Skip to content

Instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

Last active May 14, 2016
What would you like to do?


Ageism hits women harder than it does men.
All the "which do you think would make you happier" section answers put the responsibility on me to fix my issues with being a woman in STEM. I need my male colleagues to not talk over me and to verify they heard what I have to say. I would like my fair share of eye contact during technical discussions. I'm sick of the constant pissing matches that come from a solution not being a particular dev's solution so we have to refactor said existing solution AGAIN. As someone who is talked over and is denied eye contact, how hard do you think I have to fight to be heard or have my solutions last? Being told I'm recognized as talented in my field, only to have some basic computer science concept explained to me in the speaker's next breath (I do think this is a general geek problem so I won't call it mansplaining but the behavior is exhausting all the same).
A lot of my male co-workers don't want to see or are completely oblivious to the sexism that their female counterparts face. I have three years experience in marketing with a few SF/NY startups. I got hired with males straight out of college, no experience, and I recently found out make slightly more than me. Its wildly upsetting.
As a female in the legal field, many of the negatives (males paid more, boss cares more about the men, less advancement opportunity, treated in a hostile way) have been true for me in other fields not tech-related. I know things are not A+ perfect in tech, but my job situation, and happiness with my job, is better than it has ever been. I feel valued, like I am making a difference, and that people are interested in helping me to succeed. It helps that my team is entirely women, but men in the company value my input as well.
As a masculine inclined genderqueer person who is usually read as female I don't really feel like I would be safe anywhere that is not a male-dominated field. I realize that I benefit from a lot of masculine privilege and I am really scared of the idea of having my field accepting more women because I worry that I would then be expected to present as one and I can't do that.
  • As a research engineer, I got asked by men to make copies.
  • My only friends at work were men.
  • One of my male managers was such a jerk to me, other (male) employees would approach me to ask if I thought the manager was sexist.

I eventually registered a formal complaint, and the company handled it terribly. Eventually, I switched to HR. I still know a ton of stuff about thermodynamics (even have a publication as well as a patent), but I never get to use that knowledge anymore. Switching into HR has not been easy. There is less demand for workers, and being new to a field presents challenges. There are many more women leaders, however, which is a relief as well as an inspiration.

Aside from my boss, the people at work are great and supportive. I just feel like I am not good enough of a programmer and I'm bringing down the view of "women in tech." I know that's ridiculous and maybe it's partially that it's a bad job with work that I have a bitch of a time being excited about. It's only my first job--I need to find out if it's any better elsewhere, or if I should just quit everything. But the thing is, I genuinely enjoy programming for myself, and enjoy the culture (aside from the nasty stuff!) so I can't see myself ever leaving that. Definitely pro-getting more people into tech, both women and men.
As of this past September, I've been 40 years in tech. It distresses me that: 1. the situation of women in tech has gotten *worse*, but 2: a lot of the women younger than I are behaving as if the problems they're facing are new ones, and don't look to the past to see what works/doesn't work, thereby losing traction by repeating some of our (the older women's) mistakes!
As someone who is about to start an evangelist role I find the idea that evangelism is "less than pure tech" insulting. Successful women in tech are constantly being told that they should write, speak, mentor, and manage. When they take on these roles though they are seen as "giving up on tech" or "leaving tech" and they are judged to be lower in the STEM caste system than developers/engineers. You can't have it both ways. Either support the women and minorities who are willing to put themselves out there or stop telling folks the only way to move their careers forward is to speak/write/mentor etc. If we want folks to stop saying "women can't do tech and I don't know any good female developers" we have to start putting competent female developers in front of them as speakers, authors, managers, etc.
At my current company I feel like good engineers who work hard are well respected, no matter their gender. Based on the tech media it seems like this might be unusual, especially in the Bay Area. Not sure if this is a part of being a medical focused software company, or just part of our culture, but I'm very happy with how women are treated at my company. Several of our executives in technical roles are women.
Bro culture is strong, and it's the micro aggressions and micro inequalities that add up. Women are as susceptible to our culture of misogyny as men are, so I've frequently found that my (admittedly few) female coworkers don't recognize behavior as sexist until its specifically pointed out and broken down. I spend too much time feeling gaslighted.
