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November 12, 2021
This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Funding is "surging" for female-founded companies; will new Texas laws cause a tech exodus?; harassment may be unavoidable for women in tech; and more.
Maliha Abidi has a goal of getting 100,000 girls and women invested in cryptocurrency by the end of next year. Her campaign, Women Rise, is advocating for women to get involved to bridge the gender gap for the future of currency, Devdiscourse explains. Abidi wants to help women find financial independence. At only 25, she's definitely ahead of the curve, but she doesn't want to do it alone, and sees this as one crucial step towards fighting racism and sexism. "The inequity exists so deeply and systematically in society, and people bring their biases into all walks of life," she said, adding that she had faced bias "steeped in racism." "This is why it is so important for diverse voices to be a part of the blockchain conversation – if not, we will have a repeat of the inequality that exists elsewhere," she said. So who's ready to start trading?! (See WiCipedia: Crypto, Cannabis & Change.) Figure 1: Funny money (Source: Pixabay)
Angel investing has long been the territory of white men, but hopefully it won't always be that way. TechCrunch profiled Amanda Robson, a principal at Cowboy Ventures, whose goal is to rally an "informal network of women and non-binary folks who have the means to write checks, but for whatever reason have not been able to easily move into this type of investing." Just having the means doesn't necessarily mean having the access, and Robson is on a mission to change that and get VC dollars into the hands of those who have historically been left out. According to CrunchBase, only 7% of the total investments raised by VCs in 2020 was by female-founded firms, with only about 1,000 female angel investors total. In order to change the game, all players need to be diversified. (See WiCipedia: Founders battle anti-racism, fight for equal-opportunity funding.)
In recent years, Texas has become a new tech destination, with Austin affectionately known as Silicon Alley. Yet a new conservative law in Texas, which limits women's control over their own bodies, is threatening to make a dent in Texas' tech progress. Texas Monthly has followed the evolution of how this new law will affect the future of tech in the Lone Star state, which has taken "reckless vigilante justice on women's bodies." So far though, despite Silicon Valley's attempts of offering relocation plans for Texas techies, there hasn't been an exodus yet. But that doesn't mean the state will be able to attract future employees with the same success that it has in the past if the law stands. (See WiCipedia: Pandemic culture shifts rank of best cities for WiT.)
Tracy Chou, a Silicon Valley founder and activist, knows firsthand how difficult it can be for women in tech. Fast Company described Chou's experience fighting for equality in the male-dominated (and often sexist and racist) world of tech, which has unfortunately included dealing with her own stalkers and harassers. "In doing this diversity and inclusion activism work, I built more of a profile that then exposed me to more harassment," Chou said in the article, and she's not the only one. Women in prominent tech roles, especially those who are active on social media, often become targets for discrimination and harassment. While its clear that employees want and need more protections for their own safety, it's imperative that companies, particularly those like Twitter, actually step up and protect users as well. (See WiCipedia: 'Gender is embedded in the job'.)
Why is it so important that social media companies take responsibility for what happens to their users on and off the apps? Because in this day and age, if you have a business, social media isn't optional, especially for female founders. The Fintech Times explained that 95% of female founders of small to midsized businesses say that social media is the top tool for their business expansion. While there are certainly other ways to grow and get the word out, it would be foolish to disregard the number one approach. Yet for women facing harassment, this can be a difficult decision to make. (See WiCipedia: How to be a better ally.)
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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