This week in our WiC roundup: Microsoft employees out bad behavior over email; a new tool makes hiring diverse candidates a piece of cake; MacKenzie Bezos will be fourth-richest woman in world; and more.

Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor

April 12, 2019

4 Min Read
WiCipedia: Hiring Diverse Employees & Creating Glass-Shattering Companies

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Microsoft employees out bad behavior over email; a new tool makes hiring diverse candidates a piece of cake; MacKenzie Bezos will be fourth-richest woman in world; and more.

  • Microsoft is in the hot seat again as an email chain among female employees regarding harassment sweeps the company's internal communication system. The Mary Sue reports that "The email chain features female employees of Microsoft sharing stories of harassment and discrimination, as well as the company's inability and unwillingness to address the complaints in any real or concrete way." Many of the emails point out the lack of promotions for female employees, while others discuss the "exclusionary 'boys' club' atmosphere" that is "rife with sexual harassment." Microsoft's HR team has pledged to investigate the claims and enforce better behavior in the future, though no explicit plans were laid out regarding how they might enact change. (See WiCipedia: Facebook in Diversity Hotseat & US Lagging in Gender Equality.) Figure 1: While the Offices at Microsoft Might Be Futuristic... ... the HR practices are not. (Source: Pinterest) ... the HR practices are not.
    (Source: Pinterest)

    • While the #MeToo movement was initially introduced to social media in October 2017, it was around long before that, including in tech. Forbes explains that it's roughly the two-year anniversary of women in tech outing their harassers and attackers, and while there's plenty left to fix, a lot has changed in those two short years as well. Niniane Wang, vice president of engineering at Niantic and one of the first to report venture capitalist Justin Caldbeck of harassment, explained that while there's a lot to assess when coming out about sexual harassment, releasing the truth is always worth the repercussions. She explains that diverse teams are the key to avoiding the unfair power dynamics that are the breeding grounds for harassment. "There's no substitute for hiring that diverse group of leaders," Wang said.

    • Lesbians Who Tech is already at the forefront of expanding the diversity effort in tech, and now it is partnering with individual companies to ensure they have hiring and employee standards that are in line with creating diversity. Inc. profiled the efforts of Founder Leanne Pittsford, who has made Lesbians Who Tech's yearly conference an event not to be missed. Their next venture is, which is a fledgling digital tool -- now with 10,000 beta users -- that aims to "'scale access to direct referrals' from a different pool of talent than the existing employees at large tech companies." More than 200 companies have already signed up to use the innovative tool to find less obvious (though no less talented) job candidates. (See WiCipedia: Seeking Female Keynoters & Recruitment Fails Women.)

    • We recently discussed how the MacKenzie and Jeff Bezos divorce could leave MacKenzie the richest woman in tech, and now that the final verdict is out, it's clear that not only will she be the richest in tech, she will also be the fourth-richest woman in the world, according to the Press Herald. The divorce settlement will leave Jeff with 75% of their Amazon stock and voting power and MacKenzie with 4% of the company, which may not sound like much but equals $36 billion. Not exactly chump change. The final divorce settlement should be completed in about three months. (See WiCipedia: Private Groups Tackle Membership Guidelines & the New Richest Woman in Tech.)

    • The Women Tech Council's 2019 Shatter List honors companies that have broken the glass ceiling for women in tech, and this year it celebrated 46 groundbreaking (or glass-shattering) companies that made an impact. Hundreds of companies were in the running and were graded on many business facets, from pay parity to community investment. "No matter the size or type of technology company, having high-performance teams where men and women can contribute and succeed drives success at every level of the organization," said Cydni Tetro, WTC president. "Highlighting and explaining these practices accelerates progress for the entire tech industry by amplifying the programs that are making real strides in creating more gender inclusive cultures and propelling their impact further to help organizations throughout the tech sector grow closer to breaking the glass ceiling." See the full list of winning companies here. (See Women Tech Council Unveils 2019 Shatter List Showcasing Companies Closing the Gender Gap in Tech.)

      — 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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