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WiCipedia: Eradicating Pay Gaps & Squashing Bro Culture

Eryn Leavens
3/17/2017

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: We've got the pay gap prognosis; tips galore for eradicating bro culture; how working from home encourages diversity; and more.


Women in Comms will be hosting its first networking breakfast and panel discussion on Wednesday, March 22, in Denver, Colo., ahead of day two of the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference. Register here and join us!


  • It's no secret that the gender pay gap still has a long way to go, and recent predictions about when that gap will close put it at 2044 -- 27 years from now. New research from Accenture says that women currently in college in developed countries who are set to graduate in 2020 could be the first to close the gender gap. But isn't 27 years too long to wait? Sadly, 2044 is actually the accelerated estimate, and that's only if women heed some very specific career advice, including being digitally fluent, immersing themselves in tech and managing their careers and online personas with an eagle eye. There are plenty more tips as well, from finding a mentor to taking continuing education classes and building an online company. In other words, the pressure is on and the work is a-plenty, but there's an end in sight. (See How Much Is Everyone Getting Paid? and WiCipedia: Internet by Bicycle, Pay Gaps & Misogyny in the Valley.)

    Three Tips
    If all it takes is aspiring to be in a leadership position, sounds like  it's time to make that vision a reality.
    If all it takes is aspiring to be in a leadership position, sounds like
    it's time to make that vision a reality.

  • A new article from The Register argues that it's not currently ethical to suggest tech as a career for young women because of the harassment they will undoubtedly endure. Though the author advocates for changes, including a dismantling of bro culture and severe consequences for harassment, he does not believe that women should be encouraged to "go to work in companies that have revealed themselves as toxic hives of sexism, misogyny and harassment." Among more specific suggestions, the author leaves us with one major request of men in order for change to really take place: "There's only one way through this: for the next twenty years, men must be on their best behaviour. A big ask, to be sure, but considering what women have been through -- and continue to go through -- also the least we can do." What are your thoughts on this controversial topic? (See Tech Leaders: Diversity Critical to Product Dev, Tech Leaders: Gender Diversity Could Add Billions to Economy and WiCipedia: The Case for Grit, Don't Call It Quits & Lawless Politics.)

  • So what can companies do about bro culture exactly? The Guardian released a step-by-step plan this week targeted at tech companies that want to avoid the dreaded harassment scandal and reframe their relationship to gender diversity. The checklist involves surveying current and past female employees to find out what's really going on behind the scenes, and then accepting the results instead of sweeping them under the rug; getting deep with HR -- are they pro-diversity or one of the root causes of discrimination cases not being taken seriously?; and instituting a "zero-tolerance policy" for any act of harassment or discrimination. If every tech company were to make these widespread changes to their ecosystem, imagine how perspectives and expectations might shift. (See Silicon Valley Writer Foresees End of Bro Culture and A Women in Comms Glossary.)

  • There's another way to encourage gender diversity, and that's having the option for employees to work remotely. According to Forbes, "Remote work is a chance for the tech industry to close its infamous gender gap." This is due in large part to being able to balance a career and raise children; working from home makes it substantially easier to maintain both. In fact, a study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee "found that one-third of women surveyed had left the tech industry because companies were not flexible enough to accommodate an adequate work-life balance." Not to mention that working from home saves countless dollars for both employees and companies. It's no surprise that companies that don't promote flexible policies are fading into the background (cough, cough, Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO)). (See WiCipedia: How to Make Companies Work for Women and Marissa Mayer & the Terrible, Horrible Day.)

  • What's an infinitely better marketing word for a gathering than "conference"? Festival! Next Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, is the third-annual Silicon Valley Forum's Women in Tech Festival, titled "Building the She Economy." The festival will be held at Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s campus in Mountain View, Calif., and will include a pitch competition, workshops and lots of speakers, reports Yahoo. Given the recent Silicon Valley scandals, this is either very ironic or very smart timing. (See Culture in Crisis: What's Next for Uber & Tech? and Nominate Your WiC Leading Lights NOW!)

    Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading

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    danielcawrey
    danielcawrey
    3/19/2017 | 2:42:23 PM
    Re: terrible advice
    Diversity in tech is direly needed. You see some of this news about company culture like at Uber and you think about how a company like that can survive.

    Who would want to work at a place like that? Top talent doesn't want to have to deal with the political environment of a company like that - which is going to start being reflected in the company's overall product at some point! 
    ErynLeavens
    ErynLeavens
    3/17/2017 | 12:19:35 PM
    Re: terrible advice
    I actually didn't have a strong reaction to this article. I don't think he was telling women to change; I think he was saying that men and the culture have to change in order to make it a place where we should be telling women to go. While I do agree that that doesn't actually do us any good because the culture isn't going to improve without women, I think it was more of a devil's advocate/tongue in cheek article. For instance, men being on good behavior for 20 years? Ha!
    Joe Stanganelli
    Joe Stanganelli
    3/17/2017 | 12:08:44 PM
    Re: terrible advice
    Reminds me of my favorite quote from late Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes:

    "[A]s a general proposition people are entitled to assume that their neighbors will conform to the law[.]"

    Leroy Fibre Co. v. Chicago M. & St. P. Ry., 232 U.S. 340, 352 (1914) (Holmes, J., concurring).

    Sarah Thomas
    Sarah Thomas
    3/17/2017 | 11:13:33 AM
    terrible advice
    Hmm that Register article is pretty disappointing to see, and I imagine it kicked up a lot of controversy. It seems like such a cop out and bad attitude to teach young girls that if a system isn't working for women to just avoid that system. It puts the onus on them and is so limiting. Plus, tech jobs tend to be very well paid, and there are a lot of reasons women should be excited about working in such a dynamic, influential and ever-changing field. The culture needs to change, not female expectations. 
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