Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Big tech meets Music City

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: A booming tech space in Tennessee; Pinterest employee complaints draw unequal results; something good comes of Amazon's wealth; and more.

  • When you think of tech, Middle Tennessee doesn't necessarily come to mind. Yet a local news source says the area, which includes Nashville, has become a booming hub for tech jobs. Proponents argue that the industry is thriving there, quality of life is much higher than in more notable regions and despite lower salaries, they go further than they would on the coasts. "The under-representation of women and minorities in the tech workforce has long been an issue at our country's two major tech hubs of San Francisco and New York," and it's only getting worse, the author of a tech council report, Dr. Amy Harris, said. "Nashville's tech workforce is one-third women and 23% non-White. If you're looking for a place that defies tech stereotypes, come to Middle Tennessee." We aren't sure how Silicon Valley can argue with those numbers. (See WiCipedia: 2020's best cities for women in tech.)

    It's about time tech got some soul
    (Source: Pixabay)
    (Source: Pixabay)

  • A recent Pinterest lawsuit that aimed to tackle gender inequalities exhibited toward one specific white female exec at the company reached a $20 million settlement this week, the Guardian explained. Yet Black employees who previously complained about similar treatment received little, the publication reported. Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, two former Pinterest employees, claimed this past summer that "they had to fight to be paid fairly and were retaliated against for advocating for change," in addition to facing online harassment. Since the claim was made, the company has added BIPOC board members and instituted bias training, but women at the company have said it's not enough given Pinterest's behavior, particularly regarding the racial reckoning of 2020. "I could not stand by and let a company get away with posting Black Lives Matter when they did not act like black lives mattered in the negotiations they had just concluded with us," Banks told the Guardian. "This was about integrity and not letting the company get away with painting themselves as this space for kindness and positivity when they had completely denigrated, abused, and retaliated against us." (See WiCipedia: Networking helps get women on boards.)

  • At least one good thing has come out of the unbelievable wealth Amazon has created for itself during the pandemic: MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos, has donated more than $6 billion to nearly 400 organizations this year. NPR reports that Scott, who left her marriage with nearly $40 billion in Amazon stock, donated to a range of charities, including those that tend to basic human needs, nonprofits that focus on marginalized communities and others that are working on pandemic relief. Scott worked with a team of advisors and pledged earlier this year to give away the bulk of her wealth. "During a pandemic when US billionaire wealth has increased $1 trillion since March, other billionaires should draw inspiration from her approach to move funds to urgent needs, to historically marginalized groups, to share decision-making with non-wealthy people, and to avoid warehousing funds in private legacy foundations," said Chuck Collins, director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies. (See WiCipedia: Fembots Create Gender Divide & Snap Tackles Culture Issues.)

  • Here's one thing we didn't do on WiCipedia this year: an end-of-year, best-of roundup. That's fine. We can't win them all. However, if you'd like to check out such a list, we recommend heading over to Computer Weekly, where they've compiled some of the top stories of women in tech and diversity achievements/struggles of the year. And here's to 2021 offering way more in the achievements category than the struggles section; we've all had enough this 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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