This week in our Women in Comms roundup: Celebrate your favorite STEM teacher; the time suck that's holding women back from advancing in STEM; Beyoncé's "Lemonade" causes a feminist stir; and more.
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If you can possibly look past the cuteness of National Pet Week, you may have noticed that it's also Teacher Appreciation Week. We talk a lot on Women in Comms about encouraging girls to pursue studying STEM and careers in tech, but the individuals making that possible are the real unsung heroes. The Girls Who Code organization has a teacher-training program titled Teachers Who Code, dedicated to training high school teachers to expand and enhance their coding skills. Make sure to thank your favorite STEM teacher today! And while you're at it, check out the #whyiteach tweets on Twitter for some heartwarming career inspiration. (See WiC Poll: Start Young to Improve the Pipeline.)
As DailyWorth reports, Melinda Gates is on a mission to shed light on the inequalities between how men and women -- especially young girls -- are expected to spend their time. She says, "In the US, girls do 100 hours more chores than boys in a year, and boys are 15% more likely to be paid for their chores. As these girls grow into women, they do three times more of the cleaning and four times more laundry than men." Even if we someday have equal pay, gender equality and limitless STEM opportunities for girls in schools, they will still be expected to carry more of a workload than boys and men in their home lives. How can women advance their careers and fulfill their ambitions when they're too busy taking care of everyone around them?
This energy drain may also be one of the reasons for the dwindling number of women studying computer science these days. This helpful infographic from the National Center for Women & Information Technology breaks down the barriers that are keeping girls from pursuing computer science in particular and in tech more generally. And here's another visual to display the truly dismal decline of computer science degrees for women. (See More Women in Tech Is Critically Important.)
Enter "meternity," the concept that all women should get a paid three-month sabbatical, not just those who are expecting children. The idea, based on a novel by Meghann Faye, has spurred many to share their strong opinions about this egalitarian concept. Inc. posits that because the drop-out rate for women in tech is more than twice as much as it is for men, the ability to take a company-sponsored leave of absence "may be one way to keep women from leaving the industry altogether." Others have argued that employees with kids should be given all the perks they can get in addition to normal parental leave, and that they shouldn't have to share any of the glory since they don't share the misery. Wherever you stand on this hot-button issue, I think we can all get behind the concept of a new pet owner leave of absence, dubbed "Pawternity." (See Vodafone: Flexible Work Policies Boost Profits.)
Unless you've been living under a rock this week, you've probably heard snippets of publicity around Beyoncé's "Lemonade" and the strong reactions about feminism and racism that ensued. Ms. Magazine calls it "the feminist manifesto we've all been waiting for," but it also started its fair share of Twitter battles (and one addictive computer game!) about discrimination and gender equality. So is this a step forward for women to be able to speak out about their experiences as minorities or an excuse for male chauvinists to spew their unsolicited opinions from behind the protection of social media? We're rooting for the former.
— Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading