efforts, there are indications that the gender gap in Australia is actually expanding. CIO spoke with Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)'s Global CTO, Werner Vogels, and Australia and New Zealand MD Paul Migliorini, who agreed that this might be cultural. Household help may be a big factor in women's involvement in higher-up job titles, and another may be education. "It's about trying to learn at what point, some of these teenage girls particularly, switch off to a career in tech ... the data tells us that this happens in their mid-teens and that's part of the challenge that we need to address," Migliorini said, stressing that diversity is crucial to Australia's industry and needs to be addressed in order to tackle the skills shortage and gender gap. (See WiCipedia: Supergirls, No More Excuses & Media Monitoring.)

  • Silicon Valley has been on a rollercoaster ride (not the fun kind) as of late, from Uber's sexual harassment suit to Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s equal pay gaffe, and The Economist recently published an article that doesn't exactly put a positive spin on all the snafus. The author of the article puts the onus on venture capitalists, those deep-pocketed, mostly male big shots who really steer the industry: "Venture capitalists play a vital role in shaping the culture of startups: investors who value diversity are likelier to guide them away from the reputational and legal risks that beset offices full of 'brogrammers'. Silicon Valley is a remarkable place. But it is time for the boy's club to grow up." Sounds like it's also time to take some responsibility. (See Silicon Valley Writer Foresees End of Bro Culture and Culture in Crisis: What's Next for Uber & Tech?)

    Not Exactly a Welcoming Group
    (Source: The Economist)
    (Source: The Economist)

  • Getting girls interested in tech doesn't mean making tech girly, so says BBC News. The "pinkification of tech" is rather off-putting, it states, and insists that there's no reason tech should have any kind of gender identification. Dr. Hannah Dee, a senior lecturer in computer science at Aberystwyth University in Wales, told the news source: "I think there is a real polarization going on at the moment on gender lines. And computing... there is no reason it should be a masculine domain but it's seen as part of that STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) area, so it's seen as being for boys. And because childhood is so polarized now we find that girls are moving away from it." Dr. Dee created the BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium, an event which brings female students together to encourage them to pursue a career in IT. (See WiCipedia: The Barbie & Unicorn Edition and Do Women-Only Co-Working Spaces Work for Women?)

  • If you're in need of a women in comms pick-me-up, make sure to join us at Light Reading's Big Communications Event coming up in just a few weeks. The main event will be held Monday, May 15 through Wednesday, May 17 in Austin. While we'd love to see you for the entire event, which will be jam-packed full of incredible speakers, networking opportunities and fun demos, the pièce de résistance will be the Women in Comms Luncheon on Monday, May 15 from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. where we'll have an awe-inspiring line-up of panels and keynotes. This event is completely free (but be sure to register!) and is open to anyone in comms of any gender who supports the advancement of women in the workplace. Our Leading Lights Awards dinner that evening will include a celebration of women who have done amazing things this past year, and is our biggest event of the year. We can't wait and we hope you'll join us in Austin! (See WiC Leading Lights: Meet the 2017 Finalists and WiC 2017 Leading Lights Finalists: Most Inspiring Woman in Comms.)

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

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    ErynLeavens
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    ErynLeavens,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    4/21/2017 | 6:01:11 PM
    Re: Girl Geek in Residence
    "Woman Geek in Residence" and "boy boss" are pretty funny! I actually saw a newsletter from Sophia Amoruso, creater of the now bankrupt Nasty Gal mega clothing company and inventor of the word "girlboss." I can't find this anywhere printed online so I'm just going to copy it from the email I received:

    "I closed last week's newsletter with the statement that I'm happy keeping a freshman perspective on life. Many people have asked "why Girlboss? why 'girl'? Why not 'woman'? Why not just 'boss'?" I'll explain. First, Girlboss isn't a literal term. It's not a way to a female boss and never was. It's a way to think about our lives, to reframe success on our own terms, and to live our lives deliberately. Second, what's wrong with being a girl? A girl is growing - she's not yet fully baked. A girl is full of curiosity and wonder. A girl is an amateur in the most beautiful of ways. I'm a girl, and hope you are too."

    I don't know. I kindof like it... I think translating this term from fashion or business to telecom or tech is a different game though, and it doesn't really work, but it's been appropriated.
    Kelsey Ziser
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    Kelsey Ziser,
    User Rank: Blogger
    4/21/2017 | 4:11:21 PM
    Girl Geek in Residence
    Not sure what to make of the "Girl Geek in Residence"...the programs she'll implement sound great but I'd have to agree that the title seems flimsy, like "girl boss." I know "Woman Geek in Residence" doesn't have the same ring to it but why do these initiatives have to start with "girl"? A "Hey Girl" meme is one thing, but when you apply the world "girl" anywhere in the workplace, it's not helpful in bridging the gender gap. Any female aged 18 and up is a woman in my opinion. We wouldn't call a male CEO a boy boss so lets just stop calling women "girls" already. 
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