Conferences are painful. There are thousands of men and a handful of truly technical women. Major corporations still hire "booth babes" who dress like 1970's party girls. When I'm at a booth, I have to be hyper-professional and open with a very technical question so people don't think I'm hired for the event. It's extremely embarrassing. The experience of younger women with harassment/threats should be handled by FBI. There's no excuse for weak responses.
"Corporate feminism" is a step backwards. My company's idea of "professional development for women" was a day-long training on self-confidence and vulnerability. I am a strong, capable woman! Self confidence and courage are not my problem. My problem is a system of men in power protecting their own power through cognitive bias and negative stereotyping (at best). Women (and non-hyper-masculine people in general) are routinely interrupted and ignored at my company, and are virtually absent from leadership roles. If companies want more women in tech they need to stop thinking of it as a problem with women! The problem is a system that fails to recognize strength and capability from people who aren't white men.
Don't hesitate to find mentors who are male and younger than you.
Even though there is indeed more challenges for women in tech, there exist a lot of opportunities. Developing a good network is the key to finding opportunities to move up in the field.
Experiences are different for people who are full-time employees versus vendors. As a vendor, things like mentoring and career direction are entirely up to me. I'm okay with that. However, the lack of stability has become an issue now that I'm a parent. I can't just be without work for a few months even if I have the savings. It would wreak havoc on my daycare situation.
Feeling like harassment due to my gender is inevitable is terrifying.
For a long time I couldn't understand what women were talking about when they talked about sexual harrassment and biases. I was younger (early to late 20s) and didn't really notice it or wasn't sensitive to it at all. As I've gotten older I feel more aware of it, but still haven't personally been on the receiving end (as far as I can tell!). I haven't really experienced a lot of harrassment at work - perhaps this is because I've mostly worked at bigger corporates in IT departments, as opposed to purely tech companies or startups. I think corporations have better sexual harrassment policies and there's a clearer idea of what is and isn't acceptable. In my one experience working at a startup, the culture was very different and there was very open sexism on display. It actually became quite debilitating for me to work in that environment and resulted in a lot of anxiety for me.
For a while I thought I could do it alone and knew basically zero women in tech. Then I accidentally fell into a community of ladynerds. It's changed everything.
For the question “Please name one or more of the tech companies you've worked for,” I chose to hold off mentioning some of the smaller companies I’ve worked for because the questions’s caption says “Your answer will be visible publicly.” That is, I’ve worked at a couple of companies that had just 5 or 10 people, and I just couldn't take the chance of my identity being implied from the mere intersection of “a woman” + “who worked at Company X.” Because if rumors were to get started that “so-and-so is speaking badly about the work environment at her past jobs,” that’d only make it that much harder to find a job.
For years I could say I had never felt or been held back in tech because of my gender. That is no longer the case. Sad but true: Recently I have felt or been held back in my career in tech (not received jobs) because of my gender. Both times the discrimination was performed by other women in tech. I do not participate in gender-specific (women-only or -centric) events or organizations. I believe this is segregationist and counter-productive. The world will not be able to see that it's normal for women to be as accomplished & skilled in technology if women are not there right alongside men. I do not engage in discussions about women or gender in technology and do not self-identify as feminist. This is purely because I do not approve of the image that many of the most out-spoken female feminists in tech have given the word. I feel silenced by them. I feel more moderate and reasonable views are silenced by them. I understand their anger but believe that tactics of anger and attack are wrong for any reason. They scare away and silence those who would help. They are terribly damaging their own cause. Fear and intimidation is wrong. It needs to stop.
From my personal experience in the tech industry in the greater Boston area so far, I do not feel that my being a woman has affected how I'm treated in the workplace, the opportunities I'm given in the workplace, etc. Also, there exists tech communities outside of California. The "Your current or most recent employer is located" question didn't really allow for that ("elsewhere in the United States" seems too general to be very useful, and the "other" option doesn't allow write-ins).
Good survey. Eye-opening how much crap I've seen...
Guys in tech can be really ugly/sexist. It's especially hurtful when you think you have a good working relationship and you trust them and then get spoken to condescendingly or hear they were bad mouthing you at a bar with the guys.
