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Microsoft, Mindy Kaling, Pregnancy Discrimination, and More

Badass women and the news that affects them

 

Quick Hits

  • Dhivya Suryadevara has been named the first female CFO of GM. Via Fortune

  • ProjectDiane reports that, in 2017, startups founded by Black and Latinx women received five times more funding than they received in 2016. There’s still a long way to go until WOC receive the funding they deserve, but the growth is promising. PitchBook

  • Calhoun Community College in Alabama is hosting a welding and electrical technology camp for girls this summer. Although skilled trade jobs can lead to six-figure salaries, their popularity as a career choice is declining among young people. And since women are vastly underrepresented in the welding industry, making up only 5 percent of welders, giving girls a chance to learn welding and electrical skills can help women break into the industry while also keeping it afloat. RocketCityNow

  • Comedy Central has ordered a pilot for a late-night “Reductress” show hosted by SNL actress Abby Elliot and produced by the satirical website’s two co-founders, comedians Beth Newell and Sarah Pappalardo. Frankly, we can’t wait to see a TV version of the women’s “The Onion”-style outlet that’s brought us gems of headlines such as “‘Most Women Lie About Rape,’ Says Man Lying About Rape,” “How To Live Your Life Like A Horny Male Writer Is Profiling You,” and “I’m Ready to Take Down The Patriarchy, As Soon As I Figure Out Who Stole My Fucking Hair Tie.” Huffington Post

  • This past week, 16 more women in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Virginia won spots in the November election, bringing the total number of female primary victories thus far up to 134. Keep it up, ladies! Bloomberg

  • Plus: London Breed has been elected as mayor of San Francisco and is the first Black woman to have been elected to the office. Since then, black women have also been elected mayor for the first time in Charlotte, N.C. and New Orleans, and it’s about freaking time. TIME

In the News

Microsoft and Not-So-Micro-Aggressions in Tech

Some 8,630 female high-level technologists have banded together against Microsoft, alleging that the company paid them less than male counterparts, hindered their career advancement, and punished them for taking maternity leave. A federal court judge in Seattle will hear their arguments Monday to decide whether the women will be allowed to pursue their case as a class-action lawsuit. Microsoft has denied that any discrimination occurred and plans to refer back to a 2011 Supreme Court decision in a gender discrimination class-action lawsuit against Walmart. In this case, the court ruled against the plaintiffs, all women, stating that they did not have similar enough experiences, and that they failed to demonstrate Walmart's policy led to nationwide discrimination. But, as we know all too well from women’s ratings and comments on our site, a company’s policies don’t necessarily reflect their behavior. And, regardless, the case against Microsoft is significantly different. While the 1.5 million women involved in the Walmart case served many different roles within the company, the Microsoft case only includes women of two roles — engineers and information technology specialists — all at similar responsibility levels. Hopefully, the judge on Monday will perceive this case as more comparable to the case against Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs that allowed smaller, more narrowly focused class suits to be certified. Bloomberg Quint

Tech companies have a notoriously bad reputation when it comes to discrimination against women, so three employees from Google have suggested a potential, partial solution. They’ve recommended that diversity and inclusion metrics be included in executive performance to show leadership that diversity is a priority for employees. Read their full proposal here . Metrics work for us — we’ve built our entire strategy for helping women in the workforce around them — so we can definitely get behind this idea.

Pregnancy Discrimination At An All-Time High

Here’s another arena where policy doesn’t align with behavior. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed by Congress in 1978, but somehow the number of pregnancy discrimination claims filed each year with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been steadily rising for two decades. Women in physically demanding jobs face very sudden risks to their employment when they become pregnant. Taking a break to rest or drink some water or requesting to do a less-demanding task can be instant grounds for their termination. While more subtle, the consequences for corporate women are just as real. Mothers are seen as less dedicated to their jobs and companies and are subject to being passed over for promotions, demoted, or iced out when they return from maternity leave. People can have a hard time believing anecdotes, so here’s a sobering cold, hard fact for ya — each child a woman has results in a 4 percent slash to her hourly wages. Adding insult to the injury? When men become fathers, their earnings increase by 6 percent. That’s pretty messed up. New York Times

Fear in the Federal Government

One would expect that people working for the government  — you know, the people who make and enforce the law — might have an easier time reporting coworkers that discriminate against, abuse, and harass them — therefore breaking the law. Not so, unfortunately. Federal workers may actually face more obstacles to reporting mistreatment within their workplaces. Unlike corporate workers, federal employees have just 45 days to file a complaint and must first go through a mediation process. If this process doesn’t resolve the issue, agencies can investigate the issue — but only for six months. Government employees may have to wait years for judges to make rulings on their case. They’re also not eligible for punitive damages, like corporate workers are. In this #MeToo era where workplace harassments are finally getting some attention, federal workers deserve to have their justice, too. Bloomberg

Words of Wisdom

  • In a recent Telegram interview, actress Amy Adams was asked about the Hollywood pay gap issue and why she’s been silent about being paid less than male co-stars in the past. Adams explained that she didn’t want to complain too much because she believes the pay gap issue should center on working class women rather than stars who are already wealthy. “I do believe in equal pay, but let’s start with our teachers. Let’s get waiters paid the minimum wage,” she said. Harper’s Bazaar

  • In her commencement address at Dartmouth’s graduation, television star and writer Mindy Kaling offered the graduating seniors of her alma mater some very sage advice. In addition to advising that the students remove proficiency at Microsoft Word from their resumes, get used to the fact that adulthood means filling out forms the rest of their lives, order only one pancake at restaurants, and not to wait to buy a toilet plunger until they need one, Kaling also dished out a last suggestion specific to the males in the audience. She told them, “When you go on dates, act as if every woman you’re talking to is a reporter for an online publication that you are scared of. One shouldn’t need the threat of public exposure and scorn to treat women well, but if that’s what it’s gonna take, fine. Date like everyone’s watching, because we are.” Dartmouth

Laugh or Cry?

  • This one’s original: Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, told a group of reporters that the job of CEO of an airline has to be done by a man “because it is a very challenging position.” He’s since apologized, but we think we’ll be seeking alternative flying arrangements in the future. Huffington Post

  • During her valedictorian speech at graduation, Stanford-bound senior Lulabel Seitz began to speak about her sexual assault at the hands of peers at the school and the administration's lack of action in response. The school scrambled to cut Seitz’s mike in an attempt to silence her — literally. The story has spread like wildfire, nationally and globally, and resounding support has been declared for Seitz. You tried, Petaluma High School. But by attempting to take Setiz’s voice away, you only succeeding in amplifying it and illustrating her message. NBC

  • The reporter who crafted this oh-so-clever headline: “Spain's new cabinet shows that men can be better than women at achieving gender diversity in politics” . The content of the article is fine, and we like to support female reporters (especially since final headlines are often NOT what a reporter originally writes), but the headline feels like a slap in the face to all the women making great strides in improving gender diversity.

Around the World

  • Afghan woman Breshna Musazai, a survivor of a 2016 Taliban attack on her university, has graduated law school with honors. Even though Musazai suffered serious injuries in the attack, including the loss of toes, she refused to let it scare her off, and she finished her education at the American University of Afghanistan. Her bravery and perseverance have led some to dub her “Afghanistan's Malala.” The Washington Post

  • The lower half of Argentina’s Congress has voted yes on a bill to legalize abortion. If the Senate approves, Argentina’s president has promised to sign the bill into law, even though he is personally against the procedure. The Guardian .

  • The U.K. government has decided to back a bill banning “upskirting” — the disturbing practice of shoving a phone or camera up a woman's skirt to take a picture of her crotch (yes, we said "crotch," and no, this isn’t already illegal) New York Times

By Mitra Norowzi

Women in Tech Equal Opportunities Sexual Harassment Working Mom Diversity Digest
 

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