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February 26, 2021
This week in our WiCipedia roundup: New study reports gender equality in tech stats; Google seeks to improve image; the best cities for women in tech in 2021; and more.
SmartAsset has released its seventh annual list of the best cities for women in tech, and the results are a little different than normal, likely impacted by COVID-19 and the remote working boom. Fast Company summarized the findings, which placed three of the top five locations just outside Washington DC in "more affordable Zoom towns." Nearly all of the cities listed were outside California, citing a move out of the Golden State to greener pastures. The city breakdown also analyzes where women make the most (and least) compared to their male counterparts, notably ranking Salt Lake City at the very bottom with women making a mere 68 cents on the dollar compared to men. You can view the complete city ranking for 2021 here. (See WiCipedia: 2020's best cities for women in tech.) Figure 1: Have Zoom will travel (Source: Pixabay)
The pandemic has affected women in the workplace at a staggering rate, enough to coin the term "she-cession," Time explains. The word is the most accurate summary of what many women have had to go through over the past year, inspired by "a troubling uptick in loss of jobs – be it layoffs or otherwise – for women across the U.S." The article explains that the issue stems from the need for women to be full-time caregivers to young and old family members alike, while still being expected to work full-time, often with increased duties and demands. Indeed, "Since March, 28% of women with kids under 18 in the household have temporarily or permanently left the workforce to become a primary caregiver to children, compared to 10% of men," the article states. Post-pandemic, it will be so crucial to provide reentry opportunities for women at work, though it's difficult to know how feasible this might be in reality. (See WiCipedia: COVID-19 layoffs affect women more.)
A new study from Kaspersky has encouraging results for women in tech, The Online Citizen reports. The study surveyed women in tech to find out how they felt about the current gender divide, and found that more than half of respondents reported gender equality improving at their organizations over the past two years in both on-site and remote capacities. A full 70% explained that they felt "their skills and experience were considered ahead of gender when applying for their first role in IT or tech." Yet more than a third reported feeling "wary" of entering the industry at all because of the relatively low numbers of women, and that a higher number of women in tech would be good for everyone involved. While the numbers weren't as dire as one might expect, there's clearly a lot of work ahead for individual employers and wider society. (See WiCipedia: Minority numbers in STEM studies still lag.)
Google has not been on the complimentary end of the press spectrum when it comes to minorities in tech lately. It's hard to tell if they're actually trying to remedy the issue or if righting the media reputation is the bigger motivation, but a new program titled "Grow with Google: Black Women Lead" is aimed at helping Black women succeed in the industry. A blog post from the company explains the new initiative, which is aiming "to train 100,000 Black women in digital skills by 2022." The campaign is partnering with six Black-owned companies – The Links, Dress for Success and four sororities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council – and its intention is to increase the "hireability" of Black women by spring of next year in order to counteract the massive amount of lost jobs for this demographic due to the pandemic. (See WiCipedia: Google employees protest and unionize.)
Similarly, Facebook is making moves to up its diversity cred, Business Matters Magazine reports. A worldwide resource that supports women in business, everywoman provides women with ways to network and expand skillsets. Facebook has recently announced that it will be collaborating with the platform to "address the tech industry's lack of diversity and inclusion." The collaboration will also include a virtual event in March. Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president of EMEA at Facebook, said, "Facebook is proud to partner with everywoman to promote diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. The technology sector should reflect the community it serves, yet for too long, women have been under-represented in the tech workforce." (See WiCipedia: Founders battle anti-racism, fight for equal-opportunity funding.)
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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