The Atrocities in Tech Industries Against Women: Revamping Required
The substantial disproportion in gender ignites the fundamentals for misconduct in tech. To pursue a passion involves many barriers that challenges one’s strength. The tech industry particularly comprises of numerous wrongdoings that demoralize women. This includes but is not limited to sexual harassment and various acts of gender discrimination that lowers the self-esteem of women.
First and foremost, sexual harassment and assault is immensely apparent within tech industries. Women continue to suffer from unwanted advances from men in various positions of work industries. In fact, approximately 78% of female tech founders were vulnerable to sexual harassment or know someone who has been. This issue is not recent and has persisted for numerous years. From offices to social gatherings, women are plagued with the threat of sexual assault. The fact of sexual harassment being a legal conviction in the 1970s further alludes to this monstrosity. Hence, how far are companies truly willing to go in order to ensure a better and safer environment for women to prevent these traumatizing confrontations? Startups tend to establish with budding entrepreneurs without fixed rules while large companies consist of many workers. This essentially creates the dilemma of managing employees and major violations as these big companies focus on prospering. With the fear of retaliation from these so called “men” looming over their heads in addition to embarrassment and need to move past this issue, many women tend not to report their experiences. However, those who do report these issues encounter death threats, are perceived as “attention seekers”, and are generally not taken seriously. Society must accept that being drunk does not justify sexual assault in any way, yet this is still used as a common excuse.
Therefore, speaking up is essential in the sense of truly moving forward, preventing, and raising awareness to sexual misconduct. For instance, female engineer Susan Fowler depicted her account of being propositioned for sex by her manager on her website when working at Uber. Her account went viral as she exemplified her aggravation with the HR (human resources) team, which neglected to proper take action to resolve her complaint. After an internal investigation of Uber that resulted after her post, twenty employees were fired, forty were disciplined, and CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick was fired after his scandals and company offences became prominent to public. This prompted many powerful women to overcome their fears and share their experiences as well. To elaborate further, sharing personal stories with numerous movements against sexual assault such as Me Too and Times Up ensures that no one is ever alone in this heinous situation and builds the foundation to motivate women around the world to fight back.
Additionally, gender biases and discrimination are prevalent among tech industries. Currently, there are approximately 24% of women that are computer scientists with 5% possessing leadership roles. This gender gap is gradually declining every year as technology becomes more male-dominant. Women of color and queer women in tech endure unfavorable circumstances as they have to take extra measures to prove their capabilities of working in a tech environment. For example, only 6% of African American, Hispanic, and Native American women earned computing degrees and 3% earned engineering degrees. LGBTQ women are vastly underrepresented in the tech community as they encounter stereotypes presented towards them in the workplace. Also, balancing family life and work-life is a massive challenge for women as they encounter tech’s emphasis on working intensively for lengthy hours. Therefore, women are demeaned and treated as “maternity risks” due to pregnancy, thus causing acceptance of more men in the workplace due to their availability. In addition to this, women are typically not given higher roles since they have to take a maternity leave. The inadequacy of acknowledging women as fellow employees rather than by gender further contributes to the decline of women in tech. This is due to the difficulty of approaching a male for advice or exchanging pleasantries without being perceived as flirty.
Furthermore, women are not exposed to having a technical background at early age, which in turn discourages them from pursuing computer science. The lack of networking, engaging in tech-related experiments, and of knowledge in coding diminishes the confidence of women. Hence, women are intimidated by the hiring process as they tend to apply only if they meet 100% of the qualifications while men tend to apply if they only meet 60%. This is due to the possibility of failure as more men are primarily accepted into tech industries. Also, women receive lower salaries 63% of the time in comparison to men for the same role at the same company. This is due to undervaluing their market worth most of the time as they request 6% less salary than their male equivalent. Imposter syndrome becomes prominent in tech industries as well due to either not sharing common interests with men or being isolated from discussions. This in turn leads to a great sense of doubt and insecurity about one’s ability as women feel as if they do not belong. Mansplaining is also prominent as men rephrase ideas stated by women, thus taking credit and being praised for the idea.
Overall, women must recognize their worthiness in order to overcome a plethora of prejudice. Tech industries must be diverse in order to appeal to a broader audience thereby contributing to the popularity of the company. This cannot be done without the input from a varied group of women. Hence, women must exude confidence to state their opinions and call out those who degrade them. Speaking up is simply a form of taking action against these immature behaviors of professionals. Of course this confidence does not come naturally. Hence, support groups and mentorship are necessary to boost confidence with the combined effort of many women to tackle hurdles in tech together. Also, partaking in technology programs at an early age, such as Girls Who Code and #BUILTBYGIRLS, expands one’s knowledge in addition to online resources. Mentorship also prepares women by introducing the technological lifestyle via advice as women become familiar with expectations. As future and fellow women in tech, we need empower each other against obstacles that our male counterparts are insensitive to and reduce the gender disparity once and for all. After all, our voices are vital weapons against these atrocities in tech.