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WiCipedia: Power Suits & the Gig Economy Pay-Gap Surprise

Eryn Leavens
8/31/2018

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Diversity vs. inclusion; custom suits raise confidence; female freelancers have a pay gap too; 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!


  • In a recent TED Talk, inclusion advocate Janet Stovall discusses how to make inclusion and diversity a reality in the workplace. Stovall focuses on three main ideas in order to exact change: real problems, real numbers and real consequences. She also explains, "Diversity and inclusion are not the same things. Diversity is a numbers game. Inclusion is about impact. Companies can mandate diversity, but they have to cultivate inclusion. And if inclusion is what you're after, you've got to calculate some slightly different numbers." You can watch the whole TED Talk below. (See WiCipedia: Diversity Fatigue & 'Unprotected' Minorities at Google and WiC Panel: Societal Pressure Drives Diversity & Inclusion.)

  • Power suits may not be the uniform of choice in Silicon Valley, though they sure are on Wall Street. Kevwe Mowarin, who is just 23, started her first job out of school in finance. She felt self-conscious about the fit and feel of her work uniform, which had a design that was geared more towards men. After commissioning one custom suit for herself, she knew she needed to help other women in the same position, so she started Koviem, a custom power suit company for women. The startup uses "spacial referencing technology" from photos to ensure a perfect fit. CNBC reports: "While a powerful pantsuit won't shatter the glass ceiling on Wall Street, abolish sexual harassment or close the pay gap, research does show that more formal attire makes people think differently, and that putting on more formal clothes makes people feel powerful. A 2015 study actually found that wearing formal clothing makes people think more broadly and holistically, as opposed to narrowly." (See Women of Wall Street CEO Offers Discrimination Solutions, WiCipedia: Rise of the Female CDO & Adidas Flip Flops and UK Women Take On Discriminatory Dress Codes.)

  • While we know that the gender wage gap is persistent in regular employee jobs, some may be surprised to learn that it persists in freelance positions as well. Career Contessa outlined how the gig economy is paying women less than men, though admittedly with slightly less of a gap. This is generally because freelancers usually set their own rates, and if a man and a woman are starting freelance jobs and coming from employee roles, they are probably starting off with different salary histories. Even if they have the same level of experience, this may set the tone for the rates they set themselves -- and their future earnings. "The remaining consequences of the very prolonged gender pay gap in the traditional employee space are still trickling over into freelancing," FlexJobs' Senior Career Specialist Brie Reynolds told CC. (See Google Shares Gender-Blind Pay Policies and Equal Pay Day: Time to Get Paychecks in Check.)

  • While some may say that Silicon Valley is over (and perhaps shifting to several up-and-coming locations), others argue that to get anywhere in tech, you need to start in the Valley. IT Business CA reports that Joanne Fedeyko, CEO of Connection Silicon Valley and the founder of the Canadian Women's Network, agrees, which is why she helps Canadian startups get their feet wet in the Bay Area with the hopes that they will bring their knowledge back to the Great White North. She recently worked with 14 female founders of Canadian startups who traveled to San Francisco for workshops, mentoring and panels. "When asked if there is a worry that Canada's talent is running off to Silicon Valley and in the process devaluing our knowledge sector, Fedeyko said that the hope was that most companies will go out and learn, and come back to Canada," the article stated. (See WiCipedia: Jobs That Matter, Fembot Overlords & Tech Aids in Work-Life Balance.)

  • Our future may be all about artificial intelligence (AI), but women don't seem to be on board -- yet. Currently, only 12% of machine learning researchers are women, Wired notes. With so much still unknown about the future of AI, diversity is crucial so that technology can be shaped to accommodate everyone, not just the small segment of its creators. Wired notes that "failing to [diversify] increases the chance AI systems have harmful effects on the world." Anima Anandkumar, a professor and former Amazon AI employee, adds, "Diverse teams are more likely to flag problems that could have negative social consequences before a product has been launched." (See WiCipedia: AI for Social Good & a Fitbit Fail for Women.)

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

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    Michelle
    Michelle
    8/31/2018 | 10:46:54 PM
    Re: custom suits
    If I were in the market for a new suit I would consider it. It's a neat method of customizing. No visit to the taylor!
    ErynLeavens
    ErynLeavens
    8/31/2018 | 2:49:23 PM
    Re: custom suits
    Yeah it looks pretty innovative. An easy way to get something custom while never having to set foot in a store.
    Michelle
    Michelle
    8/31/2018 | 2:34:51 PM
    custom suits
    I hadn't seen Kovien before (I've also never purchased a custom suit). It seems like an excellent idea - a technology-infused way to order custom suiting. 
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