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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: STEM Mentors, Money & Mix-Ups

This week in our Women in Comms roundup: Wireless operators offer STEM mentorships; the world's richest women revealed; a new option for gender-neutral recruiting; and more.


Women in Comms' first networking breakfast of the year is next Thursday, March 10, in Denver. Register here to join!


  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Telefónica UK Ltd. and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) have joined forces with Girls Talk London this week to mentor young girls in the field of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The group selected 20 student applicants for a pilot program to be matched with a mentor in the field with whom they will meet on a monthly basis until October, as well as shadow them at work for a week. (See BT, Ericsson, O2, Vodafone Unite to Promote STEM .)

  • WiC member Vodafone Americas is making promoting women and girls in STEM a strategic priority with a new promise to provide grants and support for technology-driven programs directed at empowering females. As part of the initiative, initial partners include Girls Who Code to provide exposure to computer science to young girls, TechGirlz to fund support for a middle school technology marketplace, and Internews to address online harassment, violence and hate speech towards women. (See Vodafone Americas Launches Girls in Tech Initiative .)

  • It's not all good news for girls and STEM lately though. EDF Energy has been criticized for naming a boy the winner of a competition designed to attract girls to STEM. It launched the cringe-worthy "Pretty Curious" campaign, asking girls to invent a connected home bedroom product. While the program was designed for girls, it wasn't closed off to boys age 11 to 16. The prize ultimately went to a boy that made a game controller powered by kinetic energy. While EDF can be applauded for fairness, it didn't exactly help its mission to convince girls STEM is for them. (See WiC Poll: Start Young to Improve the Pipeline.)

  • Forbes has released its latest list of the world's richest self-made women. Thirty-three women made the cut, representing 2% of the world's 1,810 billionaires, and they hail from China, Hong Kong, Germany, Italy, Russia, Nigeria, the UK and the US. Those that made their fortunes in the tech world include the richest of the bunch, Zhou Qunfei, who got rich in smartphone glass making, Hewlett Packard Enterprise 's Meg Whitman and Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg.

  • Being told her background, including a Stanford degree, MIT MBA and proficiency in computer programming, wasn't "technical enough" for a Valley tech firm inspired Stephanie Lampkin to launch a new recruiting app that removes an applicant's photo and gender. Her hope is that it will also remove the type of bias that might have cost her, a black female, that job. The app, Blendoor, will launch this month with support from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Facebook , Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL). (See Recruit Women Technologists .)

  • Apple is following Intel's lead as it announced this month its gender pay gap is now down to 99.6% equal between men and women. Arjuna Capital is now pressuring seven other Valley tech firms to do the same. It has filed resolutions for eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Expedia, Google, Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE), Facebook and Microsoft. (See Intel Closed the Gender Pay Gap in 2015, Mind the Gap: Is Public Shaming the Way to End Pay Inequity? and A Vast Valley: Tech's Inexcusable Gender Gap.)

    — Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading

  • Sarah Thomas 3/7/2016 | 11:44:34 AM
    STEM fail I have to say, EDF Energy should have just restricted this competition to girls if they wanted any good PR from it. Having a boy win doesn't help the cause. That said, ALL young people benefit from STEM exposure, so they could've had it be a general competition for kids. 

    Also, "Pretty Curious" as the title...is it really necessary to bring looks into it (whch was the intended pun)? Again, doesn't help the cause...
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