Technology resumes: Value the difference between his vs hers

ResumeWe all know women hold just a fraction of technical jobs. While it’s understood the ‘brogrammer’ culture and unconscious bias are sources of the gender gap in technology, Kieran Snyder, CEO of Textio, went further to assess if CV style contributed. She did the research after looking over a female friend’s resume which was impressive – but still failed to make her want to hire her. After subjecting over 1000 CV’s, from technologists at various stages of their careers into text analysis, she found statistical difference between the genders.

As detailed in her commentary for Fortune  women led with their credentials and include more personal background, such as professional prizes, awards and academic distinctions, and they were more likely to detail their entire career – rather than just the last few jobs. Both men and women were equally likely to include information on ‘other interests’ – but again women’s extended to 3 versus one line favoured by men.

Women’s CV’s were also twice as long as men’s, averaging 717 words to his 414 words. Women were also more likely to include a summary and much less likely to use a specific, verb-heavy bullet list to summarise past roles. The problem is that men’s preferred writing style is obviously preferred by the men hiring people in such a male dominated industry. As explained in Quartz this approach fits better with Google hiring chief Laszlo Bock’s favourite piece of resume advice….to describe all wins by ‘accomplished X by doing Y as measured by Z’

Fortunately, Snyder didn’t use this as an opportunity to suggest women write more like men in order to get noticed, but called on employers to value the difference. She said ‘The men and women in this study have similar backgrounds. The resume gap reflects differences in how they present themselves, not in their experience or credentials. The women tend to tell their stories in summary, while the men let the facts speak for themselves. Both resume styles reflect skill sets that teams need. If you want to ship products, you need people who focus on the precise execution of concrete goals. But if you want to ship products that people will buy, you also need people who turn a varied set of features into a cohesive user narrative. Here’s the problem, though: The tech industry, which is not coincidentally heavily male-dominated, is far more equipped to appreciate precise execution. This is not because it is the only valuable skill set, but because it is easier to quantify and more well-understood.’

What ‘Coder Barbie’ should have said

Barbie I can be... booksMattel’s Barbie’s new range of “I can be” books has high hopes; featuring career choices such as presidents or sports players but still falls wide of the mark. We could potentially forgive ‘computer engineer’ Barbie needing help to reboot her computer, a skill she should’ve mastered by now? We’d even turn an eye at the pink heart shaped USB stick hanging round her neck, but when she utters those fatal words: “I’m only creating the design ideas,” Barbie says, laughing. “I’ll need Steven and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!” Needless to say, the twittersphere was hot with ‘suggestions for improvement’.

We love ‘Barbie Remixed’ by Casey Fiesler, which features suggested amendments to the book which has Barbie narrating: “Really good games are made by a team of people. I’m doing some of the coding now, but Stephen and Brian are helping, too. There are lots of pieces to making a game, like art and music and storyline. Brian drew that puppy. You’re a good artist, Skipper. Maybe you could be a graphic designer when you grow up.” Skipper grins.“I love art, but I really love science, too. Physics is my favourite class. I think I want to be a physicist.”

Like all good code, we hope Mattel’s version of their story is an ongoing work in progress.

Are all the misogynists working in technology?

techonologyOur sister company, The InclusIQ Institute’s inbox was inundated with comments about a technology site ‘codebabes.com’ that aims to reward novice coders with page 3 style photos for every piece of new code they learn. No prizes then for guessing that sexism is a major problem in the technology industry. Headlining the website are hyper-sexualised women who remove a piece of clothing on the successful completion of a test like, ’Where to stick your CSS’. It’s actually advertised as ‘educational’ with a byline of being ‘awesome for Learning to code & Checkin’ out babes’. While sites like this are clearly offensive to women; they are patronising to men as well.

It reminded us of a MassChallenge Business Start up we attended a year ago. Everyone pitched their business concepts; looking for strangers to join them over the weekend in turning their idea into a reality. A number of young guys presented concepts for website or apps that rate local parties by the quality of the women attendees- ‘so you always know ‘which’ party to go to’. Dismayingly, these proposals got selected whilst projects by the few women who pitched potential websites where parents can rate babysitters in their local area, were largely ignored. What a missed opportunity for crowdsourcing great information for which parents would gladly pay.

It brought to mind an article: ‘Technology’s Man Problem’ in the New York Times. Two TechCrunch Hackathon entrepreneurs showcased their ‘Titstare app’ – which ostensibly offers bare-chested women the opportunity to take photos of themselves in the mirror. Thanks, but no thanks.

Not surprisingly, participants were shocked and it sparked a massive online backlash on Twitter. One attendee, Elissa Shevinsky, co founder of Glimpse, was disgusted and started a Twitter blogpost :“I thought that we didn’t need more women in tech. I was wrong.” TechCrunch published an apology; ‘Any type of sexism or other discriminatory and/or derogatory speech will not be allowed. You expect more from us, and we expect more from ourselves. We are sorry’. As purveyors of ostensibly the newest and best in technology, we do indeed expect more.

Parity between the genders in the technology sector feels a long way off. Every small step counts. We support organisations who strive to make tech a safer and more inclusive place for everyone, such as the one mentioned above and others: womenintechnology.co.uk, The Representation Project #NotBuyingIt app, and womenwhocode.co.uk, Black Girls Code , Girl Develop It, and Girls who code.

 

Egg freezing debate: Fantastic perk or ‘Hard-Boiled’ corporate greed?

working motherAs you can imagine, Facebook and Google’s announcement they’d pay for the freezing of eggs of female staff (and the partners of male staff) has drawn both advocates and critics. Some see it as a valuable perk and an extension of reproductive rights for an expensive process. We at Female Breadwinners see this as ‘corporate creep’. As Harriet Minter succinctly put it in The Guardian: ‘Rather than saying, “have your children in your own time and we’ll support you with well-paid parental leave and subsidised childcare”, they’re saying, “work really hard through your most fertile years and then when you may not be able to have kids anymore, you can give it a shot with the eggs we froze for you as a perk”.

Surely, these firms would be better off creating a culture where people don’t have to chose between family and a career at the same time. The unspoken threat is: ‘Don’t say we didn’t offer to support you get to the top; it’s full steam ahead or a family’. Plus what happens to the women who opt to freeze? Their chances of success are slim – only 2000 babies have been born this way; only 20 in the UK. Plus, we suspect women may feel a psychological pressure to carry on working, or stay in a bad situation with their employer, rather than starting their family simply because they have eggs in store.

The fact that this ‘answer to women’s woes’ comes from the technology sector is particularly rich. It’s an industry where women have less than a 15% chance of reaching a senior position – about the same chance of a successful pregnancy for a 40 year old who’s frozen her eggs. From our point of view, while early 20’s is the ideal time to freeze eggs, most 20-somethings are optimistic they will find the right partner, have kids and live happily ever after in their ideal order – egg-freezing seems implausible and pessimistic.  Interestingly, there may be another seedier and simpler motivation why this ’solution’ has come out of Silicon Valley as described by one insider in Newsday: ‘Something about this policy feels like Silicon Valley men plotting to get the women off their backs about marriage, so they can go back to their video games.”

Why Jennifer Lawrence naked shots tell us we need more women in tech

Women codersUnless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d be hard pressed to not know that pictures of dozens of female celebrities have been leaked in the last week by a hacker accessing personal photographs stored on Apple’s iCloud. This has given rise to well-covered questions about the security of cloud technology. For us, this debacle also illustrates the sexist and threatening nature of these hacks and even the dearth of women coders.

As Hadley Freeman points out in The Guardian in her article: ‘The Naked Celebrity Hack: An Outstanding Example of Sexism’: ‘Anyway, the point of these pictures isn’t to give anyone sexual pleasure. Many of these actresses in the latest leak have posed next-to-naked in their various films and magazine shoots already so it’s not exactly like the hackers are revealing much more than is already known. It’s purely a power thing, like when tabloids publish pap photos of celebrities unawares….The only time naked photos of men get leaked onto the internet is when they ham-fistedly leak them themselves….,and the general response is laughter and mockery. With women, that leaking happens when others steal the images from their phones, and the response here is darker, sexual, triumphal. Neither response is good, but the one in regards to women is definitely more threatening. There is no difference between the leaking of stolen naked photos from a female celebrity’s phone and so-called “revenge porn”, when a man leaks photos of an ex-partner. It’s a means of exuding power over someone who thought they were, if not powerful, at least independent’.

Furthermore, the fact that the shots are all of female celebrities suggest the audience, and the perpetrators, are male. As long as heterosexual men are the predominate force in technology, IT products, services, and even security leaks will be focused on what men want to see – in this case, naked photos of female celebrities.

While we do not believe that equality will be gained when we have equal numbers of stolen shots of Ryan Gosling to Jennifer Lawrence, a point raised humorously, but rather coarsely by two female coders in this video (probably not safe for viewing at work), it does make you wonder what ingenuity we are missing if we continue to have our products … and even the destruction of those products, led by men.

Why ‘Silicon Valley’ is business as usual for a ‘Brogrammer’ culture

Silicon ValleyNew TV satire, Silicon Valley is centered around six ‘geek’ stereotypes who found a startup tech company. The sitcom’s sadly devoid of strong female characters. Instead it portrays a tech start-up world dominated by white men and the ubiquitous “brogrammer” culture. Some argue that the show’s mirroring the tech industry but with big tech companies, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and Facebook revealing disappointing gender balanced workforces, we at Female breadwinners hoped “Silicon Valley” would’ve presented a more positive and enlightening vision of the tech industry.

There’s only one female returning cast member, Monica. She’s an uber-competent assistant who’s proficient at making hotel reservations, maintaining schedules and offering support to the start up guys. Any other women, like ‘Mochachino’; a black stripper are either an object of sexual speculation or a disposable prop.

When the producers took to Twitter with a campaign #AskSiliconValley seeking feedback, the lack of women in the show, specifically in technical roles, was high on the agenda. When asked if there would be female coders, the creator,  Mike Judge replied, ‘Yes. We’re writing now and 2 new main female characters so far’. Judge wasn’t specific in his response as to whether their roles will be technical…we’ll be watching.

With the international prominence of strong female techies such as Sheryl Sandberg, Nicola Mendelsohn and Marissa Meyer, the lack of female representation on media vision of Silicon Valley must change. Nadja von Massow, Head of creative at The GIG at DST agrees and wrote in The Guardian: ’You only have to attend networking groups such as DLD (Digital Life Design) Woman to notice the high velocity of women now working in tech roles’. If the show takes heed of it’s viewers and wants to truly reflect the future tech culture, the cast will have to change.

 

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