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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Following Women on Twitter... and on Stage

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: male techies don't follow women on Twitter; Trump stalks Hillary on stage; mansplaining gets defined; and more.


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  • Vice's Motherboard brought to our attention this week that Tesla's Elon Musk does not follow women on Twitter, like, at all. His excuse was that he uses Twitter for news sources, none of which happen to be female. (Interestingly, Musk follows Ryan Reynolds and Weird Al Yankovic, according to Fusion.) The Guardian and Fusion dug deeper into the follower fiasco, and found that tech leaders in general (both male and female) eschew following females on the social networking site. The post includes a gendered breakdown of the following habits of several top leaders in tech, along with a starter guide to finding inspiring women on Twitter. (See WiCipedia: Victory in a 'Culture of Victimology'.)

  • While we try not to get too political here at Women in Comms, it's hard to ignore all the media attention on the 2016 election this season, which is now just a few weeks away. Much of that attention has been focused on women -- in the workplace, in the home and in public spaces. This past Sunday's second presidential town hall debate had journalists and newscasters alike frenzied over Donald Trump's leaked statements but also his predatory stance and general lack of boundaries and decorum on stage during the debate. See below for a few of the most on-the-mark tweets of the evening. (See WiCipedia: Trumpisms, Marriage Penalties & Back-to-School Inspo.)

  • One of our favorite new words, mansplaining, has also reached peak Twitter status this week. Computer scientist and professor Jen Golbeck expressed anger directed at programming language Java this week, and promptly received a patronizing response from a man that said, "learn it and you'll never want to use anything else ;)." Mashable covered the Twitter storm and Golbeck's responses to the assumption that she's a coding novice, presumably because she's a woman. She redirected the conversation "to a deeper problem with sexism women in tech face today: how men automatically assume their inexperience or incompetence, sexually harass them and give them a general sense of a patronizing 'pat on the head' as you would a child for a job well done." A man empathized with Golbeck in the tweet reply below, and in the process may have just provided the first dictionary definition for the word "mansplain." (See WiCipedia: Facebook's LGBT Stats, Broettes & 'Tiny Lady Hands'.)

  • Manuals for women in tech -- the getting through the day kind -- have been all the rage lately. Lately we've talked about books for women eyeing the corner office, including Lean In and Feminist Fight Club, and the benefits and disadvantages of holding women-only events. Last week, the Dreamforce16 conference in San Francisco paid close attention to gender and diversity in the tech industry, focusing several sessions on women in STEM, race and equality. Diginomica reports that Dreamforce16 stitched together its own "survival guide for women in tech." From dealing with a lack of restrooms for women to learning how to network over "cigars and scotch," female founders and tech-savvy employees shared their experiences of discrimination and tips and tricks to get recognized for skills instead of gender. In a panel of four women talking about gender, the message was clear: If we tell girls from the get go that they're smart instead of pretty, that they can be engineers instead of princesses, we may be able to reshape the way women are seen in STEM industries, and then we wouldn't need a guidebook to being the minority at all. (See WiCipedia: Feminist Fight Club, FinTech Femmes & Feminine Freebies.)

  • All too often we hear about women being discriminated against for jobs and promotions because of gender discrimination, especially in tech. Yahoo has the opposite situation on its hands this week. Reuters reports that a lawsuit was recently filed stating that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer illegally laid off male employees, especially from the upper echelons. The lawsuit specifically targets a newly implemented quarterly review process, calling it "arbitrary and discriminatory." "The lawsuit claims former Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Savitt 'intentionally hired and promoted women because of their gender,' noting that 14 of about 16 senior level editorial employees hired by her were women." While we definitely want to take any claims seriously, this almost feels like an April Fool's Day prank. Maybe Yahoo should be added to the recent Anita Borg Institute's list of the best companies for women in tech? Just kidding! Discrimination against any group of people does not create a healthy workplace for anyone. (See WiCipedia: Datanauts, Dudes & Deals.)

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

  • ErynLeavens 10/28/2016 | 12:33:28 PM
    Re: Mansplaining and gaslighting Kelsey,

    I randomly came across this blog about gaslighting, particularly in regards to millenials, yesterday. In this context (and directed at my generation) I do recognize that this is something I've experienced, both personally and professionally, though luckily not to a large degree professionally. I definitely recognize how men do this to women all the time though. Just open a paper or turn on the TV and you'll see it in plain view, which means it isn't something the general public even regards as "wrong" or "inappropriate" yet. This definitely needs to be addressed more! Thanks again for bringing it up.
    Kelsey Ziser 10/20/2016 | 2:54:22 PM
    Re: Mansplaining and gaslighting @Eryn Thanks for sharing that article - I didn't realized the term gaslighting was being used to describe Trump's behavior, but certainly makes sense! 
    ErynLeavens 10/20/2016 | 2:18:20 PM
    Re: Mansplaining and gaslighting Here's an article about the history of gaslighting that ironically just came out a few days ago. Apparently the word has been used so much in regards to Trump's treatment of Hillary in the debates that it warranted an essay. Interesting stuff.
    ErynLeavens 10/20/2016 | 2:15:49 PM
    Re: Speaking of twitter Maybe it's just that it's such a specific market and there are so many products that it demands its own room...? I'm all for pet tech though!
    Sarah Thomas 10/19/2016 | 12:29:29 PM
    Re: Speaking of twitter Interesting. I know people love their pets, but I would think mom and kid-centric tech would get bigger play. Women, especially moms, are huge consumers of technology. I guess they assume they won't be at CES though?
    Sarah Thomas 10/19/2016 | 12:28:43 PM
    Re: Mansplaining and gaslighting I hadn't heard of gaslighting before, but I can imagine many women are familar with it happening! Reminds of this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_V4n2iP2AU
    Kelsey Ziser 10/18/2016 | 4:30:08 PM
    Mansplaining and gaslighting I'm glad to see more buzz around mansplaining but I'm curious to know how many women in tech have also been victims of gaslighting which is when the victim is made to question their own feelings and perceptions. Based on informal chats I've had with female friends, it's an all too common occurance in relationships when their male partner questions their feelings/reaction to circumstances and basically says that they're over-reacting. It's a sneaky way to win arguments! Anywho, I'm just wondering if gaslighting is also a common occurance in the workplace for women in tech, or if it's more just a relational issue.
    Mitch Wagner 10/17/2016 | 1:24:57 PM
    Speaking of twitter
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