Women In Technology - Friday Links - 02nd April 2021

We are wishing you an egg-citing Easter break. Our selection of links below for this long weekend.




Contrary to popular belief, a study published in the American Economic Review, found that quotas can weed out incompetent men rather than promote unqualified women.



Gender Quotas and the Crisis of the Mediocre Man: Theory and Evidence from Sweden



Christine Lagarde on her past and present views on quotas and their granular implementation

Avant, Christine Lagarde croyait que le mérite suffirait pour que les femmes accèdent largement à des postes de pouvoir. Aujourd'hui, elle défend les quotas. Voilà pourquoi.



And an argument on the opposite side:

There are simply not enough experienced women in the sector and of suitable caliber to fill a third of board posts.



It is true that board positions tend to be taken up by people toward the end of their careers, and today most of them are men. Hopefully granular quotas today will shift this in the next generation.

And until then let’s not forget, probably not all board positions now are filled with men of a suitable calibre :-)



Commission on the Status of Women


Grace Fern Jackson, ATS/DO admin student, joined CERN in October 2020, and one of the very first things she noticed was the undeniable fact that almost without exception, all female students joining this year were employed under administrative contracts while all male students were employed under technical contracts.

Grace few days ago took part at the 65th Commission of the Status of Women; the event brings together representatives and experts from every country to negotiate future global policies for the progression of women's rights.

In her article she shares with us research findings on methods to close the gender divide in STEM and promote female leadership in tech.



The commission recognized that despite some progress women have a long road to reach equality with men in elections or appointments to decision-making bodies and administrative posts. And it recognized that temporary special measures, including quotas, substantially contribute to increasing women’s representation in national and local legislatures.




WIT Annual Review


We would like to thank you all 30+ participants to our annual review for your contribution and the fruitful discussions. The following topics were discussed.


  • This year the focus went on tackling harassment. It was mentioned that the ratio of women/men visitors to the Ombud is much higher at CERN with respect to other Organisations and it was suggested that the first step for the assessment of the situation is the gathering of statistics from all the harassment reporting channels. Indeed, on our input to the 5yr review, WIT recommended the consolidation of the harassment reports and statistics. While anticipating the outcome of the 5yr review, WIT is planning on raising awareness and opening up the discussion on the topic. 


  • WIT may seem to some people as limited to only engineers, youngsters or extreme feminists :-/ Let’s take this feedback as an opportunity to communicate better the broad base and purpose of WIT. Your input as always is very welcome.


Presentation and minutes available here: https://indico.cern.ch/event/1014848/



WEF Gender Report 2021


  • We wish it was an April Fool’s statement. After the pandemic, another generation of women will have to wait for gender parity



  • On the technology front the new analysis in the WEF report demonstrated that the challenge of the number of women who study in STEM fields—what has often been termed a ‘supply problem’—can in fact be seen as a symptom of wider biases which inform the job-switching behaviour of female workers.



  • Share of women into senior management roles in IT:



Avalanche effect


Lately we hear more and more of companies significantly increasing paternity leave.

Le constructeur automobile suédois Volvo Cars va proposer un congé parental de six mois indemnisé à 80% à ses quelque 40’000 employés à travers le monde, a-t-il annoncé mardi, afin notamment de favoriser l’égalité entre les sexes.




From the glass ceiling to the glass cliff


The glass cliff is the phenomenon of women in leadership roles being likelier than men to be appointed during periods of crisis or downturn, when the chance of failure is highest.




It’s no coincidence they were women


Three groundbreaking journalists saw the Vietnam War differently. It’s no coincidence they were women.



on behalf of the WIT steering committee

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