Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Apple's rotten hire incites petition from employees

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Apple makes rotten hiring choice; the glass ceiling may be made of concrete for some; startups are equality's last hope; and more.

  • Facebook alum Antonio García Martínez has come and gone at Apple in perhaps the fasting full-circle employment in the company's history, according to The SFist. Martínez, who was hired last Monday as an ad exec at Apple (and has already left the building), incited angry reactions from current Apple employees, who called out a history of sexist and racist behavior and circulated a petition for his firing. Martínez's 2016 book Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley, is filled with examples of sexism, such as this observation about his time at his former employment: "There were few women one would call conventionally attractive at Facebook. The few there were rarely if ever dressed for work with their femininity on display in the form of dresses and heels." (It's worth noting that somehow the book received mostly positive reviews and Martínez states that the quotes were taken "out of context," whatever that means in this scenario...) It's hard to believe that Apple didn't do their due diligence when hiring Martínez. Surely this misstep will not be forgotten by employees. (See WiCipedia: When tech and politics collide.)

    An Apple employee speaks out about Martínez, who wrote the following quote about women in the Bay Area in his book

    (Source: Twitter)

  • We often reference the "glass ceiling" that women in tech are up against when they try to rise through the ranks, and how few break through it. Yet we don't necessarily think of it as an impossibility, just difficult. But what if this is a flawed way of looking at the barriers women in tech face? What if the glass ceiling is really only something that white women can break through, and by even referencing it we're opening up a whole can of worms about privilege? This is what an article on Forbes says is the problem with this term. "The issue with the blanket statement of 'breaking the glass ceiling' is that it fails to recognise that women are not all equal and we all do not face the same struggles – many women do not have the privilege of having a glass ceiling to break," the article states. Want a real-life example? Last year, there were only 37 female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. Curious how that racial breakdown played out? 100% of those 37 female CEOs were white. "Do not forget that glass ceilings exist for some women, whilst concrete roofs exist for others," the article closes. (See WiCipedia: The ever-rising glass ceiling.)

  • So if giant companies aren't able to offer fair and equitable opportunities for all races and genders, who is? Fast Company explains that startups may hold some unique power here because they're building from the ground up instead of working off of archaic ideals and a history of prejudice. Yet it's not as simple as just hiring more women into an existing startup, rather – like with any company – change has to come from the top. Writes the author, "You need to bring on female leaders early – within the first five hires. Diversity and inclusion shouldn't be an afterthought that's addressed after your company has a dedicated HR team. It must be deeply embedded in your company culture from day one." With new companies starting every day, there is some hope. (See WiCipedia: From military life to startup founder.)

  • The news of Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates filing for divorce has rocked the philanthropic tech sector, with much speculation about what will happen to their collective fortune. GeekWire examined French Gates's future with Pivotal, an organization she founded on her own in order to create opportunities for advancement for women in tech. While reports have said that the divorce will not affect the nonprofit work of each individual, the split will leave French Gates one of the richest women in the world with a lot of eyes watching her next move. "There is so much research about how difficult it is for women to raise funding for venture capital," said Emily Cox Pahnke, an associate professor with the University of Washington's Foster School of Business. "What Pivotal could potentially do is shift the calculus where it's not a liability to be a female. That has transformational potential." No pressure. (See WiCipedia: Tech's Litigation 'Wake-Up Call' & Gates Donates $1B for Gender Equality.)

  • A new campaign called "Project Futureproof" from Deutsche Telekom and seven-time Grammy award winner Billie Eilish aims to help "Gen Z" navigate the rapidly shifting array of career options that will require different skillsets than previous generations have been expected to possess. The campaign includes a short sci-fi film addressing how connected technology will impact the world, featuring Eilish, as well as real-life toolkits for creating cover letters and resumes, using social media and job interview prep. Geared towards Gen Z-ers in Europe, it feels applicable to any young person who is assessing what a future career looks like amidst a connected technological revolution. "The future feels uncertain," says Eilish, "but I'm always inspired by what our generation is able to achieve in the face of so many different challenges." The video can be found here.

    — Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading. Follow us on Twitter @LR_WiC and contact Eryn directly at [email protected].

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