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May 26, 2017
This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Anita Borg Institute dumps Uber; Serena Williams joins SurveyMonkey's board; Clinton and Bush push for a Women's History Museum; 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!
Uber has built a vast web of partnerships for its ride-hailing service, but it now has one less partner to count on -- the Anita Borg Institute, a non-profit supporting female computer scientists, said it is cutting ties with Uber over the "continuing allegations that Uber faces about the treatment of women employees as well as other business issues." In a letter obtained by Recode sent to Uber's CTO Thuan Pham and head of human resources Liane Hornsey, ABI writes that it doesn't think Uber can take advantage of its programs and resources around getting more women in tech roles with its current internal investigation taking up its time and attention. Uber has pledged to undergo a cultural transformation and change its ways for good, but it looks like ABI has some doubts it's serious. It has promised to release a report of its findings into an internal investigation and has so far made some baby steps like releasing its number of females in tech roles (15%), a few layoffs and publicly apologizing -- many times. (See Uber Employs 15% Women in Tech Roles, Culture in Crisis: What's Next for Uber & Tech?, Uber Engineering SVP Out as Probe Continues and Uber's HR Nightmare: Company Investigates Sexual Harassment Claims.)
Proving you can pull in female talent from anywhere, Silicon Valley tech company SurveyMonkey has appointed tennis star Serena Williams to its board of advisors. Williams, who is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, has pledged to tackle the industry's lack of diversity, noting that she is disappointed in the number of white and Asian men that fill high-paid tech jobs.The BBC points out that only 27% of tech jobs at SurveyMonkey are filled by women and just 14% of its workforce is African American. (See Ellen Pao Returns to VC to Tackle Tech Diversity.)
Silicon Valley escapee Kate Buckholz has, as Wired reports, a rather surprising message for the Valley's tech companies: stop trying to recruit women. That is, stop trying to recruit them if you're not actually going to make an effort to retain them. The pipeline leak, as she sees it, happens a few years down the line when women leave the workforce because the environment isn't a good fit or, worse, is overtly sexist. If the company culture doesn't support women, then making a huge push to recruit them is just wasted time, money and resources, she argues. These resources instead should be directed towards retention and promotion. We agree, but have to question, is focusing on all of the above really too much to ask? (See Calling All Women in Comms: Share Your Story!)
Hillary Clinton is joining forces with fellow former first lady Laura Bush to push for a women's history museum on the National Mall. Speaking at the Women Making History Awards gala last week, Bush, as the Washington Post reports, bemoaned the fact that half the population is left out of American history and that more needs to be done to encourage women to run for office and president as Clinton has done. Clinton backed up her sentiments in a video message that also played at the event, which was sponsored by the National Women's History Museum. The Museum is currently housed online but has been looking to break ground in DC since it was founded in 1996.
Here at Women in Comms, we get sick of hearing the excuse from event planners that no women were available to speak at conferences -- and we're not the only ones. To hopefully put this excuse to rest indefinitely, we are creating a list of talented, qualified female comms execs who are willing to travel and speak at events on a range of technology topics. The list will be made public on WiC Online to serve as a resource for the entire industry. Coming off of an inspiring WiC conference and Big Communications Event with many interesting female speakers, Light Reading is committed to doing a better job at recruiting women too. We're calling on the rest of the industry to join us, so please get in touch if you'd like to be added to the list! (For coverage of the WiC conference, see WiC Panel: Diversity Must Flow Top Down, AT&T's Donovan: Women Adapt Faster Than Men, Cisco's Centoni Shares Guiding Career Themes , Intel GM: 5G Opens Up New Era for Women and Congratulations to WiC's Newest Leading Lights.)
— Sarah Thomas, , Director, Women in Comms
Director, Women in Comms
Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.
She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.
As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.
Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.
Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.
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