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WiCipedia: Valley of the Boom & Women in Comms Live

Eryn Leavens

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: A new series shows the tech boom's consequences; our WiC event was a huge success; a sobering look at women's progress in STEM; and more.

Interested in joining Women in Comms on our mission to champion change, empower women and redress the gender imbalance in the comms industry? Visit WiC online and get in touch to learn more about how you can become a member!

  • A forthcoming Nat Geo TV series titled Valley of the Boom is slated to be a six-part expose into the tech boom of the 90s in Silicon Valley. The series features some heavy hitters, including executive producer Arianna Huffington, CNET says. Huffington alleges that everything that we are seeing happening in the tech industry right now -- the #metoo movement, pay gap inequality, low percentages of women in tech and much more -- has its roots in "the unintended consequences of that era." The show is described as a "cautionary tale" about the consequences of technology. "Technology is amazing, but it needs to be put in its place, and we need to set boundaries so that we have time to connect with ourselves and to build deep connections with others," Huffington said. Check out the trailer for Valley of the Boom below. (See WiCipedia: Girls Code, Valley Shame & GE's Big Plan, WiCipedia: BT Improves Ratio, Silicon Valley Realities & Girl Power and WiCipedia: Tech in Africa, Female CEOs & Bingeworthy TV.)

    Valley of the Boom Trailer

  • Earlier this week, Women in Comms held a networking breakfast event hosted by the NFV & Carrier SDN: Automation & Monetization conference in Denver. Our panel focused on automation and how it will affect women and jobs in the future. The event was open to all women and men in telecom, STEM and IT and specifically addressed the jobs impact of automation, the skills needed in an automated environment and how to future-proof employment. As Tracey Nolan, president of national sales, strategy and operations at Sprint, and also one of our esteemed speakers, put it, "Show up strong with your skills today, but diversify your skills and don't be afraid to explore areas where you need to learn more to progress in your career." Check out a photo of our whole panel below. (See Sprint's Nolan on Why Workplace Sponsors Won't Settle for Less and WiC Panel: There's No Shame in Self-Promotion .)

    Women in Comms Panel at the NFV & Carrier SDN Conference
    From left to right: Kelsey Ziser, Moderator, Light Reading; Amy LaFebre; Director of Technology, Commercial Data Systems, Verizon; Tracy Nolan, President, National Sales, Strategy & Operations, Sprint; Shannon Williams, Director of Sales, Major Accounts, Infinera; Michelle Han, Director of NFV Solution Engineering & Validation, VMware. (Source: @YuiLNamiki)
    From left to right: Kelsey Ziser, Moderator, Light Reading; Amy LaFebre; Director of Technology, Commercial Data Systems, Verizon; Tracy Nolan, President, National Sales, Strategy & Operations, Sprint; Shannon Williams, Director of Sales, Major Accounts, Infinera; Michelle Han, Director of NFV Solution Engineering & Validation, VMware.
    (Source: @YuiLNamiki)

  • The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is on the attack, and Facebook is its target. The social media site has been running targeted job ads, the ACLU found, which zero in on men in a particular age range, BBC News reports. Several complaints have been made by women who state that they were not shown the ads because they do not fit into the desired demographic for job applications. This practice of zeroing in on an intended audience during job recruitment violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is no small screw-up. Galen Sherwin, from the ACLU's Women's Rights Project, told the BBC that "Because no women saw these ads, they were shut out of learning not only about the jobs highlighted in the ads, but also about any of these other opportunities." Facebook said that it looks forward to assessing the claims and "defending our practices." (See WiCipedia: Facebook in Diversity Hotseat & US Lagging in Gender Equality.)

  • Could the #metoo movement have slowed down the rate of women who are entering the tech industry? This is what an NBC News article suggests, as the percentage of growth is lower than last year. Though there are many factors that may have contributed to this, the article states that "the #Metoo and #TimesUp movements may be factors: Half of male executives are hesitant to be alone with women, even in professional settings," a survey by LeanIn.Org and Survey Monkey found. On the other hand, BBG Ventures Cofounder and Partner Nisha Dua told Yahoo that "There has never been a better time in history to be a female founder." BBG is an early-stage venture capital fund that invests in companies that have at least one female founder. Dua continued, "As an investor I think it's one of the most exciting times. I think actually the response from female founders, particularly those that are focused on female consumers, is that it's emboldened them..." (See Parallel Wireless Founder Reflects on Tech and WiCipedia: Boardroom Diversity, Bombastic Mansplaining & Women of Color.)

  • TechStory posted a helpful summary of where women in tech stand these days -- and how far we've come. The info is based on the 2018 Women in Tech Report by HackerRank, which surveyed more than 14,000 developers. They looked at the number of women who are pursuing tech as a degree and found that women are 33% more likely to study IT in 2018 than they were in 1983. They also found that 16-year-olds are more likely to study computer science than ever before -- whereas there used to be a 20% gender gap between girls and boys studying tech, that percentage has shrunk to 7%. While eliminating the gender gap can feel like a never-ending process, it's comforting to know that progress is being made. The article concludes, "What the current situation is, is not ideal. But it's not irreparable. Women are hopeful and positive that an inferior position that women have occupied by default in most fields will be repaired sooner in tech because of its dynamic nature and still-young days." (See Survey Says: Women in Comms Tell All.)

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

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