We look at the tech industry’s persistent habit of treating women badly – both overtly, in terms of sexual harassment, and less overtly, in terms of simply hiring and mentoring fewer women. What can we do to improve matters? What is the responsibility of individuals? Of companies? Of culture at large? Of the government?
Recent examples of sexism in the tech industry:
“Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber” – Susan J. Fowler, with the piece that plunged Uber into its current, very much deserved, hot mess by explaining just how sexist its internal practices were.
“The fall of 500 Startups CEO Dave McClure” – Marisa Kendall, writing for the Mercury News, on Dave McClure of 500 Startups, who was forced to resign after (apparently well-founded) allegations of sexual harassment.
“Women in Tech Speak Frankly on Culture of Harassment” – Katie Benner, writing for the New York Times, on women harassed by Justin Caldbeck of Binary Capital.
“Binary Accused of Post-Resignation Harassment by Ex-Employee” – Emily Chang and Sarah McBride, writing for Bloomberg, on Justin Caldbeck’s threats to a woman who had stopped working with Binary Capital on account of pervasive sexism.
“The long-term cost of sexual harassment” – Catherine Shu, writing for TechCrunch, with a description of her own experience of being harassed and the way it affected her long term.
“Can Venture Capital Be Saved?” – Mitch and Freada Kapor, making a case for their own VC fund’s approach, with a clear recognition that (awful as it is) sexual harassment is a symptom of yet deeper problems with VC culture:
How can the industry celebrate people who glory in breaking all the rules, ask forgiveness not permission, and then be surprised when people are predatory, abusive and pursue their own desires at the expense and over the objection of others?
“I’m a startup founder and I had sex with an investor — and I am sorry” – Perri Chase, writing for Business Insider, with a really thoughtful reflection on the current state of affairs, including a frank admission of her own choices and how they have played into things, but without blaming victims (a hard line to walk).
Previously on the show:
Many thanks to the people who help us make this show possible by their financial support! This month’s sponsors:
- Andrew Fallows
- Kurt Klassen
- Jeremy W. Sherman
If you’d like to support the show, you can make a pledge at or give directly via Square Cash.
We love to hear your thoughts. Hit us up via Twitter, Facebook, or email!