This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Girl Scouts tackle cybersecurity; women need to network differently than men; female-run companies are a smart investment; and more.
While we don't need any more convincing as to why it's crucial to invest in women-founded and run companies, it seems investors do, because the money simply isn't there -- women-run companies that raised capital in 2017 came up with 36 times less moolah than men who went through the same funding process. Forbes recently published two articles on this very topic. One is an interview with the Founding Partner of New York City's Female Founders Fund, Anu Duggal. The Fund invests in companies founded by women, and judging from their website, they don't shy away from the typically female industries -- makeup, personal products, cupcakeries... because those businesses make bank. The second article focuses on why female-fun startups are simply the smartest place to stash your cash. Why? Because women are the future of tech: "The next Steve Jobs will be a woman," the author boldly states. Enough said. (See WiCipedia: Diversity in Product Dev & Israeli Entrepreneurs Protest Sexism and WiCipedia: Female Founders Find Funding & Automotive Careers for Women.)
We often idealize our neighbors in the Great White North, yet The Star, based on a report by The Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, summarizes that the pay gap between men and women in tech in Canada is nothing to envy. While the US pay gap hovers somewhere between $5,328 and $14,450 depending on location, the Canadian pay gap is nearly $20,000 -- not exactly chump change. "There are diversity and representation challenges, but they are not necessarily worse than other parts of the economy," said Sean Mullin, the Brookfield Institute's executive director. "In some ways [tech] is better, but better is not good enough. We shouldn't be satisfied with better." This particular study examined Canadians with a bachelor's degree; the pay gap percentage ranged among other education levels. (See Equal Pay Day: Time to Get Paychecks in Check.)
In AI's latest flop, it's been discovered that
Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)'s facial analysis technology, Amazon Rekognition, is mistaking women of color for men. Vox cites a study out of MIT and the University of Toronto that shows that darker-skinned women were recognized as men 31% of the time compared to 7% for lighter-skinned women. Men, of course, were always recognized as men. Amazon announced last year that it would be selling this new technology to law enforcement, which caused quite the uproar from human rights groups. "On one hand, the fears about Amazon's facial analysis products are very much related to civil rights. On the other, they're about the troubling ways that racism and technology have intersected," the article states. Amazon has clarified that this issue has now been rectified, yet issues some very fuzzy instructions on how the technology should be used, at once saying that "facial recognition should never be used in a way that violates an individual's rights" yet also putting the onus of deciding those rights into the government and law enforcement's hands. (See Why We Need Diversity Before AI Takes Over.)
It turns out that the way that men and women network requires different approaches to be effective. ABC News explains that women have to go above and beyond -- compared to their male counterparts -- when it comes to making meaningful career connections. Specifically, women need groups of other like-minded women, and those who have these support systems are "nearly three times more likely to get a better job," a recent study suggests. While everything men do to network (social media like LinkedIn, networking events, reaching out to acquaintances, etc.) are also crucial steps for women looking to get ahead, the importance of women having a female peer group cannot be overstated. "A lot of my female MBA students believe that what men are doing will work for them," said Brian Uzzi, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and an author of the study. "But women who [only] emulate men's networks do the worst." (See Fujitsu's Sales Director: Be Your Own Champion.)