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WiCipedia: Uber's Catalyst for Change & Trump Signs STEM Bills

This week in our WiC roundup: AT&T celebrates diversity; Trump signs two bills into place for women in STEM; women leave tech 45% more than men; and more.

Eryn Leavens

March 3, 2017

5 Min Read
WiCipedia: Uber's Catalyst for Change & Trump Signs STEM Bills

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: AT&T celebrates diversity; Trump signs two bills into place for women in STEM; women leave tech 45% more than men; and more.

Women in Comms will be hosting its first networking breakfast and panel discussion on Wednesday, March 22, in Denver, Colo., ahead of day two of the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference. Register here and join us!

  • AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is leading the telecom commitment to change with its recent leadership panel on celebrating diversity at the flagship store in San Francisco, The Huffington Post said. Chief Strategy Officer and Technology and Operations Group President John Donovan, who has been with the "132-year-old startup" for three decades, said, "I grew up with seven sisters, and three of them already had perfect SAT scores before I could take the test myself. I'm dedicated to partnering with organizations like Black Girls Code and Girls Who Code to encourage more women to enter STEM fields." Stressing the need for everyone in the industry to possess STEM skills, Donovan pledged to continue a focus on "multi-ethnic and multi-generational employees" and lifelong learning, particularly through an online coding school Udacity. (See AT&T Exec: It's Time to Stop Fearing Tech and AT&T Releases 2015 Diversity & Inclusion Report.)

    • In case you need another reason why Canada trumps the States, just look to its workplace diversity numbers. Fortune reports that the Great White North places a heavier emphasis on gaining capital for women-owned businesses, has more gender-neutral (and forward-thinking) politics and hires larger numbers of women to fill the upper echelons of companies. A recent meeting specifically about workplace gender diversity between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put the spotlight on the countries' differences and what the US might be able to take away from the comparison. Though many of the changes needed to bring the US up to speed are too large to expect anytime soon, the meeting nudged Trump to sign two bills into law this week that "authorize NASA and the National Science Foundation to encourage women and girls to get into STEM fields," CNET details. (See WiCipedia: Fintech Flexibility, Snap Missteps & Women of Wearables.)

      Supporting Women in STEM

    • Uber's very public undressing last week has reverberated from tech companies to news outlets and left the company (and the industry at large) in an UberPool of embarrassment. The Sydney Morning Herald says the event is a "wake-up call for Silicon Valley," and also reports that many other companies in the area are trying to get ahead of the news. "If you're a CEO in Silicon Valley, and you haven't yet emailed your whole company, or at least your leadership team, about this, you're behind," diversity consultant and CEO of Paradigm Joelle Emerson shares. Uber board member and general (lady) boss Arianna Huffington confirmed that while the Uber harassment scandal was certainly regrettable and unforgivable, it may also be the shove towards equality that tech companies need: "Change doesn't usually happen without a catalyst. I hope that by taking the time to understand what's gone wrong and fixing it, we can not only make Uber better but also contribute to improvements for women across the industry." (See Uber's HR Nightmare: Company Investigates Sexual Harassment Claims and Uber Engineering SVP Out as Probe Continues.)

    • IEEE Spectrum reports that the University of Connecticut has made major inroads to increasing STEM gender equality by doubling the amount of women in its engineering department since 2009. The root cause? Marketing the program to K-8 girls. Daniel Burkey, associate dean for undergraduate education and diversity in the school of engineering, says, "We have a whole variety of outreach programs that span the whole K-12 space. Programs that really try and go out and speak to underrepresented populations at all levels pre-collegiately in order to show them what engineers do, show them positive role models in engineering that look like they do, show them how engineering makes a positive impact on the world socially and environmentally." This is just more proof that it's never too early to be a mentor or find a mentee. (See Mentor Matters, 3 Qualities of Leaders, Mentors & Mentees and Mentors Among Us: 65 Inspiring Women in Comms.)

    • With everything that women have to tackle to work in tech, from sexual harassment to a general lack of support, it's no surprise that women leave the industry at the staggering rate of 45% more than men. Forbes explains that unconscious bias, "bro culture" and a lack of paid time off for life changes are the leading causes in why women leave the industry, with "family" being the frontrunner. It also stresses that for all the negative attention that Silicon Valley gets for big tech companies' treatment of women in the workplace, the Valley truly is paving the path for women to succeed in a male-dominated field, "but that's a low bar to be passing." (See WiCipedia: How to Make Companies Work for Women and Women in Tech Leadership Declining – Survey.)

      — Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading

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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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