WiCipedia: Study finds job application process rife with racial discrimination

This week in our WiC roundup: Prejudice in hiring practices; for women in tech, harassment is the norm; heavy hitters get together for real change; and more.

Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor

August 6, 2021

4 Min Read
WiCipedia: Study finds job application process rife with racial discrimination

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Prejudice in hiring practices; for women in tech, harassment is the norm; heavy hitters get together for real change; and more.

  • The New York Times details a study that examined how job applications are filtered by race. The study, which began 20 years ago, found that when resumes are submitted with names that sound white, they are read and followed up on more than resumes with names that sound Black. This is even the case when the resumes with white names aren't as accomplished as those of the applications whose names sound as though they belong to a Black person. The issue is widespread in every field, with racial bias found in all geographic areas in the US, though some industries are slightly worse than others. While testing to confirm hiring bias has been extensive, tackling the issue from a universal level hasn't happened much yet. Instead, specific employers are being homed in on for discriminatory practices by regulatory offices. Hopefully the repercussions of such practices will increase in the future. (See WiCipedia: 'Blind' hiring may offer solutions for women in tech.) Figure 1: "Blind" hiring is one solution to discrimination in applications (Source: Pixabay) (Source: Pixabay)

    • A new book called "We Should All Be Millionaires" by Rachel Rodgers is questioning the earning potential of minorities, The New York Times reports. Around 85% of millionaires in the world are white and male, leaving a huge wealth gap between white men and nearly every other demographic. Rodgers writes, "More non-white, non-male people should be earning seven figures. But between systemic racism and sexism and the internalized limiting beliefs many women of color have from operating within those systems, most struggle to get there." The book's overarching goal is to help women – particularly women of color, queer women, disabled women and other double minorities – elevate their salaries and financial knowledge to level the playing field, radicalize the system and build generational wealth. You can find the book here. (See WiCipedia: Working more to earn less.)

    • An article by software engineer Emily Kager in Mashable explains the personal downsides of being a woman in tech: various forms of harassment. Kager lays out the many ways in which she and other women in tech are routinely harassed just for doing their jobs, from discouraging comments and messages online to actual threats of violence. Kager also explains that she's consistently called "angry" – a word that many women, in general, have been called for expressing opinions that wouldn't be thought of as angry at all, if they came from a man. Yet there are many things to actually be angry about in a sexist industry, such as unequal pay, a lack of promotions and opportunities, microaggressions and much more. As Kager puts it, "Women in tech need to waste time, resources, and energy fighting a misogynistic war on multiple fronts but still show up to do the work and demonstrate excellence while under a microscope. We are exhausted." (See WiCipedia: Command Shift aims to bring gender equality in tech to the 21st century.)

    • Two recently divorced tech powerhouses – Melinda French Gates and Mackenzie Scott – have joined forces to elevate gender equality in the industry. Fortune reports that the two ex-wives of the richest and most powerful men in the world (along with the family foundation of billionaire Lynn Schusterman) have launched an initiative that awarded $40 million to "four [projects] promoting gender equality projects in tech, higher education, caregiving and minority communities." The philanthropists are no strangers to large project awards such as this – collectively they have donated billions of dollars to the advancement of equality in tech and beyond. "Those of us who share values, particularly in gender, we see each other and we respect each other's work," said Nicole Bates, director of strategic partnerships and initiatives at Pivotal Ventures, Gates's organization. (See WiCipedia: How tech can evolve beyond performative activism.)

    • An emailed press release distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of SAP Africa announced that Tracy Bolton will be the new COO of SAP Africa. Bolton is a 25-year industry veteran who has already spent nine years in leadership roles at SAP. The press release stated that Bolton's priorities as the new COO "include driving adoption of the SAP strategy among all employees through upskilling and cross-skilling, and improving the operational efficiencies within the business." She was previously council member at Women in IT.

      — 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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