Tag: Women

Intel is now “female friendly”

wintel_blimp_featureFormer chip giant Intel claims that it’s moving to redress its attitude to women by spending $100 million worldwide to support businesses they run.

Barbara Whyte, who is Intel’s diversity and inclusion office, told an audience in Hamburg: “Diversity and inclusion are critical underpinnings to our constantly evolving culture at Intel.”

She added: “They [women] accelerate our ability to consistently innovate and drive the business forward.”

Intel has made efforts to hire women and minorities and has pledged to reach full representation by 2020.

The company said that IBM and Pfizer have also jumped on the bandwagon and have committed to making similar efforts.

It’s widely known that women executives in Silicon Valley routinely earn less than their male counterparts.

But Intel’s Whyte stayed mum on the matter at the conference.

Geeks chase women out of game conference

frankenstein-villagersLeading women game designers have been chased away from the PAX East convention in Boston with threats of rape and death.

Brianna Wu, cofounder of the Boston video game studio Giant Spacekat, has pulled her company off the exhibition floor at next month’s event because of safety concerns for the five other women who work with her.

Last week, Wu said in a blog post that PAX organisers had refused her repeated attempts over several weeks to discuss security measures.

Wu said that she had not backed down in the face of threats but “if something happened to my team, God forbid, that would be on me”.

Other developers have said that gaming culture is male and they want a frat-house environment where women appear only as pixellated sex objects. PAX East is a celebration of this culture and it was silly for women to want to be there in the first place.

However executives at Penny Arcade, the group that stages the expo have been behaving oddly.  Instead of issuing a general statement stressing that “the safety of our attendees, panelists, and exhibitors is the number one priority for PAX” which is normal in such cases it has clammed up completely.  This has given the impression that it refused to protect women developers who showed up at its event.

Nina Huntemann, a professor of media studies at Suffolk University and cofounder of Women in Games Boston told the Boston Globe that the organises needed to make a stronger statement.  Its current stance is that there are not taking seriously the concerns of women while preserving a male-dominated culture that they’ve allowed to fester.

On message boards and at meetings of women gamers, some continued to question whether Penny Arcade founders Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik are serious about gender equality after they posted a comic on their website in 2010 that appeared to make light of rape.

The comic featured monsters that were serial rapists, and Holkins and Krahulik later began selling T-shirts based on the cartoon. They ultimately axed the shirts, but Krahulik said at a PAX event in Seattle in 2013 that pulling the merchandise “was a mistake.”

 

Intel’s future is drones and women

tarotreadingAt the CES show at Las Vegas this week, Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich showed off a computer built into a jacket button and a wristband that transforms into a selfie-snapping flying camera drone.

It says a lot about where Intel sees the future of computing. Gone are the days of number crunching business computers, instead the world’s chip makers are developing gadgets which are better at photographing their own users.

Already tourist destinations are full of people carrying their phones on sticks so that they can take snaps of themselves at famous monuments without needing a friend. Now it seems that Intel sees a future for machines that can take pictures of bald heads at famous monuments while at the same time navigating through a sea of Japanese drones re-enacting a narcissistic battle of Midway on the Spanish Steps.

Krzanich used most of his keynote to talk up Intel’s efforts in computerised apparel and other sensor-packed gadgets as consumers get bored with their tablets and start selling their kidneys for the next shiny thing.

Curie, a new button-sized computer for smart clothes, is due out later in 2015 and includes Bluetooth radio as well as the latest from Intel’s Quark line of low-power chips. However Krzanich did sound a little like an East End market barrow boy when he talked about “rings, bags, bracelets, pendants, and yes, even the buttons on our jackets.” They are not dodgy, not dodgy.

Intel is working with Oakley to launch a smart gadget for athletes later this year, Krzanich said. The chipmaker in December announced it was developing smart glasses with Luxottica, which owns the Oakley brand.

Krazanich also said that he was spending $300 million to get more women and minorities in the technology and the video game industries. Note that money will be spent training women and minorities, there is no guarantee that Intel or any other technology company will hire them.

