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WiCipedia: Startup School Scholarships, Losing Lena & UK Pay Discrepancies

Eryn Leavens

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: A new startup school offers scholarships for women; the humble JPEG has a sordid past; UK pay is falling behind for minorities; and more.

  • The Silicon Valley Institute of Technology, which is venture backed by Parkpine Capital, is introducing a bootcamp of sorts for anyone looking to break into tech, Forbes reported. The program will focus on startup leadership -- from raising funds to managing a team -- and hopes to attract a diverse group of students from 25 countries. To enable this feat, they're offering a scholarship for the program, which will start in January 2020 and be offered in two time formatting options, specifically for women. "We need more women in leading roles across the globe so we launched the scholarship in hopes of attracting talent that may have been overlooked in the past," explains Parkpine's Ahmed Shabana. (See Undeterred, More Women Are Applying for Technical Roles Each Year.)

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  • Two new reports about tech company pay in the UK came out this week, and both are pretty bleak. Verdict reported that the UK Tech Workplace Equality Report revealed that women in tech in the UK are paid 4% less than men, which amounts to about £3,000 ($3,877) per year. Additionally, "Hired found that 61% of the time men are offered higher salaries than women for the same role at the same company." Even worse, Computer Weekly compiled data about LGBT+ tech workers in the UK from the same Hired study and found that a quarter of those surveyed discovered they are paid a whopping £10,000 to £14,999 ($12,924 to $19,385) less than heterosexual colleagues -- a major pay difference for the same job. Additionally, a third of LGBT+ respondents believed they were being paid less. LGBT+ people account for roughly 8% of tech employees. (See WiCipedia: Open Office Fishbowls & Trans Women in Tech.)

  • A new survey of 600 women from tech event Web Summit reports that 42% of women believe that gender representation in tech has improved over the past year. The Fintech Times explains that nearly half of the 70,000 attendees to the conference Lisbon, Portugal, were female. Yet even though women felt more represented, they didn't necessarily feel they were hitting those numbers for the right reason, instead pointing to gender quotas that companies need to fill. Additionally, a third of survey takers did not think that leadership positions had become any more equal in terms of gender over the past year. (See Women Report More Welcoming Environment in Tech Workplaces, Survey Says.)

  • A new campaign and documentary aims to reframe the role of women in "the tenets of the tech industry," The Drum says. Losing Lena focuses on a Swedish Playboy model named Lena and how the JPEG, introduced in 1973, was created based on an image of her. "The centrefold was chosen by male researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) as an ideal test image for the algorithms they were working on to turn physical photos into digital bits," the article explains, and 46 years later, the flirty photo is still being used for test images. Organizations such as Code Like a Girl are making it their mission to diversify the industry and rid it of biased images such as this. "When our tech is developed by a small subset of homogenous individuals, it's impossible for the end product to be without bias," said Ally Watson, founder and chief executive of Code Like a Girl. (See WiCipedia: AI's Data Mining Bias & Small Conferences Take More Risks.)

    — Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading

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