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WiCipedia: Secret Courts, Public Lists & Quantifying the Gap

Eryn Leavens
3/16/2018

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: IWD2018 makes a statement; Facebook's 'secret courts'; a VC accountability list; and more.


Join Women in Comms for an important morning of networking and discussion at our annual WiC networking breakfast event in Denver on March 22. Let's put an end to sexual harassment in the workplace. There's still time to register for this free event!


  • Uber has been on a mission of late to correct its major diversity missteps from 2017. 512 Tech reports that the ride-sharing company hosted an event at South by Southwest in Austin (ironically, a city that doesn't allow Uber to operate there). The event, titled Her Success Code, co-hosted by Walmart, focused on "the challenges and triumphs of women in tech." Emily Duff-Bartel, senior project manager for Uber's self-driving car division, said, "Everybody is here really to make a difference and to change the conversation and to change the culture. If we're all in it together, then it starts becoming less of, 'Oh, this is a diversity conversation,' and more like, 'this is just how you represent yourself in the workplace.' Starting and continuing the conversation is really the big thing." (See WiCipedia: Uber Hires New Diversity Exec & AI Comes for Jobs and Uber Does Housekeeping Amongst CEO Strategizing.)

  • International Women's Day didn't pass by quietly last week. From enormous marches across the world to "feminist strikes" to social media takeovers, this may have been the biggest IWD celebration/protest yet, and with good reason. The Guardian documented some of the best moments and celebrations of the day, including many women in STEM moments, like the NASA tweet below. Definitely worth checking out. (See WiCipedia: Vodafone Rules, A Day Without a Woman & Reclaiming Ambition.)

    Breaking the Celestial Ceiling
    (Source: The Guardian)
    (Source: The Guardian)

  • What's a particularly shady way of not exposing your company's sexual harassment accusations? Take them to private court. Huffington Post reports that Facebook uses "secret courts" to keep claims quiet. This tactic applies to several kinds of lawsuits, including wage disputes, discrimination claims and sexual harassment. "The process has come under fire for its role in silencing victims of sexual harassment, especially in the wake of the Me Too movement," the article reports, and Facebook reps say they are reconsidering the policy in those instances... maybe, possibly, though we aren't holding our breath. (See Does Facebook Have a Code for Gender Bias?)

  • A new report from Entelo, a recruitment automation platform, has "quantified the gender gap" with data from 450 million job applicant profiles. A newsfeed on Markets Insider summarizes that only 18% of tech jobs are held by women in tech overall, and that number plummets to 10% by the executive level. Across the US, there's little variation in these percentages, surprisingly. Yasmin Zarabi, vice president of Corporate Partnerships and Business Development at Entelo, says, "Despite all of the discussions, calls to action, and programs being put forth to increase the number of women in tech, the numbers plainly indicate that we are not there yet." (See Light Reading's 2017 Survey of Women in Comms and Ovum: Women Poised to Close Tech Skills Gap.)

  • Entrepreneur Cheryl Yeoh Sew Hoy, who wrote a blog post about her sexual assault experience with tech investor Dave McClure last year, has flipped the script in order to help other women who may have experienced workplace sexual harassment or assault and don't know where to turn. CNN Money explains that Sew Hoy has started a public directory called #MovingForward, which records reporting information and policies for 37 venture capital firms, and the list is rapidly growing. Sew Hoy found that most of the firms didn't have external harassment policies, meaning that they officially only protected internal employees from abuse, and excluded those who were seeking funding and working with the group. The list was officially released last week for International Women's Day. (See WiCipedia: 'Build Up, Never Tear Down'.)

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

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