I almost had a masters in CS, but I left because I felt like I was being taken advantage of
I also think it's toxic to work in tech without having a sense of its value for users and for the impact your company and personal presence have on the community in which you reside.
I am a female founder and I struggle within the company I own to attract women to work in our very technical industry. I would love to mentor women who want to become female founders themselves. As a former employee I was often described as bossy or aggressive when men who were clearly bullies were not. I have fought for pay parity most of my career - as an employer gender has no bearing on pay. We offer flexible working hours to attract women and still struggle as there are so few women in tech altogether.
I am a professor of Computer Science, so my job experience does not exactly align with the corporate focus of these questions, but there is still a significant overlap.
I am a technician in technology development for 26+ years. This is the only tech job I have held. Undergrad degree in an unrelated science field.
I am a user researcher - my entire team of 4 is all female. Our boss is also female. We are on the larger Design team which is more than 50% female. I think because of this I haven't had the traditionally negative experiences in the tech industry. We often talk about gender issues and I feel like both males and females on the larger product team are really cognizant about making people feel included and overcoming unconscious biases.
I am a woman and I own my own company. There is a whole level of gender challenges I have negotiating projects, rates and competing with male owned companies offering similar services. I'd be happy to talk with you about my experiences and challenges.
I am self-taught and have been in tech since a young age. After high school, I chose not to do a STEM undergraduate degree so that I could work on skills and knowledge that I lacked. After graduating and three years in the work force, I decided to pursue a STEM masters which have actually been beneficial for me on the technical/business side. In terms of programming, I am still self-taught (online courses, projects, online communities), mainly because my Masters coursework has no units of interest for me - not the best university but it was difficult finding a flexible STEM Masters for someone without a STEM undergraduate degree and has other commitments outside of study. I have not been abused or harassed online and I don't make it secret as to what my gender is. I've only had a couple of remarks but this was when I was 12/13 -- eventually the guy who made those remarks ended up hosting my website for free and was my first intro to Linux (although I ended up sticking with Windows - only had the family PC back then!). Also in my teens, my family were not that supportive of me with tech. Not because I was female, but because they thought that there were no jobs in technology(!) and that they would rather have me do medicine. Had issues, arguments, restricting access to the PC, etc.
I appreciate the work of the Ada Initiative:
I came to tech really late in my working life. My male co-workers were well aware that my partner is also female. Sexualized comments were never directed at me and never when I was in the vicinity. Excellent women tech managers. I understand my experience is not typical.
IDEO, GOOGLE, Facebook, Square, 3d System
I did not like the presupposition, that women in the tech business are kind of underdogs against men. In our business (engineering), it has nothing to do with, what you have between your legs, but your own character, ambition etc. Sexist jokes are way to communicate in our team - and they are mostly told by women! The salary is same for men and women - depending on your position, not your gender. For fact, engineering is male dominated business, so naturally there are more male managers than females, but we have also lots of women in the management! In my opinion, engineering is one of the most equal (between the genders) business areas! (Sorry my Englis, I´m not a native speaker.)
I did not like the presupposition, that women in the tech business are kind of underdogs against men. In our business (engineering), it has nothing to do with, what you have between your legs, but your own character, ambition etc. Sexist jokes are way to communicate in our team - and they are mostly told by women! The salary is same for men and women - depending on your position, not your gender. For fact, engineering is male dominated business, so naturally there are more male managers than females, but we have also lots of women in the management! In my opinion, engineering is one of the most equal (between the genders) business areas! (Sorry my Englis, I´m not a native speaker.)
I don't appreciate people who go on about Impostor Syndrome. Yes people do feel anxious but this is natural. I have found more women than men be abrasive to me. And more recently I have noticed more men at conferences eye avoid me. One person admitted that much of the ugliness around feminism by people like Adria Richards has made them more reluctant to talk. This is disturbing as I feel it will result in more rather than less sexism over time.
I don't see an option for a tech role for a non-tech company as this describes my position (company is financial software and I work on the software they custom built and own)
I don't want to have to learn how to negotiate for salery and benefits, I want to not have to do it. I don't believe tech is a meritocracy, I wish it was.
I don't want to publicly write down any names of inspiring women because I'm afraid of what might happen to them if they attract too much attention. I think that says a lot about the field I work in.
