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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: How companies can align values with profits

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: The pandemic could negatively affect diversity efforts; companies like Cisco are aligning money with ethics; queer women and nonbinary people in tech get their own who's who list; and more.

  • Light Reading's Kelsey Ziser wrote this week about Cisco's commitment to fighting discrimination, especially in the wake of George Floyd's death and COVID-19. The company has delayed its upcoming Cisco Live event slated for earlier this week, and more importantly, Cisco has pledged to donate $5 million to equality-focused organizations, including Equal Justice Initiative, the Legal Defense Fund, ColorOfChange, Black Lives Matter and Cisco's own Fighting Racism and Discrimination fund. CEO Chuck Robbins stated on Twitter: "It's far overdue for all of us to take action to eradicate systemic racism, xenophobia, inequality & all forms of bigotry in America. How we respond will be an important moment in our nation's history. @Cisco will lead. #blacklivesmatter." See Kelsey's article for the full details: Cisco donates $5M to anti-discrimination organizations, postpones Cisco Live.

    Time is up for bad actors in business
    (Source: Pixabay)
    (Source: Pixabay)

  • There's been a lot of news lately about how the "new normal" might be a boon to women in tech, what with work-from-home mandates in particular. Yet Fast Company and Computer Weekly say "not so fast." While newfound flexibility may be a benefit to many, the diversity push that has been so prevalent in the news in the past few years might get lost in reopening strategies in the wake of COVID. As women experience a greater percentage (55%) of layoffs during the pandemic, "there is a big risk in losing the small gains we've made," says Fast Company. While full demographics aren't yet available, the fear is that people of color (PoC) are also being laid off at a higher rate, and any layoffs of the very small minority of PoC tech workers would certainly make a diversity dent. Computer Weekly adds that minority-founded companies may also take a hit as their funding often comes from less corporate donors who may be more harshly financially impacted by the coronavirus. It will be more important than ever to ensure we are supporting minority workers and founders as we head back to some semblance of normal in the next few months. (See WiCipedia: A post-pandemic restructuring opportunity for WiT.)

  • Several Australian companies have made commitments to close the gender gap in tech, Dynamic Business reports. Canva and Finder have both joined Project F, an initiative that aims to narrow the gap and lessen the amount of women leaving the tech industry. Additionally, Canva, along with several other major players in tech, are partnering with "upskilling" platform ShePivots to provide women with free tech skills, explains Smart Company. Hundreds of women have so far signed up for the platform, which aims to funnel participants into tech jobs once the program is complete. ShePivots was introduced as a result of job loss during COVID-19, and will focus on a range of tech career possibilities, not just "techy skills." (See WiCipedia: Women in tech roles hit hard by pandemic.)

  • The recent CXNext Reimagining Women in Tech virtual panel dug into many of the issues that women in tech face on a daily basis, Tech Target reports, from difficulty moving up the ladder to the many reasons that women leave the industry – two issues that often overlap. The panel comprised women in tech who spoke about keeping women in the industry and making changes to companies in order to improve the experiences of female employees. "Things are only going to change over time, the more we continue to support and promote diversity, diverse teams and allowing different perspectives to prevail and not always sticking with the same old thing that works," Erica Mayshar, manager of solutions consulting at LogMeIn, said during the discussion. (See WiCipedia: Why Women Leave Tech, Gen Z Wants to Disconnect & Aviation Equality.)

  • You may have seen annual lists of the Most Influential Women in Tech or the Richest Women in the World, but did you know that for the first time ever Fast Company came out with a list of 50 queer women and nonbinary people in tech and business? Partnering with Lesbians Who Tech to compile the list, the list is a mix of tech heavy hitters from Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Reddit; founders and CEOs of financial institutions and diversity initiatives; and actors, comedians, journalists and YouTubers. The list seeks to amplify queer change-makers, creatives, movers and shakers in tech and beyond – an initiative that is needed now more than ever. Head on over to Fast Company to peruse the list in its entirely. (See WiCipedia: Open Office Fishbowls & Trans Women in Tech.)

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

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