This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Children look up to male role models in STEM; The Generation Equality Forum tackles inequality on a worldwide scale; tech accessories designed for women; and more.
You know that expression that you can't become what you don't see? An article in She the People, an Indian website, explains that in India, more than 90% of children idolize male role models in STEM. This leaves very little room for female children to be able to recognize people who look more like them in the field or envision themselves working in STEM someday. Additionally, 30% of parents reported that they don't think STEM is a field where girls can "thrive." This data comes from Avishkaar, a robotics and coding company for kids, which launched a study called "India's Future in Next-Generation Tech & STEM." A total of 5,000 parents and their children were surveyed. Pooja Goyal, COO and co-founder of Avishkaar, said, "It is important that we provide safe spaces for children, especially girls, to take risks and help them build tribes where they can brainstorm ideas and think outside the box." (See WiCipedia: The lack of women in tech is bigger than a 'pipeline problem'.)
Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes
The annual Women in Tech Awards, hosted by Utah's Women Tech Council, is currently in the finalist stages of its award program this year. Finalists need to have a tie to the state of Utah though they aren't required to be residents, interestingly. The importance of the Awards aren't lost on anyone in the industry, particularly after this past year: "As we face the first female recession and the great resignation, everyone is more acutely aware of the vital impact of women in all fields, especially technology, and the need to create opportunities for women at every level," said Cydni Tetro, president and cofounder of the Women Tech Council. Nikki Walker, the director of brand experience and community engagement for Domo, said that being nominated as a finalist was so important because as a Black woman she wanted other women and girls to see her and know her success was also possible for them: "I want them to know that they are wanted and needed in tech," she said. "I hope they see my face and see themselves." (See WiCipedia: Breaking through barriers and smashing inequality.)
The Generation Equality Forum in Paris made waves across the world last week as it attracted almost 50,000 (mostly virtual) attendants, Global Citizen reports. The event was held by UN Women and co-chaired by France and Mexico. Its focus was on ensuring that girls and women aren't "left behind" in a range of sectors, from politics to government. This was no small affair, with Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris and Melinda Gates all gracing the stage to speak. This is the largest event to target gender equality since a conference in Beijing in 1995. In addition, $40 billion of financial commitments were secured from a variety of sectors for targeting gender equality. (See WiCipedia: Command Shift aims to bring gender equality in tech to the 21st century.)
Bobbi Trehan-Young, a tech consultant in the UK, had a thriving consultant business and decided to move on from it despite a six-figure salary. But she didn't want to leave the industry altogether. Sensing a gap in the market, she decided that she wanted to design tech accessories for women. Trehan-Young spent her entire career in tech, so she felt she knew what women in the industry were facing and what they needed. "It's all about improving women's confidence in the industry – not forcing themselves to fit into a male-centric industry but knowing what they're worth," she told Bedford Today. "I was always aware of the gender bias and challenges women face in the corporate world, but I believe in choosing a different approach in the way you react to them and simply not taking things personally in the workplace." (See WiCipedia: The new normal of workwear.)
— Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading. Follow us on Twitter @LR_WiC and contact Eryn directly at [email protected].