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WiCipedia: All-Female Boards, Google 'Utterly Unprepared' & Insecure Men

Eryn Leavens
11/9/2018
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This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Pro-life hackers; Google under pressure; all-female boards; and more.

  • Google has had quite the week. Amid a payoff scandal that prompted an employee walkout in 20 offices around the globe, yet another Google exec has been exposed in a harassment accusation. CNET reports that Rich DeVaul, a director at Alphabet's Google X, left the company without an exit package after propositioning a job applicant. The article states that Google CEO Sundar Pichai said "that the company didn't go far enough [in handling sexual harassment cases] and promis[ed] to take a 'much harder line' in the future. He also promised to support Google employees planning to walk off the job Thursday in protest of the company's handling of sexual misconduct cases." Yet the walkout was much larger than anticipated -- 1,500 employees were expected to protest, and the actual number was closer to 17,000. Critics have commented that Pichai did not handle the walkout as he should have, and say that he was "utterly unprepared for the enormousness of the event." (See WiCipedia: Doubling Down on Diversity & Google's Payoff Scandal.)

    Now Trending: #Don'tBeEvil
    (Source: Quartz)
    (Source: Quartz)

  • It's come to light that men may not always be so supportive of companies' diversity efforts if that means they are competing for jobs against women or other minorities. When Luis von Ahn, CEO of the language site Duolingo, made a celebratory announcement on Twitter about hiring its first female engineer, the comments were not exactly congratulatory. Quartz explains that the company once had an all-male engineering department, and made a concerted effort to increase diversity (they're now 50% female for new hires this year). Yet Luis found that "Many of the top comments came from men who argued that what was an important accomplishment for our team was actually sexist and discriminatory against, well, men," and received such comments as "You are short-changing your customers by hiring based on political agenda instead of merit," and "This diversity crap makes me want to delete your app. Just hire based on ability." In the face of such prejudice, we think it's pretty great that companies like Duolingo are continuing to press forward and fight for greater equality. (See WiCipedia: Breaking Biases & Squashing Self-Limiting Fear.)

  • This election week has not kept tech out of its limelight. Hackers seems to be making their mark everywhere these days in politics, and Fast Company explains that pro-choice websites have recently been victim to these attacks -- with women in tech stepping up to the defense. Several prominent hacks have paved the way for the Abortion Access Hackathon, a day-long event that connects pro-choice activists with the techies who help keep their online spaces hack-free. "Our goal was to really amplify feminist leadership in tech," says Somer Loen, one of the founders of the event. "We're giving feminists the opportunity to lead tech and use their skills to solve the problems that they're experiencing ... and shore up resources for under-resourced abortion providers." (See WiCipedia: Small Steps Forward, Big Step Back.)

  • Reddit is not a platform where users shy away from speaking their minds, which makes sense when you take into account its outspoken founder, Alexis Ohanian. Quartz interviewed Ohanian, who along with being a prominent entrepreneur also happens to be husband to tennis superstar Serena Williams, about his take on racial and gender equality in the tech world and beyond. While he has not always been so aware, he's making up for lost time now. "We talk a lot about blind spots in Silicon Valley ... but these blind spots can often be bigger than we think," he says. "Speaking broadly: [Men are] unhealthy mentally and physically. We're insecure, and we've created a broken system that we're going to have to acknowledge we can't fix alone." (See WiCipedia: More Uber Upsets & Tennis to Tech.)

  • We're used to all-male boards being the norm. You could say they're kind of stale. Entrepreneur poses the idea that in the future, the all-female board shouldn't raise any eyebrows either. Currently, 83% of companies with venture funding are all male (though a new law in California may change that in the next two years), yet diverse companies and boards are more productive and profitable. "So, why are finance and tech startups so far behind on such an obvious win-win?" the article asks. We can imagine the outrage that would ensue if a company's board had only female members, and that's not right. It needs to go both ways from the bottom of the food chain all the way to the top. (See WiCipedia: No (CIS) Men Allowed & Breaking Into a 'Male' Industry, WiCipedia: Doubling Down on Diversity & Google's Payoff Scandal and WiCipedia: Companies With Values Should Be the Norm.)

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

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