No Shit: Tech Startups Founded by Women Have Almost 50% More Female Employees

Emily Weiss, founder and CEO of beauty startup Glossier (Time)

Emily Weiss, founder and CEO of beauty startup Glossier (Time)

Guess what, everyone? It turns out that tech start-ups that were founded by women…wait for it…have more female employees than tech start-ups founded by men. Can you believe it? Not only that, but these female-founded startups have almost 50% more female employees.

I think I can speak for all of us when I say: NO. SHIT.

How was this surprising insight uncovered, you ask? FundersClub, an “online start-up investing platform,” surveyed 85 tech start-ups based in the US. Most of these start-ups measured fewer than 20 employees. Within this survey, the gender breakdown at women-led start-ups registered as 48% female. As the “LA Times” notes, the 48% women stat at women-led start-ups beats the gender breakdowns at the top tech companies. Uber has 36% women, Facebook has 33% women, Apple has 32% women, and Google lags behind with 31% women within the respective companies.

A woman founder begets more women, which leads to a more gender-balanced company. Who knew?!

 

 

 

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California Public Schools Will Now Require Teaching LGBT History

Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, 1987 (The Washington Post)

Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, 1987 (The Washington Post)

California has long been one of the most progressive states in the union, fearlessly blazing a trail where other states dare not tread.

OK, maybe I’m biased because I live here.

But California is about to do something (else) no other state has done: require teaching LGBT history in public schools.

Granted, this isn’t a complete shock. Last year, the state voted to pass a new curriculum for history and social studies where children will learn about LGBT history at various points during K-12 schooling. Topics will range from learning about diverse families in elementary school to historical nuts-and-bolts in high school.

(Side note: A public forum was held in 2015 regarding the new curriculum. While there were disagreements over how some religious groups were portrayed, “no one protested the inclusion of the history of LGBT rights.” Progress!)

This measure comes after the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Act (FAIR) Education Act was passed in 2012. This act bolstered the inclusion of minority groups (including the LGBT community) in public education on history. The deadline to include this new information in textbooks was this year.

With California leading the way, I hope other states will follow suit in teaching inclusive history to their students.

 

Viola Davis Makes Record with Oscar Win

Viola Davis Oscar win, 2017 (TV Insider)

Viola Davis Oscar win, 2017 (TV Insider)

Viola Davis (a.k.a QUEEN VIOLA) won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in “Fences.” (She also gave an excellent acceptance speech.) This wasn’t remotely a surprise, as she was CLEANING UP during awards season. This win has now ushered Davis into an upper echelon of artists that many people don’t achieve.

When she was nominated for the award, Davis started making history right out of the gate.   She became the first Black actor or actress to receive three Oscar nominations. (Her two previous nominations were for “Doubt” in 2008, and “The Help” in 2011.) This year’s Best Supporting Actress nominations was the first time three Black women were nominated, and the second time three non-white women were nominated.

With her win, Davis has hit other records. She’s now the 23rd person to win what’s called the triple crown of acting: a Tony, an Emmy, and a “competitive” (a.k.a. non-honorary) Oscar. Davis is also the first Black actor to achieve this feat, winning Tony for “King Hedley II” in 2001, and “Fences” in 2010, and an Emmy for “How to Get Away with Murder” in 2015.

This club is a rare one indeed. Davis is the first actress of her generation to achieve this honor. She even beat perennial-nominee-for-everything Meryl Streep to the punch.

Davis also has three out of the four awards required for an EGOT “grand slam:” Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony (though one could argue that Davis herself brings the G). The Grammys don’t honor acting, so the EGOT is more about versatility in the entertainment industry.

California Will Vote to Require Condoms on Porn Shoots

Condoms (StyleCaster)

Condoms (StyleCaster)

This year, California residents will head to the polls, and be asked to vote on something unique to the Golden State: what happens on a porn shoot.

Proposition 60, a.k.a. the Condoms in Pornographic Films Initiative, proposes that adult performers wear condoms during scenes where they “actually engage in vaginal or anal penetration by a penis.” (Side note: can we just appreciate that this language made it into a ballot measure?) Aside from that essential fact, the measure requires producers of pornographic films to pay for medical vaccinations and testing related to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and to obtain the state health license.

This measure would cover the San Fernando Valley, where the majority of the porn industry’s films are shot. The measure is not without precedent: In 2012, 56% of voters approved a similar measure, called Measure B, that covered Los Angeles County.

A recent University of Southern California Dornsife/LA Times poll showed that 55% of respondents would support the measure if they had to vote that day. Over 1K people were surveyed.

But Prop 60 also has the potential to harm one of California’s booming industries. Right now, perfumers get tested regularly for STDs, and shooting shuts down if an outbreak occurs. It’s pretty self-governed. But passing the measure might open up liability for independent producers and private companies that distribute porn films.

One reason behind opposing Prop 60 hinges on the fact that it could drive the business elsewhere, to a place that has less stringent (or no) regulations. This concern also has precedent in data: In 2012, the year Measure B passed in Los Angeles, FilmLA reported that there were 480 permits pulled for shoots involving “nonsimulated sex.” In 2013, that number plummeted drastically to 40 permits, and has been dropping year-over-year since. Implementing Prop 60 would also cost the state around $1M to “license and regulate film production, and an additional several million dollars in lost taxes if the industry flees California.”

As you can see, there are many aspects to consider whether you’re for or against Prop. 60. Californians, make sure you do your research before you vote!

 

 

Trends: Emmys 2016 Diversity

Rami Malek, Emmys 2016 (Telegraph UK)

Rami Malek, Emmys 2016 (Telegraph UK)

The Emmy Awards aired this past Sunday night, honoring the best in TV. The twin themes  that popped out from the night were diversity and inclusion. And they played out in many ways.

Mr. Robot actor Rami Malek won Best Actor in a Drama Series, becoming the first Egyptian-American to do so. Malek also became the first non-white actor to win the award since 1998, when Andre Braugher won for Homicide: Life on the Street. On the actress side, Black-ish lead Tracee Ellis Ross was nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. Though she didn’t win, Ellis was the first Black woman to be nominated for the award in 30 years; Phylicia Rashad was nominated in 1986 for The Cosby Show. Ellis was only the fifth Black woman ever to be nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy Series.

Inclusivity also prevailed behind the camera. Comedian Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang won Best Writing for a Comedy Series for Ansari’s Netflix series Master of None. (Ansari was also nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.) Women directors were honored: Jill Soloway won Best Directing for a Comedy Series for Amazon’s Transparent, and Susanne Bier won Best Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special for AMC’s The Night Manager.

Diverse narratives are gaining more traction. Transparent actor Jeffrey Tambor won Best Actor in a Comedy Series for the second consecutive year for his role as a transwoman.

It was good to see some progress made this year in terms of inclusion, but there’s still a long way to go.

 

 

Sex & The ’60s: How Many Live Births Occurred During the Decade?

'Mad Men' season 3 still (LA Times Blogs)

‘Mad Men’ season 3 still (LA Times Blogs)

This week, we’re examining sexuality data from the 1960s, in celebration of the upcoming final half-season of “Mad Men” beginning Apr. 5th.

On “Mad Men,” two significant female characters, Don’s wife Betty Draper (January Jones) and his subordinate Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), gave birth to sons. (Oops, spoiler alert?) While each character made different decisions regarding their progeny, it became a pivotal moment for both of them.

Tracking the number of live births within a population is an essential checkpoint to determine how healthily a population is growing. We’ve already looked at population and marriage stats from the 1960s; now let’s look at birth stats from the decade.

I found a table put together by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) cataloging registered live births from 1933 to 1998, breaking down the data by the age and race of the mother. For our purposes, we’ll look at age only and narrow it down to mothers ages 15-49.

Here’s the data table:

1960s Live Births by Mother's Age and Year Data Table

1960s Live Births by Mother’s Age and Year Data Table

But the patterns are a little hard to see. So I made a line graph:

1960s Registered Live Births by Mother's Age and Year Line Graph

1960s Registered Live Births by Mother’s Age and Year Line Graph

Now we can begin to see some patterns.

It appears that 1964 was a tipping-point year, as some of the age-ranges pivoted from their determined patterns at that year. The number of mothers ages 20-24, the largest group in the series, dropped below 1.4M+ that year, and settled around 1.3M+-1.5M+ for the remainder of the decade. Likewise, the number of live registered births for the 25-29 cohort hit 1M+ that year for the last time that decade. For the rest of the 1960s, births for women ages 25-29 stayed within the six-figure range.

Previous to 1964, women ages 30-34 numbered around 600K+ live births. But 1964 began a drop into the 500K+ range for a couple of years, before ending the decade within the 400K+ range.

Women ages 15-19 (well, teens) stayed within the same range of births throughout the decade (585K+ to 605K+, with an outlier of 621K+ in 1966). But the line graph above makes it appear as if the cohort had a more dramatic rise, but that’s because it’s set off by the 30-34 range’s changes.

In terms of the “Mad Men” characters, Peggy Olson would’ve been 21 years old, and would’ve given birth around 1960. That places her in the largest age cohort of that year. (Ages 20-24 outstripped the next-highest range, ages 25-29, by 334K+ births.) Betty Draper was around 31 years old in 1963 when she gave birth. So she was within the largest of the age ranges that year which didn’t hit 1M+ live births, but still on the downswing of common pregnancies. (Women ages 30-34 registered 610K+ live births).

It seems that showrunner Matthew Weiner’s obsessiveness towards period accuracy extended even to birth ages of his female characters.