This week in our Women in Comms roundup: Trump's family leave plan falls short; toxic work environments at Apple?; ageism in tech TV; and more.
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In yet another example of Donald Trump not treating women with respect or dignity, the Republican presidential candidate has just announced his maternity leave proposal. Trump, who has never been in favor of working mothers or women's equality, suggested a plan that would allow for women to take off six partially paid weeks of work, along with some child care tax credits. The Huffington Post elaborates that the plan would not include any leave for male partners. In contrast, Hillary Clinton's much longer-standing maternity leave plan proposes "12 weeks of leave at two-thirds of a worker's previous salary," Vox reports. The Donald's in-the-limelight daughter, Ivanka, pushed her father to present a plan. Without her influence, he most likely would have demolished the entire idea of a family leave policy. In one of his finer moments, Trump "once told a lawyer she was 'disgusting' when she had to leave a deposition to pump breast milk," Vox quotes. In a similar vein, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown just announced his "veto of sales tax exemption bills for two items -- diapers and feminine hygiene products," calling them "luxuries," not necessities, Politico reports. It's almost as if future male politicians have a secret pact to collectively skip sex ed... (See WiCipedia: Trumpisms, Marriage Penalties & Back-to-School Inspo and Trump's Telecom Policy? Who Knows?)
For an example of an administration that got the gender equality issue right, look no further than President Obama. The Huffington Post reports that while the team started off mostly male-dominated, female employees strongly advocated for other female employees, making it impossible to ignore their influence, especially in meetings. "One of the most notoriously frustrating aspects of workplace sexism for women is being overlooked in meetings -- whether you're 'manterrupted' or have an idea 'bropropiated' -- but with the 'amplification' strategy, women in meetings repeated each other's ideas, crediting the women who came up with them, and forcing men to acknowledge that women had just as much to contribute," HuffPo reports. This amplification method works in any industry, and really pares down to two messages: speak up and help women around you speak up. Now that's girl power. (See WiCipedia: Datanauts, Dudes & Deals and WiCipedia: Big Names Band Together & #NoWomanEver .)
Back in the tech world, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is in some hot water this week for allegedly creating a hostile work environment for women, Mic reports. From "jokes about violent sexual assault" to safety complaints ignored by CEO Tim Cook, many of the Apple women felt disparaged and unseen at their prestigious workplace. A group of women banded together via an email chain to discuss the unfair treatment, which ranged from working late nights alone in a dark office, to being passed over for promotions, to a fear of retaliation for voicing concerns. The efforts culminated in a lawsuit against the company and several female employees choosing to leave, feeling as if they had no other option. "'Several people' who have quit, citing a 'white, male, Christian, misogynist, sexist environment,' were not given exit interviews. 'Their departure is being written up as a positive attrition,'" a female employee of Apple told Mic.
So is this really an issue of Apple, a company that has "publicly declared its commitment to employing more women and minorities," creating a sexist and discriminatory work environment? Or is this just what happens when men outnumber women two to one? We think this Twitter photo of the bathroom lines at the recent TechCrunch Disrupt conference says it all. You won't see this at the movies, folks! (See WiCipedia: Gender-Blind VR & CEO Double Standards.)
On the heels of Women in Comms' radio show with Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC)'s Lynn Comp, and the Women in Comms networking breakfast and panel in Denver, we came across this article from Quartz. Intel is known for its commitment to diversity and transparency, and that ethos is embedded in the culture of the company, going far beyond hiring practices. The company is putting its money where its mouth (err, PR department?) is, and plans to "commit $300 million to invest in startups created by women and underrepresented minorities, help define computer science curriculum at high schools, offer internships to diverse students, and send Intel employees to schools to mentor minority students," CEO Brian Krzanich announced at last year's CES. "It's time to step up and do more. It’s not good enough to say we value diversity," he concluded. (See Intel's Keddy: Move Beyond the 'Comfort Zone', Intel Updates on its Diversity Initiatives and Intel's Processor Boss Shares Lessons Learned.)
You can't turn on a TV these days without seeing a reality show, and the tech world seems to be cashing in on the demand. We've previously discussed Bravo TV 's Start-Ups: Silicon Valley and Home Box Office Inc. (HBO) 's Silicon Valley, but now a new show is causing a hullabaloo. Observer reports that an email about a casting call for female founders looking for angel investors was posted on
Facebook , but with a catch: The producers were only looking for women under the age of 40. Incensed female CEOs posted a range of retorts, from humorous to downright offended. "'I'm too old to be considered, clearly at my advanced age of 49 my walker gets in the way of being 'dynamic', must remember to take my dentures out,' joked Linda Ricci, a founder of an unnamed early-stage startup," the Observer quotes. It's no secret that ageism is rampant in the tech space, and those at the very top are perpetuating the myth that only the most nascent founders have something to bring to the table. "'Young people are just smarter,' Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told an audience at Stanford back in 2007," says a New Republic article from 2014. Riiight. (See WiCipedia: Big Leagues & Small Screens Take On Gender Parity and WiCipedia: Should Men Be Included? & Olympians Face Discrimination.)
— Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading