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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Google Sued Over Gender Pay Disparity

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: The pay gap is real at Google; are blondes taken seriously?; Apple event has no gender balance; and more.


Join Women in Comms for its upcoming networking breakfast in Denver, Colorado, on September 28, where we'll be tackling the question "What's the matter with the tech industry?"


  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s pay disparity may be worse than we thought. According to a New York Times article, men are paid more than women across the board, but especially for mid-level positions and bonuses. A spreadsheet containing salary info for roughly 1,200 US Google employees confirms exact pay disparities. While women make up 31% of Google's employee base, they are paid up to 6% less than their male counterparts. See the full salary breakdown below. Adding fuel to the fire, three former Google engineers are suing the company, accusing it of discriminating against women by underpaying them and denying opportunities for promotions. The trio of women is planning to turn their case into a class action lawsuit for all women who worked at Google within the last four years, and their complaint comes after the US Department of Labor also opened an investigation into the company, alleging systematic pay differences by gender across the entire workforce. (See Google Fires Engineer Over Gender Manifesto, Google Ordered to Turn Over Some Pay Details and Google Shares Gender-Blind Pay Policies.)

    Google Has a Salary Problem
    (Source: The New York Times)

  • Tech companies don't exactly have a reputation for encouraging work-life balance, but maybe that's because founders are usually quite young. A Washington Post article suggests that as founders age, their priorities shift -- often towards facets of life that aren't related to work. This is most common when founders have children and take maternity or paternity leave. The article states that many companies have policies around parental leave or bereavement that are lacking, that is, until someone high up experiences one of these life stages and upends the policy. Setting a good example for sure, but often way too late. (See Netflix's Lesson in Culture Expectation Settings, Culture in Crisis: What's Next for Uber & Tech? and Facebook Steps Up Its Paid Leave Policies .)

  • The recent Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone event was severely lacking in female presenters, yet viewers seemed to think it was connected to the concurrent yet unrelated Fashion Week. At the two-hour event, Apple's Senior Vice President of Retail Angela Ahrendts was the only female presenter. Though Ahrendts was discussing the company's retail plan, the Twitterverse was discussing her pink Burberry coat. Glamour summarized the unexpected reaction and also reminded us that Apple has a pretty rough track record of featuring women at industry events -- "women got just 7 percent of the speaking time at Apple's Worldwide Developers' Conference 2017 keynote. Men spoke for approximately 117 minutes, while female speakers received just nine minutes of speaking time." (See Overpriced & Underwhelming, Apple's New iPhone Lacks X Factor and A Vast Valley: Tech's Inexcusable Gender Gap.)

    The Coat That Won the Apple Event
    (Source: Glamour)
    (Source: Glamour)

  • Think blondes have more fun? They're also taken less seriously, according to an article in The Huffington Post. Eileen Carey, CEO of software company Glassbreakers, "has revealed she dyed her blonde hair, wore loose-fitting clothes and switched her contact lenses for glasses in order to be 'taken seriously' in the workplace. 'I was told for this raise [that she was pitching to investors], it would be to my benefit to dye my hair brown because there was a stronger pattern recognition of brunette women CEOs. Being a brunette helps me to look a bit older and I needed that, I felt, in order to be taken seriously.'" The article shows pictures of Carey as both a blonde and a brunette, and having seen the photos, we aren't sure why it would make a difference, honestly. This is why we're big fans of these women who have stayed true to their roots, literally, and rocked the business world as blondes. (See Blond Buffoon a Worry for Telecom Vendors.)

  • In the past we've covered how fintech may be surprisingly female dominated, but it seems it's catching up with the rest of tech. Business Insider reports that "fintech has a gender problem," and at least in the UK, women represent only 29% of fintech employees. In a quote that will resonate for all women in tech, Marta Krupinska, co-founder of payments app Azimo, told Business Insider: "I couldn't count the number of times when I was the only woman in the room. Meeting room. Board room. Conference room. Worst of all, the only woman speaking at high profile events -- and these are such a great opportunity to create and enforce role models." (See WiCipedia: Fintech Flexibility, Snap Missteps & Women of Wearables and WiCipedia: Feminist Fight Club, FinTech Femmes & Feminine Freebies.)

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

  • kq4ym 9/26/2017 | 1:02:20 PM
    Re: the Google gap It will be interesting to watch the Google developments and how other companies might well have to take notice so as not to be in the same boat as they may be. While we don't know quite what the truth is at this stage, you can be sure the lawyers for both sides will be spending lots of hours going over the number for some time to come to see what's really going on.
    Phil_Britt 9/18/2017 | 10:30:12 AM
    Re: the Google gap Likely it is larger than is depicted in the chart. Over the years, sample numbers for charts have gotten smaller, so the accuracy not as good.
    mendyk 9/15/2017 | 10:44:11 AM
    Re: the Google gap I thought the gap would be much wider than what's depicted in the chart.
    Sarah Thomas 9/15/2017 | 10:19:21 AM
    the Google gap Google's original detailed response to the Department of Labor regarding its gender-blind salary strategy and algorithms used to determine pay seemed pretty reasonable, but it's getting harder to trust that it's true. This will be a really interesting case to see play out. It's hard to prove this kind of thing, but evidence from a class action suit can't be dismissed.
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