Our industry doesn’t respect women. It’s 2020—by now we should all recognize the ways misogyny shows up in the workplace. Gender inequity isn’t at all specific to tech, but it’s especially egregious in our white, cis male-dominated industry. And the evidence is everywhere.
According to a 2015 survey titled “The Elephant in the Valley,” two hundred senior-level women in Silicon Valley were surveyed, and the results demonstrate the pervasive and persistent gender inequality in their industry:
Eighty-four per cent of the participants reported that they had been told they were “too aggressive” in the office, sixty-six per cent said that they had been excluded from important events because of their gender, and sixty per cent reported unwanted sexual advances in the workplace. A large majority of those advances came from a superior, and a third of the women said that they’d been worried about their personal safety. Almost forty per cent said that they didn’t report the incidents because they feared retaliation.
- The Tech Industry’s Gender-Discrimination Problem By Sheelah Kolhatkar
Men can do better
As a part of my own internal reflection, I’ve recognized that some of the first steps men can take to combat misogyny in the workplace are to:
- Listen to women.
- Observe and sit with moments where internalized sexism arises, both in myself and amongst those in my field, and
- Call out or call in the behavior, in an attempt to disrupt biases.
I recently came across a tweet from Emily Freeman, the author of DevOps for Dummies and the modern operations team lead in cloud advocacy at Microsoft. In the tweet, she shares an email a man sent her after he watched one of her conference talks. His unprompted email is incredibly offensive, in my opinion.