Google Champions Women Programmers, Sued Over Wage Disparity Claims

Izenda Content Strategist

September 20, 2017

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By Bob Pepalis, Izenda

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Each month we take a look at recent technology news to spot the trends and advances in software and other industries. If you spot a piece of news that should be shared or have a comment, send it to me via email.

Knowing Co-workers’ Pay Helps Reveal Fairness of Pay

Wage transparency ends the secret of whether a worker is being paid fairly, according to several studies. As women earn on average around 80 cents for every dollar a man makes, that knowledge can be empowering.

If you don't know how much your co-workers make, it's tough to figure out whether you're being paid fairly, University of Baltimore law professor Nancy Modessit said in a CNN article.

The Trump administration put an end to an Obama-era pay transparency proposal. Companies with more than 100 employees would have to collect pay data. A memo from the Office of Management and Budget said the administration abandoned the policy because of the burdensome data collection.

Women Sue Google Claiming Lower Pay for Same Work

Three former Google workers sued the tech giant, claiming women were paid less than men for doing the same work, according to a Daily Mail article.

In their lawsuit filed on behalf of all women who worked at Google over the last four years, the trio seeks lost wages and their own slice of its profits. Women were assigned and kept in lower pay levels than men who had similar skills, experiences and duties, according to the suit. They were refused promotions because they hadn’t been at the company long enough. And the suit claims men usually moved to better paying “back-end” programming jobs while women got the “front-end” posts.

Tens of Thousands of Women Take Advantage of Online Courses

An online program launched this summer, “Teach Girls Coding,” cleared up confusion for at least one woman who worried that artificial intelligence would fill jobs related to her communication engineering and electronic information engineering major.

Pin Zhen saw many of her peers leaving the industries after being replaced by machines, the Shanghai Daily article reported.
Free online courses on the most frequently used programming languages helped her catch up with postgraduate study. The “Teach Girls Coding” program is designed for women to help them break into the male-dominated information technology industry.

More than 60,000 women ages 14 and over in China signed up for the program.

Pin gained confidence about her master’s degree on advanced computer sciences. What she learned in the online program helped her win an internship at AT&T to maintain a database.

Google Wants Hollywood to Give Women Equal Time

The social outcast white male coder doesn’t inspire women and minorities to pursue computer science careers. So Google is asking Hollywood to give them equal screen time on television shows and movies that mostly cast white men in tech roles, according to a recent article.

A new study funded by Google found that a viewer would need to watch more than 85 hours of popular shows and movies to see one example of a black, Latino, or mixed race female character discussing or engaging in computer science.

Daraiha Greene, Google CS in Media program manager, multicultural strategy, said women’s enrollment in forensic science jumped after CSI premiered, which shows how popular culture can shape career choices.

Software Developers Don’t Ask Bosses for Help

Software developers go online to find answers, but few of them ever go to their bosses for help. Fewer than 20 percent ask bosses for advice, according to a survey by software analysis firm Cast.

A Computer Weekly article reported that the developers were more likely to turn to YouTube, Google Communities, and Microsoft Virtual Academy. Just 17 percent of the developers surveyed use Stack Overflow or GitHub for help.

The popularity of YouTube may be linked to the large number of developers who are self-taught, according to Cast’s Bill Curtis. That could cause them to make some of the classic mistakes someone with a software engineering background may avoid, he said.

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Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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