Women in Comms

WiCipedia: Leading Ladies & VC Disparities

This week in our Women in Comms roundup: Our very own Women in Comms lunch and speaker panel; turning the tables on gender stereotypes; female-run startups lagging in funding; and more.

Interested in joining Women in Comms on our mission to champion change, empower women and redress the gender imbalance in the comms industry? Visit WiC online and get in touch to learn more about how you can become a member!

  • Light Reading's Women in Comms non-profit made the news this week with our networking conference prior to the Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas. It was a full house at the luncheon, and the panel that followed was a huge success with inspiring speakers, including WiC veteran Monique Hayward of Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Caroline Downing of Flex (Nasdaq: FLEX). Maggie Bellville of Hitachi Consulting told the audience to never feel like they weren't good enough, and Nelly Pitocco of Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) advised that diversity programs should be inclusive, not exclusive. Good advice all around! (See WiC Pics: Women in Comms Takes Austin.)

  • What if men had to deal with all of the double standards, hypocrisy and judgments that women endure every day? Or what if we just flipped around all of the "women can have it all!" messages that women constantly hear and geared them towards men? Have you ever thought about how ridiculous they would sound? Sarah Ballard, UK jokester behind a Man Who Has It All, sure has. Ballard's Twitter account turns the tables on stereotypes about women, family and work for a hilarious look into society's double standards about the limitations and expectations of being a woman.

  • While equal pay between genders gets its fair share of attention and even has its own day, we don't often hear about the disparity in funding that female-led startups receive compared to their male counterparts. A study by Bloomberg illuminated the contrast, stating that similar to the equal pay issue, "US companies founded by women pulled in an average of $77 million compared with $100 million raised by men." To make matters worse, less than 10% of VC funding is received by female-founded startups in the US, which may be tied to the fact that only 7% of VCs are women, and both women and men tend to support others who reflect themselves. (See WiC Leading Lights Finalists: Female-Led Startup to Watch .)

  • Light Reading broke the news this week that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s Margaret Chiosi, a driven leader in comms and proponent of women in STEM, has retired. She stepped down from her position as distinguished network architect after 39 years at AT&T. A few months ago, Women in Comms interviewed Chiosi for Mentor Monday, where she said that her best advice for girls getting into STEM was to not be afraid to stand out and to embrace being different. Chiosi saw the rise of women in the comms industry -- when she started out there were no senior female staff members -- and her monumental career has made history. (See AT&T's Chiosi: Born to Stand Out and AT&T's Margaret Chiosi Retires.)

  • We don't often hear about the role of African American women at NASA in the 1960s, but a new movie, Hidden Figures, set to be released in January 2017, sheds some light on the impact they made. Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan, three dynamic women who impacted the space industry with their math and science abilities, are played by Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe and Octavia Spencer, respectively. The film is prompting a lot of talk about diversity in Hollywood along with why the big topics of this historical film are still breaking news to just about everyone.

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

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