This week in our Women in Comms roundup: UK calls for an end to the old boy's network; Microsoft apologizes for its poor taste; inspiring women inventors and computer scientists; and more.
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The Brits are really cracking down on gender inequalities in the UK this week. A new report by the Women and Equalities Select Committee is criticizing the government for failing to close the gender pay gap and calling on it to enact policies that raise women's pay and give fathers and other caregivers three months of well-paid leave to share more equally in childcare. The two issues -- women's pay and childcare -- are linked, the report found. It suggests that women are hit with a "motherhood penalty" when they have kids which could be alleviated if men were able to be more involved. (See Mind the Gap: Is Public Shaming the Way to End Pay Inequity?)
In another study out of the UK this week, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that nearly one third of the UK's biggest companies largely rely on personal networks to identify new board members. These posts aren't advertised; they're filled via personal referrals, which has helped perpetuate the "old boy's network." As a result, more than 60% of the UK's largest 350 firms have not met a voluntary target of employing 25% female board members.
There is at least some evidence that the gender pay gap is improving and it comes in the form of a decline in the percentage of women getting married. The proportion of American women who were married has fallen from 74% in 1980 to 56% in 2010, and Na'ama Shenhav, a PhD candidate at the University of California, says women's rising earnings relative to men's is the most significant factor, responsible for about 20% of the decline in the marriage rate. Every 10% increase in women's wages relative to men's leads to a 7% decline in marriage, she says. Now, women are freer to marry for other factors outside of money like -- you know -- love!
Want to feel inspired, or at least possibly inadequate? Check out the following video featuring IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)'s Lisa Seacat Deluca, a mobile software engineer and the most prolific female inventor in IBM's history. She has filed more than 420 patents with over 225 issued so far. She's also a mom of four, and a lot of her inventions are solving everyday issues or improving life with technology. A lot are also just fun and pretty cool.
Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) issued an apology this week after hosting an after-hours party at a game developer's conference with scantily clad go-go dancers. The head of the Xbox division said this decision "represented Xbox and Microsoft in a way that was absolutely not consistent or aligned to our values." It certainly didn't help in a division of the tech industry -- gaming -- that has been the most under fire for its sexist practices. And, it also didn't help the cause of Microsoft's own "Women in Gaming" luncheon held earlier that day to promote diversity in the industry…
For another good reminder that there is no "one way" to be a successful woman in technology, check out GeekWire's profile of eight female computer scientists who have each spent more than 20 years in the tech industry. They share their unique perspectives of the progress the industry has made and the challenges that remain.
Libelium and Movandi and their founders are pioneering new technologies that are already changing the game for IoT and 5G, respectively, making them startups you want to keep an eye on in 2018 and beyond.