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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Command Shift aims to bring gender equality in tech to the 21st century

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: An HR trend too obvious to ignore at Amazon; it's time for tech to pay attention to menopause; HP becomes the first Fortune 100 company to commit to gender parity pledge; and more.

  • Command Shift is a brand-new coalition of mega-companies that are partnering with nonprofit NPower to close the pay gap for women in tech, Forbes explains. The plan of attack has several angles, from addressing companies' hiring and retention policies to providing training for specific STEM jobs, which are only expected to grow in the near future. Through the strategic partnerships of all of these companies, participants also have access to internships and eventually jobs, which is a win-win for everyone. Bertina Ceccarelli, CEO of NPower, said, "The companies who create conditions and environments for women of color to bring their full authentic selves to work are going to be far more successful. This will be true not only for retention and future growth, but will also allow those women to tap into their own lived experiences and unique worldviews that help solve real business problems." (See WiCipedia: The lack of women in tech is bigger than a 'pipeline problem'.)

    Modern times
    (Source: Pixabay)
    (Source: Pixabay)

  • A new study has found that companies that pledged to act in solidarity with the Black community after the murder of George Floyd also have 20% fewer Black employees on average than those that didn't. [Insert mind-blown emoji.] Fortune summarized the findings, which analyzed the gap in how companies talk about social issues and what they actually do behind closed doors. The study, which took data from 240 different tech companies, was conducted by Blendoor, a firm that helps companies to hire diverse employees. It's unclear why these companies felt they had to make louder statements to compensate for their homogenous hiring practices – did they think their stances would make them look more diverse than they really are? Either way, they also put their money where their mouth is: Companies' financial pledges to combat racism totaled more than $4.6 billion. (See WiCipedia: How tech can evolve beyond performative activism.)

  • HP is joining the ranks of companies making big commitments to diversity and inclusion in the next decade, yet it's the first of the Fortune 100 companies that are committing to "gender parity in leadership," reports Yahoo Finance. The company has lofty goals of achieving 50% female representation in leadership roles in the next nine years (currently they're at 30%, which is already nearly twice the norm). They'd also like to up the representation of women in tech roles to 30% (it's unclear what the percentage is currently). "Creating a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion has long been integral to HP's success, but our work is far from done," said Enrique Lores, president and CEO at HP. "We will continue pushing to break down barriers within our own organization while using our platforms to advance gender and racial equality, social justice and human rights across our ecosystem." (See WiCipedia: 'Gender is embedded in the job'.)

  • Is Amazon ever not in the hot seat? Two former and three current female employees are reportedly suing the company for racism and sexism. While the women worked in different sectors of the company, they all experienced retaliation when they reported a white manager for overtly racist or sexist comments. "Women and employees of color at all levels of Amazon have had their complaints of harassment and discrimination brushed under the rug," said Wigdor LLP partners Lawrence M. Pearson and Jeanne M. Christensen, the lawyers representing the suit, in a statement to Recode. "Amazon can no longer dismiss abusive behavior and retaliation by white managers as mere anecdotes. These are systemic problems, entrenched deep within the company and perpetuated by a human resources organization that treats employees who raise concerns as a problem." Shareholders are voting on conducting an independent audit of Amazon's diversity and inclusion policies this week. (See WiCipedia: A cybersecurity PR blunder for the ages.)

  • Menopause is an issue we don't hear about much in the tech space, likely because the number of older women in tech jobs is quite low. But Forbes explains that this is a huge market that needs more attention within femtech. Caria, a newish app that helps women "learn about and manage the more than 40 physical and emotional menopause symptoms," is a first-of-its-kind offering that combines cognitive behavioral therapy techniques with a healthy lifestyle instead of the prescription meds that are so often offered to women entering menopause. The app currently boasts 50,000 users (with 6,000 women in the US reaching menopause per day and 80% stating that the symptoms impact their daily lives, the number of users seems limitless) and offers free and premium versions based on the level of care. (See WiCipedia: Rad Projects, Femtech Entering Heyday & CES Confirms Diversity Changes.)

    — 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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