This week in our WiCipedia roundup: The wearables market brings back convention models; racial inequalities faring worse than gender differences; BBC goes to the Valley; and more.
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This week was International Day of the Girl, and we celebrated with a video by director MJ Delaney titled "Global Girls for Global Goals." The film shows some seriously fierce young girls from all over the world dancing and lip-syncing to Beyoncé's "Freedom." Facts about injustices against girls are written across the screen, followed by the goal of eliminating violence directed at girls, ensuring all female children are in school and banishing forced marriages -- all by 2030. You can watch the entire powerful video below. #freedomforgirls (See WiCipedia: 'Meternity,' Lemonade & Chores.)
You may have thought the days of "booth babes" were long over, but they aren't, and they may be impeding the efforts of women in tech. Glossy, a publication focusing on fashion and tech, published an article about how the wearables market has increased the need for models at tech events, reinvigorating the preponderance of pretty, young (half-naked) women at male-dominated industry events. One employee described the environment as "women are seen as the candy in the room." While the industry at large seems to understand that the practice of hiring women to display tech products at events is frowned upon, the wearables market has uncovered a tricky conundrum: Should they use unisex mannequins to display their products? Just place them on a table? How do you make a sexy product seem enticing without the body that is intended to wear it? (See CES 2017: WIC's Picks & What Made Us Sick.)
Fast Company has compiled stats from the recent Ascend Foundation report, and has found that compared to ten years ago, there are fewer African-American women working in tech. More specifically, "The percentage share of black female workers has declined despite diversity initiatives aimed at hiring more underrepresented minorities in tech. Between 2007 and 2015 there has been a 13% decrease in the number of black women professionals." That's a decline too big to ignore. CityLab analyzed the same report and found that while we often focus on gender inequalities in tech, racial inequalities are faring much worse. The report says, "In general, although minority women faced both racial and gender gaps ... race, not gender, was increasingly the more important factor in limiting minority women in the pipeline." (See WiCipedia: Who Cares About Diversity? We Do.)
There's one large company that is putting others to shame when it comes to its gender ratio, and it may be one that we've totally overlooked: Sephora. The huge, high-end beauty chain employs more than 60% women in its tech department compared to just 23% in other large tech departments, according to The Wall Street Journal. While a smaller company than its peers, "Managers say the retailer has managed to attract technical women by recruiting with an eye toward candidates' potential rather than specific skills, encouraging hiring managers to take risks and ensuring that job performance is assessed fairly," something that can be adopted by companies of any size. "While tech companies commonly urge workers to embrace failure, the message at Sephora is specifically tailored to help employees avoid common pitfalls that women encounter in tech careers," the article states.
The BBC interviewed women to learn more about the biggest issues they are dealing with in their tech careers for its 100 women series. In this particular video, "100 Women: Five things I learned as a woman in Silicon Valley," the BBC's Nuala McGovern came away from the interviews with five key takeaways and reminders that summarize what women in tech (and beyond) are going through on a daily basis. Here they are, and you can watch the full video here: (See Survey Says: Women in Comms Tell All.)
They will show up.
Women have been invited to the party, but they haven't been asked to dance.
Re: Tough Interesting to read "compared to ten years ago, there are fewer African-American women working in tech," and ponder why that is. It does seem that the battle lately has been women in tech in general. maybe setting aside for a time the battle minorities as well have in entering and staying the field.
Re: Tough I feel like smart watches and Fitbits are really popular, at least in fitness communities. And they aren't always visible... Not sure what other human demographics they might appeal to but there's no shortage of them at the gym. My dogs also have a version of them! They're trackers that attach to their collars but also monitor activity levels, etc.
Tough The wearables market is already tough enough. Marketing these devices is also a problem.
I don't see people wearing a multitude of wearables. So I'm pessimstic on the growth prospects. Maybe if there is some kind of recurring service revenue for these things it will do well. But the hardware itself? Tough business to be in.
This week in our WiC roundup: Coding school teaches kids to help others with tech; '90s TV reigns supreme even in the everything-automated age; computer science programs may have more accountability soon; and more.