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Blog post
June 24, 2019

Celebrating the women pressing for progress in tech

Gender inequality can often feel overwhelming.

Statistics tell us that less than 25% of tech jobs are held by women in developed countries. To add salt to the wound, that ‘minority’ group are not only getting paid less than their male counterparts, but the gap is widening.

Case in point: a recent Workplace Gender Equality Study looking at the differences between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time earnings across all industries, found that the gender pay gap rose in technology from 18.5% in November 2016 to 19.1% in 2017.

Today we are encouraged to #pressforprogress and commit to a “gender parity mindset” via progressive action. With this in mind, I am choosing not to be weighed down by the inequity that stats demonstrate, and rather celebrate the small wins. While not yet equal in number to men, today women are leading some of the world’s biggest technology companies and are leading by example. It’s that progress we should celebrate; and celebrate these women that are the change makers.

Sheryl Sandberg

“Nearly 50% of men think that when just 1 in 10 senior leaders in their company is a woman, that’s sufficient” wrote Sheryl Sandberg in an op ed for the New York Times. Known as one of the tech industry’s most visible feminists and as COO of one of the world’s most successful tech companies, Facebook, Sheryl says that achieving gender equality starts with knowing how far we have to go. Through the work of her Lean In organisation, Sandberg released a report into Women in The Workplace with McKinsey and Co, highlighting startling insights about women and work that she’s determined to address. Highlighting just how far we have to go, Sandberg’s report found men are not only less likely to say gender diversity is a top personal priority, some men even feel that gender diversity efforts disadvantage them: 15 percent of men think their gender will make it harder for them to advance. Not one to rest on her laurels, Sheryl has been sharing the message of workplace gender equality in typically male domains. “Go back and be loud and clear, especially if you are a male, that you are committed to mentoring women. It will make a huge difference,” Sandberg said at the Morgan Stanley 2018 Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.

Grace Hopper

It would be remiss not to mention Grace Hopper when referring to the women who shaped tech as we know it today.  Born in 1906, Hopper was a computer scientist and US Navy rear admiral.  One of the first programmers of IBM’s Harvard Mark I computer, used in WWII.  She was a pioneer of computer programming and invented one of the first compiler related tools – software that transforms computer codes. She popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages in the 1950’s, which eventuated into ‘common business’ computer language, COBOL which is still in use today.  This invention led Hopper to be affectionately became known as the Grandmother of COBOL.  Hopper passed away in 1992 but her legacy lives on in many ways; a college at Yale has been named in her honour and in 2016 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.

Jean Liu

Named amongst Forbes Power Women in 2017,  Jean Liu is the president of Didi Chuxing, China’s answer to UBER, and the country’s largest transportation platform providing transportation services for more than 450 million users across over 400 cities in China. Since joining the business in 2014, Liu has been instrumental in helping the business win multi-billion dollar investments and strategic partnerships with the world’s leading ride-hailing companies via investments and cooperation in products and technology.  After buying Uber’s China operation in 2016, Didi Chuxing is now thought to be valued at $50 billion.  Having studying Computer Science in China and achieving a Master’s Degree at Harvard; technology is in her blood – Liu is the daughter of Lenovo founder Liu Chuanzhi.  Liu has made a name for herself most recently being named in TIME’s 20 Most Influential People in Tech; one of only five women who made the global list.

Women changing the way we think

Behind many great companies are great women changing the way we think, act and do thanks to technology.  These trail blazers are making decisions that not only affect their work place, but also influence our future.  I hope that in the next iteration of TIME Magazines’ ’20 Most Influential People in Tech’, women account for more than a quarter of the list.  While the gradient may be slower than we desire; we must also celebrate how far we’ve come – something Grace Hopper would be so proud of.

Andrea is Isentia’s Chief Information Officer. She is one of Australia’s few female CIOs. 

This article originally appeared in Women Love Tech.

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has published anti-greenwashing guidelines for businesses making environmental and sustainability claims. Despite these efforts, media coverage of greenwashing, particularly focusing on senate inquiries and regulatory court cases against major offenders, continues to expose brands and industries stretching the truth in their sustainability messaging. This exposure is causing a growing disconnect between consumers and corporations, as audiences increasingly call out misleading practices and question the authenticity of corporate sustainability claims.Isentia’s sister brand, Pulsar conducted recent research exploring media and public discourse around sustainability. Part of this report examines how greenwashing is covered in the news and on social media, particularly in relation to the broader sustainability discourse. Let’s investigate those themes in more depth here.

Social media data is decreasing while online news activity re-engages, indicating incident-led conversations. Regulatory bodies like the ACCC, and state and federal governments are tackling greenwashing by identifying major corporate offenders and their misleading actions, such as 'recyclable' packaging, carbon credit misuse, lack of transparency in fossil fuel investments, and exploitation of government climate programs. Audience conversations often align with news coverage on these matters.
The term in Australia particularly gained traction among social audiences around November 2022 when the UN called out the Australian government for allowing the use of carbon offsets in corporate emissions reduction strategies. News of the apparent collusion between the government and large corporations has caused public faith and trust in both to dwindle. As these stories emerge, Australia's positive sustainability impact on the international stage is significantly undermined.

https://twitter.com/janegarcia/status/1591662729664004099

When we look at which sectors are most discussed within the greenwashing topic, energy, finance, and food take the lead.

Much of the discussion regarding the energy and finance sectors emphasises their interconnectedness, particularly the investment by financial institutions, including super funds, in environmentally harmful industries. Despite some super funds claiming to offer options that avoid unsustainable investments, reports have revealed that they collectively hold millions of shares in the fossil fuel industry. 

Many industries are being criticised for using carbon credits, such as REDD+ offsets, to appear more sustainable. Advertising, marketing, and public relations also play a significant role in promoting misleading sustainability initiatives, thereby contributing to greenwashing. However, stakeholders are aware that the advertising and communications industries have a huge impact on the profitability and success of an industry or product. The European Union’s Product Environmental Footprint classification system, for example, has been criticised by Australia’s wool industry for being unfair to wool products and for greenwashing. This, they argue, not only undermines the pursuit of a green transition within fashion but also damages a vital industry.

Mercer stands out as a most mentioned brand within the topic of greenwashing. This is due to ASIC pursuing a civic penalty case against them which alleged they misled members about its sustainability investments. This is groundbreaking for audiences to witness as it would be the first time the consumer watchdog has taken a company to court for alleged greenwashing.

https://twitter.com/BillHareClimate/status/1630404986130808833

Much of the conversation focuses on misinformation and lack of transparency in communication and marketing. Certifications like Fair Trade are being questioned, particularly for products like chocolate, and eco-certification for farmed salmon. It particularly muddies the waters for political figures when they get entangled with brands coming under scrutiny for such greenwashing.

https://twitter.com/JosieMcskimming/status/1750987402691362858

Furthermore, some companies feature in the media conversation due to their involvement in a senate enquiry initiated in March 2023, with a report expected by June 28th this year. 

Analysis of the ANZ reveals a shift in mindset, with consumers emphasising individual actions for solutions like composting or guerilla campaigns on mislabelled environmentally friendly salmon products. Grassroots and individual activism leading to actions like divestment from conflicting companies. Community groups like uni student clubs showcase how groups with shared values and experiences can make noise and incite change with how universities invest. However, there are ongoing debates as to whether it’s the role of sectors like higher education or Super Funds to prioritise the environmental implications of their decisions.

The rise in curiosity around greenwashing highlights the growing consumer demand for transparency and genuine sustainability from brands. As regulatory scrutiny and public awareness increase, brands must ensure their sustainability claims are genuine or face reputation damage.

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Blog
The Eco-Spin Cycle: how brand’s sustainability claims come out in the wash

Regulators are cracking down on corporate greenwashing, but what does media discussion reveal about its impact on brand-consumer relations?

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As the spotlight on sustainability intensifies year by year, it has become a focal point for legislators, media entities, and audiences worldwide.

This dynamic environment demands that brands and institutions elevate their standards in messaging and actions, holding them accountable like never before. For professionals in the PR & Comms realm, it is imperative to grasp not only how sustainability is being discussed but also the potential pitfalls, such as greenwashing, and gain a profound understanding of the diverse audiences receiving these messages.

Explore over 20 beautifully crafted pages of data visualisation that illuminate audience insights sourced from social media, news outlets, and search engines. Gain valuable perspectives on how one of the defining issues of our time is being discussed and understood.

Our exploration of this crucial topic delves deep into uncovering insights that are indispensable for crafting effective strategies, both tactical and long-term:

-Unraveling trends in the sustainability conversation

-Assessing brand & industry reputations

-Navigating greenwashing & misinformation

-Understanding the diverse audiences of sustainability

To access these insights, simply fill in the form

Download now

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Blog
Sustainability: Mapping the Media & Public Conversations

From accusations of greenwashing to the role of misinformation, we explore the comms landscape around sustainability.

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