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WiCipedia: Nature vs. Nurture & the Moms at Work Dilemma

This week in our WiC roundup: Men and women have the same brains; startups are less popular than you might think; flexibility for moms at work is not improving; and more.

Eryn Leavens

January 24, 2020

4 Min Read
WiCipedia: Nature vs. Nurture & the Moms at Work Dilemma

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Men and women have the same brains; startups are less popular than you might think; flexibility for moms at work is not improving; and more.

  • It's long been debated if (and how) male and female brains differ, and new brain imaging technology concludes that the answer to this conundrum is black and white if you don't factor in cultural conditioning. WGBH, Boston's NPR station, interviewed Gina Rippon, author of Gender and Our Brains, and talked about nature versus nurture and the research we've been fed about potential gender differences. The takeaway? Nurture wins, every time. "Looking for differences between the sexes is a statistical wild goose chase. According to Rippon, most differences between genders are much smaller than the differences among them. In other words, there is much more variation within the 'boy' or 'girl' group than there are between boys and girls," the article states. (See WiCipedia: Alternative College & Male Separatism.) Figure 1: Different Brain = Different Environment Let's let that old 'Men are from Mars, women are from Venus' adage go. (Source: Pixabay) Let's let that old "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus" adage go.
    (Source: Pixabay)

    • If you're a tech recruiter, you're probably privy to a whole lot of diversity stats and tactics to make sure you're getting the best candidate in the most fair way. If you're not, this article in Forbes offers a unique perspective on equal-opportunity recruitment in this weird day and age. From making sure the company that's hiring already has inclusive policies, abolishes the dreaded "culture fit" and writes gender-neutral job descriptions to hosting blind auditions so bias doesn't set in from the get go, there are a bevy of different ways to ensure workplace diversity that don't involve hitting quotas for the sake of hitting quotas. Diversity can be a far more natural process, if you leave it to the right people. (See WiCipedia: Recruitment Gender Bias, VC Cash Stash & Making Better Decisions.)

    • VCs are predominantly men, but what if they were mostly women? This article, also in Forbes, suggests that we all might be a little better off if the gender balance were reversed. According to new data, private tech companies with female leaders boast staggeringly higher ROI (35%) and investment revenue (12%) than companies led by men. In one study, female-founded companies outperformed male-founded companies by a whopping 63%. On the flip side, the bulk of companies that have recently experienced major security breaches were run by white men. What would happen if the people making the important funding decisions were women? Or if the companies keeping our private information were controlled by female leaders? We'll be waiting here patiently to tell the old boys' club "I told you so." (See WiCipedia: Ivanka Trump's CES Keynote & Male Bosses Promote Men More.)

    • Think everyone wants to work at a startup with nap pods and slides to get from one meeting to the next? Think again. Computer Weekly summarized a study from a recruitment company, which found that only 1% of women looking for jobs desired to work at a startup, compared to 8% of male jobseekers. "Startups, particularly in the tech sector, have gained a reputation for being male-dominated and, as a result, it appears the majority of women don't see themselves working in this environment," said David Morel, CEO of Tiger Recruitment. Given all the bad press about gender inequality of all shapes and sizes in tech workplaces, the low percentage make sense, though we certainly wouldn't expect it to be that low. (See WiCipedia: Startup School Scholarships, Losing Lena & UK Pay Discrepancies.)

    • Moms in tech have always faced stigma for having multifaceted lives (child-free editor sidenote: as if everyone else doesn't!), and The Guardian reports that this bias still isn't going away. Moms are leaving their tech jobs in droves, the article explains, as mega tech companies aren't budging when new parents request more flexible working circumstances such as part-time hours or working from home. If the goal is to get -- and keep -- more women in tech, then more employers need to step up to the plate with family-friendly policies. A former data scientist at Facebook, who left because of the company's rigid family leave policies, said, "We need to let the industry know that keeping women in the workforce requires more flexibility and a change of perspective." (See WiCipedia: Egg Freezing, Hormone Lunches & Back to Work With Babies... Oh My!)

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

About the Author(s)

Eryn Leavens

Special Features & Copy Editor

Eryn Leavens, who joined Light Reading in January 2015, attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before earning her BA in creative writing and studio arts from Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass. She also completed UC Berkeley Extension's Professional Sequence in Editing.

She stumbled into tech copy editing after red-penning her way through several Bay Area book publishers, including Chronicle Books, Counterpoint Press/Soft Skull Press and Seal Press. She spends her free time lifting heavy things, growing her own food, animal wrangling and throwing bowls on the pottery wheel. She lives in Alameda, Calif., with two cats and two greyhounds.

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