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WiCipedia: WiC Hits the Road in Dallas & Apple Event Makes (Some) Diversity Headway

Eryn Leavens

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Board diversification demands go worldwide; Apple event makes some headway on diversity efforts; AnitaB.org moves the gender equality needle, and more.

  • This week was our annual Women in Comms breakfast workshop at the Network Virtualization & SDN Americas event in Dallas, where we addressed the future of women in next-gen tech. This free breakfast workshop, hosted by Light Reading's Kelsey Ziser, discussed 5G's impact on hiring decisions and future employment opportunities, as well as potential benefits and deterrents for women in the overall industry. Read more about the discussions from the event here, and look out for our forthcoming article about the workshop as well.

    A Dream-Team Panel at the Breakfast Workshop
    (Source: Mitch Wagner)
    (Source: Mitch Wagner)

  • Apple's annual keynotes are the place the vendor likes to announce its latest and greatest very expensive gear. They're also, as The Washington Post puts it, "heavily white and male." This year's event was a bit different, though not enough that onlookers were sated. While minorities were present -- even on stage -- they were mostly limited to certain demographics. Rakesh Agrawal, a product and marketing strategist, tweeted, "Is this the most diverse Apple keynote ever? A lot of women and minorities. (Though, sadly, no African Americans speaking -- some in the ads.)" He wasn't the only one to notice, as evidenced by the tweetstorm that ensued, with some attendees more pleased than others. (See WiCipedia: Apple's Diversity Dilemma & Women Have Tech Edge, Study Finds.)

  • Have you heard of Ms. Monopoly, the new game in which women make more than men? CNN explains, "Ms. Monopoly is meant to celebrate women's empowerment by giving women a head start in the game." Hasbro, maker of the original Monopoly game, says it's "a fun new take on the game that creates a world where women have an advantage often enjoyed by men. But don't worry, if men play their cards right, they can make more money too." Players earn funny money by investing in inventions made by women, and women also make more for passing Go. While not everyone is happy about the new game and its political implications, it certainly is a fun tongue-in-cheek way to address salary imbalances. (See WiCipedia: Fembots Create Gender Divide & Snap Tackles Culture Issues.)

  • Fresh on the heels of California's game-changing policy to diversify boards, Australia's largest super fund, AustralianSuper, is voting to require companies to have at least two female board members. The Sydney Morning Herald reports the super fund, which manages retirement accounts, "plans to write to [52] ASX-listed companies warning them it will vote against the most senior director up for reappointment if they have fewer than two women on their board." Andrew Gray, director of environmental, social, governance and stewardship at AustralianSuper, said, "Companies with better gender diversity on their boards perform better. That makes them better investments and therefore generate better investment returns for our members. So to us, the case for gender diversity on boards is clear." (See WiCipedia: Diverse Boards Are the Future & UK Gov't Deals With Online Abuse.)

  • 2025 has been a goal year for equality in the workplace for some time now, though as we approach that date, how far away are we really? Business Wire says AnitaB.org is the latest company to make a valiant effort towards realizing this goal. The non-profit's COO, Jacqueline Bouvier Copeland, has been on a spree, with 11 new hires in her first year at the company, in order to reach 50-50 gender equality in the next five and a half years. "We need the most ambitious, inventive and diverse leaders to propel us to global 50/50 intersectional tech equity by 2025," said CEO and President Brenda Darden Wilkerson. "The unique backgrounds and combined experience these 11 individuals bring is remarkable. It’s an extremely powerful team who will not only drive the necessary change for AnitaB.org but also lead and inspire our partners, clients and the tech industry holistically to achieve remarkable results." AnitaB.org's annual conference for women in tech, the Grace Hopper Celebration, is coming up in Orlando on from October 1-4, and will host more than 25,000 attendees. (See Girl Scouts Announces Pledge to Bring 2.5 Million Girls Into STEM Pipeline by 2025.)

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

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