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Tag Archives: gender

Shoe startups aren’t dragging their feet

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor Hydrate, intoxicate, caffeinate, repeat: Meet the startups pouring the future VCs serve up a large helping of cash to startups disrupting food Good thing Carrie Bradshaw, the shoe-loving heroine of Sex and the City, wasn’t a footwear venture capitalist. The high-heeled, high-priced and hard-to-walk-in pairs beloved by the TV icon are pretty much the least fundable concept in the shoe startup space lately. Instead, when they do dip their toe in the footwear space, venture investors have been putting a premium on comfort. At least that’s what recent funding records indicate. Over the past year-and-a-half, investors have tied up roughly $170 million in an assortment of  shoe-related startups , according to an analysis of Crunchbase data. The vast majority is going to sellers and designers of footwear that people might actually want to walk in. Top funding recipients are a varied bunch, including everything from used sneaker marketplaces to high-end designers to toddler play shoes. Startups are also experimenting with little-used materials, turning used plastic bottles, merino wool and other substances into chic wearables. Below, we look at how startups are leveraging market trends to get a foot in the door. Growth market It should be noted that recent footwear funding activity comes on the heels of some positive developments for the shoe industry. First, this is a huge and growing industry. One recent  report  pegged the global footwear market at $246 billion in 2017, with annual growth rates of around 4.5 percent. Second, public markets are strong. Shares of the world’s most valuable footwear company — Nike — have climbed more than 50 percent over the past nine months to reach a market cap of nearly $130 billion. Stocks of several smaller rivals, including Adidas, have also performed well

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The queer dating app Her expands with curated community spaces

After carving out a niche as the first dating app by and for queer women, Her is broadening its mission. Today, the app formerly known as Dattch is launching a Communities feature — kind of like a set of mini queer subreddits — to let people connect around interests and identity as a group. “We spent the past three years bringing people together in one on one conversations and introductions — communities is about taking it beyond the one on one,” Her founder Robyn Exton told TechCrunch. “We started paying attention to the number of queer spaces that are closing,” Exton said, noting that women’s centers, lesbian bars, queer bookshops and other queer IRL spaces are closing in record numbers in recent years. “We actually think they’re needed more than ever.” Her’s new Communities feature aims to create a digital version of those collective queer spaces, letting users connect with interest and identity-based groups, with message boards custom built for Her’s unique user base. Users can post content in Communities or follow another person’s feed to stay up to date on what’s going in the Her universe. A curated starter pack of Communities launches today, though Exton plans to add more over time with the potential for user-generated Communities and pop-ups around specific events. The first set includes a space for queer women of color, one centered around mindfulness and wellbeing and another for news and entertainment, among others. The categories are pretty broad for now, but it sounds like Her plans to adapt Communities to whatever its users end up wanting. That flexibility coupled with Exton’s commitment to maintaining a space that’s “so ragingly queer” set Her apart from dating apps that generally fumble any dating experience that isn’t explicitly for straight people or gay men. Her also plans to push toward internationalization in 2018 to grow its 3 million registered users. The app is already live in 55 countries and its largest non-English speaking markets are France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia and the Philippines.

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A look at nine influential women in cryptocurrency, who are working towards making the technology more inclusive and less biased by closing the gender…

Morgen Peck / Glamour : A look at nine influential women in cryptocurrency, who are working towards making the technology more inclusive and less biased by closing the gender gap   —  Meet nine women who are changing the game.  —  When dinner conversations turn to cryptocurrency, as they often do these days …

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Uber’s first diversity report under new CEO shows slight progress

Under the leadership of Travis Kalanick, Uber was late to the game in producing its first diversity report . Now, under the leadership of new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, things are starting to look a bit different at Uber. Uber has not only brought on a chief diversity officer but also continues to make progress in terms of representation of black and brown people in leadership roles in the U.S., as well as the overall number of women in its workforce. But regarding black and brown people in tech leadership roles, Uber has none. Here’s a quick overview of what Uber’s workforce looks like today: Compared to last year, Uber has increased the percentage of women from 36.1 to 38 percent. While Uber’s black representation has gone down a bit, Latinx representation increased from 5.6 to 6.1 percent. Uber’s data is based on an in-house survey, rather than an EEO-1 report. Instead, Uber pulled the gender and race numbers from Workday, where employees are able to self-identify. Uber says the gender data has about 99 percent participation while the race/ethnicity data represents more than 75 percent of the company. Regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer representation, Uber reported 15 percent of those who opted into that survey identified as such. In total, only a little over a third of Uber employees participated in the survey worldwide

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Huge numbers of job postings in China specify ‘men only’ or dictate women’s appearance

Gender discrimination may be a hot-button issue here in the U.S., but we don’t have a monopoly on the practice by a long shot. A new report from Human Rights Watch highlights widespread and blatant discrimination in Chinese job descriptions, despite its ostensibly being illegal there. In fact, the highest incidence rates were found in government jobs. The report looked at 36,000 job descriptions posted in the last few years, including 2017 and 2018 listings for civil service and government jobs. The authors note that their work was conducted under increasing hostility and suppression of the topic by Chinese authorities, meaning no cooperation (but perhaps some interference) was expected. Thousands of the listings included such language as “men only,” “suitable for men,” or the like, for example “need to work overtime frequently, high intensity work, only men need apply.” In the civil service category, this happened in as frequently as one in five listings, with no corresponding “women only” language except in a single 2018 job. In the Ministry of Public Security, more than half the jobs required the applicant be male. When women are permitted or requested to apply, they are subject to gendered requirements: be married with kids, for instance. But more common are appearance-based demands: to be a train conductor, a woman must be between 5’1″ and 5’6″, weigh less than 143 pounds, and have “normal facial features, no tattoos, no obvious scars on face, neck or arms, good skin tone, no incurable skin conditions.” Women lucky enough to already be employed in major companies like Baidu and Tencent are used as lures for male applicants: these “goddesses” are presented as potential matches, as in this Alibaba ad: “They are the goddesses in Alibaba employees’ heart—smart and competent at work and charming and alluring in life. They are independent but not proud, sensitive but not melodramatic. They want to be your coworkers. Do you want to be theirs?” Of course we shouldn’t throw rocks, at the risk of shattering our own glass house of sexism and other discriminatory practices over here, but it is worth being reminded that this is a worldwide and deeply seated phenomenon. You can read the full report, “Only Men Need Apply,” here . Its recommendations, though the Chinese authorities seem unlikely to heed them, are to modernize laws relating to discrimination and enforce the ones that exist. China is in fact party to some international agreements to guarantee its citizens certain rights and quash discrimination when it is detected, so that may work as leverage

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Former DreamWorks exec Shawn Dennis joins GoldieBlox as president

GoldieBlox , a startup looking to get girls hooked on engineering and other STEM fields , has hired Shawn Dennis as its first president. Dennis was most recently the head of brand and franchise development at DreamWorks Animation and also worked as the chief marketing officer at Mattel’s American Girl. She’s also been on the GoldieBlox board of directors since 2016 — founder and CEO Debbie Sterling told me she’s been “not-so-secretly hoping all along that one day Shawn would come and help me run this thing.” Sterling said that while GoldieBlox is usually described as a toy company, she’s always had a vision for the Goldie character to become someone who would “inspire girls around the world.” “I started it really as a social mission: I wanted to close the gender gap in STEM,” she said. And yes, selling toys where girls can build their own machines is part of that mission, but so is the GoldieBlox YouTube channel and a partnership to produce chapter books with Random House . Part of Dennis’ role at GoldieBlox will be to lead licensing and partnerships (apparently there’s an animated show in the works, as well) and to create what she described as “an ecosystem with girls at the center.” She added that things like YouTube are key for helping the company open “two lanes of communication,” so that it’s not just talking to parents but girls as well. “It’s time again to reinvent what girlhood means,” Dennis said. In addition to handling licensing, she said she’ll be managing much of the company’s day-to-day operations, freeing Sterling to focus on the long-term vision and on advocating for that vision. Dennis’ tenure at both DreamWorks (where she was involved in launching franchises like Trolls) and American Girl has given her plenty of experience with building brands for girls, but she added,” I will be running the business and building the business. I will not be the face of the company — that needs to be Debbie.”

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Sony announces Xperia XZ2 Premium with 5.8-inch 4K HDR display and dual cameras focusing on ultra-low-light performance, with photos of up to ISO…

Chris Welch / The Verge : Sony announces Xperia XZ2 Premium with 5.8-inch 4K HDR display and dual cameras focusing on ultra-low-light performance, with photos of up to ISO 51,200   —  ISO 51200 sensitivity  —  Less than two months after unveiling the Xperia XZ2 at Mobile World Congress, Sony is back again with the Xperia XZ2 Premium.

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China issues official national guidelines for testing of self-driving cars on public roads, including that a human must always be in the driver’s…

Adam Jourdan / Reuters : China issues official national guidelines for testing of self-driving cars on public roads, including that a human must always be in the driver's position   —  SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China has laid out national guidelines for testing self-driving cars as it looks to keep pace with the United States …

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Amidst tariffs brawl with US, China is delaying reviews of Qualcomm’s NXP deal and Bain’s acquisition of Toshiba’s chip unit, raising fears both deals…

Wall Street Journal : Amidst tariffs brawl with US, China is delaying reviews of Qualcomm's NXP deal and Bain's acquisition of Toshiba's chip unit, raising fears both deals may fail   —  Qualcomm and Bain Capital are most at risk if the delays scuttle their respective deals  —  BEIJING—China is slowing reviews …

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Swiss staffing and workforce development company Adecco acquires NY-based coding school General Assembly for $412.5M; General Assembly had raised…

Dan Primack / Axios : Swiss staffing and workforce development company Adecco acquires NY-based coding school General Assembly for $412.5M; General Assembly had raised ~$120M   —  Coding school General Assembly has agreed to be acquired for $412.5 million in cash by Swiss staffing and workforce development company Adecco.

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A look at the history and challenges of devising standout names for computer viruses and vulnerabilities, thousands of which are now discovered each…

Robert McMillan / Wall Street Journal : A look at the history and challenges of devising standout names for computer viruses and vulnerabilities, thousands of which are now discovered each year   —  Techies turn to puns, historical references in desperate efforts to devise standout monikers; the problem with Badlock

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Fallout from data collection scandal has not spread much beyond Facebook to include other platforms because it is hard to pinpoint harm from privacy…

Richard Waters / Financial Times : Fallout from data collection scandal has not spread much beyond Facebook to include other platforms because it is hard to pinpoint harm from privacy violations   —  It is nearly four weeks since the Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted, and something surprising has happened.  —  Or rather, not happened.

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Some tech luminaries dismissed the internet in 1994 as immature tech that was useless or impractical, a cautionary tale for those who dismiss…

Steven Sinofsky / Learning By Shipping : Some tech luminaries dismissed the internet in 1994 as immature tech that was useless or impractical, a cautionary tale for those who dismiss blockchain today   —  What was it like in 1993/4 when the web was new?  Turns out the reaction at the time from luminaries was not far from today's reaction to innovation in Fintech.

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As US Cyber Command’s split from NSA approaches, sources describe tensions between military and intelligence about who should lead offensive…

Chris Bing / Cyberscoop : As US Cyber Command's split from NSA approaches, sources describe tensions between military and intelligence about who should lead offensive cyber-operations   —  Cyber-warfare specialists serving with the 175th Cyberspace Operations Group of the Maryland Air National Guard engage in weekend training …

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