WiCipedia: The Barbie & Unicorn Edition

This week in our WiC roundup: Barbie's got coding skills; female engineering graduates outnumber men; the other unicorns of the startup world; and more.

Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor

June 24, 2016

4 Min Read
WiCipedia: The Barbie & Unicorn Edition

This week in our Women in Comms roundup: Barbie's got coding skills; female engineering graduates outnumber men; the other unicorns of the startup world; 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!

  • As if Britain hasn't been in the news enough this week, a report from We Are the City has just come out that a whopping portion of company boards in London have very little (48%) or no (18%) female representation. Only 21% of London companies have a woman in a C-level position. Though London's Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is an advocate of equality in the workplace, according to BDaily, the diverse city has fallen behind in workplace diversity, at least at the higher levels. Khan advocates for preparing girls for leadership at a younger age and encouraging them to pursue tech. (See WiC Poll: Start Young to Improve the Pipeline and WiC in London: The Highlight Reel .)

    • For the first time in history, a US university is graduating more female engineers than males. Out of 119 engineering majors who graduated last week from Dartmouth College, 64 (54%) were women. Dartmouth handles this particular major differently than most other colleges in that students do not have to pick an engineering specialty, and instead they all receive the same bachelor of arts degree in engineering. The university, which is evenly split between male and female students as a whole, attributes this uniqueness for its higher rate of female engineering students. This is in sharp contrast to the one-in-five rate for women graduating with engineering degrees across the entire US. (See SCTE Ed Program Adds Angle for Women and ITT Technical Institute Looks to Up Female Enrollment .)

    • Barbie may be known best for her flowing hair, pink Corvette and mile-high legs, but did you know that she can also code?! Enter Game Developer Barbie, Mattel's latest addition to the (in)famous line-up. This particular Barbie is version 2.0 of the original failed edition, which gained a lot of negative criticism for her reliance on men to do the actual coding. This version is much improved, and complete with some impressive coding chops, plus some pretty sweet accessories. What better way to let young girls who play with Barbies know that there really is more to life than finding a Ken and riding a pink scooter? (See 'Women Who Code' CEO Paints Better Tech Pic and Purpose Is Key to Bringing Women Into Tech.)

      Figure 1: Game Developer Barbie comes complete with bright red hair, a headset, a laptop AND a tablet. She's got it made! Game Developer Barbie comes complete with bright red hair, a headset, a laptop
      AND a tablet. She's got it made!

    • Fairygodboss is setting the record straight regarding perceptions about the experiences of women who work in tech. We often assume that women in tech by and large experience discrimination, harassment and worse, but Georgene Huang, founder and CEO of Fairygodboss.com, a website where women can review their employers, painted a more balanced picture in her recent Forbes article. While this certainly isn't indicating that women are treated equally to men across the industry, a small majority of women (55%) confirmed that they do in fact feel as though "their workplaces are fair to women." (See WiCipedia: Open Source Favoritism, Fairygod Bosses & Crooked Credit Checks.)

    • We often hear the moniker "unicorn" thrown around in the tech space -- a word used to signify a startup worth more than $1 billion. But the real unicorns in tech might just be African American female founders. Good published an article this past week featuring this small but mighty segment of the startup space. Often overlooked, "Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the country, generating over $44 billion a year in revenue." Three founders were profiled, including Kathryn Finney, founder of digitalundivided, who made the profound statement that "...this is not just a STEM problem. This is about who is worthy of having ideas... Who has the right to monetize ideas? This is about freedom." Brit Fitzpatrick of MentorMe was also profiled. Both founders shared their experiences being belittled and underestimated by investors, and their ultimate success in the business world. (See WiCipedia: 'Meternity,' Lemonade & Chores and WiCipedia: From Virtual Reality to Virtually No Black Women .)

      — 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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