Intel has a poor record of accomplishment employing women and some minorities. While it is happy to hire Chinese and Indian workers, because they are nice and cheap, only a quarter of Intel’s US employees in 2013 were women and 12 percent of its workforce were Hispanic or African American.

Last year Intel made a huge mistake by backing the misogynistic GamerGate campaign to pull advertising from gaming news sites who dared to slam sexism in the gaming industry. In the end it changed its mind and resumed advertising.

 

 

Women were pushed out of coding in the 1980s

MSDWARG EC001While software development is seen as a “male only” industry, apparently it was not always like that.

Historically, a lot of computing pioneers, including those who programmed the first digital computers were women and for decades, the number of women studying computer science was growing faster than the number of men.

But something strange happened in 1984 which changed all that and the percentage of women in computer science flattened, and then plunged.

According to NPR,this is exactly the same time when personal computers started showing up in US homes in significant numbers. And the problem was that they were only marketed to men and boys.

Movies like Weird Science, Revenge of the Nerds, and War Games all came out in the ’80s and they were all about awkward geek boy geniuses.

By the 1990s families were much more likely to buy computers for boys than for girls — even when girls were really interested in computers.  This meant that girls grew up not playing with computers at home, which was how the next generation of programmers developed.

The paper cites Patricia Ordóñez who didn’t have a computer at home, but was a math wiz.  When she got to Johns Hopkins in the ’80s, she found that most of her male classmates were way ahead of her because they had grown up playing with computers.

In the ’70s, that never would have happened because Professors in intro classes assumed their students came in with no experience. But by the ’80s, that had changed.

 

Nadella gets loads of bad karma

Scrooge-PorpoiseThe CEO who told women that they could gain good karma by not asking for pay rises, Microsoft new Chief Executive Satya Nadella, apparently is planning to come back as a slug in a future life.

Nadella has become one the technology industry’s biggest earners, with a total compensation package worth $84.3 million this year.

According to a document filed with securities regulators, Nadella has no chance of being released from the wheel of birth and death any time soon – unlike many Microsoft female employees.

The huge number is mostly made up of the estimated value of certain one-time stock awards given to Nadella, who became the company’s third CEO in February. He cannot actually receive the shares until 2019.

The massive stock awards, valued at $79.8 million overall, were designed to keep Nadella at Microsoft while the company was hunting for a new CEO, and to give him long-term incentives as CEO.

Large stock awards have not been necessary for Microsoft’s previous two CEOs, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, as both had multi-billion dollar holdings in the company.

Nadella’s compensation is set to be more modest, with “total target compensation” for fiscal 2015 set at $18 million, according to the company’s proxy filing.

Gamergate geeks shocked as their heroes snub them

amazonGamers who have been waging a war on women have been surprised and shocked to discover that their heroes think that they are  socially retarded.

For a while now “Gamergate” has been waged against those who think that games should be more inclusive and less sexist.  A hard core of male gamers has taken it upon themselves to threaten anyone, particularly women, with violence, threats and general abuse.

For a while they have genuinely believe that sort of misogynistic behaviour was “cool” and that somehow becoming a gamer Taliban made them something special.  However over the weekend a number of tweets has put them in their place.

The tweets have come from nerd heroes such as Patton Oswalt who said that the “The misogyny of “GamerGate” sickened me.” Seth Rogen called for people to stop supporting this “stupid cause.”   Joss Whedonm responding to an article about the GamerGate tactics, said that it was not terrorism blowing things up, but it is using a fear of violence to “cow us and control our actions.”

Felicia Day dubbed the gamers a “cliched bloodthirsty roaming gang from post-apocalyptic fiction” while Tim Schafer (LucasArts) called on everyone to watch the video on sexism in games that set everything off. Mariel Cartwright the illustrator of Skullgirls said she found the whole thing depressing.

The gamers were initially shocked that the people they idolised considered them the backward scum of the earth and the only famous person who backed them was Alec Baldwin.

One person, without a trace of irony, or intelligence actually wrote on 4Chan: “Even misinformed people can put out their opinion on whatever they want, and they’ve got a large platform to do it with via the internet.”

