Sick of sexism in tech? Share this article next time you’re pissed off

Being a woman in tech can be absolutely exhausting. The industry, notorious for its lack of diversity, is a breeding ground for ‘tech bro’ culture and it can be somewhat difficult to navigate as a woman.

If like me, you’re fed up of having to listen to tasteless remarks, or sick of being overlooked because of your gender and people ignoring the issues at hand, then this article is for you. I hope it’ll become a good weapon in your fight against sexism in the workplace — just share this article next time you can’t be bothered to explain to Joe why you’re ‘offended.’

[Read: It’s 2020 and tech still sucks at diversity – here’s how we fix it]

Iglika Ghousem the CEO and founder of USPAAH, an app that enables customers to book beauty and wellness professionals, is all too familiar with what I’m talking about.

“It took us ages to raise seed capital even though I had a 10 year investment banking career, a good team, and a solid plan. Having met with most early-stage VCs and angel funds in London I was really shocked at how they were all bypassing us on flimsy excuses and pouring millions into companies led by the old archetype of ‘male techie founder, wearing jeans and a hoodie’,” she tells me.

“The amount of times I got asked questions like ‘but how do we know you’re not going to get bored, quit, and just be a housewife’ or when I got pregnant ‘so what will you do with the company once you have a baby?’ The list goes on and on,” Ghousem adds.

Unfortunately, as you can see from Jasmine Crowe’s — founder and CEO at tech enabled food waste management company Goodr — she’s far from being alone:

Women in tech are often bombarded with questions and comments such as: “You can work in tech, but you don’t have to be a developer”, “Are you here to take notes?”, “She’s a working mother of three,” “I’m sorry, I’m too distracted by your cleavage?” Quite frankly, I think I speak for us all when I say we’ve had enough.

I’ve personally lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard people (not just men) say the tech industry is completely open to women, but with the caveat that there are plenty of roles available in marketing, public relations, or human resourcesDon’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these positions, but why are we dead set on making the point that women can’t for some reason work in tech-focused roles? Can the industry only tolerate women when they perform jobs that are somehow viewed to be ‘feminine’? As far as I know, identifying as female and being able to think or code aren’t mutually exclusive!

We aren’t here to take notes

Assuming that all women are secretaries could be a forgivable offence if we still lived in the 1920s, but come on, get with the times: You’re better than this. As contributing and qualified employees we are entitled to be present in the boardroom.

I’m sure most women (or humans) don’t have a problem with pitching in to help with the myriad of tasks that come with running a startup, but constantly assuming that female employees are there to fulfil administrative tasks unrelated to their role is a problem — especially if you’re not asking male colleagues to do the same.

Published March 8, 2020 — 09:00 UTC