I do plan to leave my current job within the next 6 months or so. I'm not ready to totally give up on the tech industry yet, but if my experience at my current company is indicative I won't last more than a few years. I am optimistic, however, that I will be happier somewhere else.
I dream of starting a cooperative that works on tech projects that benefit society. I feel incredibly lucky to feel that this is within my abilities, and I feel incredibly lucky to have programming skills when they're in such demand.
I enjoy troubleshooting and analyzing and trying to get things to run when people say it won't. I really do not know what other job I would have because I have been in the tech industry so long but I find that age is your enemy in addition to gender. I can tell when I am interviewed by people half my age and at work when they opt for less qualified people instead of the old lady. I found some of the questions in this survey were a bit stereotyped and kind of assumed women would leave for personal or family reasons. Generally I have often left because I ended up with mundane tasks or I had a better opportunity.
I feel like I've had things pretty easy, in part because I often get along as "one of the guys."
I feel like I was very fortunate. In many ways, MITRE was a great place to work and I was able to work with many fair, kind, encouraging people. Surprisingly, I felt less welcomed by the younger (my age and slightly older) male colleagues than by the older ones who had been in the industry for many years.
I feel more comfortable in a mostly-male environment. Probably because that's how it was in my family, I had no sisters, but 3 brothers; and my relationship with my mother wasn't as great.
I feel so lucky to work for such a great company, but also a little resentful that I don't feel safe leaving it. I've heard so many horror stories, had a few terrible experiences myself, that mean I won't explore other career options unless I have to. Other jobs or companies may offer more or different opportunities for learning or career growth, but at what cost? I'd rather stay where I know I'm valued and respected.
I feel that being female and over 40 has made my career feel much more tenuous. I worry that if I lost my job I wouldn't be able to be hired again in my field.
I feel that it would be more appropriate to ask which gender we identify with, instead of sex. There are too many leading questions in this survey, making it a bit biased towards negative experiences as well as where tech/employers are located.
I find high tech & Silicon Valley to actually be a more feminist culture than other pockets of American industry like finance and academia.
I find I am bringing tech knowhow into non-technical spaces which makes me very anxious and feel like an outsider. I find it difficult to understand how to pitch ideas for projects to people who might take them on - I don't know how to raise funding or pitch C-levels, and I've become paranoid of people stealing my ideas after some "coffee dates" and "job interviews" that never went anywhere. Therapy is helping a lot for impostor syndrome. I don't know who or how to ask for mentorship and I'm uneasy with how few women I feel I can turn to, although there are some who have entered my life - I feel like my relationships with them soured and am generally very conflicted and not working in my desired field in the least right now.
I find it difficult to relate to the experiences of other women in tech. I enjoy the culture and haven't experienced harassment, and nothing I dislike about the industry has anything to do with my gender.
I find moving through the (tech) world as a non-binary-assigned-female-at-birth not-quite-gendered person doubly isolating: no longer recognizable as my birth gender nor belonging to that of its so-called opposite, only my own head is safe(r) space much of the time. And even then, well. It can be tricky. So tricky that I am disabled now--social relations are almost always more than I can negotiate in real time and still be productive.
I find this survey very leading, which makes me concerned that this will detract from the validity of the results. I took part in this because it was linked as a survey for Women in the tech industry, but then one of the first questions asks me whether I identify as male, female, both or don't want to answer. Very confusing. What is a woman? There is a whole section based on what reasons I think there would be for leaving the Tech industry, hypothetically. As the previous question asks for a gauge of the likelihood that the respondent would leave the tech industry, the latter question is therefore hypothetical and urges the respondent to select from a narrows list that presents only gender-focussed reasons. This further discredits what could have been a very important and significant survey but, instead, has come across like a no-win, no-fee lawyer trying to make a case out of very little by trying to convince me that I should be a victim, even if I didn't see myself as such
I frequently feel frustrated and confused about where I fit on the supposed tech - non-tech continuum and wonder if my job title or department were different, how much difference I would notice in how my competence is perceived.
If you are willing to excuse the rare but definitely present sexist remark, there isn't a massive amount wrong with the industry. All of my colleagues seem as driven as myself to succeed. Bad jokes are bad jokes, not an industry out to persecute us women.
