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Top five trends of women in technology

The role of women in technology has changed substantially in the last decade at an accelerated pace. We talk to a top tech executive to gain her insight on these changes.

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women in technology

Women in technology

A lot has changed in recent years, with more and more women taking top spots in tech companies, and even more women consuming technologies previously dominated by men. Devanshi (Nikki) Garg is the Chief Operating Officer of Icreon Tech, a global IT consultancy delivering business solutions and custom applications since 2000.

As a tech insider, Garg can speak to the trends of how women are shaping the tech sector, namely the five ways outlined below, in her own words:

1. Women Are Serious Tech Consumers

What was once a boys club, video games have reached mass appeal for both genders. In fact, a 2012 report from The Entertainment Software Association found gender of game players to be almost evenly split at 47% female and 53% male. Also when it comes to social media, women lead the pack in terms of usage. One of the fastest growing demographics on Facebook are women older than 55, and women are also five times more likely to use Pinterest than men.

In addition, the emergence of advertising agencies which consult technology companies to market in a gender neutral fashion has emerged. LadyGeek works directly with brands to assess their marketing campaigns and tweak them to avoid alienating women. One of the best ways to increase female interest in the industry, is to make products more accessible to both genders. The more tech-savvy women there are in the world, will equate to an increase in female executives in the industry.

2. Proactive Ecosystem Working to End the Gap

From DrupalChix and WebGrrls to the S.H.E. Summit and GirlsWhoCode, there is an exciting progression of organizations and groups pushing the agenda for women in technology. Such organizations are spotting gaps and acting upon them. Such conferences and meetups allow women to converse and network directly with each other. This helps in shattering some of the preconceptions females may have to the industry, such as it being isolated, confined, and non-creative work.

Opportunities like GirlGeekDinner for instance, allow for women of all experience levels to connect tech-veterans with those new to the industry. By conversing with women who know the industry, it is more likely that others will perceive the industry as much of an art as well as a science. Having forces outside the corporate community, as well as internally, who work to inform women to inherent opportunities in the industry is crucial to progress.

3. Increased Excitement and Embrace for Women in Tech (Post Lean In)

With an increasing amount of success stories setting new expectations for women in the technology industry, up-and-comers can more easily envision their own career path. Progress has been spurred by the emergence of an increase in women holding some of the highest executive positions at the world’s most innovative and influential companies and institutions:

  1. Padmasree Warrior, CTO at Cisco Systems
  2. Rachael Sterne, the first Chief Digital Officer of New York City
  3. Jessica Lawrence, Co-Founder of New York Tech Meetup
  4. Melody Meckfessel, Director of Engineering at Google
  5. Jessica Jackley, Founder of Kiva

Many of the leaders mentioned are involved in groups and nonprofits devoted to closing the gender gap. Organization such as Kiva are also a great meld of philanthropy and entrepreneurship. Jessica Jackley founded Kiva as a non-profit devoted to “leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions to help create opportunity around the world.”

4. More Than Just Code, And It’s a Way to Make a Difference

By reframing the role of tech’s impact on wider society, women will be more likely to jump on board. In light of recent events in the Middle East and domestically in the United States, from gay marriage support by Google and Facebook to Twitter’s connection to the Arab Spring, technology is being perceived as more social and less isolated. By connecting that technology contributes to societal good, women seeking positions that help others are more likely to embrace the industry.

Also, in a recent Cisco report it was found the “80% of girls want creative, independent job roles” but just “30% of women believe that tech jobs can provide such an opportunity.” As a professional in the technology industry, you have the opportunity to work creatively and analytically. From involving oneself in front-end design aspects to assessing proficiency and cohesion for project management, there are multifaceted roles in the industry aside from isolated coding and programming.

5. Women Are Creating Businesses (Of All Types) At A Rate 1.5 Times That of Men

In a sign of serious progress, NewRelic found that “technology companies with more women in management positions have a 34% higher return on investment.” This serves as a legitimate sign of progress especially given that women are underrepresented when it comes to positions in venture capital firms.

With over 187 million women worldwide owning businesses, and opening businesses at a rate 1.5 times that of men in the US, there is a continuing drive in female entrepreneurship in tech as well as other industries.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

Business News

School supply retailers are also feeling the effects of COVID-19

(BUSINESS NEWS) As families gear up for more virtual learning, back-to-school retailers anticipate major losses.

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For many, the return to school this fall will mean exchanging pencil boxes and notebooks for an internet connection and virtual learning. This is an incredibly demoralizing process for those involved–including back-to-school retailers, who anticipate substantial uncertainty in the coming weeks.

CNBC’s Melissa Repko details some of the trains of thought put forward by retailers who depend on fall sales, and while nothing is for sure, even the most optimistic of estimates looks bleak with clothing giants such as Gap and American Eagle poised to encounter significant hits to stock value as the pandemic drags on.

And, with families paying closer attention to their spending habits, taking stock of what they have rather than what they want, and generally tightening their belts with no end in sight, it seems reasonable to assume that they won’t be purchasing art supplies that they don’t anticipate using for several months.

Repko mentions that “stimulus checks could put money in [spenders’] pockets”, but even this cautiously optimistic assertion comes with an implied shrug and more uncertainty. Families who find themselves coming out on top with the addition of a few thousand dollars might decide to replenish their kids’ school supplies, but it’s just as likely that they’ll put that money away for future hardships.

