Unconscious Bias

There are just so many articles written about women and tech. We admit that there is a gender gap in hiring, a gender gap in pay and a gender gap in management. We look at the stats and lament at the numbers of girls choosing to start a STEM based degree, and then lament again at the numbers that complete those degrees.

In May 2014, Google released its diversity figures, and admitted in an official blog, that women make up only 30% of their entire workforce, and if you restricted the search to technical roles, women make up a mere 17%. This is from an organisation that has spent millions on initiatives aimed at young women. Closer to home, Absolute IT released a report showing that women held just 21% of tech jobs in New Zealand.

Where has it all gone wrong?

Actually, scratch that, there are far too many articles already out there bringing doom and gloom, i’m going to take a moment to celebrate some of the great initiatives i’ve been involved with here in NZ, initiatives that will turn this ship around.

She# is a networking event with a difference. Recognising there is a misconception about what it means to ‘be in tech’, She# brings together academics, women already working in the tech industry and most importantly, high school girls who aren’t quite sure about their career options yet. Each event has interesting speakers, and plenty of time to talk.

As a woman working in tech, I can’t help but notice the lack of other women in the room when it comes to conferences and tech events. Refactor aims to change this. With most of the tickets designated for women only, Refactor brings together engaging speakers and a room full of women already working in the tech industry. (There are tickets for men too, just not as many!)

And finally, if you are planning a panel or a conference, and you find that all your speakers are male, then Anna Guenther, CEO of Pledgeme, has something for you. Inspired by an all-male cover on Idealog magazine, Anna crowdsourced “Inspiring Women in New Zealand“, and at last count had managed to find over 500 women to add to the list.

These are just a few of the things out there. New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the vote, I believe we can be the first country in the world to get rid of this pesky ICT gender gap.

 

[Originally posted on TechBlog]

Superheroes!

A friend of mine posted this pic on social media…

superheroes

Which is a nice and affirming picture for our young at heart slightly older population. Awww, isn’t that nice… you can TOTALLY be a superhero… if you are an old man, no worries

But wait, you say, don’t be so hasty, there have been women superheroes…

Yes, you are right, because I thought I would make this meme again, but only with the women who have starred (or at the very least BEEN IN) superhero movies.

female_superheroes

Can I just tell you that

1, I really really had to think hard and google with all the googling mojo I had to find EIGHT people, and yes, ONE OF THEM IS THE SAME PERSON WHO STARRED IN TWO MOVIES.

And 2, notice anything bout the ages (NOT TO MENTION the costumes)

I may just stop now

/rant

Let’s CHANGE the world!

change_the_worldI was inspired to write this post because of Sarah Wilson’s recent blog post which was the response from a company she had previously blogged about. You can read the post, or the original one they were referring to by clicking on the link, or here is a one-line summary

“It is a reality of the world to be [INSERT SOME -IST HERE], don’t be silly and try to change it”

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Can’t unsee it

A bit of a philosophical post today. If you’ve read any posts on here, you’ll know that i’m a loud and proud feminist! (yep, regardless of ALL the connotations that word has… I DON’T CARE)

I have two sons and as a result, I rail against gender based marketing of toys and books and against gendered educational options.

I identify as a cis-woman, so of course I’ve had sexist comments thrown my way, and been affected by sexism in general.

However, I live in Aotearoa, and it is really a wonderful country. When reading some of the stories on the Everyday Sexism project, I sigh, I yell, but then I quietly say to myself, “thank goodness I live here, it’s better here”.

Yes, I know I am talking from my own privileged, somehow miraculously LUCKY perspective! However, I do feel that when you read a story like “I was attacked on a [form of public transport] and no one did anything”, I really really hope that the decent kiwi people that live here would do something. (Of course the popularity of @nzsexism really tries hard to burst my happy little bubble and I am in NO WAY minimising any New Zealand experiences at all!)

So, this is why I’m waxing philosophical this morning. Some “small” incidences I’ve noticed today have really reminded me that we have to remain ever vigilant, and we have to help everyone “see” sexism. Because once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it.

Last night on One Network News, this short clip about the Black Sticks (New Zealand’s women’s hockey team) being confirmed for the Commonwealth Games started with a FASHION SHOOT, and the 1:49 clip had a whole 35sec of their new outfits and how it was important that the players had input in the attire!! The clip on the Crusaders (regional men’s rugby team) did not mention their clothing at all.

Then this morning, at a local Warehouse, one that I had visited a few times before, I looked up and saw a big sign that said “Boy’s Toys” and another that said “Girl’s Toys” – at least their online categories don’t have that!

Of course, the Warehouse is merely a retailer, the manufacturers have already created this false divide and packaged some toys pink and others blue (urgh) but the Let Toys be Toys do show us that sometimes retailers can reorder the toys in a different way regardless of what packaging the manufacturers have put them in.

So, sorry my long suffering husband, I cannot help but sigh about half the hockey story being taken up by their clothes. Or by the fact that the captain felt she had to have full makeup on to be interviewed.

Sorry toy retailers, you cannot keep forcing our girls to play with dolls and our boys to play with guns.

And please, spread the word!

PS: If you want to hear more come to NetHui NZ 2014 and let’s chat about it!

Rape Culture: Not very cultured at all

TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains some graphic sexual content 

Three very different women in two very different countries: one, a 23 year old physiotherapist, taking the bus home with a friend after a movie and a night out. The other two are children (13 and 14 years old), sneaking out to spend time with high school jocks and have a bit of fun.

One very similar outcome.

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