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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Pinterest pinpoints more women in leadership roles

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Pinterest puts more women in leadership; NASA sends the first Black woman to the International Space Station; overqualified women are underappreciated; and more.

  • Social media company Pinterest has increased both the number of women in leadership positions and the total number of women employees at the company, according to its Inclusion and Diversity Report, reported Protocol. Nearly a third (33%) of leadership roles were filled by women in 2021, a slight increase from 30% in 2020. In all, women account for 51% of Pinterest's global team, but the engineering team is only 30% women. Pinterest also has quite a way to go in minority representation – only 16% of employees are Black, Latinx or Hispanic, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander as of 2021, up from 12% in 2020. By 2025, Pinterest plans to increase its women in leadership positions to 36% and up its representations of Black, Latinx and Indigenous employees to 20%. Still, Pinterest's new global head of diversity inclusion, Nichole Barnes Marshall, is pleased with the progress made so far. "What surprised me the most is just how much progress we made from 2020 to 2021, particularly in the representation of women. We're halfway to our goal," said Barnes Marshall. (See WiCipedia: Big tech meets Music City.)
  • NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins will make history on Saturday as the first Black woman to join the International Space Station crew, and the fifth Black woman to go to space, reported NBC News. Former astronaut Mae Jemison, the first Black woman to go to space in 1992, says that while the tide is slowly turning, women are still underrepresented in science, due to conscious and unconscious gatekeeping. "But once you are there, it's 'where do you fit?' People hold you to a stereotype of what they consider a scientist," said Jemison. "There's this unrelenting requirement that you prove you have the right to be there. Many times I think that we achieve in these fields in spite of, not because of." Of the 600 people who have traveled to space, almost 90% are white men, according to a report by the Space Frontier Foundation. However, former NASA employees are making efforts to level the playing field for future generations. John Hines, a former NASA researcher, created the Hines Family Foundation to provide support to children from disadvantaged communities with opportunities in STEM. Watkins and other crew members will take off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida this weekend for a six-month run at the ISS laboratory to perform tasks related to research and station maintenance. (See WiCipedia: Minority numbers in STEM studies still lag.)

    Space shuttle Atlantis lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Source: Stocktrek Images, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo.
    Space shuttle Atlantis lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Source: Stocktrek Images, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo.

  • In a survey of about 1,500 people with hiring experience, the results consistently showed that people are comfortable hiring women, but not men, for jobs that they're overqualified for, explained Elizabeth L. Campbell, an associate professor of management at the Rady School of Management, UC San Diego, in an article she wrote for Fast Company. While hiring managers worry that men are "flight risks" because they're too good for the job or will bow out for a higher-paying position, they don't share these concerns when it comes to hiring overqualified women. In Campbell and her team's research, she discovered that it isn't that hiring managers don't recognize that women are overqualified, it's just "easier for people to rationalize overqualified women's motivations." They assume women are less of a flight risk because they value relationships more and are willing to accept lower-ranking roles to escape discrimination at previous jobs. "Our supplemental experiment supports this: Overqualified women are less likely to be hired when it's clear they aren't facing discrimination at their current workplace," said Campbell. In addition, Campbell's research revealed that organizations will hire sufficiently qualified men over sufficiently qualified women, which means "women must be overqualified to convince people of their career commitment." Campbell suggests using checklist procedures to identify if candidates are overqualified for a position to force the hiring manager to address their own assumptions about overqualified men or women before making a hiring decision. She also says that system-based changes, in addition to anti-bias awareness training, will help organizations improve their hiring procedures.
  • — Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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