WiCipedia: Breaking Biases & Squashing Self-Limiting Fear

This week in our WiC roundup: Chasing Grace premieres in Portland, Ore.; raising VC while pregnant; third-party salary audits; and more.

Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor

April 6, 2018

5 Min Read
WiCipedia: Breaking Biases & Squashing Self-Limiting Fear

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Chasing Grace premieres in Portland, Ore.; raising VC while pregnant; third-party salary audits; and more.

Join Women in Comms for an afternoon of workshops and networking in Austin at the fifth annual Big Communications Event on May 14. Learn from and engage with industry thought leaders and women in tech. There's still time to register and communications service providers get in free!

  • Chasing Grace, a six-part documentary series about women in tech, made its big-screen debut this week in Portland, Ore. The first part of the series, which was also filmed in Portland, focused on the wage gap. The next episode will be filmed in Silicon Valley and will portray female founders of companies; it will also premiere in the Valley. Biz Journals explains that Executive Producer Jennifer Cloer, "who has worked in technology for 17 years, views the project as her contribution to the larger conversation about recruiting and retaining women in technology." (See Chasing Grace Documentary Expands to Include Photo Exhibit of Women in Tech.)

    'Eighty-Twenty' Addresses the Wage Gap

    • Ex- Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) engineer Loretta Lee, who sued the company for sexual harassment in March, wrote on her blog, Unicorn Techie, that "The reason there are so few women in tech is because it sucks to be a woman in tech." Gizmodo reports, "Lee argues that not only are tech companies (and employees) refusing to acknowledge that their unconscious biases towards women exist, but that phony support for the idea of a diverse staff is actively damaging the prospect of hiring more female engineering talent. Worse yet, Lee says that the diversity statistics released by tech companies such as Google to flaunt their inclusive workforces use goosed statistics." Lee's lawsuit has recently been re-filed as a class-action suit against Google. It will now also represent other female ex-Googlers who say they experienced workplace harassment. (See WiCipedia: Bots Gone Wild at CES & Another Google Lawsuit.)

    • A new article in Scientific American by a team of scientists analyzes implicit bias and its repercussions. The authors explain that generalizations and stereotypes are inevitable and even healthy -- until they cross that fine line into bias territory. Though studies and surveys have been done to figure out how racial and sexual biases form, we still don't quite know how to fight them, though we know we must. "One reason people on both the right and the left are skeptical of implicit bias might be pretty simple: it isn't nice to think we aren't very nice. It would be comforting to conclude, when we don't consciously entertain impure intentions, that all of our intentions are pure. Unfortunately, we can't conclude that: many of us are more biased than we realize. And that is an important cause of injustice -- whether you know it or not." (See WiCipedia: 'Perceived Gender Bias' & Google/YouTube CEOs on Diversity and Does Facebook Have a Code for Gender Bias?)

    • A CNBC article with ex-Googler Kathy Hannun, now CEO and co-founder of Dandelion Energy, discusses how Hannun raised $4.5 million for Dandelion, and gave birth to her daughter the day after. Dandelion is a clean-tech company, which is a notoriously difficult proposition for a venture firm, not to mention that Kathy is -- you guessed it -- a female founder. Yet Hannun didn't let anything hold her back. She told CNBC, "Women should just do what they want in their personal life, go after it, same as you do in your professional life. Obsessing about what investors will think if I'm pregnant, or having any fear of not being able to have a work-life balance causes too many people not to try. Fear is more self-limiting than anything ... I would ask myself if I were a man going through a divorce, would I feel obligated to tell that to investors constantly? Probably not. And I think those circumstances would be more distracting than being pregnant." (See WiCipedia: Tech in Africa, Female CEOs & Bingeworthy TV and WiCipedia: Moms as Breadwinners & Black Panther a Win for WiT.)

    • Lyft Inc. is the latest company to employ a third-party audit of company pay to ensure parity, CNET reports. The audit will happen annually and will guarantee that all minorities are paid on the same scale as white men. The ride-sharing company announced this change just in time for Equal Pay Day, which falls on April 10. Lyft wrote in a blog post this week, "As Equal Pay Day approaches, we believe it shouldn't take an additional four months, seven months, or 10 months for someone to earn what their counterparts do in a year just because of gender or race." (See Equal Pay Day: Time to Get Paychecks in Check and Google Shares Gender-Blind Pay Policies.)

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

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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