This week in our Women in Comms roundup: Top women in telecom are celebrated; Orthodox women take over the tech scene in Israel; reality stars rule the iTunes app store; and more.
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Ultra-orthodox women are taking over the tech world in Israel, where many men study instead of working traditional jobs. Women are often the breadwinners in these extremely religious communities, which comprise 11% of the population of Israel. Though a very traditional community, "...since 2000, women's participation in the labour market has climbed by 30 percent. Seventy-five percent of them now have jobs, in line with the country's overall female population," Phys.org reports. Though culturally a bit different than offices of non-orthodox workers (a modest dress code is enforced, the premises are inspected by a rabbi and frequent maternity leave is the norm), these women are changing the status quo and shifting gender dynamics one job at a time. (See Intel's Processor Boss Shares Lessons Learned.)
You know a topic has caught the public's attention when suddenly it's the focus of a hit TV show. Halt and Catch Fire, an AMC show about to enter into its third season, is starting to shift its focus to its female leading ladies, startup founders of a game design company. Fortune Magazine covers the whole saga, including statistics about women in tech in the 1980s, when the show is set, and the history of women's involvement in the industry. Many of the issues that existed then, such as sexist exclusion and low diversity hiring rates, are still issues we deal with today. Co-creator Chris Rogers states that it was inevitable that Donna Clark and Cameron Howe, the show's heroines, would make up a bigger part of the plot eventually, because "...women like them are part of the technology industry's history." (See WiCipedia: Leading Ladies & VC Disparities.)
Speaking of pop culture, no one is making more of a killing these days than the reality stars, models and bloggers who are taking over tech. Though some may laugh at Kim Kardashian's lack of discernible "talent," she's the one laughing all the way to the bank with the earnings from her mobile game which pulled in $160 million since 2014, Forbes reports. And she's not the only one. Model Karlie Kloss started Kode With Karlie, which "provides 21 scholarships for young women to learn code at the Flatiron School in New York City," reports Huffington Post. Other recognizable moguls include Ellen DeGeneres with her Heads Up! app and model Anina who "develops state-of-the-art tech products such as solar powered bags and 3D printed prosthetics" through her 360FashionNetwork. Let's not even get started on the vloggers. Don't let the pretty faces fool you: These ladies have plenty of skills. (See Kardashian Promotes Launch of First Windows 4G Phone and The Future of TV Is... Wait, Where Are the Apps?)
Though there are plenty of us rallying for the advancement of women in tech, not every woman wants to put her gender front and center when discussing the issues. There's a subset of women who want to be known simply as engineers, coders or startup founders, without their titles prefaced by the word "female." While still addressing the overt shortage of women in tech, this Huffington Post article by Rebekah Bastian, vice president of product at Zillow, set the record straight on the topic of gendering jobs. Bastian states that she always encourages women to follow their passions, whatever they may be, but she would much rather talk about her accomplishments as a person and what she's learned along her journey, because, as she so eloquently puts it, "The fact that I have a vagina doesn't seem overly relevant." (See WiCipedia: Hogrammers, Cleavage & Finding a Niche.)
— Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading
Emoji crazy Looks like Google just jumped on the emoji train as well with these new female career emojis! There will be 33 new emojis made for women that were previously only in male form, including a doctor, scientist, chef, handyperson, farmer and welder! They're also racially diverse, so there are lots of options. Maybe not groundbreaking stuff but pretty fun.
Women in tech The stats about orthodox women in Israel working in tech really caught my attention. I wonder if there are more women in the tech industry in orthodox communities in the U.S. as well. I took a look at the Kode with Karlie link; that sounds like an amazing program and a great way to get young women interested in computer science.
This week in our WiC roundup: Coding school teaches kids to help others with tech; '90s TV reigns supreme even in the everything-automated age; computer science programs may have more accountability soon; and more.