This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Women in tech are finally reaching the small screen; kids take over teaching; techies are starting to feel self-conscious; and more.
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Sometimes, it's the students who do the teaching. EdSurge reports that at its first Fusion conference, a seven-year-old boy took the stage and pretty much won the day. Nate Butkus, an elementary student from Illinois, already has his own podcast covering STEM topics. Zaina Siyed, a 17-year-old high school student from California who runs the non-profit FemSTEM, and 16-year-old musician, motivational speaker and entrepreneur Jeremiah Jones joined Nate on stage at the conference to discuss how their "Personal circumstances, outside of the classroom, inspired them to create and work in STEM fields." The future is certainly bright for STEM. (See WiCipedia: Small Talk, Inflated Egos & the Motherboard of Cakes and A Man, a Mission & an Underwater Flashlight.)
You'll Be Hard-Pressed to Find Many Podcasters This Cute
A wide-ranging Axios poll finds that only half of women think tech will improve their lives in the future, the Independent Women's Forum summarizes. While the majority of women surveyed were positive regarding all of the tech-related questions, they always fell several points behind the male survey takers. When asked if tech would make life easier for them and their families in ten years' time, only 51% replied affirmatively, while 64% of men said it would. When asked about the fear of automation taking jobs, 58% of women were concerned whereas only 51% of men had fears of a robot takeover. (See Survey Says: Women in Comms Tell All.)
Smaller companies seem to be the most innovative, but it's the larger companies that have the ability to create the most widespread change, as evidenced by
General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE)'s plan to hire 20,000 women in STEM by 2020. Albany Business Journal reports. The three-stage plan is "to recruit more technically trained women, to retain those women after hiring and to promote women into management positions." Yet the Daily Trojan says that the STEM pipeline for women is the problem, and to create more jobs, we first need to address the issue. The USC Viterbi School of Engineering's 2017 freshman class served as a study of the trends of women in engineering today. See below for an infographic that demonstrates the issues all too clearly. (See WiCipedia: Debugging the Gap, GE's Gender Pledge & #ShePersisted.)
While the Numbers (Slowly) Rise...
While a cushy tech job has often been seen as a badge of honor, it's starting to become a point of shame, according to The Guardian. With all the focus on the need for diversity in the industry lately, the onus has shifted to the "wealthy white geeks [who] go to Stanford and then waltz into a VC or tech firm," yet without much progress. Comparing tech to the Wall Street heyday and other boom-time predecessors, Danny Greg, head of technology at e-commerce startup Brandless, said, "We have this habit of highlighting and celebrating brilliant assholes like Steve Jobs and [Uber co-founder and ousted CEO] Travis Kalanick, when the reality is they are awful human beings. It reminds me of stories that came out of Wall Street in the 1980s, when sexism was part and parcel of the culture. Stories like that become public very quickly and people find out and paint tech with one brush." If you have any remaining doubts about the current landscape of tech, check out this article, also from The Guardian, about how women who report sexual harassment are seen as "troublemakers." (See Hey Men of Silicon Valley, Stop Being Creepy!)
If you've been bemoaning the lack of women in tech representation on TV, the wait is nearly over. Girls Code is a 30-minute sitcom about being a woman working in tech at an all-female company. Freeform has picked up the comedy show, which playwright and New Girl writer-producer Kim Rosenstock and Ghostbusters and Bridesmaids director Paul Feig are directing and executive producing (so you know it's going to be both relatable and fall-off-the-couch funny). While the show is still in development, Deadline describes the show as a "workplace comedy about an antisocial tech CEO and an outspoken feminist non-profit warrior who must put aside their (many) issues with each other in order to mastermind a groundbreaking, all-women tech incubator." We'll be counting down the seasons until it arrives. (See WiCipedia: Tech in Africa, Female CEOs & Bingeworthy TV and WiCipedia: Big Leagues & Small Screens Take On Gender Parity.)
— Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading