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May 29, 2020
This week in our WiCipedia roundup: A free coding bootcamp for African American women in the UK; Google's diversity initiative conundrum; a "new normal" for women in tech; and more.
An article on SDx Central got us thinking about how the pandemic has altered day-to-day life for so many people, and what the future of work might look like – especially for women in tech. During VMware's recent digital Women Transforming Technology conference, writer Jessica Lyons Hardcastle found herself connecting in ways she didn't before feel were possible, and reimagining conferences and networking down the line. One of the focuses of the conference was how to "restructure everything," and stressed that the current pandemic has given companies and employees the opportunity to assess how diversity is approached and the next right steps. Incorporating family life, adding flexibility and supporting diverse workforces will be more important than ever for the "new normal." (See WiCipedia: Making diversity a priority in job searches.) Figure 1: Pushing the reset button (Source: Pixabay)
Last week we wrote about how the discrimination lawsuit against Google by former employee James Damore was retracted, and mentioned that the whole ordeal negatively impacted the company's diversity programs. Yet Business Insider has reported that Google CEO Sundar Pichai denied this information and stated that the company's diversity initiatives are stronger than ever. Earlier statements claimed that programs were scaled back to avoid additional conservative backlash such as Damore's "Gender Manifesto," yet Pichai said, "We probably have more resources invested in diversity now than at any point in our history as a company." However, he neglected to name specific programs that were being expanded or even continued, though a number of major programs are currently being shuttered. Time will tell if Google's focus on diversity is truly a commitment worth bragging about. (See WiCipedia: Women in tech roles hit hard by pandemic.)
Asian and Pacific Islander (API) women seem to get stuck in the shadow of API men in tech, explains an article in The Daily newspaper at the University of Washington, where studies are being carried out about API women on the path to computing careers. Research found that Asian men, who are often pigeonholed as the "model minority" in STEM, may "dominate" the tech industry, which leads people to believe that the same must be true of Asian women. Yet one student researcher explained that opportunities aren't always equal within minority groups: "The way the barriers manifest and the ways they face different oppressions are never going to be the same," she said. (See WiCipedia: Endangered Species, 'the Pao Effect' & Bad Actors.)
A coding bootcamp in the UK is offering free membership for 40 African American women, Metro reports. The workshop will include six months of classes for women who are between 18 and 35, and is intended for those with no background in tech. Training will include topics such as software programming, Blockchain, AI, machine learning and more, and women who complete the course will be granted entry-level jobs at the culmination of the bootcamp. "Although the numbers for diversity in tech are creeping up, we know that there are more black women that could benefit from high-earning career opportunities that a skill like coding can offer," a program manager said. The program will take place two evenings a week to cater to a variety of scheduling conflicts and work or family obligations. We hope to see many programs like this available for free to minorities in the future. (See WiCipedia: Startup School Scholarships, Losing Lena & UK Pay Discrepancies.)
— Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading
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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