WiCipedia: 'It Takes One Misstep to Fall Off Your Pedestal'

This week in our WiC roundup: A startup competition for black women in tech; the challenges of getting to the top and staying there; have a dude's name to get ahead; and more.

Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor

February 15, 2019

5 Min Read
WiCipedia: 'It Takes One Misstep to Fall Off Your Pedestal'

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: A startup competition for black women in tech; the challenges of getting to the top and staying there; have a dude's name to get ahead; and more.

  • The third annual Black Women Talk Tech conference came back with a splash -- and a $100,000 startup pitch competition. Black Enterprise reported that "the goal [of the conference] is to showcase the brilliance of black women in tech, create a stage for their experiences, foster deep connections, and create real funding opportunities." The grand prize will go to a black woman who runs a tech enterprise or otherwise scalable company, and is being promoted in alliance with several black female-focused businesses such as Essence magazine and Nubian Heritage. While the date to apply has just passed, you can read all about the requirements and get prepped for next year here. (See WiCipedia: Moms as Breadwinners & Black Panther a Win for WiT and Why Diversity of Geeks in Tech Matters.) Figure 1: The 2019 Black Women Talk Tech Conference (Source: Black Enterprise) (Source: Black Enterprise)

    • Getting to the top and staying at the top are different hurdles when it comes to women in tech. Once women break through the glass ceiling, they only tend to stay in their cushy positions for seven to ten years, Fast Company reports, based on several independent studies. Yet a handful of companies are focusing in on how to keep women from leaving the upper echelon of companies for a variety of reasons -- from family to lack of promotions. LinkedIn Corp. , Bank of America and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) have all initiated programs to make sure female managers are elevated to the professional levels they deserve, and then stay put. As for the results? It may be too early to tell, though some of the programs have reported that their results thus far are "better than average." (See WiCipedia: Power Suits & the Gig Economy Pay-Gap Surprise and Tech Leaders: Gender Diversity Could Add Billions to Economy.)

    • Randi Zuckerberg made headlines this week for talking about why she left her position at Facebook , despite being on a promising career path. "I hated being the only woman in almost every room," she told CNN Business. While Randi enjoyed the work she did at her little bro's fledgling startup, which was run out of a house at the time, what she really wanted was to do something that would positively affect and incorporate more women and girls. "I want to be part of the solution, not continue to be part of the problem, so I think maybe I need[ed] to step outside of Silicon Valley," the entrepreneur said of her Facebook revelation. Randi created Zuckerberg Media in order to break out of the box and work with and for women. Yet her advice to women is unexpected and a little disheartening: "Even to this day, my best advice for young women in tech is to have a man's name like Randi, because I can't even tell you how many meetings I got in those early days of Facebook because people thought that they were meeting with a dude." (See WiCipedia: Crypto, Cannabis & Change and WiCipedia: Trumpisms, Marriage Penalties & Back-to-School Inspo.) Forging Her Own Path

      (Source: CNN Business)

    • Sheryl Sandberg has been in the hot seat as of late for her involvement in a bevy of questionable Facebook practices, yet women are still supporting the superwoman of tech. Bloomberg says that though "critics called for her resignation," Facebook "and Lean In say they're committed to Sandberg's leadership, and from Switzerland to San Francisco, women, particularly those working in technology, are coming out in support of the embattled COO." Many look up to her as a woman who has broken through the unbreakable glass ceiling, and feel that she is much more harshly judged than her male counterparts. "She has done a lot for women in tech, we shouldn't forget that," said Gillian Tans, the CEO of Booking.com. "It takes 3 to 4 times the effort for a woman to achieve the level of success that many of us who are here have achieved. Yet it takes one misstep to fall off your pedestal." (See Six Key Takeaways From Facebook's Q1 Earnings Call and ICT's Jen Cistola: 'Swagger Matters' for Women in Comms.)

    • The founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani, is coming to your bookshelf. NPR explains that Reshma's recently released tome, Brave, Not Perfect, explores the role tech plays in the lives of girls and how career choices are dictated by how we are socialized as children. As a proponent of involving girls in tech from an early age, Reshma pushes for risking failure instead of sidestepping passion with some sage advice: "Surround yourself with rejection. One way we build back our resilience and take the sting out of rejection and failure is by normalizing it ... display your rejections proudly, they're a mark of your bravery." (See WiCipedia: Stargazing, Subsidized Childcare & Bulgarian Equality.)

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

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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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