Women In Comms

WiCipedia: The new '5 to 9' work hustle

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Dolly Parton is the new face of entrepreneurship; the struggle isn't over for Google's defamed AI researcher; diverse VC funds are the future of funding; and more.

  • Dolly Parton's hit song "9 to 5" has been reworked for the "hustle culture" of today to address those of us who start our passion projects after our regular workday is over. The new version, "5 to 9," was released for a Super Bowl halftime commercial by website design platform Squarespace, The New York Times reports. Back when the original song was penned, in the late 1970s, working an eight-hour day was seen as the norm (though by no means an equal experience for women). Yet these days, many of us in our 20s, 30s and beyond have more than one pot on the stove at a time. Whether that's juggling multiple gig economy jobs or being entrepreneurs of our own up-and-coming companies, this cultural shift is affecting women the most, for better or for worse – particularly during the pandemic. "It's great to hustle to achieve your dreams. It's another if you have to hustle just to get by," Marianne Cooper, a sociologist at Stanford, told The Times. You can watch the music video for the reworked song here. (See WiCipedia: Power Suits & the Gig Economy Pay-Gap Surprise.)

    On that grind
    (Source: Pixabay)
    (Source: Pixabay)

  • Ex-Google computer scientist Timnit Gebru, who was fired from the company after digging into the ethics behind advances in artificial intelligence (AI), is now being harassed (and even stalked) by men in tech, explains the Daily Dot. Many of Gebru's colleagues who rallied behind her are also in the line of fire, particularly on Twitter. The men who are staging the attacks have stated that this situation is the result of "'militant liberals ... politicizing artificial intelligence,' arguing that removing bias from algorithms actually adds bias," the article states. One professor in particular accused Gebru of creating a "toxic environment" at Google by looking behind the veil of AI. The whole debacle is a disturbing case of cancel culture and mansplaining in tech. (See WiCipedia: Are ethics in AI a losing game?)

  • Technical.ly reports that Motley Fool Ventures, a venture capital (VC) company that focuses on tech, has invested $5 million into 13 companies that are focused on diversity in VC. Motley Fool Ventures closed a funding round of $150 million in 2019, and the $5 million is coming out of this batch of funding. More than half of the total partners that Motley is working with identify as women, and more than two thirds are minorities. While this may not be the traditional way that VC works, it could be the new norm: "Why fund other firms? It's about supporting the diversity-minded work that already exists, not reinventing the wheel, [Ollen Douglass, managing director at Motley Fool Ventures,] said." (See WiCipedia: Black female founders take on VC discrimination.)

  • In similar news, a press release reports that the WOCstar Fund, a venture capital fund led by women of color, has welcomed investor and advisor Jon Gosier into the fold. Gosier has been cited by Business Insider as one of the 25 most influential African Americans in tech, and focuses specifically on data and analytics. Gayle Jennings-O'Byrne, co-founder of the WOCstar Fund, said, "Our investment strategy to invest in the best, most promising areas of media, data/ai, consumption with the added advantage of diverse founders is proving out everyday. Bringing on-board, major and strategic investors like Jon Gosier, is validation of the value a fund like WOCstar has for individuals, family offices and institutions looking for investment opportunities and expertise in new areas of the innovation, tech startup economy." (See WiCipedia: Founders battle anti-racism, fight for equal-opportunity funding.)

  • An article on Forbes by Orlee Tal, CEO of Stor.ai, details what it's like to be the only woman in the C-suite, and why it's so important to create a diverse leadership team. Tal explains that women bring unique perspectives to the table, and have skillsets that men simply haven't had to acquire: "While everyone's background is different, the reality is that all women in tech – simply by virtue of being in tech – acquire extensive experience in navigating tricky interpersonal dynamics," she writes. She also explains that women are better at managing in a crisis and can often achieve more than male counterparts simply by having a fresh perspective. Furthermore, she offered hope for the next generation, who are some of the first to view female CEOs not as aberrations but as normal as male CEOs. "In a few years' time, an entire generation will enter the workforce thinking the same way, making what now seems extraordinary perfectly ordinary," Tal explained. (See WiCipedia: How to create a diverse board.)

    — 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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