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WiCipedia: Valley Diversity Stats, a New Social Outlet for WiT & No Fangirls Here

Eryn Leavens

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Foreign-born women dominate the Valley; the government shutdown has long-lasting effects for workers; a new startup network for women; and more.

  • In somewhat surprising news, VOA News reports that 60% of Silicon Valley tech workers in general are born abroad, and almost 75% of women working in tech in the Valley are foreign-born. This number rises in more technical jobs. Foreign women in tech are also much more likely to be mothers and married. This info is based on a study from the Silicon Valley Institute of Regional Studies, and even the researchers were surprised by this data. Yet there are a few key reasons for the immigration tech boom. For one, applying for a green card with technical prowess definitely moves applicants to the top of the pile, making studying coding, for example, an appealing pastime, even if it's not a personal dream job. Additionally, the emphasis on tech training is higher for women in other countries than in the US. (See WiCipedia: Social Skills Boost Opportunity & the Emergence of Diversity Data.)

    Women of the Valley
    (Source: Webkraft)
    (Source: Webkraft)

  • The US government shutdown had a wide-ranging effect for workers in all industries, and the ripples aren't yet over even though the government is (currently) back up and running. Technical.ly DC reports that "federal workers and contractors must return to their duties while still dealing with the repercussions from the 35-day shutdown," and that tech startups are aiming to relieve these workers of their troubles. Startups such as Women in Tech Summit, Homesnap and the Inclusive Innovation Incubator are offering scholarships to conferences, assistance with personal funds and free meals, respectively, along with a handful of other philanthropic companies. Luckily, many of these benefits are open to federal workers of all kinds, not just techies. (See CBRS Players Begin to Fret Over Government Shutdown and US Government Shutdown Affects Some CES Programming.)

  • A tech conference in Utah sparked outrage this week when a local CEO made a sexist joke at the expense of all of the women in the room. When presenting baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) to the stage, Dave Bateman, CEO of Entrata, a property management software, asked for all of the women to stand. "As they stood, Bateman invited A-Rod onstage and asked the women to cheer for him, describing them as his 'fans,' then told them to sit down and said, 'Sorry ladies, he's taken,'" local news site KSL explained. Women and men alike were dismayed to hear Bateman's ignorant and antiquated comment. One attendee said, "Way to treat [us] like fangirls at a Backstreet Boys concert." Some attendees took to social media to shut down the outmoded CEO. (See WiCipedia: Hardwiring Sexism, Brogrammer Culture & Wall Street Fearmongering.)

  • Cadran Cowansage, a software engineer at startup accelerator Y Combinator, is launching a network for women in tech. Elpha, which came into the world as Leap with seed funding from Y Combinator, is now becoming its own entity. Its goal is "facilitating a supportive, women-only, tech community," and to provide candid, open information. New users will be required to submit applications to join, or be recommended by a current user. Along with news and venting opportunities, there will also be a job board and Q&A portion with notable women in tech. Bloomberg explains, "Y Combinator Partner Michael Seibel believes Elpha can help make the startup world more inclusive by making career advice, jargon, best practices and other startup savvy available to a wider group of people online, rather than just through personal connections. 'I think a big thing that holds back underrepresented founders is they don't get access to that information,' he said." (See WiCipedia: New Networking Rules, Canada's Pay Gap & Investing in Female Founders.)

  • LinkedIn Corp. , the social networking site, hosted its first conference specifically geared towards women in color (WoC) last week, Forbes reports. The TransformHER conference is for WoC in tech and is hosted at the company's San Francisco headquarters. As one of the more recognizable companies to host events for minorities, LinkedIn is able to reach a broader group of women to "bring together women of color and allies in tech to unlock their potential and overcome obstacles through a commitment to action on topics that impact our community," TransformHER conference Co-Founder Tyrona Heath said. She went on to say that the goal of the conference is to "equip women of color with the tools, soft skills and resources they need to further their careers while also empowering them to have the tough conversations that will begin to crack the double glass ceiling that women of color often face within the tech industry." (See WiCipedia: Doubling Down on Diversity & Google's Payoff Scandal.)

    — Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading

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