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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: STEM Barbies glamorize tech careers for kids

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Pay and hiring gaps persist; how can Black women catch up to white men?; diversity makes for a happier workplace; and more.

  • You know you've really made it when Barbie makes a doll in your image. Mattel's latest creation is of the scientist who invented the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, the BBC reports. While at first Gilbert thought it was "very strange," she then came around to the idea that if children get their hands on a "STEM" Barbie, they might want to explore one of the careers of the dolls. The Gilbert doll is in good company: Along with this Barbie, Mattel has made five others in the image of accomplished women in STEM professions. "I am passionate about inspiring the next generation of girls into Stem careers and hope that children who see my Barbie will realise how vital careers in science are to help the world around us," said Gilbert. (See WiCipedia: You can't become what you don't see.)

  • A new report from Dice examines equality and discrimination in tech from the perspective of 9,000 survey respondents. Entrepreneur interpreted the results, and explained that there's a huge gap in terms of how discrimination is interpreted based on the minority status of the survey respondent. For example, more than 80% of Black tech workers stated that they have been discriminated against based on their race or gender, yet only 15% of white tech workers acknowledged racial discrimination in the industry, potentially pointing to the fact that they're unable to see discriminatory behavior if it isn't affecting them directly. Of course, changes don't happen overnight, even if we want them to. As the author of the article states, "It helps to think of organizational diversity as a journey, rather than a destination. And for many companies, the first hurdle is in getting started, and overcoming that requires taking some steps in the right direction." (See WiCipedia: Study finds job application process rife with racial discrimination .)

  • Did you know that there's an Equal Pay Day dedicated specifically to Black women? It's held on the day in August "signifying the number of days into the year the average Black woman has to work to earn what the average white man made last year," Biz women reports. Over her lifetime, the average Black woman will make nearly $1 million less than the average white man because of this pay discrepancy. Even worse, over the past three decades that pay gap has only shrunk by three cents. However, there are a few ways that companies can work to shrink the gap, which at the current rate won't close until 2130 (will the world even exist then?!). Elevating Black women to leadership roles, banning the requirement for salary history in job applications and advocating for more BIPOC to join the tech industry are just three of the ways to squash the pay gap and ensure something akin to professional equality for all. (See WiCipedia: Study finds job application process rife with racial discrimination .)

  • Think an all-male company can't achieve 50/50 gender equality in a short period of time? Cybersecurity company Symantec says think again. An article in The Daily Swig, a cybersecurity news site, reports that while Symantec was taking over an Israeli startup, they realized the company was entirely composed of male employees and vowed to change that, which they did through tackling unconscious bias, reassessing hiring standards and putting into place some core company values around how and when employees work (and don't work) to prioritize a work-life balance. The security team is now 50% women and 50% men. Omer Yair, endpoint security team lead at Symantec, explains that it also made the company a happier and better place to work as a whole: "When you have a more diverse team and workforce, you can easily create a more equal, inclusive environment, that [in turn] creates a better atmosphere, and the circle continues." (See WiCipedia: How to tackle implicit bias and the 'lonely only'.)

    — 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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