WIT: Robotics Barbie joins the corporate call for diversity

Robotics Barbie is also part of a Mattel Inc. initiative to promote new jobs for girls, in line with a public pledge the company made earlier this year.

 

By Jeff Green of Bloomberg

Robotics Barbie is a lab-coat-and-glasses-wearing robotics engineer, a far cry from the 1992 “math class is tough” version. Appropriately, she’s also part of a Mattel Inc. initiative to promote new jobs for girls, in line with a public pledge the company made earlier this year.

In February, Mattel senior vice-president Lisa McKnight joined 40 executives onstage at the Makers women’s diversity conference to make a range of commitments towards improving women’s professional lives.

McKnight promised 10 such dolls this year; advertising group UM said it would double the number of women of colour at every level of its organization; LinkedIn said it will add job coaching for returning moms.

These kinds of pledges have in recent years become a kind of progressive calling card for companies looking to keep and attract young talent. There’s a promise for every interest group, with a wide range of commitment and accountability.

Some 300 CEOs have signed on to the CEO Action coalition, which seeks to share successful diversity initiatives. Many members of that group are also part of Paradigm for Parity and Parity.org, which have similar missions to increase all forms of workplace diversity.

The Thirty Percent Coalition, 3% Movement, and 2020 Women on Boards ask signees for a commitment to specific levels of female representation. Others focus singly on LGBT rights, or ethnicity, veterans or the disabled or in a specific field such as the Tech Inclusion Pledge.

“There are strong social norms right now around committing to these kinds of goals,” said Dolly Chugh, an associate professor of management and organization at the NYU Stern School of Business.

She has studied how public pressure changes diversity behaviour. “If you’re among the minority of CEOs who isn’t signing the pledge or promise, you’re violating a norm and norm violations make people very uncomfortable.”

By most measures, two decades of increased efforts to improve diversity have slowed or stalled. Parity for women in boardrooms is still at least three decades away. Women and people of colour are dramatically underrepresented in top management. At the CEO level, white men still occupy 95% of the seats.

In some specific areas, though, public commitments have prompted change. Formed in 2011, the 3% Movement was named after the ratio of women creative directors in the advertising world to men (they now make up 29%).

The more the merrier, says Shannon Schuyler, who heads corporate responsibility at PwC. The professional services company started CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion a year ago. Almost 90% of the organizations either have or are planning to add unconscious bias training. “This is about the CEO saying that they will put themselves out there, to really be able to make the change happen,” Schuyler said.

Robotics Engineer Barbie, which comes with a humanoid robot and laptop, will partner with the Tynker game platform and Black Girls CODE to encourage girls to embrace computer science, according to Mattel. The company says it has introduced 17 dolls focused on careers and female role models, more than the 10 promised.

Among the other companies on the Makers stage with specific goals was Adobe Systems Inc., which promises gender pay parity at all locations by the end of this year, and is at least 80% there already, said Donna Morris, executive vice-president of the customer and employee experience at the maker of Photoshop.

AT&T Inc. and L’Oreal SA promised to improve their representation of women in advertisements, as measured by progress on the scorecard generated by #SeeHer, an organization that has its own pledge to improve the portrayal of women by 20%, as measured by viewers, by 2020.

“People really, really, really value keeping a promise,” said Ayelet Gneezy, an associate professor at the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego, who has studied how people react to promises honoured and broken.

“It’s really about the value of trustworthiness and reliability,” Gneezy said. “So there’s also a risk to not keeping the promise. I don’t really care what they tried to do, I care what they did.”

How do you feel about the new line of STEM Barbie dolls? Sound off in the comments below!

WIT: Atlanta’s Women Cybersecurity Leaders Stoke Interest in Tech with Girl Scouts

 

By Madison Hogan of americaninno.com

Several of the leading women in cybersecurity in Atlanta know all too well what its like to be the only woman in a room.

Enter the Atlanta Women in Cybersecurity Roundtable. It’s an initiative founded by women chief privacy officers, chief information security officers, general councils and other executives who want to share their experiences, collaborate on industry initiatives and inspire young women to enter the field.

Bess Hinson, a senior associate at Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP and chair of the firm’s cybersecurity and privacy practice, said she started her search for other women in cybersecurity about a year ago, surfing LinkedIn and other sources to find peers.

“It’s so nice to be in a room with women and I think that when you work in a profession where everything is new and rapidly evolving and changing and you’re the only woman in the room, it can feel isolating and it can feel challenging,” she said.

When Hinson first organized the roundtable, she was working with a list of 12 women leaders in the city; today, about a year since its inception, the organization has 45 active members. Some of the members include female leadership in cybersecurity at The Home Depot, AT&T, Equifax, SunTrust and Gwinnett Medical Center, she said.

“We now have 32 organizations and companies represented on the roundtable,” she said. “The idea was to bring together these women, because studies show that in the United States of America, only 1 in 10 cybersecurity professionals are women.”

Though one of the fastest growing sectors in tech with the rise of data-breaches and hacking, women are far too often a minority in the field, Hinson said. The purpose of roundtable is to get these women together to share their experiences when all too often, there’s not another female leader in the office, and the role of a cybersecurity leader is often to relay bad or challenging news to leadership.

“We share our challenges and we compare notes on how we are assisting our companies and leadership to understand the security risks which exist and also to support each other and communicate these risks to leadership,” she said. “Women with great power within their organization and incredible responsibility are communicating new, scary, cutting edge risks related to technology and big data to the C-suite—that I would venture to say in most cases is still majority male and a more senior generation that may have less familiarity with the technologies that are being implemented and used to help these businesses thrive.”

But the scope of the roundtable goes beyond sharing tips for how to prepare a CEO on a data-breach or how to lead, Hinson said. The women also hope their work will lead by example for young women and girls who wish to pursue STEM fields and see that cybersecurity is a career path for them, she said.

“IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE, THAT A CYBERSECURITY PROFESSIONAL LOOKS LIKE YOU, YOU AREN’T GOING TO ENVISION YOURSELF IN THAT ROLE. WE NEED EXAMPLES.”

 

“I think it continues to be an uphill battle,” she said. “I’ve had several conversations with professors at Kennesaw State who teach related curricula, and they have very few women who go on to complete the degree in cybersecurity and they are pushing hard to support these women who have an interest. I think that, unfortunately some stereotypes remain within academia regarding whether girls or young women could be good at science or engineering, I think some of our institutions do a great job supporting young women—Georgia Tech does a great job of bringing women in that pipeline. But not everyone does.”

Recently, the roundtable has partnered with the Girl Scouts of Atlanta to educate troop leaders on cybersecurity who will teach their troops on the subject for the opportunity to earn a newly debuted cybersecurity badge. Hinson said troop leaders may not understand all the technicalities and nuances with cybersecurity, which is where leaders from the roundtable come in.

“I think it’s going to be very helpful for members to serve as if they were teachers to the troop leaders to help give them some insight and also some examples of how this applies to the real world,” she said. “And I think it’ll give the troop leaders more tools and basics of cybersecurity of the curriculum as they’re teaching it.”

Role models are essential for young girls, Hinson said, and even more so in the cybersecurity industry because of the statistic stating women’s presence in the sector is few and far between.

“If you don’t know what it looks like, that a cybersecurity professional looks like you, you aren’t going to envision yourself in that role,” she said. “We need examples.”

Weekly Round Up 6/15/18

 

Um, anything more sophisticated than the Self-Check out lines in Walmart will be hard for the American Public to master, guys.
No more grocery checkout lines: Microsoft may rival Amazon with tech that cuts out the cashier

 

Well, if nothing else is working….
Using tech to stop phone-wielding drivers

 

We don’t hear enough good things about Tech these days….
6 ways tracking tech is changing the world for the better

Whatever happened to just going to camp and being a kid?
NDSU summer tech camp designed to encourage young girls to pursue a career in technology

My favorite story of the week…
Apple closing tech loophole police use to crack iPhones

Please God, No. Make it Stop.
Drone swarms are the new fireworks lighting up China’s skies

 

Trump will never be able to wrap his tiny, barely used brain around this….
The Guy Who Created Oculus Has Now Made Surveillance Tech That Acts As A Virtual Border Wall

Literally what they do best….
Apple Shuns the Tech Industry’s Apology Tour

WIT: Supermodel Karlie Kloss’ videos showcase brilliant women in tech

Following up on her coding camps, the next step in the Kode With Klossy initiative is highlighting role models in science and tech.

 

By Katie Collins of CNet

Women perform vital work in science and technology every day. Yet their stories often go untold, leaving girls short of visible role models.

Supermodel and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss wants to help change this by shining a light on women who can inspire the next generation of female techies and scientists.
Kloss released on Tuesday a four-part video series called Trailblazers of STEAM to showcase the work of eight women in tech and science who are pushing boundaries in their fields. STEAM, a variant of STEM, stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Each episode examines a different niche — games, food, mobility and space — to show the wide variety of jobs within science and technology. The interviews, which include former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, dig into their work and what it’s like being a woman in their fields. Kloss doesn’t shy away from asking her subjects about the challenges they’ve encountered and overcome, including how others perceive them and how they’ve handled their own internal struggles.

Kloss had already been focusing on tech through her Kode With Klossy initiative that runs coding camps for teenage girls across the US. 
Kloss told CNET over email about her hopes for the series, which is a collaboration with Ford STEAM Experience, the car company’s education outreach program.

Q. When you spoke to the amazing women featured in the videos, all of whom work in different STEAM-related fields, what things in their careers did they have in common that helped them get to where they are today?

Kloss: They all shared this unrelenting drive and passion for what they do. It was really awesome to spend a day in their worlds and get to see their determination in action. What also struck me was that each of the women I met for the series talked about experiencing uncertainty or self-doubt at different points in their careers — whether in college, grad school or at their first entry level jobs. They didn’t let those feelings of self-doubt stop them from working hard and pursuing their passions. Everyone has experienced self-doubt at one point or another and it’s important to openly acknowledge those feelings but not let them get in the way of your success.

Q: What would be your advice to a young woman who wanted to work in a STEAM field, but didn’t know where to focus her learning or what path to pursue?

Kloss: To start, apply for Kode With Klossy! We help girls access hands-on computer science education and connect with a community of other women in STEAM. It’s a great place to start!

Beyond applying to our program, my advice for any girl interested in pursuing a career in STEAM is to identify your passions (fashion, social justice, music, etc.) and find out how technology is being applied to those passions. The incredible thing about code, and the first lesson we teach our Kode With Klossy scholars, is that code is a really creative language that can be applied to every industry and space. This series is living proof of how technology is shaping everything from food to gaming to space exploration.

Q: Tell me something you learned about an aspect of science or technology while making the series that blew you away.

Kloss: Talking to each woman in the series was eye-opening, but as someone who is interested in both health and the environment, I was really fascinated by my conversation with Lina Pruitt, a process engineer at Beyond Meat. She uses science and engineering to create a plant-based meat substitute that looks and cooks just like meat. We talked about both the environmental and health impacts of food waste and meat consumption, as well as the future of food and what that means for our world. Food is one of those industries that doesn’t always seem scientific, though in reality, is heavily influenced by STEAM. That’s one of our goals with this series — to show how STEAM intersects with and can applied to whatever industry you’re passionate about.

Q: What do you hope people take away from this series and what do you hope their wider impact will be? 

Kloss: Our goal is to address the notion that “you can’t be what you can’t see.” By highlighting these real, accomplished women and their career paths, we hope that young women and girls can visualize themselves in similar positions. We wanted to show our viewers what a career in STEAM actually looks like and how code can be applied to a number of different industries.

Even outside of STEAM, our goal is to celebrate women bringing hard work and creativity to their endeavors. One cool, behind-the-scenes tidbit about the series is that our production team was women-led, including our amazing director Eliza McNitt. It was important for us and the broader Kode With Klossy mission that the series was by-women-for-women.

What do think of Karlie Kloss’ STEM initiative? Sound off in the comments below!

WIT: How to make Women’s Day every day in tech

 

By Petra Andrea of Financial Review

It’s 2018, which means we have fridges that are probably better at planning our groceries than we are. We’ve found new planets that could potentially harbour life, and we’re eating stem-cell-produced medium-rare steak burgers without a trace of steak in them.

Innovation in tech and science is creating a whole new world of possibilities at an almost alarming rate. And yet there’s still one area of technology that seems stubbornly untouched by progress: persistent gender inequality in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Multiple reports indicate that women hold just under a third of all IT jobs, and less than 10 per cent of technology jobs in Australia. Female tech entrepreneurs are outnumbered by their male counterparts at a rate of about four to one.
So why is so much progress being made within laboratories and workshops around the country in terms of tech innovation, and yet so little is being made on the gender inequality front?

Below are some of the ways women in technology continue to be held back – and what might be done to address them:

1) Problems in the playpen

Walking down any toy-shop aisle, it’s hard to miss the vast difference between the toys marketed for boys, and those aimed at girls.

Aside from the glaring colour differences – who knew pink came in so many different shades? – girls’ toys are more generally associated with domesticity, physical attractiveness and nurturing. Boys’ toys, on the other hand, are largely more functional – tools for building, creating and achieving. They promote skills in mathematical, engineering and scientific fields in a way the pink cohort sadly doesn’t.

And while a plastic pink tea set doesn’t have to be destiny, there is evidence that this type of early gendered socialisation creates a variety of social and economic consequences that can extend into adulthood. Research demonstrates it can contribute to the education gap in schools, it can affect a child’s choice in tertiary majors and it can even guide his or her future occupational choice.

It may be challenging to influence the purchasing preference of any three-year-old. However, non-gendered toys and STEM toys made especially for girls, are both now on the rise. From friendship bracelets that require programming (“Jewelbots”), to dolls houses with building kits complete with circuits and motors that allow girls to light up the structures they build themselves (“Roominate”), choices are increasing, parents may be relieved to know.

2) Schoolyard blues

Australia’s STEM education gender gap isn’t news to anyone.
Only 16 per cent of STEM-qualified people are female, according to a report by the Office of the Chief Scientist. Just one-10th of engineering graduates are women, and a quarter of IT graduates. Women also occupy less than 20 per cent of senior researcher positions in Australian universities and research institutes.

Dealing with a “boys’ club” culture in the classroom or lab of these degrees, a lack of encouragement into these fields by peers, family or professors, even low levels of female STEM representation in popular culture, all contribute to the ongoing socialisation and pressure on women away from these pursuits.
To address this, institutions must question how their learning environment contributes to or detracts from building interest in women for STEM degrees, and supporting them within the classroom and beyond.

3) A vicious VC cycle
For those women who have overcome a lifetime of socialisation, the challenges unfortunately don’t stop there. Only 5 per cent of female founders of tech start-ups are funded – a gender bias in venture capital that is seriously hurting our female tech entrepreneurs’ capacity to succeed.

This issue can actually be exacerbated when a female founder is seeking funding for a more “masculine” technology. Female founders seeking capital for “women’s” or “children’s” products, such as baby products or fashion platforms, are often far more likely to receive funding than those seeking capital for deeply technological and highly proprietary products.

This is indicative of a blatant subjectivity at play. The subtlety of some of the forces driving this are also likely to make it a challenging issue to address.
Internal bias (experienced by both men and women) can cause scepticism about a woman’s ability to manage a high-growth-potential start-up. This could be as ludicrous as believing women don’t have “what it takes” to make a tech-based start-up succeed, or concerns about balancing family with work. The sense of “sameness” that attracts us to people who are similar to us can also strongly weigh in subconsciously, with the majority of VCs being male.

In the end, tackling gender inequality in tech is likely to require multiple campaigns by numerous stakeholders targeting different individual issues across the entire life cycle of a woman’s childhood, education and career.
But if we can find artificial intelligence applications for the humble pizza delivery, surely resolving gender disparity on our own turf shouldn’t be considered an insurmountable challenge.

Do you think these suggestions will work for the US? Sound off in the comments below!

WIT: Why women will lead the tech industry’s future.

 

 

By Stef W. Knight of of Axios

Next month, Debjani Ghosh will become the first woman president of NASSCOM, one of the largest global trade associations representing thousands of India’s IT companies. She takes the helm at a critical time for her industry as President Trump cracks down on foreign workers — and for women in technology in general in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Why she matters: She’s not only the first woman to lead NASSCOM, she’s also bullish that her gender will become even more indispensable to the technology industry. “Leadership is not going to be a man’s role,” she told Axios in an interview.

Job skills: While the more technical, data-oriented jobs are being taken over by robots and algorithms, Ghosh said, “leadership is now going to be about how well you connect with employees, the empathy factor, the ability to inspire people at a more humane level, it’s going to be much more about those softer skills.”

Big picture: Ghosh is obsessed with the idea of technology as a great equalizer, and it is one of the reasons she was attracted to the position of president of NASSCOM. She hopes to use the platform to bring her visions of equality and global collaboration to reality.

• Finding ways to promote women in leadership isn’t just a moral or political goal for Ghosh, but something she believes will be “critical for shaping global competitive dynamics and economic strengths.”
• “This has to be about the business and the best talent you can find,” she told me. She said all the studies point to the benefits of having more women working for the company, and CEOs must do what’s best for their companies.
• While she puts the burden on men in leadership, her advice for women was:

“We ourselves have to now start breaking a few doors if needed. The time to knock politely on the doors is way past.”

In India, the tech industry already sees the highest percentage of women in leadership compared to other industries, but Ghosh said while they are ahead of the game, she hopes to see the industry do more.

WIT: 3 Ways to Advance Women in Tech

 

 

By Sammi Caramela of Business News Daily

While more women are opting for careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), there’s an existing struggle for them to advance in the industry. Many female students aren’t motivated to start a career in the industry simply because they don’t believe they’ll have the chance to progress.

“Ensuring better female representation in STEM should not be thought of as a gender issue but a business issue,” said Sripriya Raghunathan, vice president of systems and software engineering at HARMAN. “Bringing more women with careers in STEM to the workforce will contribute to an employer’s competitiveness in the marketplace and foster innovation.”

Women should feel as confident as men in their decision to pursue STEM careers. Here are three ways to improve advancement of women in STEM.

1. Start with schools.

According to a survey by iCIMS, 61 percent of recruiters said they are most interested in hiring candidates with majors in STEM, but only 23 percent of college seniors graduate with that degree – and an exceptionally small portion is female.

“To nurture women in STEM, we need to start at the school level,” said Raghunathan. “Employers should create programs that allow their women leaders in STEM to share their experiences and stories with young women who may be considering a career in STEM.”

Partner with schools and offer conferences, events and presentations so experts can connect with female students. Don’t wait until they’re already settled in college with a different major; start with high schools to encourage women from a young age.

2. Create leadership training and mentoring programs.

It’s important for women to feel that they’re as capable as men, especially in leadership positions. But without the proper training, they might lack the confidence and drive.

“Employers can help bridge the gap by encouraging employees to form communities focused on connecting, innovating and building career advancement and support,” said Jen Scandariato, senior director of cloud services at iCIMS. “Employers should offer resources, workshops, leadership and technical trainings, mentorship programs, and support career mobility and career pathing to promote an inclusive environment for all employees.”

Everyone needs a mentor, and this is especially true for women in a predominantly male industry. Having someone to look up to for advice or inspiration can make a difference in their entire career.

“Employers should build mentor programs for women looking [to] advance their career to tighten the gender gap in male-dominated STEM fields,” said Nisa Amoils, venture capitalist at Scout Ventures. “The lack of women in STEM can make it more difficult for women to develop professional relationships that advance their careers.”

According to Raghunathan, these programs should do the following:
• Provide tips to students and young women starting their careers in STEM
• Offer ways to strengthen strategic, leadership, communication and technical skills
• Empower female employees through sponsorship programs
• Connect new women with senior female leaders

Raghunathan added that mentorships can help both new and existing female STEM employees, and attract and retain talent.

“With a solid mentorship program, companies can improve the onboarding experience for new female STEM employees,” said Raghunathan. “This helps in creating a great first impression as an employer and also from a talent engagement standpoint.”

3. Offer returnships.

More than half of women in STEM think a parental leave would decrease their chance of getting a promotion; but 82 percent of office professionals and 95 percent of millennials would be interested in a returnship program in the future.

Returnships are similar to internships, but for those who have been absent from their careers for an extended period. This is a great opportunity for both mothers and fathers to refresh their brains and redevelop their skills in the workplace.

“As an employer, if your organization establishes a returnship for mothers, there should also be a formal program in place for men to have a returnship, because we are seeing more men becoming caretakers as women progress in their careers,” said Scandariato. “Men and women should have equal opportunities to take time away from their career to grow their family, and be able to easily transition back into the workplace without penalties.”

 

Do you think these 3 suggestions will work to get more women into STEM? Sound off in the comments below!!

Weekly Round Up 2/16/18

 

Because plastic surgery and Witness Protection are no longer enough…
Israeli tech firm undercuts facial recognition to bolster privacy.

Swipe left.
This Valentine’s Day, Considering Tech That Keeps Couples Together.

 

It’s nice to see at least one industry embracing diversity.
The Founders Bringing Sex Tech to the Masses

 

Um, they shouldn’t have to prove anything…
Anne-Marie Imafidon: Stemettes prove that girls can flourish in tech and science.

 

Imagine that! New jobs being created that aren’t even related to coal!
Rise of the data protection officer, the hottest tech ticket in town

 

Because they can’t seem to figure out how to hire more women themselves?!
IBM and Microsoft battle over top workplace diversity exec

 

Of course we did.
How Women and Tech Took Over Porn: Inside the 2018 AVNs

 

This coming from the guy who made his millions from a piece of stolen software…
Bill Gates: It’s ‘scary to me’ that technology can empower small groups to do great harm.

 

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