Women In Comms

5 Things We Love for Women in Comms Now

In honor of Valentine's Day today -- and to take a break from all the negative and disconcerting goings-on dominating headlines -- Women in Comms is taking a step back to reflect on a few things we think are great this month.

It's easy to get caught up in all the bad news for women dominating headlines lately, whether it's politics or the wage gap, but that shouldn't take away from the fact that women have a lot going for them in the world of work, yes, even in the tech/comms/STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) industries. Diversity and inclusion is becoming a bigger focus for all progressive companies; new technology evolutions are providing promise for women; and a lot is being done to ensure that young girls have the exposure, confidence and education to enter the tech industry and change the dynamics for good. (See 'Women Who Code' CEO Paints Better Tech Pic.)

Here are just five things that caught are our eye this month that we think represent positive momentum for women. We hope you'll add your own additions to the comments section below, and be sure to check out The 8 Best Moments for WiC in 2016 for more of the good from 2016 and The 8 Biggest Turkeys of WiC in 2016 for some of the not-so good.

Women in Comms' first networking breakfast and panel of 2017 is coming up on Wednesday, March 22, in Denver, Colorado, ahead of day two of the Cable Next-Gen Strategies conference. Register here to join us for what will be a great morning!

  • Werk, your way: For any employee today, but especially working mothers, a flexible workplace is often as important, if not more so, than the salary and benefits offered. Finding a company that both offers flexibility and enables their employees to actually take advantage, however, can be challenging. That is where Werk comes into play. With the tagline "flexibility is the future of feminism," Werk is a new job marketplace that matches women up with flexible job opportunities where Werk has already negotiated flexible benefits like working from home, not traveling and setting your own hours. We're not talking about those multi-level marketing schemes that target new moms either, but employers such as Samsung Corp. , Facebook and Uber. As it stands now, the new site is primarily looking for highly educated women for leadership roles. Employers pay $500 for a 90-day listing, and job seekers pay $50 for a year's access to the site. (See Vodafone: Flexible Work Policies Boost Profits.)

  • Internet of Mysterious Things: Since it's well-documented that interest in STEM-related careers falls off amongst girls at a very young age, due to stereotypes, lack of exposure and, sadly, lack of confidence, we're a big fan of anything that makes these fields more exciting, interesting and accessible to girls. One such thing came to our attention via Kickstarter: the nearly funded Internet of Mysterious Things (IoMT), a "living NFC-enabled" children's book about the Internet of Things. Developed by software engineer and inventor Lisa Seacat DeLuca, the book aims to answer children's most pressing question -- "why? -- about how everyday technology works. It combines cool tech -- IoT, near-field communications (NFC) and Amazon Alexa compatibility -- with a fun story and, DeLuca says, also reminds kids to look up from their phones once in a while too. (See STEMing the Decline: Scientists Appeal to the Next Generation.)

  • Commercial commitments: General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) joined the list of companies pledging to improve its gender diversity this month, vowing to employ 20,000 female employees in technical roles by 2020, which requires hiring about 5,000 new women over the next three years. This alone is great news, but we also appreciated the commercial it put out to coincide with the news, titled, "What If Scientists Were Celebrities?” The ad gives 86-year-old National Medal of Science winner and "Queen of carbon science" Mildred Dresselhaus Kardashian-style fame. It's clever, poignant and important for young girls to see. The GE commercial comes shortly after Audi tackled equal pay for women in its Super Bowl spot. We'd be happy to see many more brands throwing their support behind these important topics in commercials going forward. (See WiCipedia: Debugging the Gap, GE's Gender Pledge & #ShePersisted.)

  • STEM jobs, no waiting: There may be a shortage of women applying for STEM jobs, but the good news is those who do are able to land them with very little lag time, at least in Asia-Pac. According to a new study by Mastercard, female STEM graduates take less than six months to land their first job. Upon graduation, 84% of the more than 2,200 female STEM graduates said they took less than half a year to get a job, and 63% reported being very satisfied with the options available to them. Most took jobs in computer and IT or healthcare and medical fields. The survey respondents also shared what attracted them to STEM careers, with the challenge, ability to learn something new and job security topping the list. The study further supports what we've been saying here at WiC -- it's a great time to be a woman in STEM, but more needs to be done to attract women to the field starting at a young age. (See More Women in Tech Is Critically Important.)

  • The data science opportunity: While the gender imbalance is exacerbated in the tech industry, technology also has a lot of potential to help even the playing field for women. Data science is emerging as one area where women are making their mark and seeing more opportunity. Women now make up 40% of graduates with degrees in statistics at a time when big data and analytics requirements are opening up more jobs than ever in the tech world, but also at any company looking to better leverage data for decision making. Stanford recently held its now Women in Data Science conference bringing together thousands of women already in the industry from 114 companies and 31 universities attending live at Stanford, with another 78 satellite events taking place across 26 countries. With an impressive line-up of female speakers, the conference focused on the technical aspects of data science, but was also encouraging both for the current workforce of women, and for the future. (See Artificial Intelligence Expert Weighs In for WiC.)

    — Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Director, Women in Comms

  • Sarah Thomas 2/14/2017 | 12:11:51 PM
    Re: anything else? I couldn't agree more -- MLMSs are a pet peeve of mine. (I just deleted a long diatribe about them. I think you said it better and kinder, Kelsey! It is sad that it has to be a trade off for so many moms.)

    I think Werk sounds really promising, but I wasn't sure how many jobs are on there now that might be a good fit. I would deifnitely pay $50 if I were job searching, but I think it needs some time before it's a really valuable, robust platform.
    Kelsey Ziser 2/14/2017 | 10:06:22 AM
    Re: anything else? Werk does sound like a great site and $50 a year is a reasonable fee to use the service if they'll do some of the benefits negotiations for you. It seems like there's been a surge in "multi-level marketing schemes that target new moms" and I think it's a shame, really.

    I've seen some women flourish and discover sales talents they didn't know they had, but for many, I get the sense they feel stuck and like there aren't many opportunities for them to both be a mom and contribute financially to their family. I often wonder as a society, how did we get here? All that being said, it's encouraging to see that Werk is attempting to help bridge the gap and make a way for new moms to continue on their career path.
    Sarah Thomas 2/14/2017 | 8:58:46 AM
    anything else? I'm hoping there are more things we can love this month -- anyone have anything to add? 

    Also, anyone tried Werk for job searching yet? I'm really interested to see the job descriptions on there and what they offer. It's a really cool concept that, of course, will get more interesting and relevant the more companies participate on the platform.
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