This week in our WiC roundup: Welcome Robotics Engineer Barbie; VMware CEO hikes Mount Kilimanjaro; Zillow aces hiring practices; and more.

Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor

July 6, 2018

4 Min Read
WiCipedia: VMware Goes to Mount Kilimanjaro & Barbie Gets Geeky

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Welcome Robotics Engineer Barbie; VMware CEO hikes Mount Kilimanjaro; Zillow aces hiring practices; 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!

  • A new study finds that women and men ask for pay raises at the same rate, yet women aren't granted the same amount of raises as their male counterparts. Quartz explains that while men have their raise requests granted 20% of the time, women only see money coming their way 15% of the time. This rate seems to get worse with age, as older women tend to see the lowest percentage of raises, The Harvard Business Review study concluded. So while this turns the old adage of "Women don't ask for raises" on its head, it does mean that "Asking does not mean getting -- at least if you are a female." (See WiCipedia: Breaking Biases & Squashing Self-Limiting Fear.)

    • Joining a host of other career-inspired Barbies is the new Robotics Engineer Barbie from Mattel. In a press release, the company introduced the STEM doll, which is "designed to pique girls' interest in STEM and shine a light on an underrepresented career field for women." It also states that Barbie has held more than 200 careers, though only a handful are available on the Mattel website. Barbie's career interests have wandered down the STEM road before: "...since 1959, Barbie has held STEM roles including astronaut, scientist, video game developer and computer engineer," the press release states. She sure leaves Ken in the shade. (See WiCipedia: The Barbie & Unicorn Edition.)

      Figure 1: Robotics Engineers Save the Day

    • A new Silicon Valley poll of views on working in tech doesn't offer much hope for women. Mercury News and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group polled 1,110 working voters in the Bay Area -- a rather specific group -- to find out their views on careers and opportunities in tech. They also interviewed women to hear about their specific experiences of discrimination. For example, a 24-year-old engineer spoke of her experience teaching a class in a factory: "...the closest women's bathroom [was] three stories down, because they converted the women's bathroom to a men's bathroom. They said there's not enough women to justify a women's bathroom on every floor." Also somewhat suprisingly, "Half of those polled said they feel women have fewer opportunities for advancement at their current workplaces than men, and 43 percent said they are paid less. In contrast, fewer than one-third of Bay Area women outside of tech felt held back or underpaid because of their gender." (See Survey Says: Women in Comms Tell All.) Figure 2: Numbers Don't Lie

    • Over in the virtualization sector, VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) CEO Pat Gelsinger will be hiking Mount Kilimanjaro with the goal of raising $75,000 (a goal he's already surpassed by raising $100,000) in order to build a high school for girls in Kenya. CRN reports that Gelsinger is working with charitable organization Missions of Hope International, "which supports orphan and vulnerable children and their families throughout Kenya." No stranger to charitable work, Gelsinger is bringing VMware's chief customer officer Scott Bajtos, Afterburner CEO Joel Neeb and missionary Keith Ham along with him for the 19,341-foot hike. "Girls in particular are susceptible to be prevented from education, falling back to tribal patterns of being married off and child bearing at very young ages and continuing the terrible cycle of poverty," said Gelsinger on his fundraising website. "I'm thrilled with the potential to click off a bucket list item but doing it for the noblest of causes -- bringing hope and life to the world's most vulnerable. Truly changing the face of eternity for these kids." (See VMware Invests in Stanford's Women's Leadership Lab.)

    • We love stories about companies that question their hiring practices and then actually do something about any issues or inequalities they may find. Zillow is one of those success stories, states Quartz. Upon reviewing its diversity numbers, Zillow rectified diversity setbacks, such as prejudicial job descriptions and hiring for cultural fit vs. hiring for skillsets, in order to create a more wide-ranging staff. Since the changes were implemented, Zillow's tech staff has gone up by 6%, though they will be the first to admit that they still don't have enough female engineers. Zillow's entire workforce is made up of 41% women, and their hiring rate of 100 to 200 new employees per month ensures this is an ever-evolving diversity breakdown. (See WiCipedia: Best Initiatives for Women & Highest-Ranked Companies.)

      — 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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