If you work at a company that you love, please share it with other women!
I genuinely had trouble thinking of women in tech I admired (aside from the two bosses I've had in the last 4 years, who are brilliant). I also got quite bummed out when I got to the question about my experiences and realised exactly how many boxes I could tick.
I guess in Germany, the culture is no as bad - I have never felt like I'm being treated as less.
I hate being called out for being a woman when I'm at tech events. I can't even count the number of times people have said, "Oh, a GIRL who can CODE? How RARE and SPECIAL." as if the mere ability makes me some kind of unicorn. I don't want to be praised for having certain genitals; if you're going to praise me, make it on the quality of my code, my skills.
I have been electrical engineer 31 years. Still feeling odd to be only woman among colleagues
I have had a largely pleasant experience studying CS and working in tech, and have not faced the kind of harassment or sexism that other women have. I am perplexed by this; I'm never sure if it's luck, or if I have some small role in having chosen a good path. That being said, there are too few women around me, even if the men are overall pretty good colleagues.
I have many friends who have described shocking sexist behavior-- shocking inherently and also in how often it occurs. I'm happy to report that in both companies I've worked for, I was hired and mentored by women (or wonderful, non-sexist men) and find bro-culture (beer, rock climbing, ping pong) to be annoying, but not detrimental. I've experience sexist behavior, but nothing specific to technology, and nothing that made me dislike my job or company. The only thing that REALLY angers me is a subtle cycle that occurs everywhere I look. Women are too often told to "calm down" during discussions that are otherwise open and well-organized. 1. No one tells a man to "calm down" during a meeting. 2. If they do, he is seen as passionate and intense, whereas a woman would be seen as emotional and needlessly anxious.3. The huge problem here is that women perpetuate this problem by being afraid. We are so fearful that we will be seen as emotional that we resist speaking up as often or as loudly as we might otherwise. It's subconscious, extremely harmful, and only made worse when we're told to "calm down"!
I have no idea how much my male colleagues make. How are we supposed to find that out?
I have no time for self-serving attention seeking 'women in tech' who have deliberately obfuscated the issues that the many young female IEEE members I see endure. The numbers speak for themselves -particularly in the UK where I live. I still attend many events without a single woman or if there is one they were not educated in the UK. Many non-technical 'women in it' , 'girl-geeks' or whatever - patronise us and fail to see how few women innovators and decision makers there are in the real electronics and computing industry. In the past week I have attended IEEE, Microsoft and Amazon conferences and the only female speaker was one announcing Intel would pay for the party at AWS. Both my sons have masters degrees in engineering.
I have not personally experienced any sexism (although it's possible it existed and I wasn't aware of it).
I haven't even entered the workforce within the technology industry yet and I'm already dreading the masculine culture that permeates it. In the computer science program I'm in, we're only about 3-4 girls in fourth year. Out of about 20-50 students, about? And I'm already constantly flip-flopping between having to try really hard to prove myself (and incidentally feeling responsible for the reputation of the other women in my program, if I mess up) and then having absolutely no confidence in my abilities. It's a bit exhausting already to always be on edge and feeling judged all the time.
I haven't ever thought that being a woman has held me back in any way. I grew up in a state (Wyoming) where we were always told women can do anything they want to do and I saw it all around me. My company has many women leaders. Personally I've never thought that being a woman is a disadvantage.
I have wanted to learn how computers work since my primary school got its first Apple IIc, but only boys were given class time to learn to use it. I had to prove to my high school computing teacher that my code was more efficient than his to get marks on exams. When I finally reached a high level in Government IT area, I was demoted by a new CEO-level who said it's because he doesn't like working with women and I shouldn't take it personally. I rarely speak at tech conferences, even when encouraged to, because in my experience attracting attention means attracting negativity and harassment.
I just got coached on how to ask for a raise, but haven't been able to use it yet. Whether I leave tech or not is STRONGLY affected by what happens in the next 60 days.
I just stumbled into a tech role and am lucky it ended up being a great fit. I work from home 100% of the time, and there's great pay, and it will make it very hard to go back to my previous industry, higher education administration.
