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How Microsoft is inspiring girls to stay in STEM and MakeWhatsNext
To celebrate International Women's Day March 8, Microsoft announced Tuesday it is building upon last year's campaign encouraging girls to MakeWhatsNext. The new campaign aises awareness of the issues that cause girls to drop out of or lose interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and ''aims to pique their excitement in how they can change the world - if they stay engaged,'' writes Mary Snapp, corporate vice president of Microsoft Philanthropies. A new video challenges girls to stay in STEM so they are empowered to solve the problems they care about most, ranging from finding solutions to climate change to curing cancer, Snapp says. Additionally, to help shift perceptions about STEM jobs, Microsoft and LinkedIn launched a new experiential tool in conjunction with the campaign to demonstrate how girls can pursue their passions across industries and social causes.
Posted on 11 Mar 2017
Trump signs laws to promote women in STEM
The White House just gave women in STEM a boost. President Donald Trump signed two laws on Tuesday that authorize NASA and the National Science Foundation to encourage women and girls to get into STEM fields. Those are science, technology, engineering and math. The Inspire Act directs NASA to promote STEM fields to women and girls, and encourage women to pursue careers in aerospace. The law gives NASA three months to present two congressional committees with its plans for getting staff - think astronauts, scientists and engineers - in front of girls studying STEM in elementary and secondary schools. The full name of the law is the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers Women Act, in case you're wondering where the acronym Inspire comes from. The second law is the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act. It authorizes the National Science Foundation to support entrepreneurial programs aimed at women.
Posted on 11 Mar 2017
The exact age when girls lose interest in science and math
A new survey commissioned by Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) found that young girls in Europe become interested in so-called STEM subjects around the age of 11 and then quickly lose interest when they're 15. ''Conformity to social expectations, gender stereotypes, gender roles and lack of role models continue to channel girls' career choices away from STEM fields,'' said psychology professor Martin Bauer of the London School of Economics, who helped coordinate the survey of 11,500 girls across 12 European countries. The survey also found that girls' interest in humanities subjects drops around the same age but then rebound sharply. Interest in STEM subjects does not recover.
Posted on 11 Mar 2017
Intel Introduces An Anonymous Hotline In Hopes Of Hanging On To Its Diverse Hires
Ever since Intel made a $300 million, five-year investment in diversity and inclusion in 2015, the tech behemoth has kept its promise to release a semi-annual progress report. And while other Silicon Valley companies have recently delayed releasing their diversity numbers, Intel just released its latest statistical analysis of its staff.Other companies are demurring due to lack of progress, but Danielle Brown, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Intel, says that even incremental gains are important. And in this report, as in its last, some of the improvements look small in terms of percentage of increase. For example, underrepresented minorities in leadership roles increased to 7.1% in 2016 from 6.3% in 2015. Other stats show similar gains.
Posted on 11 Mar 2017
High School Students develop innovative wildfire prediction and prevention device using machine learning technique
Two California sophomores from Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, Aditya Shah and Sanjana Shah, designed and built a Smart Wildfire Sensor device that can be used in a synchronized network of sensors to predict and prevent wildfire in a forest, using machine learning technique. The Smart Wild Fire sensors provide 92% accuracy in predicting fires. The analysis phase maps the images of accumulated biomass in real time.This data in conjunction with other environmental factors like weather, wind, air-quality predicts level of fire hazard accurately. This device uses Google's TensorFlow Neural Network to analyze the captured images in machine-learning phase. This solar powered device is designed to consume minimal power for prolonged battery life and LoRa (long range) low power wireless platform to cover the vast forest areas where GSM signals may not be available. This device is extremely useful to predict and prevent wildfires in the remote terrain where human access is often difficult.
Posted on 11 Mar 2017
Who Should Be Responsible for Pushing Gender Diversity at Work?
Even though research has shown that there are concrete benefits to hiring and promoting more women into leadership positions, progress remains stilted in corporate America - especially at the top. Only 14 percent of executives at Fortune 500 companies are women. While the number of female board members has been increasing, the number of female executives remains stagnant despite efforts and stated corporate commitments to change the ratio. Jeffery Tobias Halter thinks that men should help spearhead efforts to change that. Tobias is the former director of diversity strategy at Coca-Cola, but since 2001, he's been working as a consultant focused on getting men to participate in gender-balancing initiatives. His company, YWomen, has worked with dozens of Fortune 500 companies, including McDonald's, Walmart, GE, Citigroup, and Costo.
Posted on 11 Mar 2017
After all this time, Twitter finally found some women scientists to recommend
New users joining Twitter are presented with a list of recommended people to follow in categories like entertainment, government, gaming and politics. It's telling, then, to see what kinds of people Twitter has deemed influential enough to merit a spot on these lists, which often act as a gateway to hundreds of thousands of followers and widespread public recognition. Until today, if you were interested in ''Technology and Science,'' you were likely given a list that was 100% male. Then, Verge science editor Elizabeth Lopatto tweeted Eveleth's message at Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey - and actually got a response. Apparently, the Twitter team got to work. And the list reflected the changes.
Posted on 11 Mar 2017
'Brogrammer' Attitude May Hinder Technology Diversity
Forty-five percent of female technology workers say they have witnessed exclusionary behavior in the workplace, according to a new study of more than 1,000 tech workers by Austin, Texas-based tech job board Indeed. Experts cite the ''brogrammer'' culture that sometimes crops up in the tech industry, where the nerdy computer-programmer stereotype is shunned and is replaced by a jet set, skirt-chasing, bottle-popping, frat house attitude. Often, this brogrammer clique consists solely of white men. This type of office culture, experts say, encourages exclusivity along racial and gender lines in what is already a white-male-dominated industry. Indeed's study of U.S. employees, conducted by London-based survey consultancy Censuswide, also showed that 64 percent of nonwhite tech workers say they felt uncomfortable at work, compared to just 24 percent of workers who identify as white. Twenty-nine percent of women who responded to the study said they had been discriminated against versus 21 percent of men. About 32 percent of Asian and other nonwhite tech workers said they had experienced discrimination, compared with 22 percent of white employees. Details about the nature of the discrimination were not provided in the study.
Posted on 20 Feb 2017
Silicon Valley's gender gap is the result of computer-game marketing 20 years ago
It's no secret that there is a pronounced gender gap in technology fields. In 2014, 70% of the employees at the top tech companies in Silicon Valley, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, were male. In technical roles, this phenomenon is even more pronounced; for example, only 10% of the technical workforce at Twitter is female. But things haven't always been this way. The numbers of enrollments among men and women in computer science were on their way toward parity in the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984, 37% of computer science graduates were women, but those numbers began to drop dramatically in the middle of the decade. By 2016, that number had been whittled down to 18%. This dip in the 1980s has created a chasm that the past 30 years hasn't been able to overcome - and the dude-centric computer marketing campaigns of that time may be to blame.
Posted on 20 Feb 2017
Canadian government removes kitten from webpage promoting girls in science and technology
A day after the National Post reported about the controversy over a government of Canada website to promote girls in science, the page has been drastically altered and no longer specifically mentions girls or uses images of kittens or fashion as promotional gimmicks. The original campaign (which was at this link) used selfies, kittens and fashion to entice young girls to pursue jobs in science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called STEM fields. Science Minister Kirsty Duncan launched the effort, called Choose Science, on Feb. 11 to mark the International Day for Women and Girls in Science. In addition to social media, the campaign includes a slick website, with resources for parents, teachers and girls to help address the persistent gap of women in those fields.
Posted on 20 Feb 2017

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