This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Holberton School takes job training to a new level; Christian white men are feeling discriminated against; cable numbers hold steady; and more.
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The Los Angeles Times completed a study recently to gauge the effects of nature versus nurture in STEM. Out of a group of 96 first graders, 32 male and female children were given robots to play with for 20 minutes, and the remaining 64 children in the control group were not. The study showed that after the time period was up, the girls who had not been given a robot felt disinterested and lacked confidence in the activity, while the girls who had been given the robots felt equally as excited and capable as their male counterparts, eliminating the gender gap in the test group. "The implications are clear: Gender gaps are malleable, not intrinsic. Experience and socialization matter," the article deduces. So what do we do about that? Well, that's the easy part: Expose boys and girls to the same opportunities and experiences, both in school and at home. (See WiCipedia: Small Talk, Inflated Egos & the Motherboard of Cakes and WiCipedia: Best Cities for WiT, Born to Code & Dancing Backwards.)
Men's rights activists are having a moment both on the tech and politics scene. CNBC says that there's "push back on gender equity efforts" from men in Silicon Valley who believe that
"women are ruining the tech world." And a New York Times article says men believe gender equality has "gone too far" and that HR in the Valley has turned into "a witch hunt." On the political side, which is inevitably connected, the latest This American Life episode focuses on the Proud Boys, a group of men who believe that white men are the most marginalized in the US because of recent diversity efforts: "Men are very marginalized. I mean, in a lot of systems too. Especially white males. White males are the most -- white male Christians are the most marginalized group in the United States," one Proud Boy says. What do you think about these claims? Are they laughable, or is it worth it to take into account free speech? (See Google Fires Engineer Over Gender Manifesto and Panel: Men Critical to Change Telecom Culture.)
A Different Take
Apparently there are a few different reads on the current gender harassment environment tech has found its way into.
(Source: The New York Times)
With the student debt crisis, there's been a lot of talk lately about if traditional college is "worth it," i.e., if it pays off. Holberton School is an interesting alternative, Fortune reports. A "project-based college alternative for the next generation of software engineers," Holberton, located in San Francisco, trains just 30 future techies per year, postpones tuition payments until they start their first internship and then funnels them into the Bay Area's elite tech companies and beyond. Holberton gets its name from a female engineer, Frances Elizabeth "Betty" Holberton, one of six programmers of the first programmable computer. And now, tech companies are also looking to invest in Holberton's students. Though current participation is modest, it's only the beginning. "Google, Accenture, Scality, and CloudNow have ponied up $40,000 to help with [costs for students]... CloudNow is a non-profit organization that aims to increase women's participation in the tech industry. That aligns with Holberton's goal of bringing more women and minorities into technology." (See Flatiron, Birchbox Offer Scholarships for Female Devs.)
Over in the cable sector, NCTA has announced the results of the 2017 NAMIC and WICT Industry Diversity Survey, which is conducted every two years. Participating cable companies in the survey represented 67.5% of the industry, and the results weren't too shabby compared to other tech sub sectors -- in some categories. For example, while the percentage of women in cable hasn't shifted from 34% in the past two years (much lower than the tech average), upper-level positions held by women increased by 5.5% (higher than the tech average). The percentage of racial minorities in corner-office positions (23%) was also surprising given the low equivalent rate in tech (14%). Check out all of the numbers in the chart below. (See Light Reading's 2017 Survey of Women in Comms.)
And the Winner Is...
Cable certainly surged ahead in some categories, but what's with the low overall amount of women in the industry?
One thing both men and women have in common is that ageism is a threat in tech. Bloomberg explains that if you're over 40, it doesn't matter how you define yourself -- you're gonna have trouble landing one of those golden tech jobs. "Regardless of gender, people aged 52 to 70 are 60 percent less likely to be hired for a tech job than their participation in the workforce would suggest ... Slightly younger workers, between 34 and 51, are 33 percent less likely," a new study reveals. Much of this is attributed to "startup expectations" that workers will live and breathe their jobs -- something that younger employees are more apt to find manageable (and appealing). (See WiCipedia: Trump's Family Leave Fail & Hostility at Apple.)
— Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading