Women In Comms

WiCipedia: The workplace culture that creates 'hackathon queens'

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: How the pandemic has affected various demographics at work; FirstBoard ensures board diversification; the importance of skill-based mentorship; and more.

  • While we often share stories about women in the tech sector banding together for mentorship and support, not everyone in the industry has the same "girl squad" experience. A recent article in The Bold Italic gives one tech worker's opinion about life in Silicon Valley, and it couldn't be further from the image of all-female coding workshops or networking clubs we so often hear about. Dolores Pan, a product manager, explains that other women in tech often avoid her, claiming that they (who she refers to as "hackathon queens") would rather hang out with men because women are "too annoying." She states, "I label the hackathon queen not as a way to critique all women in tech but to document the product of a toxic environment and chronic undervaluing of women... the tech sector breeds female hostility." While Pan states that this description doesn't encompass all women in tech, and that there are plenty of supportive and encouraging women in tech in the Bay Area, the culture that the tech industry has created where women are an unequal minority has created competition and negativity. (See WiCipedia: The Cool Tech Girl & Rallycross Racing.)

    All hail the hackathon queen
    (Source: Pixabay)
    (Source: Pixabay)

  • The importance of women in tech being both a mentor and a "mentee" isn't exactly a secret, yet those are vague terms and can mean different things to different people. Recently, Forbes broke down the various priorities for each role, and also emphasized the importance of "skill-based mentorship." In the forever-evolving tech landscape, staying on top of both hard and soft skills is essential for career evolution. Skill-based mentorship ensures just that. As the article states, "This type of mentorship's sole objective is to help, coach and support mentees in developing a skill that can help them advance in their career or life." What are some skills you'd like to work on? (See WiCipedia: Is there an alternative to imposter syndrome?)

  • Sifted explains that an invite-only app called "Clubhouse" is making a splash in Europe among tech pros. It's an "audio-only social app," which sounds a bit limiting to us, yet it's blown up in pandemic lockdown times. Women in tech are taking notice and have created VC and mentor groups within the platform, yet unfortunately much of the content seems to have gone unmoderated. One user, Anu Adebajo, shared her unsurprising experience with the app (after all, art imitates life, right?). The article states, "This is a pattern that [Adebajo] has seen happen in other Clubhouse rooms. 'Where there are women who are as qualified or more qualified to speak they get ignored, passed over, or worse, the things they say get repackaged by men in the room without acknowledgement [from other users].'" If companies are going to try to create inclusive online spaces, sharper moderation from a third-party will be key. (See WiCipedia: How to be a better ally.)

  • With the new mandate that assures gender equality for directors on company boards in California coming to fruition, FirstBoard.io has released a list of 50 eligible executive-level women who are ready to level up. FirstBoard's sole focus is to find board-ready women from diverse backgrounds and match them with companies to "increase the representation of women on boards, and at the highest level of corporate governance and management," so we can't think of a better group to present a list of candidates. Additionally, more than 40% of the list FirstBoard curated is made up of women of color. There simply won't be any excuses left for companies to forgo diversifying their boards in the future! (See FirstBoard.io releases top 50 listing of board-ready women in tech and Mentor Spotlight: Glo Gordon Shines a Light on Boardroom Diversity.)

  • AnitaB.org, The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and the STARS Computing Corps (STARS) worked together on a new report looking into the effects of racism and COVID-19 on the tech industry, both from the perspective of education and employment. The companies surveyed a wide array of demographics and found that respondents working in computing and tech were by and large not impacted by layoffs like other industries, and nearly half actually experienced an increase in their workload. However, women and racial minorities also reported a bevy of pandemic-related side effects, such as an inability to concentrate and work interfering with home life (and vice versa). You can read the full report here. (See WiCipedia: Coming back stronger post-COVID.)

    — 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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