WiCipedia: Ms. Geek, Pink-Haired CEOs & Laila Ali Takes Silicon Valley

This week in our WiC roundup: Ms. Geek Rwanda changes the game; automation will steal women's jobs first; our new CEO idol; and more.

Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor

June 1, 2018

4 Min Read
WiCipedia: Ms. Geek, Pink-Haired CEOs & Laila Ali Takes Silicon Valley

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Ms. Geek Rwanda changes the game; automation will steal women's jobs first; our new CEO idol; 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!

  • If you're over the swimsuit portion of Miss America, maybe it's time to check out Ms. Geek Rwanda. The Guardian reports that the contest aims to judge "women on brilliance rather than beauty." Since 2014, the contest has had (fully clothed) women between the ages of 13 and 25 competing based purely on their geek factor, with the winner receiving financial backing and business training for their company or idea. This year's winner, 21-year-old Salissou Hassane Latifa, created an app that helps accident victims and their families coordinate care. The article states, "The contest was set up as part of a nationwide effort to transform Rwanda from a small agricultural economy into an engine of technological innovation, with women and girls at the forefront of the revolution." (See WiCipedia: Tech in Africa, Female CEOs & Bingeworthy TV and WiCipedia: Int'l Day of the Girl & Sephora Shows the Ropes.)

    • In a sea of hoodies and flipflops, we love a good outsider success story. And BlackLine's CEO, Therese Tucker, does not disappoint. Tucker created BlackLine, a software company, out of pretty much thin air, CNBC reports. That's no surprise though as Tucker is all about taking risks -- her trademark pink hair, for example, started as a marketing dare so customers wouldn't overlook "an older woman with gray hair." In the article, she relays some of her own #MeToo moments, advocates for women asserting themselves at work and also recommends that they start their own companies if they have a vision. She adds, "I think it's important for young women to see what I've done, and to know that it's possible, to know that you can go out and build a business from absolutely nothing, through a successful IPO, through life as a public company. Women can do that." (See WiC Leading Lights 2018 Finalists: Female Tech Pioneer of the Year and WiCipedia: Female Founders Find Funding & Automotive Careers for Women.)

      Figure 1: BlackLine's Therese Tucker is not your average CEO. BlackLine's Therese Tucker is not your average CEO.

    • The Women Transforming Technology conference was held last week in Silicon Valley, and Laila Ali was the unlikely keynoter. SF Bay View reports that the topic of the conference was inclusivity. Ali has quite the resume, from athlete to TV host and author, and she certainly knows a thing or two about fighting her way to the top. While her background in tech isn't so clear, her tips for creating a diverse ecosystem ring true in all industries. You can watch her full keynote in the video below. (See WiCipedia: Breaking Biases & Squashing Self-Limiting Fear.)

    • Women in venture capital (VC) had a big media week. Melinda Gates, who is an avid investor -- especially in female-run businesses -- is trying to pursuade other VCs to diversify where their money is going, Business Insider explains. "These big firms often believe in the white guy in a hoodie disrupting a whole industry. So we're going to disrupt it by making sure we're indexing for women and minorities because they've got great ideas," she says. Inc. also focused on funding for minorities from the VC community this week, with a round up of the biggest gains. Our favorite was New Voices, a fund that will invest $100 million for black female entrepreneurs. Maybe things are turning around after all... (See WiCipedia: Hiding Gender to Slip By vs. Flaunting It to Flourish and WiCipedia: The Barbie & Unicorn Edition.)

    • Curious who will be affected first by the fourth industrial revolution? Stuff says that women will be on the frontline to feel the heat. This is due to the breakdown of the jobs that will be replaced -- "algorithm (computational tasks), augmentation (automation of repeatable tasks) and autonomy (situational problem solving)." So what's the cure? Considering that "a staggering 85 per cent of jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet, according to a report by software giant Dell," we'd say it's pretty clear that upskilling is the new name of the game. On the bright side, "The disruption will even the playing field because everyone will be in the same situation and will need to learn a lot of new things," said Auckland University of Technology lecturer Mahsa​ Mohaghegh. (See Why We Need Diversity Before AI Takes Over.)

      — 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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