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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: AR-enabled murals meld science and art

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: AR-enabled murals celebrate women in STEM; tech unicorns are lacking in female leaders; how to excel in engineering; and more.

  • A new mural in Brooklyn is breaking the mold of outdoor art and employing augmented reality (AR) to promote women in STEM. Fast Company explains that multidisciplinary artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya is working on a series of AR-enabled murals, titled "Findings," which all celebrate the accomplishments of various women in science. Passers-by will be able to scan QR codes on the murals to learn about the science behind each piece of art. If viewers aren't physically located near one of the murals, which will all eventually be in major cities, they will still be able to view the forthcoming app to learn about the paintings. "Phingbodhipakkiya hopes her new work will speak especially to young women who 'will see the art, be curious about it, be inspired to dig deeper into the story of the scientist who is working on the subject matter, and then see someone who looks just like them,'" the Fast Company article explained. (See STEM Is Root of Success for Women in Comms.)

    'A Cluster of Enigmas'
    The first mural, 'A Cluster of Enigmas,' is currently in progress in Brooklyn. 
(Source: Findings Project)
    The first mural, "A Cluster of Enigmas," is currently in progress in Brooklyn.
    (Source: Findings Project)

  • Tech unicorns – those rare startups that have a valuation over $1 billion – are overwhelmingly led by men. Sifted reports that based on data from a recent Notion Capital report, only about one fifth of unicorns in Europe and the US are spearheaded by women. To top it off, the few women who do make it to the top tend to bow out faster than their male counterparts. While there's not much factual data on this phenomenon, it's not difficult to decipher what might be holding women back from these career achievements. "There are so few female role models that it can be tricky to understand how to forge the path into leadership," says Maddy Cross from Notion Capital, the author of the report. "There needs to be a discussion at leadership levels across global B2B tech unicorns about how to include women, and why it's important to include women, and part of this includes bringing in extended maternity leave policies." Another reason why women may not stay in profitable companies includes not being given opportunities at CMO levels (as men are more frequently hired into higher-up positions than women). Women are more likely to be promoted from within or to make lateral moves, often depriving them of big role leaps. (See WiCipedia: Why Women Leave Tech, Gen Z Wants to Disconnect & Aviation Equality.)

  • Yet women are able to raise only a fraction of what male startup founders garner, says Tech Crunch, and the divide isn't getting much smaller. In the fintech industry in particular, women raise only 1% of total startup funds; when all VC investments are taken into consideration, only 3% went to female founders in 2019. And those numbers are high when Black and Latinx investors are singled out for investment dollars (0.6% and 0.4%, respectively). Check out the Tech Crunch article for tips on how to raise funding as a woman, and also why this is such a crucial factor to take into account for widespread gender equality. (See WiCipedia: Breaking through barriers and smashing inequality.)
  • If you're wondering why it's so important for leaders to be diverse, NextGov explains that everyone benefits when women are involved in business. Not only do businesses with female leaders see higher profit margins, but employees also report higher workplace satisfaction and companies have higher employee retention rates. It's a win-win-win. (See WiCipedia: Diversity is about more than checking boxes.)

  • Engineering is a sector that is overwhelmingly male-dominated, yet Tech Republic explains that there's space for women in the high-paying and necessary industry. Not only is it a hot market that doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, engineering jobs are also commonly noted as one of the highest-growth career paths. Yet cultural practices around working from home and flexible hours seems to be changing, if by necessity with COVID-19, making it more likely that women will explore industries they previously didn't think were an option. Additionally, with an increased focus on getting young girls involved in STEM education early on, it's more likely that they will choose to pursue STEM careers in years to come. (See Undeterred, More Women Are Applying for Technical Roles Each Year.)

    — 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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