WiCipedia: Working more to earn less

This week in our WiC roundup: Women work harder to get fewer promotions; female AI leaders gather and GSD; Instacart gets a Facebook alum; and more.

Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor

July 16, 2021

4 Min Read
WiCipedia: Working more to earn less

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Women work harder to get fewer promotions; female AI leaders gather and GSD; Instacart gets a Facebook alum; and more.

  • We all know by now that women make less money compared to their male counterparts, and that they often ask for less money than men when discussing the salary for a new job. The issue doesn't end there, though. Biz Journals explains that while women and men actually go after promotions at roughly the same rate (62% of women and 67% of men), they aren't getting them at the same rate. Women only hold 28% of leadership positions in the tech sector, meaning those higher-up promotions are generally going to men. Yet this is in no way due to lack of effort. A report noted: "...most women in the field feel they have to work harder than their colleagues to prove their worth. It also revealed women in tech have worked longer hours and have taken on more responsibilities at work and home during the pandemic, just as women in many other industries have had to do," the article stated. The differences don't stop there. Check out the full article for the entire scoop. (See WiCipedia: The ever-rising glass ceiling.) Figure 1: Talk about an uneven playing field (Source: Pixabay) (Source: Pixabay)

    • VentureBeat's third-annual Women in AI Breakfast was recently held to bring together leaders in the industry. The breakfast was presented by Capital One and moderated by Noelle Silver, the founder of the nonprofit "do-tank" (we LOVE this term!) Women in AI, and focused on "inclusive engineering" and diverse AI, topics that have never been more crucial than in the era of smart everything and facial recognition software. And getting to a more diverse future for AI starts with engineers who are designing products for everyone, not just a portion of the population. Kay Firsh Butterfield, head of AI and machine learning and executive committee member of the World Economic Forum, said, "We've been doing some work with a number of the big tech companies to ask what does responsible use of technology actually look like. One of the things we know is that you need diverse product teams. We should all be at the table, with different backgrounds, so that our products use good, non-biased AI." (See WiCipedia: Coded Bias sheds light on facial recognition inequalities.)

    • Sometimes it seems like working at a Big Tech company is a dream situation. There are fancy at-work perks and services available to employees, catered meals and those famous nap pods. Yet many of us now know there's also a dark underbelly to working at these companies. In other words, all the perks come with some compromise and secrecy. One person who saw and exposed this side of tech is former Google engineer Manu Cornet (now at Twitter), who created comics and memes about the ethics and politics of working at Google, from its military contracts to its treatment of minorities and women to its famous "Don't be evil" motto, as well as many lighter topics. Cornet also famously drew portraits of 100 Google female engineers after James Damore's 2017 "gender manifesto" tore through the company. To check out two whole volumes of Cornet's insightful, boundary-breaking looks into Big Tech, click here. (See WiCipedia: Dolly Babes, Manifesto Backlash & 'Brotastic' Failures.)

    • Instacart, the grocery delivery company, experienced an unprecedented boom during the peak of the pandemic when many felt it was unsafe to leave their homes, even to buy groceries. That boom resulted in a shortage of staff and increased scrutiny into how workers, especially those who were actually delivering the groceries, were treated and paid. Possibly as a result, the company is now bringing in a new (female!) CEO, TechCrunch reports. Formerly of "controversial" Facebook, Fidji Simo will take the reins at Instacart on August 2. Simo is also a co-founder of Women in Product, a nonprofit organization that aims to bridge the gender gap for women in product management and tech at large. Hopefully Simo will bring that focus to Instacart as well. (See WiCipedia: Podcast Recs, Interview No-Nos & Creating a Majority Female Tech Company.)

      — 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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