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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Is 38 'over the hill' in tech?

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Iceland a new hotspot for women in tech; age discrimination is an overlooked diversity issue; upskilling online; and more.

  • Age discrimination is one of the least talked about diversity issues in tech, but it impacts a fair amount of people, ComputerWeekly states. Some tech companies have come under fire for routinely trying to keep their workforce younger, including IBM, which, the article states, has been taken to court over its "multi-faceted 'fire-and-hire' scheme with the ultimate goal of making IBM's workforce younger." One UK study revealed that age discrimination in tech starts at the tender age of 29, with 38-year-olds considered "over the hill," and the situation has only become worse during the pandemic as older workers have been laid off. Like any other diversity issue in the industry, it comes down to stereotypes and recruitment issues. (See IBM Faces Age Discrimination Accusations.)

    Is this thing on?
    (Source: Pixabay)
    (Source: Pixabay)

  • The pandemic may have put a wrench in women's careers for a variety of reasons, but that doesn't mean many didn't try to upgrade their skillsets anyway. UK website City AM explains that many women took to online courses to "upskill" during pandemic downtime in hopes of a career comeback post pandemic. As one woman put it, "The pandemic actually gave me the opportunity to look at myself. You are literally hanging on a cliff, so you think: what can I do with this situation?" Since women are being let go from jobs at a much higher rate than men over the past year and a half, many women are also starting their own businesses to counteract the unpredictable job market. (See WiCipedia: Women leave workforce in droves due to pandemic and burnout.)

  • Over in Japan, tech companies are scrambling for workers, and a history of excluding women from the profession is now working against them. The Chicago Tribune explains that the country has a techie deficit with almost no women. Girls in Japan are routinely discouraged from studying the subject, and universities have some of the lowest rates of female STEM students in the world. While Japan is currently working to modernize its approach to gender equality, this is a widespread societal issue that's going to take a big overhaul to see change. Miki Ito, an aerospace engineer, blames images in popular culture. "Boys use robots to fight the bad guys, but girls use magic. I've wondered why we don't see the opposite very much," she said. "The government needs to take leadership on this. It hasn't really linked digitalization with gender equality." (See WiCipedia: What's it like being the only girl in STEM class?)

  • A new venture capital fund in Iceland, of all places, has caught the EU's attention and support. Bloomberg explains that the VC firm Crowberry Capital, backed by the European Investment Fund, is fundraising $90 million to be used for women in tech, and this is only the start of their funding efforts. Though Iceland is relatively small, its size shouldn't be confused with weakness: "Iceland's startup eco-system has become more active with international investment flowing from both sides of the Atlantic. There is also a clamor from the broader Nordic region to be part of the worldwide growth in digital transformation," the article states. (See WiCipedia: Global female income hits all-time high, continues to rise.)

    — 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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