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Tech By Her: How Three of Facebook’s Women Tech Leaders Have Navigated Their Careers

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To celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) theme of “An equal world is an enabled world,” we’re kicking off “Tech by Her,” a global initiative that champions and supports the women in our developer and startup communities and across the tech ecosystem.

How to Navigate the Challenge of Being a Woman in Tech

In the technology industry, gender disparity continues to be an issue – women held only 20% of all jobs in technology in 20181 and Crunchbase reported that a mere 13% of vested venture capital funds were put behind female co-founded startups in 20192.

It’s no secret that women face unique challenges in the workplace. Because of the gender bias that is prevalent in the tech world, the women currently in senior leadership roles have made it to the top through merit, grit and determination. At Facebook, we brought three of our women leaders from the Developer Partnerships team across the globe to share how they were able to face and overcome their challenges, and find success in the tech field.

Finding Confidence through a Support Network

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For Virginia Yang, Director of APAC Developer Partnerships & Programs, her biggest challenge has been facing and overcoming self-doubt. This began for her in university, where she was one of the few women studying computer science. “I often got looks walking into class as if I had entered the wrong room,” she said.

Unfortunately, this did not change when she graduated and began her career, where she was a rare woman in the role of product manager. “I was asked multiple times – and even incredulously – ’You have a degree in computer science?’,” she said.

Additionally, Virginia describes herself as an introvert, and she found it difficult to speak up during meetings that were dominated by more extroverted coworkers. But she learned how to overcome these challenges by finding workplace allies who gave her advice and support. “They were always there when I needed a confidence boost,” Virginia said. “That has really helped me navigate the challenging points I’ve faced throughout my career.”

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Standing Up for Yourself and Correcting Gender Bias

As for Viktoria Ruubel, Director of EMEA Developer Partnerships & Programs, she struggled with how to face and correct misconceptions about women in technology. She said, “I vividly remember a situation where I was saying ‘no’ to the terms of a proposed deal and was told this was an emotional response on my part that was probably due to a lack of experience.”

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Though Viktoria’s wealth of experience commands respect in the workplace today, she still hears stories of other women who face challenges similar to hers. “This tells me we still have to work hard to increase awareness about how making assumptions based on gender creates a bias, and to always call it out when it happens rather than accept and internalize it.”

Viktoria recalls how she handled – and ultimately corrected – the gender bias she faced during the business deal: “I stood firm on my terms, suggested we revisit the deal when the partner was ready to talk about the deal and not about me and then walked out of the room. It was not long before I received an apology and we closed the deal with my recommendations, which really were win-win for both our companies.”

Confronting Inner Negativity

Facebook’s Director of Global Product Partnerships, Jackie Chang, knows firsthand how inner self-doubt can lead to self-sabotage and overshadow one’s own value. Returning from maternity leave, Jackie heard the whisperings of self-doubt, which shook her confidence. “I started to question if I’d be able to balance my new reality at home and still have the time and energy to be impactful, drive perspectives and serve others at work,” Jackie said.

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Once, when a comment from her manager left her feeling unsettled, Jackie mustered the courage to confront the situation. By being open and honest about her feelings and the situation, she was able to dispel any concerns about her abilities to be an asset to the team. In fact, she learned that she misinterpreted the comment and had allowed self-doubt to guide how she responded in the workplace.

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She recalls the outcome of this meeting as being one of increased mutual trust and understanding and manifested into a fruitful partnership. “This was a very impactful lesson for me,” she said. “I learned the importance of addressing challenges head-on and cutting to the truth rather than entertaining the negative chatter in my mind.”

Finding Inspiration through Facebook Communities

At Facebook, we are committed to enabling an equal world by driving diversity in the tech ecosystem. We have established tech hubs in fifteen cities across the world alongside intensive programs such as our Accelerator program and Developer Circles (DevC). These programs provide developers and startups – especially those helmed by women – access to training, guidance and mentorship, which can lead them to scale their careers and businesses sustainably. Read some of the inspirational stories of women innovators and startup founders who are raising the bar all around the world here.

Join us in celebrating a woman in tech whom you know of by giving her a shout-out on your social channels with the hashtag #TechbyHer. You can also engage in the conversation by joining future FB Lives and look out for videos we’ll be sharing on our Facebook pages across Facebook for Developers, Facebook Developer Circles and Facebook for Startups.


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Favorite Community Story:

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Virginia Yang’s pick:
One of my favorite stories of all time is of Nyha Shree, Co-founder of Jumper.ai, an AI-enabled software platform that helps businesses chat and connect with customers via social media platforms. I love that though she failed to find success with several startup ventures, Nyha never gave up – not even when she was living on 40 cents a day and facing pressure from friends and family to get a stable job. Today, Jumper.ai – her sixth venture – is a Facebook product partner that has over 15,000 using their service. Nyha’s resilience and entrepreneurial spirit has been a huge inspiration to me.Read Nyha’s story here
Viktoria Ruubel’s pick:
I relate to Tamara & Mariia Koliada’s journey. Like Tamara I often felt like I was being judged not by my abilities, but by my gender and physical appearance. I admire greatly the way both the Koliada sisters are forging careers in tech despite prejudice and how they inspire other women within their Developer Circle community.
Read Tamara and Mariia’s story here
Jackie Chang’s pick:
The story of Katherine from Whatsquare really resonates with me. Katherine was able to draw on her experience in marketing, communications, and business development to identify a market gap and opportunity in customer care. Beyond her business, she strives to build community and connections with other female entrepreneurs to draw on a stronger collective of support and expertise. We need more Katherines to grow the community of global female leaders!
Read Katherine’s story here

1 Only 20% of Tech Jobs are Held by Women, How About at Your.” 13 Mar. 2018, https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/03/women-in-technology-statistics.html. Accessed 6 Mar. 2020.
2 “Crunchbase Report: Venture Funding For Female Founders ….” 22 Oct. 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/devinthorpe/2019/10/22/crunchbase-report-venture-funding-for-female-founders-falls/. Accessed 6 Mar. 2020.Facebook Developers

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Facebook-Meta Earns the ‘Worst Company of 2021’ Title in This Survey

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Facebook has had its share of controversies this year. The company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents.

Facebook parent Meta has been named the Worst Company of the Year (2021) by Yahoo Finance respondents. According to the publication, an “open-ended” survey was published on Yahoo Finance on December 4 and 5, where 1,541 respondents participated. Facebook received 8 percent of the write-in vote, but respondents were seemingly mad about the Robinhood trading app as well. Electric truck startup Nikola, which was named last year’s worst company by the same publication also faced respondents ire.

Yahoo Finance notes, “Facebook has had its share of controversies this year.” Starting in January, Meta-owned WhatsApp got caught up in a huge controversy after the messaging app announced a new privacy policy (Terms of Service). WhatsApp said it would collect user information and share it with third-party apps for a better user experience. However, the app gave users no choice but later made modifications to the policy under pressure. Similarly, the company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents showing the company’s problematic practices. It was revealed that Meta-owned Instagram had a negative impact on teenage girls, but the company did almost nothing to rectify the problem.

Yahoo Finance even highlights, “At the same time, some critics, including conservatives, say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices.” Critics also blame Facebook and other social media platforms for not curbing hate speech that led to Capitol Building riots.

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However, around 30 percent of Yahoo Finance readers said that Facebook or Meta could redeem itself. One respondent suggested that the company could issue a formal apology for negligence and donate a sizable amount of its profits to a foundation to help reverse its harm.

On the other hand, respondents chose Microsoft as the Company of the Year (2021). The Satya Nadella-led company touched the trillion-mark this year and introduced notable upgrades. The most notable is the Windows 11 OS update that succeeds Windows 10.

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Facebook pays 1.7 Cr fine to Russia after failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal

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In the latest legal tussle with Russia over controversial social media regulation laws, Facebook paid 17 million roubles (Rs 1.7 Crore) for failing to remove content deemed illegal by Moscow. With a threat of potential larger fines looming, Facebook parent company Meta, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to face court next week over repeated violations of Russian legislation on content, Interfax News Agency reported. As per the latest updates, the social media giant could be fined a percentage of its annual revenue.

In October, Moscow sent state bailiffs to enforce the collection of 17 million roubles. Meanwhile, as per Interfax report citing a federal bailiffs’ database, on Sunday, there were more enforcement proceedings against the company. Apart from the popular social media app, Telegram has also paid 15 million roubles in fines for failing to comply with the Russian social media legislations that came into force in 2016.

Facebook pays $53k to Russia for refusing controversial social media laws

It is pertinent to mention that Facebook has locked horns with Moscow earlier in November, resulting in it paying 4 million roubles ($53,000) over its refusal to adhere to Russian data localisation laws, the Moscow Times reported. The Moscow court on November 25 had said that Facebook paid the fine levied in February, following which all proceedings against the US-based social media giant. The payment comes against the litigation filed against the company in 2018, alongside Twitter. The tech companies were also forced to pay an additional 3000 rubles ($40) for failing to comply with user data sharing rules as per the law. The Russian authorities have also previously blocked LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, for failing to abide by the laws.

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Russian social media laws

As per Moscow Times, under the Russian social media regulation laws, all foreign technology companies are required to store data related to Russian customers and users on servers located in Russia. Additionally, the Russian tech companies will also have to share encryption data with the federal authorities as well as record user calls, messages and civil society group conversation records. The apparatus is said to be a severe breach of privacy rights and unfettered back-door access to personal data that could be used to harass Kremlin critics.

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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