I landed more or less by accident as a programmer trainee (no experience desired) in 1982 at the University of Texas Data Processing Division. There were as many women as men, and though times were different then (I was asked at the interview whether I baked) I was treated equally with the men on my team. It was a wonderful work environment and I got a lot of training and encouragement. Over the years, I found myself in teams with fewer and fewer women. However I would say most of my employers had a woman as head of Engineering and/or several women managers and directors. I've been a manager and a director myself. In the 00s and 10s I have often been on software delivery teams with few women. This has been sad. I have ben extremely lucky never to encounter harassment or abuse, tho I have hater reactions when I've worked on initiatives to help promote women in software. However, I know women who are just as tough and assertive and smart as I am who have been victimized and had to leave jobs due to horrific harassment. This must stop.
I left once, but came back because as long as I still need a "regular job" I don't know what else I would love to do as much. Most days, anyway.
I love my job and colleagues. If I have a beef with tech it's only that I don't love managing as much as making stuff. My career has been full of supportive men which is good because I've had almost no female direct peers.
I love this industry and I doubt I'll ever leave it, but it has a long way to go in order for it to grow up.
I'm a computer science teaching-faculty member. I have not had direct industry experience in many years, but in my experience, many of the same tech-centric biases exist in the academic setting.
I'm actually really tired of reading and hearing what sounds like whining about women being victims of sexism. I would like to see a bigger focus on teaching women how to navigate themselves into positions of equality without the whining or male blaming.
I'm a woman and have been in tech for 13 years. I had been a team lead, manager, and a principal engineer. I did not see the glass ceiling placed upon me. In fact, reading most things about women in tech news, I found that those problems were created by women themselves. If you are doing good work, the company would value you regardless of your gender and at the end of the day, it's what you produce that counts. The only reason I may leave Tech would be to spend time with my family.
I may be a boy, but I've been blessed to work for several companies that were fairly good at gender equity. Despite being better than the average company, I still witnessed all kinds of bias, or unwanted attentions, or other less than ideal behaviors amongst individuals.
I'm currently working in a tech job for a non-tech company. (In fact, that has been the case for my entire career.) The atmosphere is a little less oppressive than actual tech companies, and there are fewer opportunities for harrassment from men in the tech field.
I'm in Boston. It's different from SF. Still a bunch of white guys taped together, but more middle aged and less brogrammer. It drives me nuts but I'm good at this by now. I know my limits and their limits, and I make the most of it financially.
I'm in intermediate roles at work. I'd be paid the same as make colleagues except I'm unable to work full-time. Put most simply, my reason for this is that my life has been much more of an uphill struggle than most. I am the only female identifying developer at my current company of about 30 developers.
I'm likely to stay in tech for the same reasons I got into it, combined with a desire to not have my income level go down. While there have been some significant challenges in my career in the past which I do attribute in part to my being female in a significantly male dominated industry, I feel I've achieved a lot and am now at a point in my career where this is much less of an issue. I am also now at a company where the culture is excellent, and I am appreciated, respected, understood and treated fairly.
I'm lucky to not have had personal experience with the 'dark (sexist) side' of tech. I attribute that mostly to living in a small city. However, I have wider future career aspirations that I know will expose me to it, and I stay on top of the news and surveys like this so I can be aware of what is happening. Thank you for making the data on this one public.
I'm more front end & design. After 15 years, I'm leaving this industry and getting as far away as possible. Besides the sexist experiences this survey and other respondents have already outlined (which I wholly agree with and have experienced/witnessed), you're expected to wear 12 different hats that don't fit, have a degree that has only existed for the last couple years, be available around the clock including on your vacation, and be excited and kiss the feet of employers for offering you an "amazing opportunity" for pennies. I saw a project manager position at a web agency for a salary of $36K. I see lots of unpaid internships at places like Bell and Rogers who can afford to pay. It's insulting, exploitative, and since I'm not interested in non-tech/non-design roles in management, etc, I'm done.
I'm not a victim. I chose this field fully knowing what I would have to encounter. I don't ask for special treatment. I work just as hard as everyone else. I take what I put in. So does everyone else. Gender is not an excuse. Please stop making excuses for your short comings. Its embarrassing for the rest of the females who are already doing the work.
