News On the Radar: 11/02/16

Here is a brief round-up of information and news that crossed NCWIT's radar recently and which we think will be of interest to you. The practices or content of the news gathered (while not endorsed or vetted by NCWIT) is meant to spark new conversations and ideas surrounding the current diversity statistics and trends in the tech workforce. We encourage you to add your two cents on this month's topics in the comments below.

Women are Less Likely to Get What They Negotiate For

A recently published report by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org, featured on Vox, found that despite commonly held beliefs, women do negotiate for raises and promotions just as often as men do. However, women are less likely to get what they ask for, and they could “face a penalty for doing so.”

As highlighted on Vox, “Women were more likely than men (30 percent versus 23 percent) to report that after asking for a raise or a promotion, they received negative performance feedback that they were ‘bossy,’ ‘aggressive,’ or ‘intimidating.’” Additionally, “Women are staggeringly less likely to get promoted across the board than men are. That starts with the first level of promotion; 130 men are promoted to manager for every 100 women, and the gap widens from there.”

When it comes to performance evaluation and promotion, we tend to develop and promote people who are like us. Chapter 4 of NCWIT’s Women in Tech: The Facts report explains how gender bias comes into play. Hidden barriers, like bias, often prevent technical organizations from hiring and retaining top talent. NCWIT’s Supervising-in-a-Box: Performance Review/Talent Management provides resources to help supervisors (and others) reduce biases in performance evaluation and talent management systems.

New Book “Hidden Figures” Gives Life to Hidden Stories of Women in Tech

During a discussion with Quartz on her new book Hidden Figures, soon to be a major motion picture, author Margot Lee Shetterly revealed how she hopes to combat stereotypes of what a scientist looks like by sharing the stories of the female African American mathematicians and engineers who worked in NASA’s space program during the 1960s. “There’s such a power to the story of the first and only,” says Margot. “These people defy stereotype by being the first PhD in math, or whatever the case may be… What we need is for all of this to normalize and for everyone to have the experience of knowing a scientist could be any one of us.”

Want to acknowledge and celebrate real-life women in tech? Explore Sit With Me (SWM) -- a fun, creative national advocacy campaign designed for the participation of men and women (both technical and non-technical) to recognize the critical need for women’s contributions at the technology design table.

Women in Tech Shouldn’t Hide Who They Are

“Women in today’s tech world should create an online presence that obscures their gender. A gender-neutral persona allows women to access opportunities that might otherwise be closed to them.” These words led to several response essays, including one written by Devon McDonald, Partner at OpenView, an NCWIT Pacesetter.

Devon challenged readers: “The onus of solving sexism, or racism, or any other sort of discrimination for that matter, should not fall to the discriminated party in question. It is a responsibility for us all to bear. Hiding gender perpetuates the idea that women are lesser than. So, rather than telling us how we can hide our gender in order to appeal as ‘more qualified’ candidates like the author suggests, why don’t we actually put a plan in place to create a world where men aren’t automatically assumed to be more qualified?”

OpenView hosted a webinar this past June with NCWIT Senior Research Scientist Catherine Ashcraft on 10 Actionable Ways to Actually Increase Diversity in Tech. Explore the slides from the webinar and/or listen to the audio to learn about the role societal biases play in startups and business processes, and more.

Organizations Pair Up to Increase Girls’ Interest in Computing

In a recent article on Babble, it was announced that Netflix and the Girl Scouts of the USA joined forces in their efforts to encourage more girls to pursue STEM career fields. The collaboration between the two kicked off with an event held at Netflix’s headquarters that aimed to create hands-on experiences for Girl Scouts derived from the company’s original series Project Mc², which features young girls who use STEM skills to protect the world. The event also featured the debut of a STEM Superstars Guide, which encourages Girl Scouts to discover how rewarding STEM can be.

As outlined in NCWIT’s Girls in IT: The Facts report, research shows that despite girls’ initial interest in computing, key social and structural factors like education, the media, peers, and family members influence their participation in computing, and often deter girls from pursuing careers in technology. See NCWIT’s Top 10 Ways Families Can Encourage Girls’ Interest in Computing for recommendations on keeping girls’ and boys’ passion and curiosity for technology alive.