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October 18, 2019
This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Gen Z is skeptical of the future of tech; growing the number of women in aviation; women don't leave tech industry because of the actual work; and more.
A new report (there's one every week!) from Capital One examines how to keep women in tech jobs, and the results have very little to do with the actual work. Meritalk streamlined the report results, and explained that of women who left the tech industry, only 2% were unhappy with the work they were doing. Rather, women seemed to leave the industry because of opportunities, support network challenges, the lack of work-life balance and more, "which means something beyond the work itself got in the way of a fulfilling, long-term career," CapitalOne notes. Additionally, "women who stay in tech are more likely to have women role models at their company compared to women who have left tech (75 percent vs 56 percent), and are twice as likely to value peer groups of other women strongly (45 percent vs 23 percent)." (See WiCipedia: Egg Freezing, Hormone Lunches & Back to Work With Babies... Oh My!) Figure 1: Hard at Work ...or plotting their tech industry escape?
Dr. Neil Hunt, Netflix's former chief product officer, is making it his mission to expand diversity in tech, Forbes explains. More specifically, he's donating $3.5 million to the computer science department at his alma mater, the UK's Durham University, which has committed to "tackle the lack of diversity and representation in technology" through the Hunt Programme, which will create scholarships for "low income and underrepresented backgrounds." Neil explained that "the opportunities that come with an education such as mine at Durham, compared to anywhere else I could have studied, add at least 10% or 20% to my lifetime earnings, and I believe I should contribute a big fraction of that back to future students." (See WiCipedia: Tech's Litigation 'Wake-Up Call' & Gates Donates $1B for Gender Equality.)
Wondering how tech natives really view tech? A fascinating study from GfK Consumer Life examined how Gen Z women, born in 1998 or later, feel about and use tech compared to their older Millennial counterparts. Business Insider summarized the findings, including that while the youngsters have a more difficult time disconnecting from tech, they really don't want to be using it as much as Millennials do. The study attributed this yearning for some semblance of disconnect to "technology fatigue," which makes sense considering this is the generation born with an iPad in each hand. Consequently, they are also lacking in optimism about the future of tech, with roughly two thirds of surveyed women reporting fears about Internet safety and security. (See WiCipedia: Gen Z Redefines Tech & Pay Gap Inequality Rages On.)
If there's an industry where women are most notably absent, it must be aviation. Smart Company reports that Girl Geek Academy, which is based in Australia, is setting out to change this for future generations by committing to "increase gender equality in the drone, space and aviation sectors." She Flies, a new program the group has formed in order to achieve this mission, "will hold a series of programs centred around promoting gender equality for industries across drone, space and aviation, including career incubators that introduce more female high school-aged students to these sectors." Currently, the stats around women in aviation are dire, with only 3% of pilots identifying as women, and 1% of aircraft engineers. (See WiCipedia: NASA's Beauty Queen & Coding for a Cause in OKC.)
While artificial intelligence (AI) has been accused of discrimination and bias itself, it can also be put to some good to avoid these issues, according to Disney and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Interesting Engineering has profiled the companies' efforts to test for bias in movies and TV using AI "to rapidly analyze the text of a script to determine its number of male and female characters and whether they are representative of the real population at large. The technology also can discern the numbers of characters who are people of color, LGBTQI, possess disabilities or belong to other groups typically underrepresented and failed by Hollywood storytelling." Disney princesses may look a whole lot different in a few years. (See WiCipedia: The AI Diversity Struggle, Companies Aren't Prioritizing Equality & New-Mom Decisions.)
— Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading
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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