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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Setback to Success & the 'Dad Perspective'

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Philly Tech Week appeals to minority youth; men bring the "dad perspective"; the women of WWDC; and more.


Women in Comms' next networking luncheon is coming up on November 1 in London. Join us during the OSS in the Era of SDN & NFV event for a fun afternoon of networking, lunch and discussion. Register and learn more here.


  • Sometimes a setback is just the motivation you need to forge ahead, and this was definitely the case with digitalundivided's Kathryn Finney, Madame Noire says. When Finney was looking for investors, she was told by one potential investor that he didn't "do black women," prompting her to start digitalundivided (DID), "a social enterprise that empowers Black and Latina women entrepreneurs through networking, training and funding opportunities." DID has since raised $25 million in funding, and with no shortage of people who didn't believe in the project along the way. But Finney says minorities in tech have come a long way in just a few short years: "We are making strides -- back when I started in this space, diversity wasn't even a buzzword yet ... Beyond paying lip service to the issue, we need more stakeholders to put their money where their mouth is. Nothing explains the need for diversity in tech better than showing the success of ... diverse companies, especially when funded and when provided support and resources." (See WiCipedia: The Barbie & Unicorn Edition, WiCipedia: Middle Eastern Progress & Founders Fight Exclusion and WiCipedia: From Virtual Reality to Virtually No Black Women .)

  • Philly Tech Week has a new approach to reaching minority youth, Technical.ly reports, and it's not only happening in the classroom. Jumoke Dada, founder of the Tech Women Network, says that girls in Philadelphia are overwhelmingly more focused on owning beauty salons than tech, and that an integration of the two may just be the better route. "While Dada supports their entrepreneurial spirit, she still pushes her girls further. 'Can you build an app that the hair dressers can use to book their system, to get me out faster?'" the article quotes. We appreciate this approach to combining passion with reality. What do you think? (See Why Diversity of Geeks in Tech Matters.)

    Girls in Philadelphia's Geek Squad program. (Source: Technical.ly)
    Girls in Philadelphia's Geek Squad program.
    (Source: Technical.ly)

  • There are so many different issues surrounding women in tech lately and, understandably, it's difficult to keep track of and comprehend how they overlap and intersect -- and why they're so important to overcome. Bloomberg did a helpful roundup of tech issues for women in a recent article, covering topics such as where the gender gap stems from to who is responsible for creating change. In a rapid-fire approach to Q&A, this article is a great primer if you really want to figure out what's making the industry tick and do something about it. (See A Women in Comms Glossary.)

  • For all the brave and wonderful things that women in tech do for other women in tech, men are an important piece of the puzzle too. Computer Weekly picked apart exactly what men have done -- and still need to do -- to advance women in the field. Men have a number of reasons for wanting to eliminate the gender gap in tech; the main two reasons being that diversity increases sales and the "dad perspective," otherwise known as men wanting their young daughters to have every option for a career that a son would have. "It's not only that I want to see my kids have great opportunities, but I want to see my friends' kids, if they are girls, getting into an industry that pays well, [where] there are lots of opportunities," one male CEO said. (See A Man, a Mission & an Underwater Flashlight and Tech Leaders: Gender Diversity Could Add Billions to Economy.)

  • Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) was held in San Jose, Calif. this week, and women were more of a presence than ever (which wasn't a difficult feat). CNBC covered Michelle Obama's speech at the conference, the gist of which was, "If you don't support women, we don't support you." The former First Lady spoke directly to the mostly male audience when she said, "Who are you marketing to? Who do you think is going to use these apps? If women aren't at the table, you're going to miss my dollar. Because you don't really know me." In other WWDC news, retired banker Masako Wakamiya, 82, was the oldest person to attend the conference this year, Fortune reports. Wakamiya told Fortune, "I didn't see any apps for the elderly, so I decided to create my own." Now that's an entrepreneurial spirit! (See Silicon Valley Writer Foresees End of Bro Culture.)

