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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: After-School Coding, Salary Probing & Pro-Parenthood Companies

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Charleston, S.C. initiates several after-school programs to teach kids to code; asking salary history may soon become illegal; Trump may not support new dads, but these companies do; and more.


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  • The recent debate about whether women should hide their gender to get ahead in their careers is clearly not over. Silicon Valley Bank in California is considering removing full names from job applications to avoid unconscious bias, according to Business Insider. The move to initials on resumes would keep gender under wraps from recruiters and potentially enable more women to sneak past the initial application process undetected. The company has researched the idea thoroughly and initiated training about gender discrimination and unconscious bias. Yet women in tech are sticking to their guns and opposing the suggestion that to succeed they must be able to pass as men, at least initially, to be taken seriously, whether that be for a job or fundraising efforts. "You should absolutely be true to yourself and authentic and if someone is not going to give you money because of your gender that's not an investor you want," businesswoman Rees Anderson said in a KUTV article. (See WiCipedia: Hiding Gender to Slip By vs. Flaunting It to Flourish.)

  • Joining the ranks of after-school programs teaching coding to girls is the YWCA of Greater Charleston, tells The Post and Courier. The program is directed towards middle schoolers (but open to all girls) at a predominantly African American school on the Eastside, and is in partnership with Girls Who Code and Charleston Promise Neighborhood. "This is an area where we could make a true impact in the lives of these girls and their future, giving them the skills to earn livable wages," said LaVanda Brown, executive director of the YWCA of Greater Charleston. "We can tap into something and introduce them to something that could improve their future." (See WiCipedia: Grace Hopper Promotes Diversity, Girl Scouts Code & How to Thrive.)

    Girls at Charleston's Sanders-Clyde Elementary-Middle School learn to code in the YWCA's after-school program. (Source: The Post and Courier)
    Girls at Charleston's Sanders-Clyde Elementary-Middle School learn to code in the YWCA's after-school program.
    (Source: The Post and Courier)

  • Also in Charleston, S.C.'s Eastside is Laundry Matters, a laundromat with a secret backroom for... coding. The laundromat is a community center in the neighborhood, providing free services for homeless customers and after-school classes for children. ABC News says the CodeOn program gets kids excited about building things so they have more career options. "They already have so much exposure to electronics and computers in their schools, but coding is a skill that a lot of women aren't exposed to, a lot of kids aren't exposed to, a lot of low-income kids aren't exposed to," Samantha Sammis, founder of Laundry Matters, says. Now that's what we call grassroots activism. (See 'Women Who Code' CEO Paints Better Tech Pic.)

  • No one likes answering questions about their salary history when applying for a new job. Luckily, it may soon become illegal for employers to ask this invasive question in several states. Learnvest writes that lawmakers are currently battling to eliminate salary probing because it only perpetuates discrepancies in pay between genders. If your new employer is planning to base your salary on your old employer's payscale, which underpaid you because you're a woman, the lack of parity would only be perpetuated. "After all, if women start out at lower salaries, the thinking goes, they'll be offered smaller wages at each rung of the job ladder. That means throughout their careers, they'll be taking in considerably less than their male peers." Should the law pass, companies will be issued up to a $10,000 fine if they continue to pressure candidates for salary information. (See WiCipedia: Internet by Bicycle, Pay Gaps & Misogyny in the Valley.)

  • If President-elect Trump has his way in January, parental leave will be shifting, and not for the better. His proposed plan will likely abolish paternity leave, generally leaving moms in traditional families to care for newborns themselves. This policy affects all new parents, from same-sex couples to adoptive and foster parents. As Skyword puts it, "Work/life balance isn't just a priority for women, nor are mothers the only ones who need time off to bond with their babies, to care for sick children, or to attend school functions. But until the corporate world acknowledges that and shifts the workplace culture accordingly, most moms will continue to bear the brunt of child-rearing responsibilities -- and the career setbacks that often come with it." The site compiled a list of five of the best companies where it pays to be a new dad, including Netflix, Spotify, Facebook, Patagonia and Bank of America. Here's hoping innovative companies continue to support their employees in every stage of life, and not just those that directly benefit the bottom line. (See WiCipedia: Parental Progress & Parity Payoffs and WiCipedia: Trump's Family Leave Fail & Hostility at Apple.)

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

  • ErynLeavens 12/6/2016 | 12:55:10 PM
    Re: Gender on resumes I think it's less of a correction and more of an attempt at flirting that backfires every single time. I'd like to see someone tell you to smile though, Dennis. ; )
    ErynLeavens 12/6/2016 | 12:54:09 PM
    Re: Gender on resumes Ugh that's probably one of the more annoying things that men do on the street. The response options just make you feel worse though. Like do you do a sarcastic smile? Do you tell them to mind their own business? Ignore them?

    As for the resumes, I think it might be an automated process or else someone would be privy to the real name at some point!
    mendyk 12/5/2016 | 9:47:12 AM
    Re: Gender on resumes I am often prompted to smile, by both men and women. I usually ignore the prompt. Also, if you go through life trying to "correct" every instance of behavior that you find unacceptable, you are likely to end up very unhappy. And very busy.
    Kelsey Ziser 12/2/2016 | 4:11:54 PM
    Re: Gender on resumes ha! Speaking of charm...I heard a guy tell a girl to "smile" at the gym the other day, a comment a guy would of course never say to another guy at the gym...sigh. I went through the usual internal struggle over whether to speak up or not and correct him. 

    Back to the resumes...if Silicon Valley Bank removes names and just uses initials, can a candidate opt not to participate in that? Will female candidates have the option to say "no thanks, you can leave my name on my application"?
    ErynLeavens 12/2/2016 | 12:33:11 PM
    Re: Gender on resumes You're supposed to win them over with your girlish charm, Kelsey! ; )
    Kelsey Ziser 12/2/2016 | 12:06:17 PM
    Gender on resumes The argument behind listing just your initials on a job application falls short once a candidate is asked in for an interview. If there's gender bias at an organization, sure, listing your initials on your app may get you through the door but how does that ultimately help you secure the position once they meet you in person? It just seems like a deciptive strategy on both sides and a negative way to start process of a job application. 
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