One detail to which back-to-school retailers are clinging onto is that of clothing needs. The pandemic has hampered many aspects of daily life, but children growing isn’t one of them; retailers are hopeful that families will still find value in buying new clothes for the school year–if for no other reason than necessity.

Similarly enough, some retailers hope that families will opt to buy smaller quantities of pricier items like laptops, tablets, and other virtual learning gear; others may decide to upgrade their existing modems or routers, making the back-to-school rush a comparable–if slightly anticlimactic–experience.

Whatever the end result for retailers, it’s no secret that the coming year will weigh heavily on everyone–retailers, parents, children, and school staff–and with discernible end to the daily positive rates for the virus, each of these members of the chain stand to be affected differently, yet equally as tragically.

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Business News

The second stimulus check may be on its way…to some

(BUSINESS NEWS) A second round of stimulus payments seems to be on the horizon for Americans, but remains held up by debates in the Senate about eligibility.

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Counting on a little extra stimulus money coming your way? You might be in luck soon!

Keyword: Might.

The Senate recently confirmed plans to include a second round of Economic Impact Payments in the HEROES Act, but the details on who will be eligible, and for how much, are still fuzzy.

They are poised to approve the act by the end of the month, and for the sake of those on unemployment, it had better go through on time. The $600 boost to weekly benefits bestowed by the CARES Act is due to expire on July 31st. After that, 31 million unemployment recipients will see their income plummet by at least 61%.

Another EIP would really come in handy for these folks, and many others. But if you made over $40,000 last year, don’t count on getting a check this time around (and if you’re also on unemployment right now, at least take comfort that the HEROES Act would extend that $600 benefit bonus until February 2020, too).

While the act has bipartisan support, both factions of the Senate have different ideas about exactly who deserves another payment. Currently, the text of HEROES has the same criteria that CARES did: individuals earning up to $75,000 will be eligible for a one-time payment of $1,200, and married couples earning up to $150,000 will receive $2,400.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who just announced his support for another payment on Tuesday, has proposed setting an upper income limit for the next EIP at $40,000 per year. He has emphasized that if the act passes, the scope of the payments will be small.

Admittedly, it’s a little weird to see such a kerfuffle being made about setting more strict limits on the financial relief for individuals and families (regardless of what number was printed on their W-2) who are clearly still struggling , when $500 billion in corporate bailouts were eagerly baked into the first stimulus bill.

This debate represents tension with a legislative mindset that often hits middle class families and small business owners hard, as well as residents of exceptionally expensive areas like New York and San Francisco. Seeming not-poor on paper doesn’t necessarily equate to living comfortably when taking into account factors like debt, bills, taxation, and cost of living differences across the country – especially during a pandemic and an unprecedented economic downturn.

The first round of stimulus checks was arguably disastrous: Millions of dollars in stimulus money ended up in the hands of dead people; many payments were mistaken for junk mail and recipients threw them away; confusion about how to appeal one’s ineligibility ran rampant; and plenty of people still haven’t gotten their first one – months after they were meant to be sent out. If HEROES does pass, and does contain EIPs, then hopefully the IRS has ironed out the worst kinks in their system. All this back-and-forth about income limits in Congress is stressful enough without a complete repeat of the last payment debacle.

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Business News

To infinity and beyond…or NOT: COVID forces Bed Bath & Beyond closures

(BUSINESS NEWS) Bed Bath & Beyond will be closing 200 stores due to coronavirus. Honestly, they might’ve had it coming.

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Yet another company is having issues with their old practices. Will they pull their tails out of the fire?

As this pandemic enters the fifth official month, we have yet another company closing down at least some of its doors. Bed Bath & Beyond announced last week that approximately 200 stores, about 20% of their total store count, will be closed down over the next two years.

The President and CEO announced that “the impact of the COVID-19 situation was felt across our business during our fiscal first quarter, including loss of sales due to temporary store closures and margin pressure from the substantial channel shift to digital” shopping. By impact he’s referring to a $1.3 billion fall in sales.

According to the CEO, the company has attempted to take measures to keep their people safe while also servicing their customers. This is a completely different approach than what a number of customers have noticed in the last few years. From merchandise that makes flea market chattel look new and shiny to misinformation about product availability, this company has been floundering for a number of years.

The latest shift that the CEO is masquerading as an ‘online shopping’ shift is yet another attempt to dredge sales and lower cost. Maybe they’ll do it better this time though. Over the past few years, they have been doing this while not effectively communicating that to their clientele.

A customer might know that Bed Bath & Beyond carries an exclusive item but what they don’t know is that it’s only carried online and can’t be found in stores. It isn’t communicated to a customer until they’ve gone to a store and searched for it. One would hope that this is an easy fix that should have been made by now after customer complaints, but it hasn’t. And with their demonstrated history thus far, I won’t be holding my breath.

At this point the company has positioned itself to quickly liquidate millions of dollars in merchandise at all 955 locations that they currently have reopened across the country. Maybe this will spark a new age in this corporate cash cow that will push it forward. On a personal note, I don’t foresee that either unless a great amount of change happens. Instead, we’ll most likely be seeing a ton of “going out of business” signs in no time.

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