Latinx, Blitab, Gender and Conference Calls

September 19, 2018

The word “Latinx” is now officially in Webster’s Dictionary, thanks to more and more people using the term as a gender-neutral alternative to “Latina” or “Latino.” Merriam-Webster defines “Latinx” as “of, relating to, or marked by Latin American heritage” and notes that its first known use was in 2007. In a blog post, Merriam-Webster explains that “it’s important to remember that new words are added to the dictionary only when they have already been used by many people—often initially by specialists or subcultures…Then, gradually, a word’s use spreads to the rest of us.” The term “Latinx” started out in mostly activist and scholarly circles, but now that it’s included in the dictionary, its use will hopefully become normalized in mainstream culture, making it easier for gender-non-conforming individuals in the Latin American community to express themselves and be more accurately addressed by others.  

ICYMI: Merriam-Webster Adds ‘Latinx’ to the Dictionary, by Sameer Rao of Colorlines


Blind and visually impaired people face high unemployment rates, due in part to the expensive and antiquated technology they have to rely on to read and write Braille. Current technology only lets them read one sentence at a time, and even then, only one percent of books are published in Braille anyway. Thanks to Kristina Tsvetanova, a tech entrepreneur from Bulgaria, those challenges may be resolved in the future. She has developed the world’s first touch-screen Braille tablet that allows users to read, write, speak voice commands, and translate any text into Braille, one page at a time. The tablet, called Blitab, is more affordable than existing Braille devices and uses new liquid-based technology to create Braille textures on the surface of the tablet. According to Tsvetanova’s description of the new tool, “the blind can surf the net, connect with friends and download books, like everyone else.” Blitab has already received a lot of interest and support, and is expected to completely transform the lives of visually impaired people in coming years.

Braille for a New Digital Age, by Nazanin Lankarani for The New York Times


In a study conducted over the past 19 years of more than 155,000 corporate conference calls, automated research company Prattle found that on average, men spoke for 92% of those calls, and women who spoke during the remaining 8% were often relegated to giving “boilerplate introductory remarks.” While this is partially due to a lack of female representation among executives and analysts, research shows that men also speak longer than women—a finding that doesn’t surprise William Blair analyst Sharon Zackfia, who says that for every 30-second question she asks, she receives a five-minute answer from a male CEO. It turns out that even in sectors with improved gender representation, such as investor relations and school boards, women still speak significantly less than men “until they make up a super-majority of the group.”

Men Get the First, Last and Every Other Word on Earnings Calls, by Felice Maranz and Rebecca Greenfield of Bloomberg