I'm not sure whether my answers are relevant because I couldn't see what you were defining as "in tech". Is it just about computers and the internet?
Imposter syndrome may be the worst part. It makes me not ask for help because I think the problem is just that I'm not trying hard enough. I also hate being aware that in addition to being a junior engineer I'm also our only female engineer. When I ask questions because I'm junior and learning, I'm aware that I'm also a female engineer asking basic questions about our code base.
I'm sick and tired of the tech industry. I'm sick of getting paid less than my male counterparts. I'm sick of seeing women get promoted because they are good at playing the game (e.g. presenting a facade that the male patriarchy finds tolerable and acceptable). I'm sick of being called abrasive and bitchy because I don't fit into the acceptable female mold. I'm sick of performing *better* than all my male counterparts, but still receiving less acknowledgment and being paid less.
I'm sorry, this might not be the kind of answer you are looking for, but I like the masculine culture and that is partly why I love being in tech. I would take it as a compliment, if I were described as abrasive, bossy or aggressive. I think toughening up is something I could do even more. And I actually enjoy the fact that sometimes my work environment feels inappropriately sexualized. On the other hand, nowhere in other industries have I experienced men who actually care so little about my sex or gender and who focus solely on my achievements and talent when it comes to career advancement. Whereas in other industries it's the old, conservative men who get to play the boss, in the IT sector and in small startups, it's at least the younger guys with more modern views of women and equality. In no other industry can I imagine that I would have risen this quickly into the company's management team as a young woman, but in an IT startup I have been able to do so.
I'm so tired of being the only technical woman in the room. I'm tired of being the only woman in the room and having it assumed that someone brought their admin. I'm tired of people talking to my husband (also a software engineer) about technical things and trying to talk to me about family (I'm just as technical as he is, and we don't have kids). I'm tired of people asking when I'm going to leave the field as if it's a given. I'm afraid that it is a given.
I'm very lucky in that my current employer is very gender-balanced and full of strong, outspoken women. I came from an employer where that definitely was not the case - I was belittled and demeaned by the GM of our product as soon as (because of high attrition) I began reporting to him. He had no clue on how to manage people and was placed in his role purely because of cronyism - he actively disliked the customers of our product.
I'm very lucky that I work at a company that highly values equality and works to make sure our environment is a healthy one for everyone, with options for professional development and more. My biggest hurdles in advancement are internal and stem from previous bad working environments outside of the tech industry.
In addition to general sexual harassment there is also the constant questions of "you are a Network Engineer, are you sure you aren't in *fill in the blank non-technical area of the company*?" Or, hearing "I hear there aren't many women doing what you do, isn't that weird for you?" I would say what is weird for me is being asked questions that insinuate that I am crazy or lying.
I need grants to attend conferences. I'm an India.
I never really think of myself as a woman in tech, because the work I do is work to pay my bills, not a vocation. I feel very lucky that I get to genuinely enjoy the work I do but I don't find it a calling, so I won't be upset if in 10 or 20 years I've found something better for my situation, although I confess I do stick around a bit out of stubbornness, to not be yet another woman in that statistic of women who have left.
I never wanted to work in technology but got two degrees in computer science and then realized that was probably what I would end up doing unless I went into academia.
In my last job I was a technical person (DBA/programmer) in a non-technical business. My last supervisor was a non technical female and I have the impression she didn't like the fact that I am a masculine female. (I've always gotten along better with men than women.) Being assertive about my skills and confident about my professional opinions were seen as being aggressive.
Interesting (and depressing) survey :)
I personally have not had many issues arise due to gender, but I feel this is largely because I tend to behave in a very male way by natural inclination. I tend not to notice or be disturbed by behaviour many women find inappropriate or intimidating. I don't think it's rare or acceptable, just not something I feel worried about for myself. It does frustrate me a lot to see other women experience it though.
I quitted my previous job because of sexual harassment, my boss was a woman. I worked at a financial investments company as an account manager.
I realized recently that feeling "lucky" because I've only been sexually harassed by an executive once and denied access to a job once (that I know of) is insane. It might be getting off easy, but a guy would have sued. I would leave tech if I had any other skillset. I'm over the frat boy air hockey culture.
