Even those outside the field know women in tech don't have it easy. According to a study released last year, 26 percent of computing jobs in the U.S. were held by women in 2013, which is down from 35 percent in 1990. (Just take that sad statistic in for a second.) At Google, women make up 30 percent of the company and fulfill 17 percent of the company’s tech jobs, and at Facebook, 15 percent of tech jobs are done by women, according The Huffington Post. The situation in indeed dire.
Inspired by the issues that Ellen Pao's gender discrimination suit brought to light, a number of high ranking women in tech set out to survey over 200 women to explore the specific kinds of workplace inequality they face today. The survey focused on those with at least 10 years of experience, and included employees from companies like Google and VMWare. 91 percent of participants live in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley, 77 percent are over 40, 75 percent have children, and many of the respondents are either a CXO, founder, or are in venture. The results are shocking and depressing, given the high levels of misogyny a majority of women face on the job. That said, the dissemination of first person stories and statistics like these are vital to raise awareness about the strides the tech industry needs to make to become more inclusive.
Here are five facts about women in tech from the aptly titled "Elephant In The Valley" survey.
1. 84 Percent Of Women Have Been Told They're "Too Aggressive"
If your choices are to command attention and be called bossy or aggressive or a bitch or to keep quiet and possibly lose respect or forfeit opportunities for advancement, which would you choose?
2. 66 Percent Of Women Felt Excluded From Networking Activities Because Of Gender
This is all too common in many professional fields. 59 of women surveyed "felt they have not had the same opportunities as their male counterparts" and 90 percent "witnessed sexist behavior at company offsites and/or industry conferences."
3. 88 Percent Of Women Have Had Clients/Colleagues Ask Questions To Their Male Peers That Should've Been Addressed To Them
This includes but is not limited to having clients/colleagues make eye contact with male colleagues instead of them, and hearing "demeaning comments" from male colleagues.
4. 47 Percent Of Women Have Been Asked To Do Lower Level Tasks Their Male Colleagues Were Not Asked To Do
Many women found that they were expected to order food or take notes when their male counterparts in the company were not, which is one more example of everyday sexism that helps to keep women marginalized.
5. 75 Percent Of Women Were Asked About Their Family Life In Interviews
Technically it's not legal to discriminate against someone because of their marital or pregnancy status, but alas, de jure does not mean de facto. 40 percent of women surveyed said they spoke less about their family to be taken more seriously, and 52 percent shortened their maternity leave for fear of negatively impacting their jobs.
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