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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: A cybersecurity PR blunder for the ages

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: A cybersecurity PR blunder; Amazon makes commitment to hire minority employees into senior roles; the evolution of diversity in space travel; and more.

  • The security industry isn't exactly known as being welcoming to women, but cybersecurity organization EC-Council just upleveled that stereotype. Infosecurity Magazine explains that EC-Council recently released a LinkedIn poll for women in the industry, which unfortunately contained sexist language and a "catastrophic PR fail." One of the questions, for example, was "What according to you are the most common challenges faced by women in the cybersecurity domain?" The responses were: A: "Only men can do this job," B: "Women can't handle this job," and C: "Women aren't encouraged enough." When concerned readers questioned the phrasing, the author of the article states that "EC-Council responded by deleting and blocking those speaking out against them – but, from what I've personally seen and have heard from others, they only blocked women." EC-Council has since issued a formal apology for both the poll and the company's response to complaints. (See WiCipedia: No (CIS) Men Allowed & Breaking Into a 'Male' Industry.)

  • In celebration of 60 years of space travel, Space took a deep dive into the many changes that NASA and the constantly changing space exploration industry has seen over the past six decades. Diversity has more recently been a big focus of space travel, and while parity is basically another planet away, there has been some progress. For example, 65 women (out of 600 total astronauts) have flown into space since just a year ago, and the "first long-duration mission" of a Black astronaut is currently happening. Women and Black astronauts – really all minorities – weren't even allowed into the program until nearly 1980, so it's notable that diversity is now a priority. In 2020, NASA formally added "inclusion" as a guiding tenant of its mission. While change may be slow, we look forward to seeing what the future of space exploration holds for minorities. (See WiCipedia: NASA's Beauty Queen & Coding for a Cause in OKC.)

  • Amazon has had its fair share (some would say plethora) of lawsuits against it in recent months, and while it's hard to say if it will be able to right the ship in terms of how it treats employees overall, it has recently made a commitment to be much more welcoming to minority workers, Forbes reports. In reaction to a racial discrimination lawsuit spearheaded by both current and former Black employees, Amazon has vowed to greatly increase the number of Black employees, including in senior positions, as well as the number of women in senior positions. Currently, there's a "near-total lack of Black representation and very few women in the upper echelons of [Amazon's] leadership," one report states, so they can only go up from here. (See WiCipedia: Women find opportunities for entrepreneurship in pandemic.)
  • Women in STEM have it tough enough. Add in a global pandemic and some are finding work downright impossible. A New York Times article titled "Could the Pandemic Prompt an 'Epidemic of Loss' of Women in the Sciences?" explored this issue and interviewed several women in science to hear their stories. What they found was not hopeful. The article explained, "Several studies have found that women have published fewer papers, led fewer clinical trials and received less recognition for their expertise during the pandemic. Add to that the emotional upheaval and stress of the pandemic, the protests over structural racism, worry about children's mental health and education, and the lack of time to think or work, and an already unsustainable situation becomes unbearable." (See WiCipedia: Women leave workforce in droves due to pandemic and burnout.)
  • Thankfully, there's some hope that the growth of freelance work will "level the playing field for women in tech," a Forbes article states. While freelancing isn't a new concept, with more and more people working from home this past year, it may have become more normalized and the number of freelancers has risen dramatically. Zoë Harte, chief people officer at Upwork, told Forbes that "she hopes the explosion in remote work because of the pandemic and the continued normalization of freelance work can challenge our unconscious, foundational, and institutional biases." While this may not be a traditional career path, freelancing can often lead to a full-time job, if desired. And the flexibility that it can offer is so valuable to many who deal with other responsibilities outside of work. (See WiCipedia: Power Suits & the Gig Economy Pay-Gap Surprise.)

    — 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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