News Roundup

Newspaper

We’re still buzzing about the article in The Wall Street Journal last week examining Best Buy’s new initiatives to attract women consumers.  It’s no secret that women influence purchasing decisions in the majority of U.S. households, even when it comes to electronics; and with its efforts to reach out to women, Best Buy is seeing an uptick in profits.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

iRobot is hosting a “STREAM” workshop this week to train local high school teachers in how to use robotics in teaching STEM subjects. Our own AA member (and Outreach-in-a-Box contributor) Holly Yanco, Associate Professor of Computer Science at U Mass Lowell, is speaking at the workshop, which reflects a terrific partnership between local companies, state government organizations, academic institutions, and K-12 schools.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Ms. Magazine this week brings us an exciting feature (using data from NCWIT's "Women in IT: The Facts" report) on why women’s participation in the design and innovation of technology is so important: there are some women-specific markets that women just know best. 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

This month’s Atlantic Monthly magazine features an article provocatively titled, “The End of Men”, which asks some intriguing questions about the current and future roles of gender in the workplace:

“What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men? The postindustrial economy is indifferent to men’s size and strength. The attributes that are most valuable today—social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus—are, at a minimum, not predominantly male. In fact, the opposite may be true. Men dominate just two of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most over the next decade: janitor and computer engineer.

“…A 2008 study attempted to quantify the effect of this more-feminine management style. Researchers at Columbia Business School and the University of Maryland analyzed data on the top 1,500 U.S. companies from 1992 to 2006 to determine the relationship between firm performance and female participation in senior management. Firms that had women in top positions performed better, and this was especially true if the firm pursued what the researchers called an “innovation intensive strategy,” in which, they argued, “creativity and collaboration may be especially important”—an apt description of the future economy. It could be that women boost corporate performance, or it could be that better-performing firms have the luxury of recruiting and keeping high-potential women. But the association is clear: innovative, successful firms are the ones that promote women.”

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

This week over at The Huffington Post, the founder of the USA Science and Engineering Festival looks at why there aren’t more “heroes” in STEM fields, and how the Festival (at the Washington, D.C. Mall, October 23-24) might help excite people of all ages about science and technology.  NCWIT will be there, and if you’re not already on-board, we strongly encourage you to get involved!