This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Collete Davis runs the (startup) world; raising boys and girls differently; stop interrupting me!; 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.
Gender roles don't begin at the start of our first jobs, when we go to college or even in high school. They're ingrained from the very beginning, several new studies report. In a roundup in The New York Times this week, these studies were compared to examine the ways in which we interact with young male children, and how that differs from how we interact with young female children. From the language parents use (after an injury, for example, parents will tell girls to "be more careful" but employ more of a "boys will be boys" mentality with male children) to the way they express emotions (more analytical with girls and more achievement-focused with boys), we are not treating children equally from the get go. So how can we expect to find parity when we're adults? (See WiCipedia: Small Talk, Inflated Egos & the Motherboard of Cakes and WiCipedia: Gendered Job Descriptions, Glass Cliffs & Gaslighting.)
Collete "Badass" Davis (OK, fine, that's not her real middle name...) is not your average 23-year-old. Bustle interviewed the pro rally-cross racer, host of Girl Starter on TLC and "startup team of one" to find out what drives Davis over the finish line. As a kid, Davis was always interested in racing, but wasn't able to afford the required expensive track practice time in order to get ahead. So she practiced at home by taking apart engines and eventually majored in mechanical engineering. She also taught herself to code, focused on branding and worked on pitching herself to companies for funding. In other words, "she approached her dream like a business." We highly encourage you to read Davis's full story over on Bustle. (See WiCipedia: Short Skirts & Back-Up Plans.)
Man's Job? Rubbish
We're going to save you some time by telling you what really doesn't work: trying to express yourself while being constantly interrupted. Yet that's what happens to many women in the office and even at home, reports The New York Times. In an article titled, "The Universal Phenomenon of Men Interrupting Women," case studies of high-powered men -- from Uber execs to US government employees -- interrupting equally high-powered but less respected women were picked apart. The NY Times put out a call to readers to tell their stories of being interrupted, and there was no dearth of responses. As one commenter wrote to illustrate the frequency of men interrupting women in our modern world, "My female boss told me she needed to allow each man to interrupt her four times before protesting in a meeting. If she protested more often, there were problems." Ugh. (See WiCipedia: 'Ladyboss,' Femtech & Diversity at Slack.)
A recent article on Medium by Sarah Stockdale, a growth consultant for early-stage startups, analyzes the "myth of the cool tech girl" and what her presence does (and doesn't do) for women in tech. Using comparisons to Gone Girl, Stockdale sees the cool tech girl persona as a coping mechanism for what's actually going on in the industry. We're made to act okay with the sexism we endure because that's the only option. "If you don't feel safe to be yourself, you'll find someone safe to be," she writes. Stockdale does have some solid recommendations for how to break the cool girl cycle and advance women in tech, however, including being a role model for young women in tech, eradicating "bro culture" at the company level and addressing "casual sexism head on." (See WiCipedia: Eradicating Pay Gaps & Squashing Bro Culture.)
FundersClub recently released their "2017 US Startup Team Gender Diversity Study," which shows that companies with at least one woman at the helm tend to hire women at twice the rate of their all-male counterparts. International Business Times condensed the results of the study, which were no surprise seeing as most managers hire employees who remind them of themselves. Regardless of the motivation, women are founders of only 17% of tech startups, so it's not as if women are suddenly going to be taking over companies as new employees with this news. Lauren Schulte, co-founder of The Flex Company startup, told FundersClub. "Tell your team what your diversity goals are and why they matter." (See WiCipedia: Diversity Awareness & Schooling Brogrammers.)