Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Victory in a 'Culture of Victimology'

This week in our Women in Comms roundup: a father-daughter war of words; a new face for the $20; a look at venture capital firms; 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!

  • There's been a father-daughter war of words this week between Amilia St. John and her father, creator of the Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) DirectX platform and video game publisher Alex St. John. Alex called out game makers in a rather scathing blog post this week, saying they act like "wage slaves" and have a bad attitude and "culture of victimology" around their chosen profession, which is anything but strenuous. This caused the angry gamers to unearth a recruiting slideshow Alex had also previously made calling the state of the market "a sea of floating mediocrity" and suggesting companies recruit the wives and girlfriends, not the engineers, because "if the wife or GF is unhappy, the engineer is done."

    Alex's 22-year old daughter Amilia struck back with her own, much more eloquent blog post, condemning her father's "sexist, ableist, and racist rants" and sticking up for women in the tech world, who do face ample challenges along the way. She writes, "In a world where so many women are finally gaining the opportunity for a voice, the tech industry is quiet. And what my father seems to so fundamentally misunderstand is that this is NOT, as he insinuates, a result of women 'claiming victimhood.' "

  • After a long wait and much debate, the US Treasury has decided that Civil War abolitionist and suffragist Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. (She was the favored face in WiC's poll on the topic from January too.) The new bills will be introduced in 2020, a year that marks the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, but could take much longer to come into circulation. Some are predicting that it will take until at least 2030, while others are predicting we'll no longer be using cash at all by then... So, count this as a small victory for women, but don't burn through all your Jackson $20s quite yet.

  • TechCrunch, with the help of its startup database CrunchBase, has combed the top 100 venture capital firms to find out how women are really represented there. It discovered that 53 out of 764 partners, or 7%, are women, and 38% of the top 100 firms have at least one female partner. That's 28 firms with one female partner and seven with two. Two out of the (only) three female co-founded VC firms also had the highest percentage of female partners at 33% each.

    CrunchBase also found that between 2010 and 2015, 10% of venture dollars globally -- or $31.5 billion -- went to startups with at least one female founder. Of the 54 VC firms who had more than the industry average of 12% of their startups having a female founder, 44% have at least one female investing partner. Given the relatively small differential, CrunchBase says it's "too early to determine whether female investors alter the funding equation for female founders." (See The Rise of Women Startups.)

  • NASA has been hosting one of the solar system's biggest yearly hackathons, Space Apps Challenge, for the past four years, so when it noticed a dearth of women attending, it looked into the reasons why. What it discovered is that women want safe spaces where it's clear women are welcome and in attendance; they want to prepare in advance -- get to know the environment and their team early; they needed childcare at the events; and they need to feel they have the skills required for that particular event. NASA is using these findings to better tailor its events towards women in hopes of changing the ratio away from its current 80/20 men to women split.

  • PayPal made it into Vanity Fair this week for advertising a panel on "Gender Equality and Inclusion in the Workplace" that consisted of five men. PayPal insists the full title didn't make it on to the poster, and that it was supposed to end with, "a Conversation with our Male Allies," but the bigger point is that in an industry where the majority of panels are men only, does another one really help? Of course, male voices are critical to this conversation, but progress will only be made by working together. That's why Women in Comms is welcoming men to our upcoming event on May 23, as well as hosting our own "male allies" panel, but you better believe women will have a seat at that table as well.

    — Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Director, Women in Comms

  • Sarah Thomas 4/22/2016 | 12:32:51 PM
    not-so St John Alex St. John's blog post was bad, but his recruiting presentation is SO SO bad. It's definitely worth reading his daughter's full post refuting it all. Very well said, reasonable and accurate.
    Sign In