Microsoft CEO faces karma from foot in mouth

foot and mouthThe Microsoft boss has said sorry to his women employees after making a huge howler on the subject of equal pay.

In answer to a question from the floor, “What do you advise women who are interested in advancing their careers, but not comfortable … with asking for a raise?” Multiple studies have suggested that women in the workplace earn roughly three quarters of the salary, on average, compared to male counterparts doing the same job.

Satya Nadella said that women who don’t ask for raises have “good karma” and that not asking for equal pay with men is a “superpower”,

His exact words were: “women who don’t ask for raises have a “superpower … because that’s good karma, that’ll come back … that’s the kind of person that I want to trust.”

It is not as if he said the comment in private either. He said it on a stage at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference, held in Phoenix, where no one is likely to take offence.

“It’s not really about asking for the raise,” Nadella told the audience, “but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along”.

We guess that at that point the conversion was drowned out by the cries of a thousand PR bunnies throwing themselves into Nadella’s mouth to stop him speaking.

Needless to say when he got back to the office there was a very cross representative from the PR department with an apology all written for him to send to all female employees who are being advised not to apply for raises.

Nadella wrote that he answered that question completely wrongly.

“I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it’s deserved, Maria’s advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.”

We suspect that Nadella will have to spend a little more time on the Wheel of Birth and Death to escape his karma on that one.

Not enough women work in IT: official

old schoolWomen are still falling behind in the information technology and computing job front, which could have an impact on innovation IEEE has said.

According to the organisation, in 2009 only 18 percent of all computer and information science undergraduate degrees were awarded to women in the US.

It added that research by the National Committee of Women in Information Technology had also suggested things weren’t set to change with predictions that US universities would only produce only 52 percent of the computer science bachelor’s degrees needed to fill the 1.4 million available jobs by 2018.

IEEE pointed out that the lack of diverse perspectives could inhibit innovation, productivity, and competitiveness, and result in the US not having the professional workforce required to meet future needs.

In the current issue of  its Computer Society’s Computer magazine, the organisation  addresses the important challenge of building gender diversity in computing through guest writers in the academic space.

Jane Chu Prey a programme director at the National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate Education, said: “We face a great challenge, but one that can be conquered if we all work together. We need to recognise that to be successful, we must have a diverse workforce, and we all need to help build it.”

Alfred C Weaver, director of the University of Virginia’s Applied Research Institute, and a professor of computer science, also pointed out that the problem started from reception age and extended through undergraduate education and on to graduate school and industry.

“There is no easy solution or quick fix. All segments of the pipeline need attention,” he said.

The organisation hopes that by highlighting the problem it will encourage more women to join the technology ranks in the future.

ICT sector goes backwards

First_Beauty_PageantIn a time when the ICT sector is banging on about equality, companies are still trying to cash in on the girl geek status.

This time, Datanews has taken the industry back to when girls were famed for their love of pink phones and fluffy gadgets, creating the title of ‘Young ICT Lady of the year’ 2013 as part of its ‘She goes ICT’ competition.

The beauty pageant, disguised under the tech umbrella saw 27 “talented and ambitious” women fighting it out for the title that was won by Karen De Smet, UMAX project manager at Itineris.

She beat off competition from Katty Verresen from RealDolmen and Mercedes Diaz – we can’t be sure this wasn’t a stage name – from Accenture after being “grilled” by the jury on why she should win.

Karen De Smet graduated from Suma Cum Laude with a Master’s in Business Engineering in 2009. She started her career as a functional consultant at Itineris but as a result “curiosity” she began learning about different sectors within the company and by the end of her first year, was already acknowledged as a consultant with high potential.

A few months later she took on the combined role of Functional Lead and Release Coordinator for one of the largest utility players in the Dutch market (Eneco).

When the job opening for Functional Solution Architect for a project at E.ON arose; Karen’s name quickly popped up on the shortlist of potential candidates.

Her new role entailed guarding and ensuring the overall perspective of the end-to-end product envisioned by and for E.ON.

Today, Karen is the project manager at E.ON, where she successfully implemented the Itineris’ UMAX “solution” for utility suppliers together with her team of Itineris consultants.