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June 29, 2018
This week in our WiCipedia roundup: STEM students experience sexual harassment; a 14-year-old CEO; crypto and cannabis; and more.
Join Women in Comms for a breakfast workshop and networking at the NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver on September 26. The workshop is open to all women and men in the telecommunications, STEM and IT fields -- communications service providers get in free!
Think you need a college education to start a tech company? Think again. Mercury News reports that 14-year-old Taarini Dang of San Jose, Calif., is the CEO of her own venture capital company, Dang Capital, and her startup, Million Champs. Both companies aim to get more young people -- specifically minorities -- involved in tech. Dang says she believes conditioning is the reason more women aren't involved in tech as adults, and that the pressure to focus on appearance is made a priority over work. "As a young child, Disney is so popular," Dang said. "We idolize these princesses, who are just sitting down and waiting for their Prince Charming. They don't talk or do anything of substance, and that's what young girls play with and are introduced to." (See WiCipedia: Apple's Diversity Dilemma & Women Have Tech Edge, Study Finds and A Man, a Mission & an Underwater Flashlight.)
Figure 1: 14-Year-Old CEO Taarini Dang Takes Silicon Valley
In less uplifting news, Vice explains that based on a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, sexism and sexual harassment in STEM haven't gone anywhere. Of women studying science, 20% experience sexual harassment from peers and professors, while that number jumps up to more than 40% for women who are studying medicine. Research for the report began in 2016, and since then, the #MeToo movement has changed things a bit. As the Vice analysis states though, behavior hasn't changed as much as consequences have, and if you don't get caught, you don't pay for the crime. A massive cultural shift from the ground up is still needed to see change. (See WiCipedia: 'Perceived Gender Bias' & Google/YouTube CEOs on Diversity.)
In a Gender Manifesto flashback, a new essay by a University of Washington professor is proving controversial. "Why Women Don't Code" is Professor Stuart Reges's personal take on James Damore's Gender Manifesto and why women just aren't equipped to work in tech, according to Geekwire. "Don't attribute to oppression that which can be explained by free choice," he said. "People talk about the problem in tech, that there's not enough women in tech and they assume that it's because of oppression. I don't believe that. I believe that choice is more significant in explaining what's going on." (See 'Ladysplaining' Ex-Googler's Anti-Women Memo.)
Randi Zuckerberg, famed sister of Mark, has advice for women in tech that she admits isn't ideal: have a unisex first name. Quartz reports that the other Zuck has some additional advice for women: seek out new markets of the industry and get in on the ground floor. That's why she's currently investing in blockchain, cryptocurrency and cannabis, emerging fields "where gender bias has yet to fully crystalize the way it has in more established portions of the industry," the article explains. Zuckerberg says, "It's important to talk about how we catch women up in tech and how we get funding, but let's not miss the new boats that are setting out from the harbor, because that's an opportunity for everybody to get in on day one." (See WiCipedia: Trumpisms, Marriage Penalties & Back-to-School Inspo and WiCipedia: Cryptocurrency & a Sexism Code Word .)
A new study from Reveal and the Center for Employment Equity at the University of Massachusetts Amherst shows the (lack of) diversity still in play at Silicon Valley tech companies. Reveal explains that while companies are making efforts to diversify their staff, the issue really starts before applicants are even old enough to work and needs to be attacked at the early education level. The article also explains the excuse cycle that is so prevalent in large tech companies: "When it comes to diversity, companies often want to shift responsibility to others, according to Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, a sociology professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Center for Employment Equity. 'This is not something they do for any other part of the production process,' he said." (See WiCipedia: Diversity Fatigue & 'Unprotected' Minorities at Google.)
— Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading
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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