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July 8, 2016
This week in our Women in Comms roundup: gender-based interview face-offs; Facebook embarrasses and Google underperforms; find your niche to gain career success; 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!
It's often assumed that women are discriminated against in the interview process, and that sexism by interviewers is what keeps women from both getting hired and attaining promotions. A new study by Interviewing.io has recently experimented with this theory. Interviewing.io is a website that facilitates practice interviews for technical jobs. The platform inverted male and female voices in a series of interviews to find out how men performed as women and vice versa, and the results were not in line with common sexism theories. In fact, men still took the cake in the switcheroo interviews.
One of the study's takeaways was that women abandoned the interviews when they weren't doing well, whereas men hung on. One thing to note is that this platform doesn't actually include video, only audio. Another recent study from Paris-Sorbonne University, written up in Huffington Post, found that women who wear low-cut tops in the recruiting process are five times more likely to land interviews. Without including visuals in the interviewing study, it's difficult to get the complete picture. (See WiCipedia: Short Skirts & Back-Up Plans and Tales From the Valley: Bias, Sexism & Worse.)
A new Facebook tell-all, Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley, by former employee Antonio García Martinez, uncovers the rampant sexism and discrimination at the social media giant. Tech2 reports that the book paints Mark Zuckerberg as a maniacal and terrifying "little emperor" who leads with intimidation and threats. Female brogrammers are not-so-affectionately referred to as "hogrammers" and told to "dress appropriately so that they don't distract others."
In a previous Facebook confessional, The Boy Kings: A Journey into the Heart of the Social Network, ex-Booker Katherine Losse describes how young female employees "were propositioned for threesomes and faced insults like 'I want to put my teeth in your ass.' " Way to go, Facebook ! (See WiCipedia: Equality, Fashion & Dads and WiCipedia: Rise of the Female CDO & Adidas Flip Flops.)
Figure 1: That chimp bears a striking resemblance. Maybe it's the hair...?
The other giant in the Valley, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), has been making headlines this week for its lack of diversity hiring. It has a two-year diversity initiative in place, but progress is slow. Though the percentage of women at the venerable institution has increased to 31% of the entire population and 24% of leadership roles, according to Reuters, the pace of increase has been incremental -- often only a percentage point or two per year. As for racial diversity, it's nearly non-existent, says SiliconBeat: "Google's overall percentage of non-white, non-Asian employees ... did not move at all in 2015 from the year before, remaining at 2 percent for African Americans, 3 percent for Hispanics, 3 percent for multiracial individuals and less than 1 percent for Native American and Pacific Islanders." (See WiCipedia: Big Names Band Together & #NoWomanEver .)
An article in Yahoo Finance this week shed some light on female founders' experiences starting out in tech. Suelin Chen, an MIT grad and successful scientist and engineer, felt major pushback from men when she made the transition from the science world to the tech space. While she thought she would be welcomed given her prestigious background, she said, "...it's so much worse in tech," and was told she was "too nice" and "too feminine" to make it. Luckily, she was able to make some headway when she took her startup, Cake, an end-of-life preference sharing medium, to Project Entrepreneur, an organization that helps female founders with a range of business needs, including raising funding, assessing business plans and finding co-founders. Now that's what we call girl power. (See Join Women in Comms, Intel, XO, Vodafone, Windstream & Zayo for Breakfast in Denver.)
Sarah Lahav, CEO of SysAid Technologies, might not be a fan of our site, given that in this Information Week article she is quoted as saying, "Nothing drives me more insane than assumptions, questions, and articles about 'women in tech.'" Nevertheless, we're big fans of Lahav. She writes in the article about finding her niche in customer service and eventually becoming CEO, a progression she attributes to following her passions and carving out a space for herself in her company. She closes the article by saying, "I faced some prejudices ... in the tech world, but these didn't define my experience or identity. I'm a CEO, not a 'woman CEO.' My career brought me here because I chose that niche, treated it like a craft, and never worried about where it would go." (See Axonista CEO Turns TV Habit Into Startup Success.)
— 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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