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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: MWC lacks 'all-inclusive panel' due to pandemic

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Mobile World Congress boasts only 20% female keynoters; an InfoSec conference not to miss; podcast recs; and more.

  • It's been all Mobile World Congress talk this week at Light Reading, and of course our first question was: How many female speakers are there? The pandemic has greatly affected attendance at this mega convention in Barcelona, which is offering "hybrid" attendance this year due to travel restrictions and testing requirements. From the looks of the keynote speaker list, five out of 24 speakers appear female – roughly 20%. Compared to recent years, this is below the normal percentage of female speakers by several points, and it's certainly less than the desired halfway point. In this video from the "Our Connected World" keynote, the male moderator explains that it's an all-male panel because "with difficulties in traveling, it's been a little more complicated than usual to find and achieve an all-inclusive panel." Sounds like they didn't try hard enough. (See WiCipedia: 'You Are Either Sexually Objectified or the Housewife' – MWC19.)

    Who's at MWC this week? Anyone?
    (Source: Pixabay)
    (Source: Pixabay)

  • The Diana Initiative is a conference that aims to help and bring together underrepresented minorities in the information security sector. This year's conference is coming up on July 16 and 17, will be held virtually and is shockingly accessible (tickets are only $5 and for many demographics they're free!). This year's conference theme, Spark a Journey, "will focus on emphasizing the ability in each of us to spark many journeys, and how we can be an inspiration and driving force for increasing representation in cybersecurity – whether gender, race, sexuality, skill level and neurodiversity." The conference will include two days of speakers, hands-on workshops, and a capture-the-flag event (we really aren't sure how that will work virtually!). Last year, the virtual conference drew in over 1,700 attendants and boasted a whopping 76 speakers, so we're excited to see how this year will play out. If you're interested in attending, you can find more info here. (See WiCipedia: Command Shift aims to bring gender equality in tech to the 21st century.)

  • The Guardian recently published an article about why girls and young women in the UK aren't choosing to study STEM, despite such an emphasis on these topics as of late. Teachers were interviewed to get their take on the subject, and revealed that while schools are actively trying to change preconceived notions and antiquated language around class offerings ("home ec," for instance), the stereotypes remain. Reworking the marketing around certain topics is essential, as is hiring and retaining female teachers. Just as having female role models in tech is imperative to getting young women into the industry, having female teachers is also important. "Having female computer science teachers is a massive bonus," Elizabeth English, a computer science teacher at a school near London, explains. "There is that old adage – you can't be what you can't see. We are lucky at my school to have a lot of female teachers in all STEM subjects but that is probably unusual," says English. (See WiCipedia: 'Damaging myths' about differences persist.)

  • Looking for some podcast recommendations this week? We've got 'em! There's no shortage of pods that are tackling the tough issues of being a woman or minority at work (in tech and beyond) these days. To hear about how women, especially BIPOC, have adapted to working at home during the pandemic, check out Gaby Dunn's Bad With Money. To learn about how we can make the workplace more equitable for trans and gender non-binary people, check out NPR Life Kit's latest pod. And to hear the story of Bozoma Saint John, now the global chief marketing officer at Netflix and also a woman in tech household name if there ever was one, check out the GOOP interview with Saint John where she talks about her life and why storytelling, even at and about work, is so important. (See WiCipedia: How tech can evolve beyond performative activism.)

    — 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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