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WiCipedia: Int'l Telecom, Emerging Industries & Back to School

Eryn Leavens

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Media access in Iran and India; Portland sees a high rate of harassment; emerging industries make way for women; and more.

Join Women in Comms for a breakfast workshop and networking at the NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver on Sept. 26. The workshop is open to all women and men in the telecommunications, STEM and IT fields -- communications service providers get in free!

  • It's back-to-school season, whether you're five or 85. Somehow the newness of a fresh start in fall never seems to leave us. So we were delighted to stumble upon this Mashable list of the best YouTube channels for learning about STEM. Women run all six recommended channels and focus on different topics in science and tech, from a behind-the-scenes look into scientific exhibits at The Field Museum in Chicago to coding experiments and programming lessons. It's time to get your inner smart kid on. (See WiCipedia: Jobs That Matter, Fembot Overlords & Tech Aids in Work-Life Balance.)

  • In India, access to the Internet and mobile services comes with "a significant gender gap," says The Indian Express. Women are 46% less likely to have their own mobile phones, compared to men, which is the highest gender gap of 16 comparable countries. The reasons for this are many, including the financial burden, lack of technical literacy, harassment concerns and societal norms. Yet India's Department of Telecommunications isn't giving up on this issue, so it is hosting a seminar titled "Women and Mobile: Bridging the Gender Gap," and encouraging its officers to attend. With a female Telecom Secretary, Aruna Sundararajan, it seems attention is being directed to this meaningful issue. (See WiCipedia: Boardroom Diversity, Bombastic Mansplaining & Women of Color.)

    Lack of Technical Literacy Should Not Be an Excuse
    (Source: The Indian Express)

  • A regional survey from PDX Women in Tech called "State of the Community" took note of the Portland tech scene and women's experiences. Oregon Live summarized the findings in a recent article. The study of 804 partipants found that sadly, "harassment and stereotyping remain common in Oregon's tech scene despite the state's progressive reputation and years of work to improve workplace conduct." Seventeen percent of respondents reported workplace harassment in the past year, and even worse, more than half said that the issue was not resolved properly and often resulted in retaliation. "There isn't a sense of urgency," PDX Women in Tech Board President Megan Bigelow said. "There's just not a lot of awareness campaigns in the workplace, so when people experience harassment, they feel isolated because no one's talking about it." (See WiCipedia: Dongles, SXSW & Marital Status Bias and Bohling: Have the Conversation to End Harassment .)

    (Source: Oregon Live)
    (Source: Oregon Live)

  • Iran's Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, has been in office for a full year this week, though he has not fulfilled his promises to the people of Iran, The Center for Human Rights in Iran reports. Though Jahromi promised increased Internet access before starting his current position, since then, many online communication tools have been entirely blocked, including Twitter and other social media sites, so that users don't see "immoral content." The removable of access to the outside world through censorship does nothing to help women receive education, get help if they are in a threatening situation or stay in contact with friends and family who don't reside in Iran. This is also important because another study from a Telenor Group survey found that "women find happiness and optimism when using mobile phones," and women in Myanmar, in particular, said that mobile phones "give them a global perspective." In addition to the access issues, Jahromi also pledged that women would make up 30% of the ministry's managerial posts by 2021. While we are still a year off, there have only been nine women hired in the past year, which makes the goal improbable. (See WiCipedia: Queen of Code, Female VCs & STEM Expectations.)

  • What's one way to stick it to the man when you're a gender minority in tech? Move on to more innovative and emerging industries, like cannabis. Aliza Sherman, a veteran to the tech world and founder and author of Cybergrrl!, along with ten other books and several other websites, found herself in the cannabis space while researching digital marketing. She quickly discovered that there were parallels to her decades in tech, with the bonus that she felt she was helping people of all ages with their quality of life and health issues. So she started Ellementa, "an international network that is the bridge between cannabis, CBD and wellness companies and the women they want to reach: 35-plus who are seeking health and medicine alternatives to address a myriad of conditions." While Sherman says that she faces the same challenges in growing a business that she did in tech, she also told The New Haven Register, "I've found the cannabis industry to be incredibly welcoming to women and empowering for women. There's a strong sentiment of 'we're in this thing together' among many of the cannabis entrepreneurs I know. Collaboration is key to succeeding in this industry." (See WiCipedia: Crypto, Cannabis & Change.)

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

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