This week in our WiC roundup: The stats on LGBTQ inclusivity at work; how to self-advocate; caste systems follow Indian workers to the US; and more.

Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor

July 17, 2020

4 Min Read
WiCipedia: New inclusivity report for LGBTQ workers

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: The stats on LGBTQ inclusivity at work; how to self-advocate; caste systems follow Indian workers to the US; and more.

  • An inclusivity report for LGBTQ workers was released in honor of Pride month by Blind, an online community where people can anonymously share and discuss mostly tech-based workplace culture. The report is overwhelmingly positive, with 86% of respondents claiming they feel their companies are safe for LGBTQ employees.

    However, that's not the full story, as those stats take a 10% decline when only LGBTQ votes are taken into account, and an even greater dive, down to 64%, when only trans and gender non-conforming votes are counted. So clearly the outsider's perspective is a bit rosier than the reality. The numbers continue to stay well above the midway point for health and family issues, though they see a decrease when LBGTQ representation in upper management is assessed, with non queer-identifying respondents (55%) once again reporting a much higher percentage than their LBGTQ counterparts (35%). Clearly, there's still work to do here, though these stats are more encouraging than we would have guessed. (See WiCipedia: How companies can align values with profits.)

    Figure 1: Can't stop won't stop (Source: Pixabay) (Source: Pixabay)

    • We may have class disparities in the US, but it's nothing compared to India's still-ongoing caste system, which follows people around for their entire lives regardless of education or career accomplishments. An article in The Washington Post describes how this affects tech workers from India in America (one Cisco employee just sued the company for caste-based discrimination). The author of the article, Thenmozhi Soundararajan, is an activist fighting for the rights of Dalit people (the lowest caste) in her work as executive director at Equality Labs, and describes receiving rape and death threats (mostly on Twitter), police aggression and discrimination in the US when her caste status was revealed.

      Tech companies seem to be at the epicenter of this issue in the US, and – no surprise – these issues are magnified for women. There are many actions that tech companies can take to remedy this situation though, and our hope is that this new lawsuit will illuminate their need to protect all employees, regardless of where they're from. (See WiCipedia: 'Trusting One's Dopeness' & the Happiest Women in Tech.)

    • Built in Chicago rounded up eight professional women based out of the Windy City to ask them about self-advocating and speaking up against misogyny in workspaces that are normally dominated by men. Most said that the issue wasn't easy to approach or solve, and that it's an ongoing process that they deal with in their work lives. Two popular suggestions which several of the women mentioned were leaning on allies for support and keeping a list of personal accomplishments to reference in down times.

      Stephanie Acker, manager of strategy and implementation at Snapsheet, said, "The first step was realizing that advocating for yourself doesn't mean that you are arrogant or entitled. It means that you deserve to be seen and have recognition for what you've accomplished. Men are much more normalized to talking about the value and insight that they bring to the table, simply because they've been brought up to think and talk that way about their accomplishments." (See WiCipedia: Fake it till you make it – the confidence edition.)

    • Only 24% of cybersecurity workers are women, and as the issues around security balloon, it's more important than ever for the industry to be more evenly split between genders. That's why Trend Micro and Girls in Tech are partnering up to create an initiative that aims to get girls interested in cybersecurity, Infosecurity Magazine reports. The online course will feature classes taught by instructors and labs covering the basics of cybersecurity along with more advanced teachings as well.

      "Girls in Tech shares with Trend Micro a unified vision for a future in which women are provided the same opportunities to pursue professions in technology as their male counterparts," said Adriana Gascoigne, founder and CEO of Girls in Tech. "We look forward to continuing our partnership with Trend Micro to positively impact the technology landscape for women today and generations to come." (See WiCipedia: Making diversity a priority in job searches.)

      — Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading. Follow us on Twitter @LR_WiC and contact Eryn directly at [email protected].

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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