This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Mobile World Congress Los Angeles releases stats on female speakers; Ernst & Young reveals blast-from-the-past training program; women are feeling less uncomfortable at work; and more.
Mobile World Congress Los Angeles was last week, and interestingly, stats of female keynoters and speakers were emailed out to attendees just a few days before their arrival. While the average percentage of female speakers at tech conferences is roughly 25%, MWC LA boasted 32% female keynoters and 27% female conference speakers. (We would have been curious to learn the percentage of female attendees at the conference, though that info wasn't included.) The conference also hosted a three-day Women4Tech Summit, which for the third year in a row focused on gender diversity in the industry. MWC has been in the hotseat in the past for not prioritizing female speakers or the comfort of female attendees, so this is definitely progress for the illustrious mobile extravaganza. (See WiCipedia: 'You Are Either Sexually Objectified or the Housewife' – MWC19.)
Those Numbers Look About Right
A panel of speakers, made up of 25% women, at a Cisco Mobile World Congress Newsmaker Event called "5G -- Where Are We?" From left to right, the speakers are Hanno Basse, president of decentralized media solutions at Live Planet; Thierry Maupile, chief strategy and EVP of product management at Altiostar; Caroline Chan, VP and GM of the 5G Infrastructure Division Network Platform Group at Intel; and Kishen Mangat, VP and GM of mobility and automation at Cisco.
(Source: Mitch Wagner)
Think men are making all the tech decisions in the family? Think again, at least in Europe. What Mobile explained that 55% of women in the study, which questioned 8,000 people in five European countries, "take the lead on tech" for their families. Additionally, 67% of women surveyed reported that their smart speakers are "increasing their confidence in technology," with 61% of women explaining that they either currently own or plan to buy a smart device. You'd think with these numbers products could be designed by or for women, right? (See WiCipedia: Fembots Create Gender Divide & Snap Tackles Culture Issues.)
Details of an Ernst & Young professional training for female employees have been exposed in an article on Huff Post, and what's come out seems downright archaic. The training was pitched at executive women at the company who were seen as "promising," yet instead of focusing on professional topics, it homed in on how women should dress and behave around men in the workplace, including the advice to have a "good haircut, manicured nails, well-cut attire that complements your body type..." Yet our favorite quote from the article isn't about appearance, but about how women's brains differ from men's: "Women's brains absorb information like pancakes soak up syrup so it's hard for them to focus," the attendees were told. "Men's brains are more like waffles. They're better able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square." (See EY Leader Talks Customer Centricity, Culture & Comfort.)
Women in tech are reporting a more welcoming experience in their workplaces, yet with that comes men feeling more unwelcome. The fourth-annual Harvey Nash Women in Technology survey report was summed up in a press release, and explained that while the percentage of women reporting an unwelcoming office culture dropped from 35% in 2018 to 25% in 2019, the percentage of men reporting a similar, if not quite the same, negative office culture rose from 5% to 14% in the same time period. Clearly, no one can rest until we're all unequally uncomfortable. (See Women Report More Welcoming Environment in Tech Workplaces, Survey Says.)
Vice reported this week that when a female sales engineer at Informatica went on maternity leave and her baby unexpectedly passed away shortly after birth, she was asked by management to come back to work early and was not given a promised raise and promotion. Informatica's HR explained that the company, which is 73% male, only offers the full maternity leave for "normal vaginal deliveries." The article states, "In an email reviewed by Motherboard, an HR representative told [her], 'your situation could never be planned for so would never be communicated,' and 'all normal situations don't fit your situation.'" (See WiCipedia: Egg Freezing, Hormone Lunches & Back to Work With Babies... Oh My!)
— Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading