On Real Talk Monday, I break down three important stories from the week before and briefly explain why they matter. Also, there’s always something fun at the end of the article!
Female CEOs Experienced Sexual Harassment in Tech Workplace
Badass women face sexual harassment despite being badass. NBC’s Megyn Kelly interviewed six female entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley about their experiences in the heavily male-dominated field. Each of the interviewees admitted to being sexually harassed, choosing not to report the harassment, and fearing retaliation should they report it.
“When I would bring it up with men who had been in the industry longer, often they would say ‘Don’t talk about it. You’ll get a reputation as someone who’s just whining, as someone who can’t cut it,’” one entrepreneur said.
Another entrepreneur said of those situations “You are now jeopardizing yourself, where [the man] can go and say whatever he wants about you.” She goes on to say that the man involved can demean the woman’s business and her entrepreneurial vision.
Why it matters…
Normalized sexual harassment in the tech industry matters for two major reasons. First, it perpetuates a culture which is allowing women to be violated, and no one deserves to feel violated (especially not in the workplace). Then when those women speak up about their experience, they are punished with a negative reputation. Women shouldn’t be blamed or punished for someone else choosing to violate them.
The second major reason that this story matters is that the tech industry needs women. Diversity in any and every field leads to better, faster innovation. Everybody’s seen Hidden Figures. Everybody knows that black female mathematicians and human computers helped put the first man into space. Everybody should support diversity in math and science fields. However, when women know that going into a particular line of work means “jeopardizing” themselves, the line of work loses its appeal. As a matter of fact, women are leaving the tech industry at twice the rate at which men leave.
See the NBC News interview here.
Is Amazon Killing Retail Jobs?
Amazon Prime Day happened and sales skyrocketed. Amazon outdid itself with 60 percent more Prime Day sales when compared to last year. The sales stats revived the conversation about the fate of the retail. Macy’s, Sears, Payless and more are closing thousands of their physical stores and laying off countless employees. Economists commonly link the disappearance of physical stores to their rejection of efficient, technological advancements. Is this the end of retail as we know it?
Analysis from McKinsey suggests that the retail productivity isn’t declining, but it’s not growing either. It claims that the retail productivity has been stagnant from 2005 to 2015.
Economist Michael Mandel’s analysis says otherwise. He claims that tech innovation reshaped the retail industry so much that the current measurement methods for productivity don’t capture the reality of current productivity. When he adjusted the data to account for the increase in warehouse jobs created by online retailers, Mandel found that the retail industry hadn’t lost nearly ten thousand jobs. It gained 61,000.
In response to Mandel’s findings, McKinsey economist Jaana Remes argued that the measures of productivity have never completely captured the market. “Measurement is a huge problem in productivity and always has been, but it’s much less clear that the recent slowdown can be explained by measurement issues,” she said. She points to the birth of department stores, which didn’t necessarily boost productivity but were quite successful.
Regardless, Remes believes that in the upcoming years, stores will craft an online presence that’s likely to boost sales for traditional retail stores.
Why it matters…
Most money that consumers spend in retail, they spend in person. Saying that, as a whole, traditional retail stores are disappearing is an illogical claim. However, seeing shut-down store after shut-down store is enough to frighten people about job security in that sector. Media outlets and politicians can weaponize these fears, getting people to support causes that actually inflict damage to the economy. Having a well-rounded understanding of the issue is the best way to combat that fear and support causes that strengthen economic growth.
See the story in Axios here.
Trump Campaign & Russia vs. DNC & Ukraine
Donald Trump Jr. admitted to meeting with a Russian government lawyer during his father’s 2016 presidential campaign with the intention of receiving Russian intelligence that would hurt Clinton. No one in the Trump Administration has come out stating that the meeting was morally wrong.
Instead, the Administration is pushing a derogatory story about the DNC in which a DNC employee communicated with the Ukraine government for opposition research. There’s no evidence that the DNC supported the employee’s method of research, and they didn’t use any information received by this employee. It seems that this story is aimed to distract the public from asking more questions about the possibility of collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia.
Why it matters…
Setting aside whether or not any of this behavior was illegal (which is for the special counsel and the FBI to decide). The lack of named White House officials coming out and admitting that the actions taken were wrong is strikingly concerning. Instead of an apology to the American people and an attempt to reassure us that our leader is a patriot first, they’d rather point the finger at the Democratic Party or Hillary Clinton. This matters because American citizens shouldn’t be making deals with foreign, oppressive adversary government, and leaders aren’t taking full responsibility for their actions.
See more on this topic in The Daily Beast here.
All’s Not Lost
We still have baby penguins.