Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Lack of Diversity Creates Blind Spots & Twitch Leads by Example

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: A majority female C-suite; avoiding another financial crisis; charitable donation allocation; and more.

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

  • This month marks the ten-year anniversary of the 2008 financial crisis that no one ever wants to repeat. So how do we avoid a recurrence? Women might have something to do with it. Forbes suggests that had the power been in women's hands in the financial sector, the collapse might never have happened. Technology has grown in leaps and bounds in the last decade, and with innovation in fintech comes even more risk. International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said, "A key ingredient of reform would be more female leadership in finance. I say this for two reasons. First, greater diversity always sharpens thinking, reducing the potential for groupthink. Second, this diversity also leads to more prudence, with less of the reckless decision-making that provoked the crisis. Our own research bears this out -- a higher share of women on the boards of banks and financial supervision agencies is associated with greater stability." (See WiCipedia: Fintech Flexibility, Snap Missteps & Women of Wearables.)

  • You'd think that tech companies that engage in charitable giving (which should be all of them) would want to give back to the less privileged in their community, like women. Not so, Biz Journal says. A report from Melinda Gates's Pivotal Ventures, titled Rebooting Representation, found that tech companies allocate only 5% of their total donations to programs that aim to close the gender gap in tech. "Most companies do not apply a gender lens to their CSR (corporate social responsibility) and philanthropy," the report says. "Despite many leaders' stated desire to bring more women into the sector, most companies do not invest significantly in improving the gender diversity in tech through their philanthropy." For some serious philanthropic inspiration, check out Prof Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who won £2.3 million for the Breakthrough Prize for the discovery of radio pulsars and "says she wants to use her prize money to counter what she describes as the 'unconscious bias' that she believes still occurs in physics research jobs," the BBC states. (See WiCipedia: Podcasts, Charity Tech & Micro-Aggressions and WiCipedia: Uber's Charity Drive & Boys Buck Bro Culture.)

    The Girls Who Code Clubs Program in Montclair, NJ
    There's certainly no shortage of organizations that are accepting donations. (Source: Biz Journals)
    There's certainly no shortage of organizations that are accepting donations.
    (Source: Biz Journals)

  • In what feels like a rare move these days, a tech company now has a predominantly female leadership team. Twitch, a video game streaming service, just hired three additional female employees to its upper echelon (bringing the total to four women and three men), which makes its C-levelers majority female, Mashable reports. Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, is a rarity in a male-dominated industry and the almost exclusively male sub-industry of gaming. Mashable explains, "Considering that the video game industry has been plagued with its own share of toxic sexism and harassment, the example that Twitch is setting with its leadership team is all that more notable." (See WiCipedia: 'Build Up, Never Tear Down'.)

  • Cybersecurity concerns pop up in the news more and more each day, but what if more diversity could prevent a higher number of breaches? That's the argument that an article in The Guardian makes. The cybersecurity industry is made up of only 11% women, a percentage that has barely budged in five years. The less diversity an industry has, the more room there might be for blind spots. Jane Frankland, managing director of Cyber Security Capital and author of InSecurity: Why a Failure to Attract and Retain Women Is Making Us All Less Safe, says, "As cyber-attacks have become more creative, we need people who can see things in different ways and help us not be blindsided." Greater diversity leads to fewer breaches. (See WiCipedia: Diversity Fatigue & 'Unprotected' Minorities at Google.)

  • AI has not been very female-friendly so far, which is a frightening reality for a new technology that may someday run the world (and will be worth close to $80 billion dollars in just four years). Yet a new women-only training program for AI in Barcelona is trying to switch up the demographics. inVentures says that the first AI training program specifically for women will be hosted by AllWomen.tech later this month. Workshops are available on a range of AI-related topics, from chatbots to blockchain to programming. "The [AllWomen.tech] team is creating a female-led environment that promotes inclusion with a training program designed specifically for women. It will operate from a safe and accessible space where women do not feel they belong to a minority, but are rather the majority," the article states. (See IBM Debuts Tools to Make AI More Fair.)

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

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