XX in Tech

XX in Tech

Former Zuck Speechwriter Kate Losse Refuses to Lean In


Here’s the thing about Lean In: Your reaction to the book depends, in no small part, on whether you think a hard-charging life filled with work is a worthwhile goal. If you have little interest in the boardroom, this is not the manifesto you were searching for. And if you’re outright suspicious of corporate America’s seemingly endless demands for more work on less pay, Lean In is your new worst frenemy. Read More

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Why Can’t the Tech Community Talk About Adria Richards Like Grownups?

Ms. Richards (Photo: twitter)

It all started at a conference devoted to Python. Developer evangelist Adria Richards heard a couple of guys behind her making sexual cracks about big dongles and “forking repos,” and, in a moment of frustration, called them out on Twitter, posting their picture and CCing the conference organizers.

One of the guys was shortly thereafter fired. Today, after an Internet uproar that spilled over into a DDOS attack on her employer SendGrid, Ms. Richards has also been firedpublicly.

And so begins accountability in the age of the creepshot, where you can be called out in public by thousands for something snarked to the dude next to you–and where the person who did the calling out gets called a jerk too. Read More

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Sheryl Sandberg Doesn’t Have to Occupy Menlo Park to be Radical


Over the last week or so, there’s been much debate over whether Facebook’s resident adult in the room is actually a rebel. The fury was kicked off with New York Times piece previewing Sheryl Sandberg’s upcoming book Lean In. Right on cue, a thousand outraged responses bloomed.

Critics suggested she was out of touch and questioned whether a Davos-attending power player with five dollars more than God could really understand the struggles of working women. Then there was the common contention that Ms. Sandberg was putting all the onus onto women: Stop opting out and start leaning in, external forces be damned.

Unfortunately, much of the response was based on Ms. Sandberg’s previous speeches, an out-of-context quote from that dubious Times piece, and the book’s jacket copy. Upon cracking open Lean In, you’ll actually find a clear-eyed, forcefully argued treatise lamenting the lack of women in power, exploring what holds the back and recommending strategies for change. Read More

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New Tampon Delivery Startup Discriminates Against Gals with a ‘Heavy Flo’

Discrimination! (Photo: screencap)

There’s a new entry into the oversubscribed subscription market. The Verge reports that today brings the launch of HelloFlo, a startup that’ll ship you a box of necessities once a month. As subscription services go, it’s pretty sensible.

The “Feminine Care” aisle at Duane Reade is among the most dismal places in the world, even when you aren’t awash in a sea of hormones. Read More

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Censorship at a Hacker Conference? Violet Blue’s Sex Ed Talk at B-Sides Cancelled

Ms. Blue. (Photo:  Wikipedia)

The amount of furor that can erupt from a single technical conference never ceases to amaze. The latest installment: Sex educator and CNET columnist Violet Blue was supposed to give a talk earlier this week at the security conference B-Sides San Francisco. But it was cancelled at the last minute, after objections from the Ada Initiative, an organization dedicated to supporting women in tech.

That’s all anyone can agree on, besides the fact that everyone is very, very mad. Read More

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A Tumblr Full of GIFs to Express What It Feels Like to Be a Female Software Engineer


At this point, we’re probably past peak GIF reaction blog. And yet, just when we thought we’d seen every possible incarnation there was to see, along comes one we can really get behind: Being a female software engineer, a Tumblr billed as “group therapy for our many shared experiences.” It tackles moments of ugh that are probably familiar to many women who’ve worked in the tech business, not just engineers themselves, like dealing with macho B.S.harassment, and just plain WTF.

We’ve picked out a few of our favorites, to give you a feel for the blog: Read More

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Last Night’s Girls Who Code Gala Proves Beyonce’s Thesis: Who Runs the World? Girls!

9 Photos

Reshma Saujani

There are precious few tech events for which Betabeat would agree to wear high heels. But if there was ever a worthy cause, it’s Girls Who Code. Thus between subway transfers, we swapped out our beat-up boots for patent leather and teetered our way around the cobblestone patches outside the New York Stock Exchange for the organization’s startup-studded gala.

The cause for celebration was two-fold. The first was showing off demos from its inaugural class of 20 girls, who represented all five boroughs and some disarmingly ambitious ideas. (We’re still scratching our head at Cora Frederick‘s plan to use data mining and machine learning to classify tumors.) The second was to announce an audacious new goal: to train one million girls in computer science by 2020, starting with a national expansion outside New York City next year.

The nonprofit organization, founded by former deputy public advocate Reshma Saujani and run by former Jumo managing director Kristen Titus, offers teenage girls an eight-week, full-time education in robotics, web design, and mobile development, with mentorship from engineers and executives at Twitter, Google, ZocDoc, Gilt Groupe, and more. In fact, Ms. Saujani noted last night, CEO Dick Costolo volunteered Twitter’s first philanthropic donation to Girls Who Code, although she politely declined to specify the dollar amount. Read More

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Sheryl Sandberg Weighs In On ‘Having It All’ With a New Book Encouraging Women Toward Leadership Roles

(Photo: The Atlantic)

Back in April, we threw a question out to female readers: Are you a Sheryl or a Marissa? This was three months before Marissa Mayer was named CEO of Yahoo, proudly proclaiming her new employer’s “evolved” attitude towards to her pregnancy (she gave birth this week) even as she vowed to work through her maternity leave–already shortened to just a few weeks.

That kind of work-first decision was hardly a surprise to anyone familiar with the perky Type A executive, who “doesn’t believe in burnout.” But we’ve always been relieved there was another role model for a woman in tech–or any field, really–who wanted to ascend to leadership positions. That’s why we jumped on Sheryl Sandberg’s confession (that she leaves the office at 5.30 to have dinner with her kids) like it was a life raft, especially coming from the Facebook COO responsible for slowly transforming “Silicon Valley’s male-dominated culture,” as chronicled by The New Yorker‘s Ken Auletta last year. Read More

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Despite Gains on the Business Side, Women Lag in Computer Science

Where's their tea? Ladies love tea. (Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

Things are looking better for the ladies of the tech business, but we’ve still got a long way to go on the computer science front. That’s the conclusion the panelists of Women to Watch seem to have reached in yesterday’s premiere of our industry’s very own version of The View, your mom’s favorite show about ladies sitting around yakkin’ about stuff.

According to the Bloomberg News recap, the panelists agreed that things are looking a lot sunnier these days, with many venture capitalists happy to hand out cash and founding teams looking for a female perspective.

However:  Read More