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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: 'Zoombombers' create video conferencing nightmare

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: "Zoombombers" attack video conferencing app; building a networking group is worth the effort; wearable tech moves to undergarments; and more.

  • The world has been relying on video conferencing apps like Zoom over the past few weeks, not only to stay connected with family and friends in this strange era of social distancing, but also for working from home and networking purposes. Unfortunately, "trolls" have also been using the site to stay connected... in a different way. The Guardian explained that "Zoombombers" have been crashing every type of online meeting lately, from AA gatherings to work-from-home happy hour meet ups, often with racist or explicit images or messages. Most of these have been open to the public, which lets the uninvited sneak in easily, and often means the get togethers have to get shut down unexpectedly as well. In one instance, a women-in-tech meet up came to a screeching halt when a Zoombomber joined and starting playing porn from their screen. And we thought working from home meant avoiding sexual harassment... (See WiCipedia: Working from home is bright spot of COVID-19 for many minority workers.)

    There's always that one guy...
    (Source: Pixabay)
    (Source: Pixabay)

  • Finding a networking group isn't as easy as it sounds, especially if you're a minority. Built in Chicago interviewed several minorities in tech to find out how they found communities that fit, and discovered that there really is a place for everyone, even if you have to create it yourself. Diversity networks within companies are an excellent option, though they seem to work best for large, multinational companies where there's bound to be a greater range of diverse employees. Employees for smaller companies, contractors and freelancers may have to build their own networks independent of their workplace. Thankfully, a search for "affinity groups" that rally around a certain minority interest can be found online and in major cities, and many also hold yearly conferences. (See WiCipedia: Careers After Kids, Int'l Women's Day & Minority Founders.)

  • Regional networking groups like Portland Women in Tech (PXDWIT) are holding even more frequent virtual meetups these days. The online events calendar for PDXWIT is jam-packed, and that couldn't come at a better time, especially with hiring freezes and layoffs becoming more and more commonplace. While some of the virtual events are focused on specific topics such as "code switching" in tech (essentially when minorities are forced to alter their behavior or speech in different environments), others are more broadly focused on putting together a resume or preparing for an interview. Virtual events are currently scheduled throughout April and then the events are scheduled for in-person meetups, though we have a feeling that may change. Even if work isn't exactly normal currently, it will be again someday. This seems like as good a time as any to prepare for the future of work. (See COVID-19 will destroy jobs, and many won't return.)

  • Our favorite headline of the week reads "Your boobs are about to be disrupted" and details how women's involvement in smart clothing technology will change the undergarment industry as we know it. The nearly $30 billion bra industry seems late to the game to be affected by technology advances, most likely because the wearables companies are predominantly run by men. Founder and CEO of Women of Wearables Marija Butkovic explained, "Until more women started getting involved in the wearable tech industry, most wearable products were designed by men, for men. ... If we add the technology element to this equation, we get highly personalized pieces of clothing that can potentially solve more serious problems connected with women's health like heart disease, breast cancer, and stress." The smart fabrics industry is also expected to grow to a more than $4 billion industry within the next few years, which will impact the types of clothes we wear and their various functions. (See WiCipedia: Podcast Recs, Interview No-Nos & Creating a Majority Female Tech Company and WiCipedia: Fintech Flexibility, Snap Missteps & Women of Wearables.)

    — Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading

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