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WiCipedia: Seeking Female Keynoters & Recruitment Fails Women

Eryn Leavens
3/9/2018

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Getting more female keynoters is key; Lesbians Who Tech take SF by storm; women need more degrees for parity; 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!


  • The dearth of women in tech is no secret, and though there are various reasons why this is true, a recent paper explores how recruitment factors into the scarcity of women in the industry. As described in a new paper, researchers attended 84 introductory sessions held by 66 companies at Stanford University, and found an "unwelcoming environment for these women, including sexist jokes and imagery, geeky references, a competitive environment, and an absence of women engineers -- all of which intimidated or alienated female recruits," Wired reports. The research also depicts the staffing of the events as very gendered, with women serving refreshments and men doing the actual presenting. And the list goes on. As the article points out, this is something the companies had full control over: It wasn't a matter of a lack of interested women, but of a negative representation of the company culture, which may have dissuaded suitable female candidates. (See WiCipedia: 'Perceived Gender Bias' & Google/YouTube CEOs on Diversity and WiCipedia: Endangered Species, 'the Pao Effect' & Bad Actors.)

  • Last week we talked about the absence of female speakers at Mobile World Congress, and this week we've seen more attention being drawn to the issue. Our sister site, Telecoms.com, attended the MWC Women4Tech event, and found a full room, though little improvement from previous years. Editor Scott Bicheno conducted some inspiring and informative interviews with women at the event, which you can see here. On iTWire, they profiled a new group called The Click List in Australia, which aims to put together a massive list of female speakers who are available for tech events, in the hopes of increasing the ratio of women who keynote. Definitely worth a click. (See WiCipedia: Head East, Young Techie & New Industries Need Women and Another Reason to Promote Women in Comms.)

    The Women4Tech Event at MWC2018
    (Source: Telecoms.com)
    (Source: Telecoms.com)

  • A new report from Georgetown University titled "Women Can't Win" exposes the reality behind the gender pay gap, and the extra lengths women have to go to in order to reach parity. Well & Good summarizes that in order to be paid the same as male counterparts, women need to have an additional degree after their names. It continues, "A woman with a master's degree makes the near equivalent of a man with a bachelor's degree, and the trend continues regardless of how high up the education chain you go. The breakdown is so significant that, according to the report, 'Women with bachelor's degrees in business earn $1.1 million less than men with bachelor's degrees in business [over their entire career].' " (See Equal Pay Day: Time to Get Paychecks in Check and Google Shares Gender-Blind Pay Policies.)

  • Last week's Lesbians Who Tech event took San Francisco by storm. The non-profit group has more than 35,000 members and is in its fifth year of conferencing in SF's Castro district. Started in 2012 by entrepreneur Leanne Pittsford, the group aims to create "a community centered around queer women in technology," where it can be difficult to find similar people, especially with such a small percentage of women in the space to begin with. Pittsford told NBC News: " 'I wasn't finding my people,' lamenting the lack of women in both tech and the LGBTQ nonprofit sector, where she was also actively involved. 'Lesbians are underrepresented in both communities, so it's harder to have a voice in either space.' " Keynoted by Sheryl Sandberg, the event enforces a quota system for speakers: overall, speakers must be at least 50% women of color and 10% transgender and non-binary people. We think MWC could take some pointers. (See WiCipedia: Feminist Fight Club, FinTech Femmes & Feminine Freebies and WiCipedia: Big Leagues & Small Screens Take On Gender Parity.)

  • Every day is International Women's Day here at Women in Comms, and it's not too late for you to join the movement. WiC is hosting its next Cable Next-Gen conference on March 22. In addition to a power panel line-up that includes Heather Gold, president and CEO of Fiber Broadband Alliance; Judy Brown, senior field engineering business analyst at Charter Communications Inc. ; Carole Santerre, director of advanced technology operators at Shaw Communications Inc. ; and Senior Marketing Executive Liza Adams, we're happy to announce the addition of Executive Producer Janet Leahy. She was one of the writers and producers for The Cosby Show and has agreed to share her story and perspectives with us. It will be an important conversation and an event you don't want to miss (men, that goes for you too). Register for free here.

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

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