A very interesting HBR article on why algorithms are unfortunately not the answer to eliminate discrimination in the hiring process. The biggest challenge with these algorithms is that they are human-made and learn from existing data, which (in most cases) reflect biases.
A very inspiring and beautiful collection of diversity shown in fashion and beauty adverts in 2016 – celebrating all generations, skin colours, sizes, sexual identification and genders.
Pinterest just released their 2016 Diversity Report and they made some good progress – they now have 26% women in tech (up from 21%) and 5% blacks and Hispanics in tech (up from 3%). Going forward though, they said they will actually lower their target for hiring women from 30% down to 25%.
Girls in STEM
If you are still looking for some last minute holiday gifts for a future scientist, here is a list of great toys and activities (some of them I would actually love to get for myself).
Dropbox just released their 2016 diversity report and although they have shown some promising gains in regards to ethnicities and gender (their women in leadership increased by 6 percentage points) they received a lot of negative feedback this week as they decided to announce their diversity report with a picture of their team and the tech community complained that it was not diverse enough (it featured both genders and people from various ethnicities – but no one with a darker skin colour).
Sweden celebrated Lucia on December 13th and the big department store Ahlens advertised for Lucia costumes using a dark-skinned boy, although the typical Lucia is usually portrayed as a blond girl. The campaign caused a lot of uproar on social media with many racist comments and although the positive feedback quickly outnumbered the negative comments, the store decided to take the advert down. Read more here.
Racism and Tech
Online harassment is a huge issue and none of the big social media platforms seem to be able to handle it. This US researcher did an experiment to fight racism on Twitter, using bots that discourage this behavior through peer-to-peer sanctioning. It was successful and the results are very interesting.
“Rogue One”, the latest Star Wars movie, premiered this week and Disney, together with the Filipino telecom Globe, aired this advert to inspire courage and inclusion. Very cute and worth watching!
Diversity & Tech
New Zealand citizen Richard Lee tried to renew his passport online – only to have his passport picture rejected as “subject eyes are closed”. Richard is from Taiwan originally and the automated system clearly had issues with his eyes. Richard shared the story on social media, where it went viral – and while I really don’t think that there are any racist reasons for this, it shows again how important it is to consider diversity when developing new technologies. Read more here.
Girls in STEM
Microsoft launched this video to their #MakeWhatsNext campaign a few months ago already, but it’s really awesome so I wanted to share with you anyway: Although it is so important to have role models, kids at school rarely learn about female inventors. How many can you list?
Most companies release their diversity reports on a yearly basis and if you remember from the past editions, most companies numbers have only increased slightly, stayed flat, or have even dropped this year. A few companies have actually decided to push back their release – Twitter, Salesforce and Pinterest, which raises the suspicion that they are simply waiting for better times before releasing their numbers. Read more here.
This is the very sweet story of the disabled veteran Clay and his service dog Charlotte. Due to his disability, Clay requires his service dog to stay with him at all times and struggled to find a job – until the hardware store Lowe’s offered to hire both of them, and now Charlotte sports her own Lowe’s vest and customers love her.
Wishing “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” has become very common in the Western world. What a lot of people are not aware of though is that this is not about trying to be politically correct – there are actually so many different holidays happening in December, here is a short and very interesting overview!
This Moroccan TV show was all over the news the past week – the Moroccan state television decided to air a makeup tutorial that showed women how they can hide the traces of domestic violence. The channel has now removed the show and apologized. Read more here.
A very good reminder about the unconscious biases everyone has and how they impact our lives. Did you know that searching on the Google UK image search shows you 75% male doctors – whereas in reality women actually make up half of the doctors in UK?
A new campaign has just been launched on Kickstarter – started by Nickolay Lamm, who is known for making toys more inclusive and inspired Mattel to sell Barbie dolls with different body types. This time he is raising money to mass-produce wheelchairs for dolls in order to normalize disability. Read more here.