This week in our WiC roundup: Facebook reveals latest diversity numbers; Microsoft still in lawsuit battle; African women's tech access; and more.

Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor

July 20, 2018

5 Min Read
WiCipedia: Facebook in Diversity Hotseat & US Lagging in Gender Equality

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Facebook reveals latest diversity numbers; Microsoft still in lawsuit battle; African women's tech access; 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!

  • Facebook 's annual diversity report was released this week, and there's been no shortage of analysis about its progress. First Post explains that since Facebook's diversity report from 2014 -- its first -- the amount of women at the social media company has increased fivefold to 36% globally. All percentages, including women in senior leadership roles, have gone up. Yet while women are on the rise at Facebook, racial minorities haven't done so well. The article states that black and Hispanic employee representation slightly increased at the company -- from 2% to 4% for black employees and 4% to 5% for Hispanic employees. "We've worked hard at retention as well by creating an inclusive environment where people from all backgrounds can thrive and succeed," the company said, also mentioning that Facebook is a winner for LGBT employees. "We are happy to share that men and women at Facebook get equal pay for equal work." (See WiCipedia: Social Skills Boost Opportunity & the Emergence of Diversity Data.)

    Figure 1: Spreading the Love (Source: Business Insider) (Source: Business Insider)

    • Honeypot, a European tech talent website, conducted a survey on tech workers in 41 countries to find out how the industry varies by location. Campus Technology summarized that "The data accumulated from multiple sources examined the overall economy, women in tech positions, opportunities for women in tech, the wage gap and female career progression as assessed by the percentage of women in positions of leadership." The results were not favorable for the US, which came in at number eight on the gender pay gap comparison. Curious about the countries that beat out the good ole USA? They are Turkey (with a pay gap of only 8%), New Zealand, Sweden, Latvia, Portugal, Belgium and France. You can find the full results of the study on an interactive website here. (See WiCipedia: From New Zealand to the Silicon Prairie & Beyond and India's Startups: No Longer a Man's World .)

    • Think the gender gap in tech is bad in North America and Europe? It's much worse in Africa. Mail & Guardian reports that in Maputo and Beira, cities in Mozambique, only 27% of young women in Maputo and 15% of young women in Beira use a computer, and only two thirds of young women own a mobile phone. While the numbers for men aren't exactly high either, they are much higher in comparison. M&G reports, "Although the gender gap between internet users has narrowed globally since 2013, it has widened in Africa, where the proportion of women using the internet is 25% lower than the proportion of men doing so ... The digital gender gap deepens inequalities among men and women by excluding women from the benefits of technological change -- jobs, income, information, voice, participation in public life, and quick access to credit, education and health care." (See WiCipedia: VMware Goes to Mount Kilimanjaro & Barbie Gets Geeky and WiCipedia: Tech in Africa, Female CEOs & Bingeworthy TV.)

    • Our neighbors up north have been checking out their venture capital (VC) numbers and aren't too impressed, though like previous news of the day, they're still better than the US... The Globe and Mail reports that only 14% of VC partners in Canada are female, yet 58% of VC analyst staff are women -- that's twice the percentage found in American firms. Yet, as always, that number takes a sharp downturn at higher levels. Despite these fairly average numbers, "Two-thirds of Canada's venture-investment dollars, meanwhile, are controlled by teams with no female leaders," which isn't great news for startups founded by Canadian women who are seeking funding. Much of this issue stems from promoting from within rather than opening up a partner position to external candidates. What's that cliche? "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing day after day and expecting different results." Seems to apply here. (See WiCipedia: Female Founders Find Funding & Automotive Careers for Women.)

    • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is still in the throes of its three-year gender discrimination lawsuit, and it doesn't look like the 8,600 plaintiffs are backing down anytime soon. Geekwire says that the class-action suit was expanded to cover women in technical roles since 2012 who are seeking justice for "continuing policy, pattern and practice of sex discrimination against female employees in technical and engineering roles, including technical sales and services positions with respect to performance evaluations, pay, promotions, and other terms and conditions of employment." The case was previously shot down by the court, yet a petition to appeal the decision has been filed by the large legal team representing the plaintiffs. (See IBM, Microsoft Duke It Out Over Chief Diversity Hire.)

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

Read more about:


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.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like