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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Big Leagues & Small Screens Take On Gender Parity

This week in our Women in Comms roundup: Women rule Intel's C-suite; Mr. Robot focuses on the ladies; Telenor Sweden finds impressive gender balance; and more.


Interested in joining Women in Comms on our mission to champion change, empower women and redress the gender imbalance in the comms industry? Visit WiC online and get in touch to learn more about how you can become a member!


  • There's been a lot of talk lately about women in C-suite roles, with the media concurrently analyzing their missteps and wondering why there aren't more females at the top. TechTarget this week wrote about Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC)'s new female CIO, Paula Tolliver, who replaced the company's former female CIO, Kim Stevenson. The article stressed how little Intel focused on the gender politics of the coincidence, as many companies might, but also made it clear that this victory does not mean women have made it, since "just 14% of CIOs worldwide are women."

    The consensus of most women in charge seems to be that truly choosing the best person for the job will naturally result in diversity without the need to lump them into "diversity programs." Gartner Inc. Fellow Debra Logan stated, "I don't want anyone to perceive me as anything other than 100% capable and competent to do the job." Sometimes it's not about diversity; it's about talent. (See Join Women in Comms, Intel, XO, Vodafone, Windstream & Zayo for Breakfast in Denver, WiCipedia: Woman Cards & Bitch Switches and Intel's Transformation Guru: Influence & Business Case Trump Tech.)

  • In contrast to Intel's perpetual advocacy of women, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is in trouble this week for discriminatory practices. ThinkProgress reports that three women are suing Microsoft for neglecting to give promotions and raises because of their gender. Microsoft is denying the allegations, and a spokeswoman has said, "We are continuing to ... demonstrate our commitment to equal employment opportunity." Microsoft is no stranger to sexism, though, just recently evidenced by the company's blatantly discriminatory HoloLens ads and penchant for go-go dancers at events. (See WiCipedia: Facebook's LGBT Stats, Broettes & 'Tiny Lady Hands' and WiCipedia: UK's Crackdown & a Go-Go No-Go.)

  • Mr. Robot, the USA TV show about a male computer programmer who straddles the line between cybersecurity engineer and white hat hacker, has shifted the focus to its female characters of late. Nerdist calls the ladies of Mr. Robot "among the strongest on TV," and USA Network's Executive VP of Development Dawn Olmstead says, "I think it's incredible the kind of women ... on the show. They each could be a show within themselves, because they're so strong. They have so much ambition. They're so clear-eyed in what their agenda is. And it's not based on being a woman or being someone's spouse or girlfriend. It's about whatever they believe in." IndieWire and Polygon concur that the emphasis of strong women in tech on the program is a total game-changer and beneficial for all. (See Axonista CEO Turns TV Habit Into Startup Success.)

    The Leading Ladies of Mr. Robot

  • Lots of tech companies talk about achieving gender equality, but very few are there yet. Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) is breaking the mold and in a short time has radically increased the number of its female employees in Sweden. The gender ratio of its CXOs is now 50/50 and the management team is made up of 60% women as well. Those are pretty impressive numbers given the staggeringly low amount of women who work in telecom, where "the percentage of women in top management positions in all firms is still under 9 percent," according to Channel Partners. Telenor also participates in Womenator, an industry program that provides networking and mentoring opportunities for women in tech. Though who are we kidding? Life is just a little bit better in Sweden. (See WiCipedia: Middle Eastern Progress & Founders Fight Exclusion.)

  • It's no secret that minorities in tech tend to get the short end of the stick, and this is only multiplied for double minorities. Leanne Pittsford founded Lesbians Who Tech after attending industry events and not encountering any other LGBT women. She also noticed a lack of career resources and networking opportunities for the demographic. Four years in, Lesbians Who Tech is 20,000 members strong and growing. NBC News ran a feature on the organization and Pittsford this week, emphasizing the role the group is playing in the greater tech space. Regarding the fight for minority equality, Pittsford says, "If we're this small startup with really limited resources and we can do this, I'm pretty sure tech companies can figure it out too. And that's what we're fighting for." (See WiCipedia: Big Names Band Together & #NoWomanEver and WiCipedia: Facebook's LGBT Stats, Broettes & 'Tiny Lady Hands'.)

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

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