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WiCipedia: 'You Are Either Sexually Objectified or the Housewife' – MWC19

Eryn Leavens

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Gamifying sexism; MWC19 leaves much to be desired for female attendees; a new Google policy for harassment; and more.

  • This week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was a frenzy per usual, and also per usual was its lack of women. The show, which ends today, was a sea of men, reports one attendee, BBC News Technology Reporter Zoe Kleinman, on the BBC website. While she found a few female faces, by and large men comprised both the audience and the presenters. "At CES [the Las Vegas technology fair], the thing was booth babes and skimpily dressed people -- that's not the case here but women are in the position of being the hostess, they are smart and look nice but they are serving," analyst Carolina Milanesi told the author about her experience at MWC. "You are either sexually objectified or you are the housewife but you are not seen as making a decision about tech or buying it." (See WiCipedia: Seeking Female Keynoters & Recruitment Fails Women.)

    Few & Far Between
    (Source: BBC)
    (Source: BBC)

  • Google has announced a groundbreaking new policy that will affect the way harassment and discrimination cases are handled -- and hopefully set a precedent. The Hill explains that the company will now allow full-time employees to sue over incidences of unfair treatment, in sharp contrast to previous "mandatory arbitration" policies, which are basically out-of-court mediations popular with tech companies. In layman's terms, this means that all cases will be handled before a judge and jury, which gives the plaintiff more of a leg up in the process, as mediations tend to side with the high-powered defendant in these types of cases. The policy revision is the end result of the 20,000-plus Google employee walkout at the end of last year, which protested treatment of minority employees and unfair work practices. (See WiCipedia: All-Female Boards, Google 'Utterly Unprepared' & Insecure Men and WiCipedia: Bots Gone Wild at CES & Another Google Lawsuit.)

  • It seems like you can "gamify" pretty much anything now, so why not sexism? Forbes profiled three female colleagues at Amazon who invented a card game that "starts productive conversations about sexism." Persist the Game was developed by MaryBeth Pecha, Amber Hanson and Kathryn Ekloff, and aims to create a "conversation about some of the experiences women face in their careers, personal lives, relationships and health." The game is intended for groups of women to gather and play. It was 125% funded on Kickstarter and comes in some some pretty luxe packaging, in case anyone thought that discussing sexism wouldn't also be fashionable. (See HPE Launches Interactive Game Teaching Young Girls Critical Cybersecurity Skills and WiCipedia: Badasses, F Bombs & Deodorant.)

    Just the Activity to Bring to Your Next Bridal Shower
    (Source: Persist the Game)

  • A New York Times article picks apart a study on "abusive supervision" that shows that tough managers don't necessarily end up getting better results. While angry superiors may be present in all industries, tech workers are no strangers to being pushed to their limits in order to produce the next best thing. Male and female bosses are equally tough according to the article, but does the productivity rate or perception change if your boss is female? No such luck. "People judge women very harshly, even if they do the same behaviors as a man," said Leigh Thompson, director of team and group research at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. "As for [a female boss], my guess is that if she were [male], well, he'd be considered tough but he gets things done."

  • It's that time of year again when cities in the US compete for the honor of being named the best city for women in tech. SmartAsset -- for the fourth year in a row -- has ranked cities based on four key factors: "gender pay gap, income after housing costs, women's representation in the workforce and percent growth in employment." The list largely remained the same as the past few years, with Washington, DC; Kansas City, Mo.; and Baltimore, Md., rounding out the top three. Only one California city (Fremont) made the list of top 15, much to the chagrin of many tech companies. (See WiCipedia: Head East, Young Techie & New Industries Need Women and WiCipedia: Best Cities for WiT, Born to Code & Dancing Backwards.)

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

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