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

  • kq4ym 6/22/2017 | 12:11:50 PM
    Re: Every Business is a Tech Business It's probably going to be slower going that we desire to get to equality in the workplace as well as socially, but at least some are studying th issue as noted where knowlege is sought to know "where the gender gap stems from to who is responsible for creating change." Probably not going to get 100% consensus on the issue but it get foks thinking and hopefully acting.
    Mitch Wagner 6/13/2017 | 1:17:05 PM
    Re: Every Business is a Tech Business As a general rule, outside of tech companies, only financial services companies have the wherewithal and need to pursue the latest tech for internal use. 

    GE is the exception to the rule. It's becoming a tech company. Arguably it always has been -- manufacturing equipment and jet engines are tech too!
    Duh! 6/12/2017 | 10:13:14 PM
    Re: Every Business is a Tech Business This reminds me of a panel discussion I sat in on, a long time ago.

    The speaker was CTO of one of the RBOCs, and the topic was one of those border wars between RBOCs and the datacom industry.  He puffed out his chest and said that "we think of ourselves as a high-tech company".  My reaction: "When I think of high tech companies, I think of HP (at the time). I think of Intel. When I think of [his company] I think of guys in hardhats chasing the rats out of manholes." Fortunately, I didn't have an opportunity to publically share that observation.
    Phil_Britt 6/12/2017 | 7:56:31 PM
    Re: Every Business is a Tech Business Mitch and Sarah are both correct. Ignoring the influence and potential of tech is dangerous for any enterprise. But unless the organization is large enough to have many technicians available at a moment's notice, it's better on concentrating on the business -- such as hospitality -- and leave tech to the people and companies that do it full time.
    Mitch Wagner 6/12/2017 | 11:51:03 AM
    Re: Every Business is a Tech Business Alison: "I covered enterprises for years and executive after executive in companies and industries that were very different all said the same thing: 'We're not a hotel/travel/entertainment/banking... company. We're a tech company.'"

    I winced when I heard enterprises say that. Actually, you ARE a hotel/travel/entertaintment/banking company. It's just that tech has become vital to delivering on the mission. To lose sight of that is to lose sight of the customer and invite the competition to steal your business. 

    Ironically, nowadays, it's the opposite. Enterprises are going to the cloud as they realize they are NOT tech companies so they need to let someone else handle it. 
    Sarah Thomas 6/9/2017 | 12:30:29 PM
    Re: Every Business is a Tech Business Great point, Alison! And, while it's important to give girls exposure to STEM, we certainly don't need to be forcing them into it. :) Letting them see the value of tech and not fear it or think it doesn't matter, doesn't suite them, etc. within the context of their interests is equally as important. 
    alison diana 6/9/2017 | 12:07:38 PM
    Every Business is a Tech Business I covered enterprises for years and executive after executive in companies and industries that were very different all said the same thing: "We're not a hotel/travel/entertainment/banking... company. We're a tech company." With that in mind, I think it's terrific that the Philly organization is encouraging girls to bring a tech focus to the youngsters' interest in fashion or hair-styling or beauty. Sure, we definitely need more women in traditionally male-dominated careers. But educating girls to consider tech's role in ALL industries is vital to their companies' successes. Love that they're approaching this topic the way it is, not the way we perhaps would like it to be.
    Sarah Thomas 6/9/2017 | 10:48:42 AM
    shameless plug Thanks for including the Bloomberg break down, and also the story on what men can do to help support and advance women. That is what we will be discussing at our next WiC event in London on Nov 1. It will be a luncheon on the topic of "Male Allies & Why they Matter." Find out more and register to join us (free!) here: https://tmt.knect365.com/oss-in-the-era-of-sdn-nfv/?_ga=2.29423295.1813070284.1496757897-1894015772.1484846918
    Mitch Wagner 6/9/2017 | 9:52:42 AM
    WWDC At WWDC, there were also a couple of women presenting at the keynote, up from zero a short time ago. 
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