Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Networking helps get women on boards

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Pinterest's discrimination story is far from over; diversity on boards; tackling bias head-on; and more.

  • The issue of diversifying boards has become a priority – and even a mandate – in the past year or so, and an organization called FirstBoard.io is working to ensure that this goal becomes a widespread reality. Silicon Angle explains that FirstBoard.io, which comprises more than 30 "board-ready women executives," pairs female execs with tech company boards that are looking for new members through networking prowess. "The idea is that we work together collaboratively and that we leverage each other's networks..." Founder Rita Scroggin said. "So our focus right now is to really raise the profile of FirstBoard.io and the profile of each member of the group. So it's fundamentally different because we're working together ... almost like a company that can accelerate where if we have a success, it's everybody's success." FirstBoard.io is a new organization and is currently working to place its first board member. (See WiCipedia: Diverse Boards Are the Future & UK Gov't Deals With Online Abuse.)

    Time to put your network to work
    (Source: Pixabay)
    (Source: Pixabay)

  • Tech companies have been announcing pledges to hire more women and people of color for years, yet in reality, most have only made minor progress towards a more diverse workforce. An article in The Conversation by a gender diversity professor explains that these pledges alone won't do much to shift the tides of demographics, and instead, bias needs to be tackled. While we most often talk about unconscious bias, there are many different types (which we won't go into here though they're described in depth in the article above). Another way to better approach the issue of a homogenous workforce would be to rework how artificial intelligence (AI) is structured, also in order to eliminate bias. While current versions of AI have their own bias downfalls, there is hope that future versions could be void of bias, something that humans just aren't capable of. (See WiCipedia: How tech can evolve beyond performative activism.)

  • Just a few weeks ago, Pinterest made the news for under-the-radar discriminatory practices against employees of color. Now, The New York Times reports, the small group of employees who spoke out against the company's practices are being backed by more than 200 co-workers who are demanding change from the social media giant. A virtual walkout was staged this past Friday (with not quite the same impact as a physical walkout but for an online company it had an effect nonetheless) and HR has said it has heard the complaints and is working on implementing solutions. "We know we have real work to do and recognize that it's our job to build a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for everyone," a Pinterest spokeperson said. (See WiCipedia: Founders battle anti-racism, fight for equal-opportunity funding.)

  • It's been 100 years since women finally won the right to vote after an epic battle. The Women's 2020 Vote Centennial Initiative aims to "commemorate a milestone of democracy and to explore its relevance to the issues of equal rights today," because without those rights, we wouldn't be where we are today in any other facet of life. Think there aren't enough women in the C-suite? Think about how many there would be if we didn't have the right to vote. On the 2020 Centennial website, there are lots of historical resources (including fun quizzes for kids) on the history of the suffragettes. However, we think the most important way to celebrate this momentous accomplishment is to remember how far we've come and make sure your vote counts this November. (See WiCipedia: Trumpisms, Marriage Penalties & Back-to-School Inspo.)

    — 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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