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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Healthtech lacks diversity, just like the rest of tech

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Coronavirus research needs to be diverse; a new tech memoir to add to your quarantine reading list; how to get to the top; and more.

  • There's a long history of a gender gap in healthcare – more research is done on how diseases affect men than women with whole sub-minority groups completely ignored. Now, the same thing is happening with COVID-19 research, especially as more men than women are physically affected by the virus. CNN reports that while people of color and low-income groups are getting sicker and dying at higher rates, most data collected currently doesn't list demographics, and when testing on humans starts, it will most likely follow the previous testing history of focusing on white CIS men. Without testing that reflects the demographics of our world, much less the actual disease, how can we make sure treatments and vaccines are safe and effective for women and people of color? The intersection of tech and science is at a crossroads here, and we sure hope they can make room for equality. (See WiCipedia: COVID-19 layoffs affect women more.)

    Healthcare testing is historically geared toward men
    (Source: Pixabay)
    (Source: Pixabay)

  • Grit Daily published an article on closing the tech leadership gap, which is woefully wide and may require more than 200 years(!) to close. Yet there are women at the top, and the article dug into what these achievers did right to get there, including pursuing tech from the get-go, finding more than one mentor and peers to network with, not hesitating to ask questions, being conscious of bias and more. There's no scarcity of evidence that when women are in charge situations change for the better (just ask the countries dealing with COVID-19 that are run by women!). As Barack Obama famously said, "If every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything — living standards and outcomes. Women aren't perfect but are indisputably better than men." We think the same could probably be said for women running tech companies. (See WiCipedia: The ever-rising glass ceiling.)

  • One way to increase diversity in tech is through apprenticeships, Built In explains. While many companies still require four-year degrees to get a foot in the door, others are encouraging applicants to take part in bootcamp-style training programs. These in-office apprenticeships fast track education and are more accessible to applicants with less traditional backgrounds. Additionally, a new study reports that training increases the chances for women to be offered promotions at work. One researcher stated, "We believe training allows [women] to circumvent any social and structural biases that may have otherwise prevented their chances of promotions." (See WiCipedia: Nature vs. Nurture & the Moms at Work Dilemma.)

  • Looking for some stay-at-home reading recommendations? A new memoir from Susan Fowler, whose name you might recognize from a giant lawsuit with Uber just a few short years ago, details her experience in Big Tech and the remarkable life story that got her there. New Republic reviewed the book, Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber, and found it fits right into this new era of Silicon Valley tell-all lit we've found ourselves in lately. From #MeToo harassment to gender discrimination that prevented her from following both schooling and career goals, Fowler's story seems to run the full gamut of gendered negative experiences. While the tech structures in charge may not have radically (or even subtly) changed because of memoirs like this, the collective voice is powerful and too loud not to be heard. (See WiCipedia: Pao Resets; Fowler Goes Supreme.)

    — Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading

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