Tech has become another way for men to oppress women

We act as if technology were neutral but it’s not. The challenge now is to highlight and remove the gender bias

Most women in the Bay Area are soft and weak, cosseted and naive, despite their claims of worldliness, and generally full of shit,” wrote former Facebook product manager Antonio García Martínez in 2016. “They have their self-regarding entitlement feminism, and ceaselessly vaunt their independence. But the reality is, come the epidemic plague or foreign invasion, they’d become precisely the sort of useless baggage you’d trade for a box of shotgun shells or a jerry can of diesel.” This is from his insider account of Silicon Valley, Chaos Monkeys. The book was a bestseller. The New York Times called it“an irresistible and indispensable 360-degree guide to the new technology establishment”. Anyone who is surprised by the recent revelations of sexism spreading like wildfire through the technology industry has not been paying attention.

When Susan Fowler wrote about her experience of being sexually harassed at Uber, it prompted a chain of events that seemed unimaginable months ago, including an investigation led by former attorney general Eric Holder, and the departure of a number of key members of the company’s leadership team. Venture capitalist Justin Caldbeck faced allegations of harassing behaviour, and when he offered an unimpressive denial, companies funded by his firm banded together to condemn his tepidity. He subsequently resigned, and the future of his former firm is unclear. Since then, dozens of women have come forward to reveal the sexist culture in numerous Silicon Valley technology and venture capital firms. It is increasingly clear from these accounts that the problem for women in the tech industry is not a failure to “lean in”, it is a culture of harassment and discrimination that makes many of their workplaces unsafe and unpleasant.

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