WiCipedia: Gender Editors, Twitter Reform & How to Be Decent

This week in our WiC roundup: The New York Times creates a new diversity position; Instagram's COO advises 'get your foot in the door'; sexism scandals rile Hollywood and Sacramento; and more.

Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor

October 20, 2017

4 Min Read
WiCipedia: Gender Editors, Twitter Reform & How to Be Decent

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: The New York Times creates a new diversity position; Instagram's COO advises 'get your foot in the door'; sexism scandals rile Hollywood and Sacramento; and more.

Interested in joining Women in Comms on our mission to champion change, empower women and redress the gender imbalance in the comms industry? Visit WiC online and get in touch to learn more about how you can become a member!

  • The New York Times has created a timely new position -- gender editor. Girlboss reports that Jessica Bennett, author of Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace, who has been a contributing editor to the NY Times for five years, will take on the new role and cover all things gender-related. As the article states, this role is needed "now, more than ever." We're excited to see what other job titles will be created in the future in response to discrimination, sexism and racism in tech and the media. (See WiCipedia: Feminist Fight Club, FinTech Femmes & Feminine Freebies.)

    • Also over at The New York Times, an article titled "Tech's Troubling New Trend: Diversity Is in Your Head" has been making waves. The article focuses on cognitive diversity and viewpoint diversity (vs. gender and racial diversity), which have popped up in recent documents, such as the Google Manifesto, and most recently, at an Apple event last week. Denise Young Smith, Apple's vice president of diversity and inclusion, said, "There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room and they're going to be diverse, too, because they're going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation," which sparked some outrage. In other words, if you have a group of employees with different views and opinions, there's no need for people who might look different from one another. You've already got yourself a diverse team! (See Google Fires Engineer Over Gender Manifesto.)

    • CBS News interviewed Instagram's chief operating officer, Marne Levine, about why women should go into tech careers. The addictive social media app just celebrated its seventh birthday and claims 800 million users. Levine says that despite recent criticisms about gendered tech company culture, the best way to fix this is for more women to enter the game. Levine also stressed that working for a tech company doesn't necessarily mean being in a technical role, and that getting in the door -- in whatever role you can find -- is often the first step to a dream job. (See Cisco's Centoni Shares Guiding Career Themes and Skillsoft Puts Women in Action to Improve Culture.)

      Figure 1: Marne Levine & Girls Who Code at Instagram HQ (Source: Instagram) (Source: Instagram)

    • Twitter Inc. is undergoing some changes in the next few weeks in terms of the way it screens content directed towards women, CNET explains. Announced the same day as the #WomenBoycottTwitter protest -- the result of actor Rose McGowan's statements about Harvey Weinstein -- Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted an announcement proclaiming the forthcoming changes. The article states: "Twitter will take a 'more aggressive stance' regarding its rules involving 'unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups and tweets that glorify violence,' Dorsey tweeted." Twitter also made a formal statement on the Weinstein scandal, and said, "Twitter is proud to empower and support the voices on our platform, especially those that speak truth to power ... We stand with the brave women and men who use Twitter to share their stories, and will work hard every day to improve our processes to protect those voices." (See WiCipedia: Twitter Threats, Diversity Hires & Oracle in Hot Seat.)

    • Given all of the news this week about mistreatment of women -- both in and out of the office confines -- this article from The Guardian really hit home for us. Titled "Men, you want to treat women better? Here's a list to start with," the article is made up of straightforward and no-holds-barred bulletpoints of what men should be doing differently to be, well, better. Some of our favorite work-related items are:

      • If you are asked to be on a panel/team and see that it's all men, say something. Maybe even refuse the spot!

      • Don't call women "crazy" in a professional setting.

      • Involve women in your creative projects, then let them have equal part in them.

      • Pay women as much as you pay men.

      • Don't talk over women.

      • Don't get defensive when you get called out.

      We highly encourage everyone to read the full article here. (See Hey Men of Silicon Valley, Stop Being Creepy!)

      — 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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