Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Israeli Tech Flounders, CIOs Make Change & How to 'Bust Down Those Doors'

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Israel struggles to find techies; CIOs have diversity sway; the visibility linchpin; and more.

  • Israelis in tech may soon be extinct. The Taub Center for Social Policy Studies completed a recent study which showed that there simply aren't many Israelis who have the tech skills needed to continue in the industry, Haaretz explained. Yet government plans are in place to boost education levels for minority groups, such as women, Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews, in the area. Only 8% of Israelis currently working in tech, and few have motivation to switch industries. This is made worse for women because of the discrimination within Israeli's tech scene, another Haaretz article reports, with "office porn and sexist jokes" more common than not in offices. (See WiCipedia: Diversity in Product Dev & Israeli Entrepreneurs Protest Sexism and Can a Government Fund the Next Silicon Valley?)

    A Tech Office in Tel Aviv
    (Source: Haaretz)
    (Source: Haaretz)

  • Change often comes from the top, which is why it makes sense that CIOs should have a hand in increasing diversity in tech, says Information Age. While only one in five IT employees are female, IT leaders are generally happy with this statistic, and "only 18% feel that they could do much better," the article explains, based on the Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO survey 2018. Yet it's been proven that when teams are more diverse, they yield substantially higher profits, which is why CIOs should take heed and then take action to ensure that their staff is much more than one-fifth female. One CIO said, "I do think CIOs have a bigger impact than most people give us credit for, and we need to use that influence to do more." (See DevOps Institute CEO: We're at 'Tech's Tipping Point'.)

  • Visibility is the key to the diversity equation, an article in Forbes by Julie Elberfeld, an SVP at Capital One, explains, and underrepresentation of women in tech is the constant. Julie lays out a game plan for diversifying tech, making it clear that while it's not a change that can happen overnight, there's certainly a way forward. Among her recommendations are providing opportunities for advancement for everyone, placing value on all skill sets and making sure visibility is prioritized. Considering that 67% of women in tech "feel underestimated at work," reports Tech Republic, these steps forward are more important than ever. (See Making Mentoring a Priority.)

  • Life as a female CEO is hard (and improbable) enough, so what happens when you're a lesbian CEO? The Guardian profiled Hayley Sudbury, founder of Werkin, a mobile app that connects mentors to mentees. LGBT workers leave the workforce at a higher rate than their hetero counterparts: A 2017 report by the Kapor Center for Social Impact "found 24% of LGBT people had experienced public humiliation or embarrassment, and 64% of LGBT employees who were bullied said the experience contributed to their decision to leave [their job]." Hayley left the finance industry because she "picked up that being a gay woman wasn't celebrated," and eventually founded Werkin and created a diverse and open workplace where she didn't feel like she had to hide her personal life. She aims to show the next generation that being gay and out doesn't have to be a career death sentence. The article states, "Sudbury wants young LGBT women who are interested in tech to have role models. The tide is turning against the stereotypical 'all male bro culture'." (See WiCipedia: Feminist Fight Club, FinTech Femmes & Feminine Freebies.)

  • Another interview we appreciated this week was with Allyson Kapin, founder of Women Who Tech and co-founder of the Rad Campaign, "a social change web agency." Mar Tech Series sat down with the founder to hear her take on the industry and her advice for other women. She said, "It's the most exciting time to be immersed in tech, and diverse founders and teams are the key to unlocking innovation... But the industry for women definitely has its challenges, too, and you'll need to be prepared to bust down those doors that have been closed off. Focus on building up a network and support systems internally and externally. And get out of toxic environments as fast as you can." We couldn't have said it better. (See WiCipedia: Gen Z Changemakers, MotherCoders & Keeping Women in Tech and Parallel Wireless Founder Reflects on Tech.)

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

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