Women In Comms

WiCipedia: The lack of women in tech is bigger than a 'pipeline problem'

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Telecom's gender pay gap; working from home does not work for all women; Equal Pay Day; and more.

  • A noticeable lack of support for women at work seems to be the topic du jour. In a Yahoo Finance article, Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani explains that while she used to believe in tech's "pipeline" problem, she's now come to terms with a plain and simple lack of hiring for women looking to break into tech, and lack of support for those already in the industry. Likewise, Alana Karen, author of Adventures of Women in Tech: How We Got Here and Why We Stay, explains in an NBC article that as women are leaving the tech industry for family-related issues, they aren't being welcomed back with open arms, and that's a big problem. "There's a huge attrition problem that we have to solve, and that's a culture problem. Women are not supported. People of color are not supported. All nerds are not welcome in Silicon Valley," Saujani said. "That's the work that we have to focus on now." (See WiCipedia: The AI Diversity Struggle, Companies Aren't Prioritizing Equality & New-Mom Decisions.)

    Not a four-letter word
    (Source: Pixabay)
    (Source: Pixabay)

  • It feels like the media has been going back and forth on how COVID-19 has affected working women. While it's undoubtedly true that job loss has overwhelmingly affected women during the pandemic, there have been some minor upsides to women being able to work from home more as well. Yet an article in TechRepublic claims that women in tech have been "set back 10 to 20 years by working from home during the pandemic." As someone who has worked from home their entire career, this statement seems a bit overstated, especially as the info was only gleaned from a survey of 177 women in the UK. However, for women trying to work their way up the corporate ladder, it does make sense. For the professional go getter, having to be at home where other responsibilities like childcare and housework might get in the way has been a struggle for their workload. As a result, many felt they couldn't advance their careers or even do the jobs they had well. More than half of respondents claimed that working from home was not affecting the way that men were able to do their jobs. (See WiCipedia: Women find opportunities for entrepreneurship in pandemic.)

  • In some rare actual telecom news, Irish company Eir pledges in its first Gender Pay Gap report to reduce the gender pay gap between its workers, who are predominantly male. The company found a pay gap of just over 11% between its male and female workers. Female employees at Eir are more likely to work in customer support roles, which pay less and are typically held for shorter durations than other more technical roles at the company. While its senior management team is actually split in terms of gender, 80% of the company's positions overall are held by men, creating an unequal scenario from the get-go. Yet Eir's female CEO, Carolan Lennon, is committed to change, and stated, "We are publishing this, our first gender pay gap report, to demonstrate how important we feel this issue is and to make a public commitment of our firm intention to reduce this gap. We continue to embed actions that are aimed at increasing the gender balance and culture of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and by extension reducing our gender pay gap." (See WiCipedia: Falling short of the 2020 gender equality goal.)

  • The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which focuses on video gaming, is trying to right the industry's reputation as unwelcoming to women by pledging to donate $1 million to support Black Girls Code (BGC). CNN reported that The ESA Foundation, ESA's "philanthropic arm," will work with BGC to provide financial support, mentorship, volunteer time and other resources over the next two years to get more women of color into the tech and gaming industries. "Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. Our industry is committed to expanding opportunities in our sector by working to grow talent and spark interest and excitement for STEAM careers, especially for those from underrepresented groups," said Stanley Pierre-Louis, the ESA president, CEO and ESA Foundation board chair. (See WiCipedia: The buzz on Bumble's billionaire boss.)

  • March 24 marks the unofficial holiday of Equal Pay Day, when we examine the pay gap between women and men across various industries and calculate just how many years it will take to level the playing field. This year, Create & Cultivate, in partnership with Mastercard, has a whole virtual day of speakers and workshops planned. You can check out the full list of notable names and sign up to participate here. (See Equal Pay Day: Time to Get Paychecks in Check.)

    — 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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