This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Announcing our three Leading Lights Awards winners; celebrating moms at work; men-only clubs think again; and more.
Interested in joining Women in Comms on our mission to champion change, empower women and redress the gender imbalance in the comms industry? Visit WiC online and get in touch to learn more about how you can become a member!
This week's Women in Comms presence at Light Reading's Big Communications Event (BCE) and Leading Lights Awards pretty much took over our week, and we have made some pretty exciting announcements in the past few days. WiC presented three Leading Lights Awards to women and female-led companies for their inspirational and groundbreaking work in the communications industry. The winners are
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s Anne Chow for Most Inspiring Woman of the Year, Movandi for Female-Led Startup to Watch and Dr. Jennifer Andreoli-Fang of CableLabs for the Hedy Lamarr Award for Female Tech Pioneer of the Year. Congratulations to our winners -- and all the finalists -- and thank you for inspiring and impressing all of us! (See Announcing...WiC's 2018 Leading Lights Winners.)
Women in Comms' Sarah Thomas (right) with Movandi's Maryam Rofougaran.
A Swedish gentlemen's club (the networking kind...) has revoked its earlier statement that it would not allow women into its hallowed halls -- or at least, it's up for discussion. Yle explains that 160-year-old Handelsgillet has only ever had male members, and though the club appears to mostly be inhabited by white-haired older men, its members are noticing that times are changing and they don't want to be left behind. "I've discussed the matter with a few of my friends and they also seem to agree that the time is ripe to discuss the issue [of women] members," former club chair Bror Krause told Yle. The Helsinki Bourse Club also came under fire for this issue recently, though they maintained their men-only status alongside much criticism. Despite their statement that "equality doesn't need to apply everywhere," that viewpoint may change soon. (See WiCipedia: Alternative College & Male Separatism and WiCipedia: A Female-Only Island, Gender Quotas & Twitter's Oprah.)
Ageism doesn't get talked about quite as much as sexism in the tech world, but it's just as prevalent and serious. And when you combine the two, well, you get a young white coder in a hoodie... An article in Forbes stresses the need for more mature female founders, and the major cashflow that they can unlock. They state that women over the age of 55 are basically rolling in it, with a net worth of $19 trillion in the US. As the article author writes, "How can we expect young male founders -- or even younger female founders -- to innately understand their wants and needs?... Most products and services simply aren't being designed with older women in mind." Yet the industry isn't exactly welcoming and there are many hurdles to (carefully) jump over as an older entrepreneur. One older female founder told Forbes, "I've had younger founders say to me, 'I can't imagine my mum doing what you're doing.'
It's actually quite lonely being one of the few older women working in tech." (See WiC Leading Lights 2018 Finalists: Female-Led Startup to Watch and WiCipedia: Female Founders Find Funding & Automotive Careers for Women.)
Amazon felt pressure this week to diversify its board of directors, and after some frustrating back and forth, it relented. Fortune reports that Amazon put into place the "Rooney Rule" to increase board member diversity, which states that one minority and/or female applicant must be interviewed for each available board opening. While the current board, comprising seven men and three women, who are all caucasian, stated that they were already adhering to an "informal" policy that was similar, shareholders did not believe that the board was as diverse as it could or should be. In a statement, Amazon wrote, "The Amazon Board of Directors has adopted a policy that the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee include a slate of diverse candidates, including women and minorities, for all director openings. This policy formalizes a practice already in place." (See SBA Leader: It's Time to Get Women on Board and WiCipedia: Twitter Threats, Diversity Hires & Oracle in Hot Seat.)