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9 goals for 2017 that will improve gender equality at your company

(BUSINESS NEWS) Make gender equality your New Year’s Resolution for the workplace – it’s not as insurmountable as you may think.

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Making progress towards equality

This year has been no small feat for women: America nominated the first female Presidential Candidate for the 2016 election, the Fortune 500 featured 21 female CEOs, and NASA’s Mars team has the first equal gender representation in history. As a woman I must say, I am proud.

However, these feats can make it easy to forget about gender inequalities that still exist in the work place today, such as imbalanced maternity leave policies, pay discrepancies, and promotional inequalities.

Solving these issues is imperative to achieve gender equality, but means companies must first recognize their specific problems as actual problems.

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Consider these your 2017 goals

Fairygodboss conducted a report detailing issues women have in the workplace based on anonymous data from thousands of women and third-party research. We detail their key findings below. If you’re a business owner, take notes. If you are employed, send this link to someone in management.

Clearly outline benefits, culture, and policies
Achieving gender equality in the workplace starts at the beginning of the job process — the application. Female job-seekers report that employer’s description of their culture, practices, and benefits are often ambiguous, causing them to move on and apply to more clearly defined job opportunities.

It is therefore important for businesses to include concise expectations and descriptions in their job outline, as they are understandable deciding factors for anyone applying for a job, women especially.

Enforce fair pay
Although businesses have made significant strides to close the pay gap between men and women, it’s no secret compensation inequality still remains an issue.

There are several ways for businesses to correct this issue though. Conducting a full pay audit can shine light on any disparities. If a business can’t afford a pay audit, they should at least ensure and encourage consistent pay across the same job titles.

Diversity gender in management
Diversifying management along with other decision making positions can increase women’s job satisfaction. If your team is lacking in diversity, consider investing in some changes to better reflect your company culture and priorities.

Ensure women are promoted just as much men
Along with pay inequality, promotional discrepancies between men and women in the workplace exist. Women don’t typically move up the hierarchical ladder as fast or equally as men. To improve business practices, companies should reevaluate their promotion and succession plans to ensure everyone has access to the same advancement opportunities.

Improve maternity and parental leave procedures
Women with young children often leave the workforce to raise their children full-time. Reentering the workplace after such absence can be difficult. Businesses should include policies that allow ample time away after childbirth. Displaying such commitment to something as natural and necessary exemplifies that a business cares about supporting women and families.

Maintain flexibility and work-life balance
Women have reported being unhappy with official policies as they relate to work-life balance and flexibility. This doesn’t mean companies should give everyone three-day weekends, but they should utilize and outline a well thought-out flexibility plan that leaves their employees satisfied, while also attracting qualified talent.

Create mentorship and sponsorship opportunities
Access to senior leadership is an issue I’ve personally experienced along with other women across the country. We may see senior executives in the break room or in passing, but accessing them for career advice or opportunities seems almost impossible.

To alleviate such alienation from senior staff, businesses should consider enforcing formal programs to encourage mentorship, sponsorship, and an overall support system regardless of gender.

Demand the same fairness from other business relationships
It is illogical for a company who supports gender equality to do business with other companies and vendors who do not. Demanding the same respect and diversity from other business relationships will not only help to achieve gender equality, but also demonstrate to women employees and potential candidates both male and female how serious equality is, and how unwavering the company’s morals are.

Include men in the conversation
Gender equality in the workplace symbolizes unity and harmony which is unobtainable without the input and help of our male counterparts. While many men support gender diversity, they are understandably unaware of the biases and issues women face daily.

Honest conversations, brainstorming, and interaction between female and male peers will help businesses on their journey of gender fairness.

You can view the full report here.

#GenderEquality

Lauren Flanigan is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, hailing from the windy hills of Cincinnati, with a degree in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. She has escaped the hills, and currently resides in Atlanta, where you can almost always find her camping at a Starbucks strategizing on how to take over the world.

Tech News

Australia wants Facebook and Google to pay media royalties

Australia seeks to require Facebook and Google to pay royalties to media companies for use of news content on their platforms.

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Australia is in the process of requiring tech giants, Facebook and Alphabet, to pay royalties to Australian media companies for using their content. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the move the day after the US Congressional antitrust hearing that put the CEOs of Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple back in the regulatory spotlight.

In addition to the pressure from the United States investigation into market control by these companies, global leaders are calling for similar regulations. Though none have been successful, media companies in Germany, France, and Spain have pushed for legislation to force Google to pay licensing fees to use their news content. Some companies have been pushing for this for years and yet, the tech giants keep dragging out their changes, even admitting their actions are wrong.

