For the past month, I’ve been working on a project exploring gender diversity in tech. For a while now diversity has been a popular topic, with top companies jumping on every opportunity to share their diversity metrics, showing the progress that has been made. That doesn’t change the fact that in most major companies men outnumber women 3 to 1. In high growth startups this number dwindles to 9 to 1 on founding teams. Behind the statistics there are major prejudices that stand in the way of real change. I’ve sat in class and listened to whispers degrading girls for their intelligence. I’ve listened to discussions about hiring where decision makers think that it is a reasonable standard to not hire someone on the basis of their gender. I’ve heard countless stories from women about ways they’ve been looked down on, degraded, and harassed. This is all so messed up.
Men need to start taking more responsibility for this issue. Personally this experience has been about looking at how as an individual I can start to make change. Throughout the process it has been sobering to take a look back at messed up situations where I did the right thing and also situations where I was knowing or unknowingly a complicit bystander to discrimination or bias. By looking at how frequently that I’ve experienced both big and small instances of bias, I’m sure most people in tech could also relate either as recipients of discrimination, bystanders, or perpetrators. No matter what side of that equation you’re on, there is no doubt that this is an incredibly complex issue that we could all do more to learn about. I’m currently working on writing a series of blog posts trying to wrap my head around everything I’ve learned and everyone I’ve talked to. I hope you’ll follow along and maybe teach me a thing or two as well.