The racism, classism, ageism and ableism in our coping mechanisms.

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(Photo: Skitterphoto on Pexels)

Keeping up with the spread of COVID-19 infections, risk factors, fatality rates, WHO recommendations, local government measures, which supplies to stock (and what not to hoard), or how to properly wash our hands is important to keep ourselves and others as safe as possible.

But keeping up is a lot of work and doesn’t always leave enough room for considering those who are affected differently by this ongoing crisis.

The ageism & ableism behind indifference

The vast majority of those who become infected with coronavirus will only suffer light symptoms and fully recover within a few weeks. To younger and healthy folks, this sometimes seems to…


Let’s make the internet safe and inclusive to all voices

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(Photo: Mikoto on Pexels)

The hatred of women in public spaces online is reaching epidemic levels and it’s time to end the pretence that it’s either acceptable or inevitable.
(Laurie Penny)

Online harassment is ubiquitous:

It happens on Twitter.
It happens on Wikipedia.
It happens on Facebook.
It happens in Gaming.
It happens on Instagram.
It happens on Twitch.
It happens on TikTok.
It happens on Dating Apps.
It happens on Reddit.

It’s 2020 and online harassment still happens pretty much anywhere people congregate on the internet.

And while women have been raising the issue for years, — by now it would even be…


Let’s level the playing field by making venture capital more diverse

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(image from rawpixel.com)

A lack of diversity is hardly unique to the startup sector. Startups have a diversity problem because the tech sector at large has a diversity problem, because STEM education has a diversity problem, and because structural inequalities continue to permeate our societies. That the startup sector has a diversity problem should nevertheless be more surprising than it is.

Disruption is the order of the day when startups drive innovation and new technologies to propel entire industries. By the same token, we might expect the disruption of structural constraints, inequalities, and a lack of diversity in the process. Unfortunately, that hasn’t…


When thinking nothing just feels impossible

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Photo by Couleur

Full disclosure: I’m no expert on meditation. And I suspect neither are most people who (try to) meditate. We meditate because other people meditate, because the latest self-help book recommends integrating meditation into our lives, because we want to feel the myriad benefits of meditation. Meditation reduces stress, increases focus and productivity, lowers blood pressure, and helps with anxiety and depression, among many, many other benefits. Meditation even rewires our brains.

But meditating is more difficult than it looks. What it means to meditate well depends on which teacher, book, app or podcast you ask. What many well-meaning guides have…


Is all that productivity and self-help literature slowly wearing us down?

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(Photo: Grant Spanier for DeathToStock)

We live in an era of relentless efficiency, optimisation and productivity. Manage your time, find focus, be prolific, and don’t forget to be healthy and happy along the way. If that’s not quite working, a plethora of books compete to teach us how to function again, or function properly in the first place. A multi-billion dollar productivity and self-help industry that drives us to ever more self-tracking and life-hacking. …


A poem about multiple feminisms.

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(Aimee Vogelsang on Unsplash)

To some, feminisms come in waves.
The first, the second, and the third.
Three done and dusted,
Onto the fourth and beyond?
Linear narratives make for tidy tales.
How can tidy tales account for messy lives?

Feminisms are fractured,
Feminisms are multiple,
Feminisms complicate.
Feminisms are messy too.
Not a timeline, but many stories.
Feminist rights and wrongs,
For better and for worse.

The Suffragettes Women’s liberation Marxist feminism Radical feminism Black feminism Ecofeminism Chicana feminism Lesbian feminism Liberal feminism Cyberfeminism Anti-porn feminism Sex-positive feminism Queer feminism Postcolonial feminism Transnational feminism Intersectional feminism Anti-racist feminism Indigenous feminism Transfeminism Hashtag feminism…


And what to look for when hiring instead

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(Illustration by rawpixel.com)

Everyone wants to hire the best. Not only the most skilled and most experienced, but the candidate who will thrive and add the most value. Many consider culture fit the secret sauce to finding the best. But while culture fit has advanced to buzzword status over the past few years, it also poses a threat to innovation and growth.

What’s the Problem With Culture Fit?

The common-sense rationale is that a candidate who fits nicely into the company culture will get along great with the rest of the team, integrate quickly, and bring their superpowers to fruition without disrupting the internal status quo.

The lowest common…


When to ignore writing advice is the best writing advice.

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(Adapted from Lacie Slezak)

The world of writing advice is a rabbit hole I suspect most writers go down on occasion. After reading a ton of it over the years — first to become a better academic writer, then to transition from scholarly writing to writing for a wider audience, and later to writing for online audiences— I find that some of the same advice crops up time and again, and it’s not the best advice.

In particular, some writing advice is more concerned with clickability and building an online audience than with writing better. There is nothing wrong with learning to build an…


What startups can learn from a bunch of kids chasing mysteries

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Photo by Rafal Werczynski on Unsplash

Unless you’ve spent the last three years tucked away under a rock, you’ve heard of Stranger Things. It gets the 80s right, Winona Ryder is in it, it’s creepy, it’s supernatural. And even though the protagonists are a bunch of middle schoolers, grown-ups absolutely love it. The third season recently went up on Netflix and, if you haven’t already done so, binge-watching is highly encouraged. …


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(Adapted from Markus Spiske on Unsplash)

And whether or not this one guy actually built the thing he claims to have built doesn’t matter.

What happened? A few weeks ago, a Chinese developer based in Germany claimed he built an application that uses facial recognition technology to identify women in online porn by crosschecking it with images on social media. His claim initially went viral on Chinese micro-blogging platform Weibo, to much excitement in the comment thread. Yiqin Fu, a Research Associate at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center, brought the story over to Twitter (read the full thread) and translated it for an international audience:

“A Germany-based Chinese programmer said he and some friends have identified 100k porn actresses from around the…

Nicole Shephard

Feminist researcher, writer & consultant | PhD LSE Gender | gender and technology | diversity and inclusion| intersectionality and data.

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