Silicon Valley has a problem with hating women. Hate means "to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest." Over the last couple of days I have seen example after example with techies doing all manner of things to degrade, harass, and sexually objectify women.
Sarah Parmenter of "You Know Who" wrote a blog post about her experience where an unknown person put up faked porn pictures of women who LOOKED similar to her, and proceeded to send links of the photos to high profile people she knew in order to ruin her credibility. You can read that here
Whitney Hess tells her story of harrassment here. She knows who the individuals are, but has allowed the ones who have harassed her publicly on her blog, twitter, etc to go unchallenged which has brought some benefits (new clients), and loss (friends distancing themselves from her).
Dr. Lesie Jensen-Inman discusses a physically threatening situation from a conference attendee. And how the attendees were too busy discussing her physical attributes and clothing on Twitter to be concerned with what she was speaking on.
Here's what these all have in common:
- All these women were afraid or ashamed to tell their story until time passed. In the case with Sarah, the person who did it was never caught.
- The women were mainly subjected to the harassment at conferences where they were speaking, by men who did not like the idea of a WOMAN speaking.
- Considering the average age of an employee in Silicon Valley is less than 35, this attitude towards women is being taught and re-enforced in the tech industry itself, and not necessarily through American culture where it is the norm for women to work, speak in public, and be the top in their field (i.e., Hillary Clinton).
Silicon Valley is supposed to be innovative, disrupting stuff, and creating things we want to buy, but how can the men of Silicon Valley have any idea what women want or need when they refuse to listen to those within their industry?. How can tech grow when there is a blatant attempt to silence women?
Forget about the laws being broken and potential lawsuits, and focus on the real issue; sexism and misogyny is just plain wrong. In order for it to stop, the good men are going to have to take the lead. Unlike the women who were fearful of disclosing their harassment but did it anyway, too many influential men in the technology industry have done something far worse, they ignored it.