This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Russia and Thailand lead the way in women in tech numbers; BT tries to improve its ratio; girl power gets bloody; and more.
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The HBO show Silicon Valley is under heat for not portraying a better gender balance, but doesn't art reflect life? Showrunner Alex Berg sure thinks so. Insider quotes a woman who was complaining to Berg about the lack of women in the show at an industry event: "'You've got to put more women in this show. Those crowd shots that you created at TechCrunch Disrupt are crazy. You didn't put any women in those.' I [Berg] said, 'Those are real. We shot those at the actual TechCrunch Disrupt.' And we didn't frame the women out -- there were no women in the room ... Do we have a responsibility to fake the tech business as a more gender inclusive place, or is our role to hold up a mirror to it and hopefully satirize and make jokes about it?" (See Silicon Valley Writer Foresees End of Bro Culture.)
Though the US is seriously lagging in the gender gap breakdown of people who work in STEM, a few other countries are pulling ahead, notably Russia and Thailand. Jerusalem Online reports that 41% of tech employees in Russia are female, compared to a worldwide average of only 29%. Tech in Asia says that in Thailand, 54% of applicants to tech jobs are now women. So why are these seemingly disparate countries leading the revolution? In Russia, KRC Research Managing Director Julian Lambertin attributes the success to girls viewing STEM positively and from a very young age. In Thailand, Poungthong Thipdang, HR director at Aware, an IT company, says the success comes down to recently expanding opportunities for women to work in general, and a strong example set by existing female leadership. (See WiCipedia: Feminist Fight Club, FinTech Femmes & Feminine Freebies.)
Affectiva, an artificial emotional intelligence technology company, has conducted a large-scale study on the differences between men and women's facial expressions. PLOS One explains that the study found that "women show significantly more positive expressions of emotion, smiling more often and longer" than their male counterparts. Men expressed anger 14% more than women, while women showed sadness 20% more than men. Dr. Rana el Kaliouby, CEO and co-founder of Affectiva, said, "A large-scale study of this nature takes a significant step toward furthering our understanding of how people express emotion. The findings of the study also illustrate the socialization pressures placed on both men and women, in terms of what is considered acceptable emotional expressions in social and professional settings." This is interesting insight into the way that men and women are conditioned to express emotion and how that might manifest and affect workplace behavior. After all, who else has been told to "Smile!" by a man on the street today? (See What Is Your Company's Gender IQ?)
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is aiming to increase the percentage of women in the company, with a goal of 30% female executives by 2020. Chartered Management Institute (CMI) conducted its own studies and found "that while 73% of entry-level roles are occupied by women, this reduces to just 43% of women in middle management roles." At a CMI Women event, BT's CIO, Rachel Higham, explained that in order to increase the number of women in the company, they had to get to the root of the issue first: "I went around and spoke to a number of women who had left, who were thinking of leaving and who had just joined and what they were telling me was that first of all the culture was wrong. Secondly, there weren't opportunities for them to move into and thirdly they weren't feeling confident to take control of their careers and make BT their homes for the rest of their careers." From that realization, the BT Tech Women Network was born, and so far the numbers are looking good. (See BT, Ericsson, O2 & Vodafone Mentor Girls in STEM and Women in Comms Returns to Light Reading's Big Communications Event in May.)
Girl power comes in many forms, but not many rival throwing used tampons at men, or at least that's the thought process behind Tampon Run's creators, Sophie Houser and Andrea Gonzales. Yahoo reports that the action-packed game was invented during a Girls Who Code summer program in high school in 2014, and has since "sparked renewed dialog about women and tech; two TEDx talks, and one iOS app," and now a book. Houser and Gonzales, now college students, sat down with Yahoo to talk about what they would do differently if they were to create Tampon Run now, and how they view women in tech. Houser said, "I think a huge part of coding is that you fail, over and over, which is also why I love coding. But you fail so much before you succeed. I think that women are taught that when they fail, they're not good at something and that they're not meant to do it..." Gonzales concluded, "When it comes down to it, women -- both their intelligence and their voices -- need to be taken seriously." (See WiCipedia: Best Cities for WiT, Born to Code & Dancing Backwards and WiCipedia: Diversity Awareness & Schooling Brogrammers.)