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WiCipedia: Diversity Fatigue & 'Unprotected' Minorities at Google

Eryn Leavens

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Google slams diversity measures at the leadership level; fatigue sets in on the Valley; men's careers are nurtured more than women's; 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!

  • In the UK, gender imbalance at tech companies is very similar to what we see in the US. Channel Web interviewed Annabel Berry, CEO of cybersecurity consultancy Sapphire, who said that companies are more likely to want to support men's careers over women's careers because they think men won't take as many breaks from work as women will. She said, "I was at a women in tech event a couple of years ago where they quoted a report saying that there are more [tech] chief executives in the whole of Europe called 'John' or 'David' than there are women. That put it in perspective ... I think there is a natural tendency to move on or nurture men in their careers a little more than there is a tendency to nurture females, especially when you are just starting your career in your 20s and 30s. We should be nurturing and supporting the talent within our businesses, regardless of gender." (See WiC Panel: Societal Pressure Drives Diversity & Inclusion.)

  • Also over on the other side of the pond, Huckletree is reinventing the way that co-working spaces operate. As the first of its kind in the UK in 2014, Huckletree was started by Gabriela Hersham, who was working in the film industry at the time, The Evening Standard reports. Four years ago, London's tech scene was starting to expand, and Hersham "loved this concept of people working separately but collaborating together." Its third location, opened last year, offers a "Power Parents" package, so members can bring their little ones to work with them for a subsidized membership, and moms can also gain perks like learning to code. Huckletree just raised a Series B funding round and is looking to expand to Paris. (See WiCipedia: Beyond Brotopia, Huggle's All-Female Team & Diversity Ratings, 5 Reasons Why London's Tech & Startup Scene Is the Best in the World and WiCipedia: Male Allies, Co-Working Spaces & Automation.)

    The Bambino Room at Huckletree
    Little makers in the making. 
(Source: The Evening Standard)
    Little makers in the making.
    (Source: The Evening Standard)

  • Alphabet and Google are under fire this week as their diversity practices and policies are examined, The Washington Post explains. "Google employees and Alphabet investors want Alphabet's sustainability and diversity metrics to be tied to how much company executives make," the article states, yet a proposal for this change was voted down, and minorities at the company say they are feeling "unprotected." Others say the lack of diversity leadership has "impaired productivity and company culture" and has left workers "feeling unsafe and unable to do our work." (See 'Ladysplaining' Ex-Googler's Anti-Women Memo.)

  • From "mansplaining" to "gaslighting," our industry has no lack of incredibly specific terms. "Diversity fatigue" is the newest to enter our lexicon, says The LA Times. The term, born from "pushing for change for so many years and seeing so little of it," is setting in especially for diversity advocates in Silicon Valley, which is still predominately male and white. A survey of nearly 2,000 pro techies showed that the fatigue is felt across the board. "I'm calling it the Venn diagram of exhaustion," said Aubrey Blanche, head of diversity and inclusion at Atlassian, the enterprise software firm that commissioned the survey. "Everyone is exhausted for different reasons, but we're all exhausted." (See A Women in Comms Glossary.)

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the latest tech company to offer a "returnship" option for women returning to work after a family leave. Reuters reports that the company, which is in total made up of 26% women (just 19% at the leadership level) wants to "tap into non-traditional talent pools." Returnship programs generally cater to women who are returning to work after caring for a new baby or elderly parent, though Microsoft is also offering a program catering to women who are not previously coming from a tech background. Microsoft's LEAP diversity initiative is "aimed at hiring women and minorities from unconventional backgrounds." The company is no stranger to discrimination lawsuits in the past few years, and seems to be trying to redeem itself. (See IBM, Microsoft Duke It Out Over Chief Diversity Hire.)

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

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