WiCipedia: Working from home isn't for everyoneWiCipedia: Working from home isn't for everyone
This week in our WiC roundup: Working from home does not work for everyone; the biggest diversity trends; women in engineering experience daily microaggressions; and more.
June 11, 2021
This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Working from home does not work for everyone; the biggest diversity trends; women in engineering experience daily microaggressions; and more.
While working from home may be a much-needed change for many women, it's not the cat's pajamas for everyone. An article in CIO examines how the pandemic has worsened the burn-out levels of women in tech, and some of that stress seems to be coming from having to work from home. With many women taking on more of the home and childcare responsibilities (42% of women have taken on more housework as opposed to only 11% of men), being home during work hours is sometimes more of a burden than a relief. Jadee Hanson, CIO and CISO of Code42, said, "I feel it for myself and I know my teams absolutely feel it too. It's just this endless cycle of not being able to fully focus on your work for the period of time that you're used to and it's intermingled with added home [responsibilities] as well." With offices starting to reopen, our hope is that everyone who can will be able to work in the ways that best suit their work style and personal situation. This is not one size fits all. (See WiCipedia: Women leave workforce in droves due to pandemic and burnout.) Figure 1: Apparently some people don't like working from bed... (Source: Pixabay)
While the diversity and inclusion movement shouldn't be "trendy," it seems to have become the workplace must-have du jour. This article from Information Age compiled the top trends in tech for equality, none of which are hugely surprising. For example, it's currently popular for companies to establish diversity goals, document them with a report and then have an outside company evaluate progress. We'd just call that good business! Likewise, tackling unconscious bias and creating a culture that isn't exclusionary (bye-bye ping pong tables and beer) is crucial. While these may be trendy right now, we also hope they have staying power. (See WiCipedia: How to tackle implicit bias and the 'lonely only'.)
A podcast on The New York Times titled "Silicon Valley's Thin Skins and Giant Egos" with Project Include's Ellen Pao and tech journalist Kara Swisher seeks to unravel the messed-up dynamic of the world's most popular tech hub and figure out what needs to happen for real change to emerge. Swisher gave a quick rundown on the many, many mishaps that tech has brought on itself in recent years, including recent allegations that Bill Gates sexually harassed female employees. Swisher and Pao, "one of tech's earliest whistleblowers," then discussed what it will take to bring an end to the tech culture we have come to know and despise. Pao said, "I mean, how do you get change? You have to hold people accountable. And you have to let people know that the rules apply to everyone." (See WiCipedia: Tech's Litigation 'Wake-Up Call' & Gates Donates $1B for Gender Equality.)
Being a woman in engineering can feel isolating, especially considering that women make up less than a quarter of roles in the sector. TechCrunch interviewed four women in the field to hear about their experiences and the harassment they have all dealt with at work. All four women experience frequent microaggressions, which often lead to imposter syndrome and wondering why they work in tech at all. "One part that was really hard for me was those microaggressions on a daily basis, and that affects your work ethic, wanting to show up, wanting to try your best. And not only does that damage your own self-esteem, but your esteem [in terms of] growing as an engineer," Ana Medina, senior chaos engineer at Gremlin, explained. Additionally, without being able to interact with other women in the industry, it's incredibly difficult to build up a support network of people who understand the situation firsthand, but there's always hope. "As much as I like to persevere and I don't like giving up ... there have been points where I considered quitting, but having visibility into other people's experiences, knowing that you're not the only one who's experienced that, and seeing that they've found better environments for themselves and that they eventually worked through it ... that probably stopped me from leaving when I [might] have otherwise," said Rona Chong, software engineer at Grove Collaborative. (See WiCipedia: What makes a good company for female employees? and WiCipedia: Is there an alternative to imposter syndrome?)
Pride month calls for celebrating the wins of the LGBTQ community and assessing what needs to change in order to make things better (but be wary of rainbow washing!). The same goes for LGBTQ diversity and inclusion in tech. CIO profiled 13 organizations that work to support this segment of the industry in many different ways, including networking/mentoring, youth groups and career development. Being the only LGBTQ person on staff can be lonely, but it doesn't have to be with a group of others who are experiencing the same realities. (See WiCipedia: How to be a better ally.)
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