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May 24, 2019
This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Gender bias still an issue during recruitment; VC cash reserves for female-founded companies; hot job market draws in women; and more.
A hot labor market is attracting more women than men, according to NPR. While men are more employed than women overall, the rate of growth for new job holders is currently higher for women. With unemployment at an all-time low, there are more opportunities available than ever, and new programs like "returnships" are giving women who may have taken time off work for family opportunities to come back to the workforce. The article explains that this bump in employed women is certainly a new occurrence: "Women returning to jobs at higher rates since 2015 dramatically reverses the trend of the previous three years, when women were leaving the workforce at twice the rate of men. It is also a reversal of a nearly two-decade drop in the percentage of working women." (See Forman Pioneers a Path Forward for Women Returning to Work and WiCipedia: LL Awards, Tech Mom Returnships & How The Post Gets the Ladies.) Figure 1: (Source: NPR)
Yet it's not all rainbows and kittens. A new study from Booking.com reports that gender bias during job recruitment is the biggest barrier to women in tech. FTN News summarized the findings and explained that nearly half of women (47%) said gender bias was a factor in getting a job in tech, despite the many recent industry initiatives striving to create gender equality in the industry. Female undergraduate students faced the most gender bias (62%). Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com, said: "Our research highlights just how pivotal tech companies' recruiting practices are to getting female candidates across the line into a role within tech. This includes how they talk about the industry, the job descriptions they post and the opportunities they promote." (See Tech's Gender Problem Starts at Entry Level – McKinsey.)
Burlington Telecom, a fiber-optic provider in the city of Burlington, Vt., is under watch this week as it reacts to the accusations of three female managers who say they were discriminated against because of their gender. Vermont newspaper Seven Days reports that the three employees "sued the utility and the city for sex discrimination, retaliation and breach of contract" because they were not awarded raises or bonuses though their male counterparts were. The company and city deny the claims and state that any differences were due to factors that did not involve employees' genders, though the allegations themselves have already been retaliated against with "additional discrimination" from the company. All three women have since left the company. (See WiC Panel: The Upside of Sexism Scandals.)
Raising VC cash for female-founded companies is no joke, yet opportunities do exist. Inc. explains that more than $1 billion has been set aside by specific funds for startups that are founded by women. So how can founders find these funds? Inc. looked at a nifty searchable tool called The Fundery that allows users to search for VC firms based on their company's needs. So far, 55 female-focused VC funds are listed, and any funds that are currently investing in female-founded companies are invited to submit their info to be added here. (See WiCipedia: Female Founders Find Funding & Automotive Careers for Women.)
So what do women in tech really, really want? Techopedia put this question out into the ether and the answer wasn't exactly a surprise: equality. "Women in tech want exactly what men in tech want," said Amy Romero, global chief marketing officer at CreativeDrive. "More opportunities for advancement, the ability to work on challenging projects that fuel their creative drive, unlock hidden potential and sources of growth, and role models in leadership positions." Katherine Noall, CEO of Sphere Identity, proclaimed that special programs for women in tech weren't even needed, though "better decision making" was. (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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