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WiCipedia: Best Cities for WiT, Born to Code & Dancing Backwards

Eryn Leavens
3/31/2017

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: What's the best city for women in tech?; maternity leave policies by industry; girls need to learn to code; and more.


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  • Smart Asset just released its list of the best cities for women in tech in 2016, and the results were not quite as expected. Following Silicon Valley's nightmare publicity stint for tech companies' treatment of women, lesser-known tech hubs have stolen the spotlight. First on the list? Washington D.C, for the second year in a row. Kansas City, Detroit, Baltimore and Indianapolis rounded out the top five, and San Francisco and the Valley didn't even make the top 15. Based on the ways that Smart Asset measured what constitutes a "best" city for women in tech, we think this is probably because in these California locales, men still rule the roost. "In San Francisco, the tech workforce remains more than 75% male. Other major tech hubs like San Jose and Seattle have similar ratios." Other criteria included the gender pay gap, income after housing (another mark against the Bay Area) and the four-year employment growth stats. (See How Much Is Everyone Getting Paid? and WiCipedia: Lessons Learned From DC to Dubai .)

  • The April issue of magazine The Atlantic is titled "Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?" and focuses on -- you guessed it -- the Valley's mistreatment of women in tech and lack of change over the past few decades. Dozens of prominent women in tech were interviewed for the long-form article (also available in an audio version) and many praise the industry, citing "the problem-solving, the camaraderie, the opportunity for swift advancement and high salaries, the fun of working with the technology itself" as benefits. Yet many also have horror stories. Everyone who was interviewed expressed the same sentiment though: There is a sharp double standard, and sometimes there's nothing a woman in tech can do to eliminate the bias against her. The article summarizes this in an eye-opening yet somehow amusing comparison: "Succeeding in tech as a woman requires something more treacherous than the old adage about Ginger Rogers doing everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels. It's more like doing everything backwards and in heels while some guy is trying to yank at your dress, and another is telling you that a woman can't dance as well as a man, oh, and could you stop dancing for a moment and bring him something to drink?"

    The Atlantic's April Issue
    Definitely worth a read (or listen).
    Definitely worth a read (or listen).

  • Quartz published an interesting article this week based on a Pew Research Center study about maternity leave. It turns out, the best maternity leave plans are available to women who work in tech and finance. Though this makes sense considering these are highly paid industries, they also don't have the best attitudes towards women taking time off work. Even more surprising, "on average only 14% of US civilian workers get any paid time off when they have kids." Can we all agree this is a basic human right no matter what industry a woman is in? Let us know your thoughts about this issue in the comments section. You can also check out how different industries' policies stack up below.

    How Does Your Company Stack Up?
    37% of finance workers receive maternity leave as opposed to 14% of the at-large population.
    37% of finance workers receive maternity leave as opposed to 14% of the at-large population.

  • Cybersecurity has historically been one of the least alluring career paths in tech, but the UK is aiming to change that in a new competition for girls. The National Cyber Security Center just announced the finale of its national CyberFirst girls' challenge in which teams of girls compete for the title of "the UK's best cyber security talent of tomorrow." More than 8,000 girls aged 13 to 15 have competed, and nine teams have made it to the finale. A teacher from one of the participating schools said, "This event has captured the imagination of the girls and helps break down barriers as to what girls can achieve and do in the workplace, as well as raising the profile of an important aspect of national security." (See BT's Security Boss: Tech Has No Age and Upskill U Launches Cybersecurity Series With AT&T.)

  • The future may be female, but only if girls learn to code, argues Andrea Walsh, CIO of Isentia, a media intelligence company in Australia. In an article on Women Love Tech, Walsh promotes padding the pipeline with an open letter to all girls strongly advising them to learn how to code now. Walsh writes, "Digital literacy should be as important as any other form of literacy. We need to generate a movement like Michelle Obama's #builtbygirls campaign in the US, where all young girls are encouraged to engage with technology early and stay 'hooked.' We need to make sure coding is no longer relegated to the domain of boys." She also stresses that no one is ever too young to start coding as it truly is the future of how we work, engage and communicate. (See WiCipedia: After-School Coding, Salary Probing & Pro-Parenthood Companies and 'Women Who Code' CEO Paints Better Tech Pic.)

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

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    Kelsey Ziser
    Kelsey Ziser
    3/31/2017 | 10:35:15 AM
    Where's RTP?
    I'm surprised RTP/Morrisville, NC isn't on the best cities for women in tech list. 

    Re: maternity leave -- I found it ironic that only 19% of workers in the health and education sector have access to paid family leave.
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