Sara Chipps sent About Feminism. out to a listserv I am on. She wrote that a bunch of developers got together in response to the things that have been happening over the past few months. It is an important blog site that is a hub for people to write about some of the statements and issues that have happened in the tech industry recently when it comes to women. I am glad to see this group of people getting together and writing about it.
The message from them is yes we have had the same harassing things happen to us and no it is not ok.
A few weeks ago I spoke at Orrick. The topic I was supposed to speak about was the difficulties of raising money and how to communicate to investors about your growing business. I was under the impression that I was going to speak to an audience of mostly women. Ends up I was wrong. The audience was probably about 40% women which was impressive. I wanted to tell a few tales about women who had successfully raised money and the road it took to get there.
When I saw the audience I shifted gears before I got to the money raising. I talked about how when the tech industry started to grow in the 90’s it changed my life. It empowered me to shift my career and still be at home for my kids. It was the first time I thought that I could actually balance it all. I believed that the internet was going to change everything. It would change the way we lived our lives and that included equality in the workplace. We would all be accepting of each other for our brains and abilities…end of story.
I went on to say that over the past few months we have seen some really terrible things happening in our industry. Men saying inappropriate things to women and then before we know it we are reading about it all over the net. We are hearing of men hitting on women at conferences that are geared towards writing code. We are seeing men who are CEO’s of companies beat their girlfriends. I could go on and on but bottom line it is not ok.
If you believe, like I do, that the internet changes the game then change the game. I said directly to all the men in the audience today it is up to you to stop this nonsense. It is up to you to stand up to your peers who say and do inappropriate things to their female peers that is it not ok and you will not put up with it. Shame them. It is the men who need to take a stand to promote diversity, promote their female counterparts and tell the men who behave in a disrespectful way to essentially shut the fuck up.
Technology is changing our lives, lets really change our lives and create a world where everyone is equal and more importantly treated equal.