WiCipedia: Jobs That Matter, Fembot Overlords & Tech Aids in Work-Life Balance

This week in our WiC roundup: Women need to hold more patents; summer camp opportunities for girls; Scandinavia nails work-life balance; and more.

Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor

August 3, 2018

5 Min Read
WiCipedia: Jobs That Matter, Fembot Overlords & Tech Aids in Work-Life Balance

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Women need to hold more patents; summer camp opportunities for girls; Scandinavia nails work-life balance; 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!

  • We've recently talked a lot about fembots and their place in our current tech wonderland, so we were pretty excited to see this New York Times video by Amanda Hess hit the on button on the robot (we can see this expression replacing "hit the nail on the head" in a few years). This insightful look into where technology and gender intersects focuses on the feminization of our Internet assistants, how social media influencers are either bot lookalikes or in some cases actual bots, men's desire to create women to cater to their every need and much more. This is a very worthy watch. (See WiCipedia: Babies at Work, Raising Good Men & Kimmy Schmidt and WiCipedia: Bots Gone Wild at CES & Another Google Lawsuit.)

    "Welcome Our New Fembot Overlords"

    • Working at one of the top-tier tech companies in Silicon Valley is often the dream, yet what happens when the real work that needs to be done is somewhere a little less glamorous? Khalia Braswell, a former Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) engineer, left her swanky Valley job when she saw the need to get more girls interested in tech in her hometown of Charlotte, N.C., The Charlotte Observer reports. Braswell created a summer camp for middle-school girls of color who would build their own websites from scratch, as well as spend time with women in tech to see what their futures might hold. INTech camp, which was initially a one-time experiment, quickly became in-demand and permanent. The program pre-dated larger non-profits like Black Girls Code in Charlotte, and initially, Braswell was using her vacation days at Apple to travel back home to host summer camps. "Today, she is working toward making the organization sustainable through its mix of grants, partnerships with larger companies, and individual contributions. Her goal is to increase student exposure year-round. 'When girls leave us, they want more,' Braswell said." (See WiCipedia: STEM Mentors, Money & Mix-Ups and Why Diversity of Geeks in Tech Matters.) Khalia Braswell, Founder & Executive Director, INTech

    • A new article in NullTX about the shortage of women in blockchain brings up a relevant point for women in all of STEM: Women in tech often don't want to talk about being women in tech. The article explains, "The founder and CEO of Meethappy, Joana Gutierrez, reinforces the sentiment of keeping [gender] low-key. 'I tend to take the stance that I don't look at working in an industry and identifying and categorizing myself as a gender, but rather as Joana, the individual.'" So does this stance advance women because it's easier to blend in, or hold them back because to make an impact you need to stand out? The jury is still out. (See WiCipedia: Crypto, Cannabis & Change.)

    • Some facts about women in STEM are both so obvious and so silly at the same time. For instance, Bloomberg reports that women hold less than 19% of US patents. Yet this is set to change. The Girl Scouts now have an Intellectual Property patch, and tech companies such as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) are creating partnerships with universities to increase patent holdings among women and racial minorities. Some of the issue harks back to representation in pop culture. "It's only more recently that the image of being a computer scientist and a programmer is becoming increasingly interesting or 'sexy,' so to speak," says former patent office Director Michelle Lee, the first woman and Asian-American to hold the position, who has started several programs to increase the number of women holding patents. "As a country, we ought to do better, even if you think purely from an economic standpoint." (See WiC Leading Lights 2018 Finalists: Female Tech Pioneer of the Year.)

    • A new survey from Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) finds that professional women think mobile phones are helpful for work yet do not tie them to their desk. Telecompaper summarizes the findings, and explains that the study surveyed women in Malaysia, Myanmar, Norway, Singapore, Sweden and Thailand who are 25 to 40 years old. The report found that mobile phones enhance women's "work-life balance" and "seem to be less of a leash to the office than ... expected." Most interestingly, while many of us are burning the midnight oil catching up on work emails, women in Norway and Sweden "list work among their least frequent mobile uses, and try to completely shut out the office in the evening." Now that's work-life balance. (See Fujitsu's Sales Director: Be Your Own Champion.)

      — 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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