This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Lyft raises $1 million for Girls Who Code; a knitted solar system steals our hearts; reimagining the childcare dilemma; 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 the coolest news of the week, we are totally in awe of Australian software engineer Sarah Spencer, who hacked a 1980s knitting machine to create a gigantic recreation of the solar system -- out of yarn. Space.com explains that the project took Spencer years to complete. Space.com reports, "'Stargazing: a knitted tapestry' consists of locally sourced Australian wool that matches the blue color of the outfits of the accomplished Australian women depicted in portraits on display as part of the 2018 Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia. Spencer wanted her universe to be 'dressed in a similar ultramarine blue to celebrate the achievements of all women in the fields of science,' she said in the statement." (See WiCipedia: Datanauts, Dudes & Deals and A Man, a Mission & an Underwater Flashlight.)
Childcare has always been a problem for working women, and women in tech are no exception. Yet a new plan for childcare may change the game as we know it. WishTV reports that a new model, which tackles both the accessibility issue and the affordability issue, is in the works in Indianapolis at The Microchip Academy. The space isn't open yet, though it will focus on a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) curriculum for infants through five-year-olds once it opens. Jillian Walker, co-founder of The Microchip Academy, said, "We want to have the model where businesses pay in, they pay in memberships and that means that they get so many spots, that means that company, those people go to the top of the list. Which is a beautiful thing, but then that's also promising that they're going to give subsidies to their people ... We should look at this as economic development, as a resource to keep women at work." (See WiCipedia: Programmer Motivators, Affordable Childcare & All-Female Panels.)
Companies with toxic, tone-deaf cultures seem anachronistic, yet somehow they still exist. That doesn't mean they aren't being challenged though. CNET says that Riot Games, a video game developer, is the latest to come face to face with its character flaws. The article says, "'As a company, we're used to patching problems ASAP, but this patch will not happen overnight,' the statement said, noting that diversity, inclusion, respect and equality are nonnegotiable." Riot has been accused of creating "a sexist work environment where women's opinions were discounted and female employees were subjected to sexual harassment," and has pledged to remedy its culture and the safety of its female employees. "We will weave this change into our cultural DNA and leave no room for sexism or misogyny," the company said. (See Skillsoft Puts Women in Action to Improve Culture and Culture in Crisis: What's Next for Uber & Tech?)
Here's some unexpected news: OZY reports that Bulgaria -- the poorest country in Europe -- has the highest number of women in tech in the EU. Women make up 26.5% of information and communication technology (ICT) workers in Bulgaria, and this number has actually gone down from an all-time high recently. It's still nearly 10% higher than the EU's average of 17.2%. So what gives? "If you look back in history, first during the communist times, there were no separations between men and women, and everyone had to work," says Anna Radulovski, a 26-year-old Bulgarian entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Coding Girls, OZY explains. Another veteran of the industry said, "In Bulgaria there are many female role models that are encouraging the next generation of women to choose careers in the computer industries -- in a way, the prejudices that exist in the majority of countries are less in Bulgaria." (See WiC Panel: Societal Pressure Drives Diversity & Inclusion.)
Girls Who Code and Lyft have paired up to raise money. The ride-sharing company has been receiving donations for the non-profit via rider donations, which have resulted in raising $1 million in the past year. TechCrunch explains that other charities have also benefited from the donations, which are raised by rounding up rides to the nearest dollar. "We couldn't be more excited to be celebrating the $1 million milestone with our friends at Lyft," Girls Who Code founder and CEO Reshma Saujani said in a statement. "And the moment is made even more special knowing that this was made possible by the riders themselves." (See WiCipedia: Big Names Band Together & #NoWomanEver .)
— Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading