Women in tech “hack the gender gap”

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Top women in media and technology convened at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 24, at an invite-only event to promote conversation about the gender gap in their industries.

Called “Hack the Gender Gap,” the event was co-sponsored by PBS MediaShift and the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University (WVU) to connect female innovators on both coasts. As female professionals gathered at Google headquarters to discuss their experiences in the workplace, female students at WVU tuned in via video chat, kicked off a weekend hackathon at WVU and launched of the university’s Innovation Lab.

The panel of women industry leaders in the Mountain View location participated in discussions about the obstacles for women in media and technology. Specific topics of conversation included addressing the reproductive rights for female tech employees, negotiating fair salaries for women producing the same work as their male counterparts and protecting women from sexual and emotional harassment.

The Silicon Valley panelists were: Jane Schachtel, Facebook’s Global Head of Mobile and Tech Strategy; Laura Michelle Berman, co-inventor of new product Melon; Aminatou Sow, co-founder of Tech LadyMafia and marketing efforts lead for Google’s Politics & Elections team; Tasneem Raja, interactives editor at Mother Jones; and Vale Aurora, co-founder of the Ada Initiative.

Amy Webb, founder of Webbmedia Group, moderated the panel discussion, which was beamed virtually into WVU and also encouraged the input and questions of the participants from that location.

After the panelist discussion, those at the Mountain View location participated in “Speed Sharing,” an activity adapted from Spark Camp programming, which encouraged rotating pairs to ask each other questions about the culture of the workplace and the challenges faced as women leaders in media and technology.

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