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WiCipedia: The Whitest Black Candidates & Conferences Take a Political Stand

Eryn Leavens
9/6/2019

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Google whitewashes its diversity hires; tech conferences for women get political; the sponsor search continues; and more.

  • While major companies are focusing on diversifying their employee stats, some are saying that the changes being made still aren't exactly equal opportunity. An article in Face2Face Africa addressed Google's hiring practices of African American employees, and Bria Sullivan, a mobile app developer at Google, said, "I feel like [Google] hire[s] the whitest black candidate. They hire someone who's exactly like them, but Black." She explained that while Google's diversity stats might slightly shift, the company only hires "Black professionals that aren't 'really going to move the needle' or work in the interest of Black folks." Google's most recent diversity report showed its percentage of black and Latino employees was at 4.8% worldwide and 6.8% in the US. (See WiCipedia: All-Female Boards, Google 'Utterly Unprepared' & Insecure Men.)

    Is Whitewashing the New Black in Tech?
    (Source: Pixabay)
    (Source: Pixabay)


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  • We talk a lot about how women in tech need mentors, yet sponsors are the moneymakers who make the most difference, Forbes reports. In Advancing Women in Product's Future of Women report, women consistently asked, "How do I find sponsors who are willing to spend their personal capital on me?" and "How do I find female sponsors in male-dominated organizations?" In this context, the word "sponsor" means a mentor who provides connections and opportunities while also advocating for the sponsee. And according to Forbes, most suitable sponsors are still men because they have the most power. While mentorship programs may be on the rise, sponsors -- especially female sponsors -- are still highly elusive for women. Check out the full report here. (See Podcast: Mentors, Sponsors & Tall Poppies.)

  • Apparently Samsung didn't learn from CES's mistakes when it recently banned a smart sex toy company, Lioness, from displaying a product at a tech event for women. The Verge explains that while the Lioness Vibrator had been approved for display at the event, which was co-hosted by Samsung, a senior director at Samsung asked that the display be taken down mid-event. Lioness CEO and Co-Founder Liz Klinger declined the request and instead started tweeting about it. Samsung has since apologized via a public statement, though it did not suggest what it might have done differently or how it would react if this type of situation comes up again in the future. "If you translate the statement, especially given the lack of any concrete steps or outreach at all, it basically says they don't intend to change anything and this is just intended to dismiss what occurred, which is disappointing," Klinger said. (See WiCipedia: Risk Taking, Imposter Syndrome & CES Double Standards.)

  • In other conference news, Vox reports that the Grace Hopper Celebration, otherwise known as the world's biggest tech conference for women, has dumped Palantir as its sponsor due to the company's affiliation with ICE's anti-immigration activities. This is the result of a Change.org petition requesting the sponsor drop, and is actually the third time that a nonprofit or academic group has bid adieu to the big data analytics company for this reason. "At AnitaB.org we do our best to promote the basic rights and dignity of every person in all that we do, including our corporate sponsorship and events program. Palantir has been independently verified as providing direct technology assistance that enables the human rights abuses of asylum seekers and their children at US southern border detention centers." (See WiCipedia: Grace Hopper Promotes Diversity, Girl Scouts Code & How to Thrive.)

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

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