In 2019, the Australian government instructed Facebook and Google to negotiate voluntary deals with Australian media to use their content. The Australian government says the companies failed to follow through on the directive, and therefore will be forced to intervene. They have 45 days to reach an agreement in arbitration, after which the Australian Communications and Media Authority will create legally binding terms for the companies on behalf of the Australian government.

Google claims the web traffic that it drives to media websites should be compensation enough for the content. A Google representative in Australia asserts that the government regulations would constitute interference into market competition – which would be the point, Google!

According to a 2019 study, an estimated 3,000 journalism jobs have been lost in the last decade. The previous generation of media companies has paid substantial advertising fees to Google and Facebook while receiving nothing in return for the use of its news content. Frydenberg asserts the regulatory measures are necessary to protect consumers and ensure a “sustainable media landscape” in the country.

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Onboarding for customers and employees made easy

(TECH NEWS) Cohere enables live, virtual onboarding at bargain prices to help you better support and guide your users.

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onboarding made easy

Web development and site design may be straightforward, but that doesn’t mean your customers won’t get turned around when reviewing your products. Onboarding visitors is the simplest solution, but is it the easiest?

According to Cohere–a live, remote onboarding tool–the answer is a resounding yes.

Cohere claims to be able to integrate with your website using “just 2 lines of code”; after completing this integration, you can communicate with, guide, and show your product to any site visitor upon request. You’ll also be able to see what customers are doing in real time rather than relying on metrics, making it easy to catch and convert customers who are on the fence, due to uncertainty or confusion.

There isn’t a screen-share option in Cohere’s package, but what they do include is a “multiplayer” option in which your cursor will appear on a customer’s screen, thus enabling you to guide them to the correct options; you can also scroll and type for your customer, all the while talking them through the process as needed. It’s the kind of onboarding that, in a normal world, would have to take place face-to-face–completely tailored for virtual so you don’t have to.

You can even use Cohere to stage an actual demo for customers, which accomplishes two things: the ability to pare down your own demo page in favor of live options, and minimizing confusion (and, by extension, faster sales) on the behalf of the customer. It’s a win-win situation that streamlines your website efficiency while potentially increasing your sales.

Naturally, the applications for Cohere are endless. Using this tool for eCommerce or tech support is an obvious choice, but as virtual job interviews and onboarding become more and more prevalent, one could anticipate Cohere becoming the industry example for remote inservice and walkthroughs.

Hands-on help beats written instructions any day, so if companies are able to allocate the HR resources to moderate common Cohere usage, it could be a huge win for those businesses.

For those two lines of code (and a bit more), you’ll pay anywhere from $39 to $129 for the listed packages. Custom pricing is available for larger businesses, so you may have some wiggle room if you’re willing to take a shot at implementing Cohere business-wide.

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Tech News

Smart clothing could be used to track COVID-19

(TECH NEWS) In order to track and limit the spread of COVID-19 smart clothing may be the solution we need to flatten the curve–but at what cost?

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COVID tracking clothing

When most people hear the phrase “smart clothing”, they probably envision wearables like AR glasses or fitness trackers, but certainly not specially designed fabrics to indicate different variables about the people wearing them–including, potentially, whether or not someone has contracted COVID-19.

According to Politico, that’s exactly what clinical researchers are attempting to create.

The process started with Apple and Fitbit using their respective wearables to attempt to detect COVID-19 symptoms in wearers. This wouldn’t be the first time a tech company got involved with public health in this context; earlier this year, for example, Apple announced a new Watch feature that would call 911 if it detected an abnormal fall. The NBA also attempted to detect outbreaks in players by providing them with Oura Rings–another smart wearable.

While these attempts have yet to achieve widespread success, optimism toward smart clothing–especially things like undershirts–and its ability to report adequately someone’s symptoms, remains high.

The smart clothing industry has existed in the context of monitoring health for quite some time. The aforementioned tech giants have made no secret of integrating health- and wellness-centric features into their devices, and companies like Nanowear have even gone so far as to create undergarments that track things like the wearer’s heart rate.

It’s only fitting that these companies would transition to COVID assessment, containment, and prevention in the shadow of the pandemic, though they aren’t the only ones doing so. Indeed, innovators from all corners of the United States are set to participate in a “rapid testing solutions” competition–the end goal being a cheap, fast, easy-to-use wearable option to help flatten the curve. The “cheap” aspect is perhaps the most difficult; as Politico says, the majority of people have a general understanding of how to use wearable technology.

Perhaps more importantly, the potential for HIPPA violations via data access is high–and, during a period of time in which people are more suspicious of technology companies than ever, vis-a-vis data sharing, privacy could be a significant barrier to the creation, distribution, and use of otherwise crucial smart clothing.

There is no denying that the Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated, among other things, technological advancement in ways unseen by many of us alive today. Only time will tell if smart clothing–life-saving potential and all–becomes part of that trend.

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