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WiCipedia: Data Bias in Space, #MeToo Backlash & Childhood Conditioning

Eryn Leavens

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: #MeToo backlash hits hard; stopping imposter syndrome before it starts; book recommendations galore!; and more.

  • Gender disparity issues start on the playground, not in the conference room. Career Contessa reports that in order to facilitate more inclusive workspaces in adulthood, gender integration needs to begin very early on. Christia Brown, author of Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue: How to Raise Your Child Free of Gender Stereotypes, explained that gender integration at an early age is crucial for future success: "Brown says a common argument for single-sex schools is that they allow girls to build confidence and talk without being interrupted. Her answer? 'Shouldn't we be teaching boys to not interrupt girls and teach girls to feel confident even in the presence of boys? Because I know in board meetings, those are going to be important skills for both men and women to have,'" she told Career Contessa. (See WiCipedia: VMware Goes to Mount Kilimanjaro & Barbie Gets Geeky and WiCipedia: The Cool Tech Girl & Rallycross Racing.)

  • Recent news of the all-female space trip being canceled due to a lack of space suits that were specifically designed for women was a prime example of the basic gender differences that are overlooked daily. Itching for more? Check out Caroline Criado Perez's book, Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. An article in Science News covered the release and says that from "city infrastructure to car safety," the way that our world is designed is intended for men, leaving out half the population. The author contends that the only way to right these wrongs is by putting women in charge -- at the very top. "Only by making women visible in government decisions, medical research and infrastructure planning will society fully support women, Criado Perez argues, and that requires asking women, including women and electing women. 'When women are involved in decision-making, in research, in knowledge production,' Criado Perez writes, 'women do not get forgotten.'" (See IBM Debuts Tools to Make AI More Fair.)

  • Thought the #MeToo headlines were over? Think again. Forbes explains that the #MeToo "backlash after speaking up" is only just beginning. While women were applauded for being courageous enough to out their harassers and abusers, that doesn't mean there weren't repercussions for victims to face after the fact. "Once you report bad behavior of any kind, women are often shunned and blackballed," the article states. "You are pegged as a whistleblower, a nuisance, a troublemaker -- the squeaky wheel that will never be oiled again." Those who have spoken up have sometimes been targeted and threatened, which is in sharp contrast to many of the accused men, who have since been able to move on with their lives by taking on new jobs. (See WiCipedia: Terrible People, #MeToo Venting & Magic Mike, Here We Come!)

  • We've all heard of imposter syndrome -- that pit-in-your-stomach feeling that you're not good enough for whatever it is that you're doing and that others will see through the veil of deception soon enough. One engineer has made it her mission to help other women overcome imposter syndrome and fear of failure, Silicon Angle reports. Pratima Rao Gluckman, author of Nevertheless, She Persisted: True Stories of Women in Tech, has found herself connecting with girls and women all over the world since her book launched, and has specifically focused on the all-too-pervasive issue of imposter syndrome. Gluckman found that the issues began far before adulthood, and saw it firsthand in her work with high school girls: "They were doing all these amazing things, and I thought, 'Oh my god, they're... confident women,' but they were not. And it was because they felt that there was too much to lose. They didn't want to take risks. They didn't want to fail. And it was that imposter syndrome coming back, so that conditioning happens way before [women enter the workplace]." (See WiCipedia: Risk Taking, Imposter Syndrome & CES Double Standards.)

  • An angel investment consortium, Pipeline Angels, is setting out to "change the face of angel investing," Black Enterprise says. The fund is specifically intended to raise money for "women and non-binary femme social entrepreneurs," and currently hosts an angel investing boot camp, which has more than 300 graduates. "As a Black woman in tech, I was searching for a way to disrupt the perception of what tech superstars look like," said Lisha Bell, member of Pipeline Angels and product manager at Braintree. "When I discovered Pipeline Angels, I thought, 'This organization gets it,'" We look forward to seeing more innovative groups like this emerging in VC in the future. (See WiCipedia: Careers After Kids, Int'l Women's Day & Minority Founders and WiCipedia: Queen of Code, Female VCs & STEM Expectations.)

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

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