I realized recently that my entire tech career, I had tried so hard to be "one of the guys" that I've lost most of my unique personality. I've started working to regain my own personality back and hold the belief that if I'm not accepted in the tech industry for who I am, then I will just have to leave it and I've come to terms with that.
I started in Tech because it was something I was good at and it challenged me. I was originally pigeon-holed into website coding because I was one of two girls in the computer tech class at the local vocational high school. Eventually, I was able to throw my weight around in SkillsUSA competitions in internetworking (a Cisco sponsored competition). I primarily work in government contracting, providing IT support to the federal government and military, but I've worked on the private side of things as well. My current tech interests are networking and learning to code. I've been working in an entry level position for 5 years, now. I have trained many men to do jobs I applied to and did not get because I was "too good" to let go from my then-current job. I've been physically and verbally harassed, sexually and non-sexually. One of my project managers stalked me for 3 months before I couldn't take it anymore and had to quit. I suffer from PTSD to this day. I have struggled to excel in a field where I am almost constantly made to feel unwelcome in the classroom, in the office, and at networking events. When I bring sexism in the workplace up to coworkers (mostly men), I'm told that I'm overreacting. That they've never witnessed it, so it must not exist. Those same coworkers make jokes about me becoming pregnant or loudly empathizing with my "husband/boyfriend" because I'm so bossy. I'm not even 25 and I've been considering getting out of tech for 2-3 years now. I have an aptitude and a talent for tech, I love the work itself, but I'm sick of feeling on the outside or unsafe. I'm sick of being passed over for higher level positions because I have a pleasant phone voice, so I'm more "useful" doing tech support. I'm sick of having my experience and learning ignored when I offer input or ideas. I suffer from feeling like I'm faking my way through my job. I second guess myself constantly, even when it comes to the correct answer for a subnet exercise. I am obsessed with perfection in my work, because I've had so many people focus on the one little thing I did wrong and then ignore the rest of it.
It has been a few years since I worked in the tech industry.
I think Higher Ed IT is far more inclusive, but also harder to advance at my particular university. Unless you become a BSA, you're just cycling through the Associate/Intermediate/Senior pay grades at your position, or you get a job with a new team to advance.
I think its the high-status industry where women & minorities have the best opportunities. I've felt far more comfortable in tech than literally any other environment in my life. Not perfect, but miles better than other industries.
I think I've been quite fortunate in that I've worked at companies that encourage and support women in tech. There have been individual male colleagues who have at times made work life difficult but I always felt like the company had my back. These individuals were spoken to by their managers and the issues were resolved. 95% of my male colleagues are smart, friendly, collaborative people and I have no desire to leave the tech world as things currently stand. I hope that other females get to experience what I have experienced. I understand I may be in the minority.
I think many issues I find in the tech industry are simply exacerbated issues I face as a woman day-to-day. It's just more visible because the gender imbalance is greater.
I think that things would have to get significantly worse for me personally to force me to leave, not because I'm somehow immune to sexist happenings, but because I feel somewhat trapped by my skillset. I'm not confident my skills would transfer to a new industry, and we're a single-income family. Letting myself get chased away would effect more than just me, if I couldn't get a new high-paying job we'd lose our home.
I think the "bro" culture - which includes guys bonding over objectifying women - is one of the biggest things holding back my career. The men don't want to let women into their social circles because either 1) it will change the group dynamic or 2) they are worried about being sued.
I think there's an intersection between being perceived as a woman, being a person of color, being queer, and being nonbinary that makes it really difficult to find support even within 'diversity in tech' groups, which tend to be mostly white folks. In order to be working on true diversity, we need to be looking at gender in a more nuanced way, as well as race.
I think the tech industry needs to actively try and be more inclusive with regard to people with disabilities. Also, I believe that the tech industry in Germany would benefit from being less conservative. Working remotely/from home is hardly, if ever, possible in Germany, which is a problem for me.
I think this survey needs a proper introduction and explanation of what is being studied. I view this survey as highly biased as 99% of response options are tied to men putting down women in tech. We can do better than this!!
I think we need more organisations like this, and female mentors in the technology space
It'll be interesting to see the results of this survey.
It wasn't an option, but I have considered declining a perk at work, because I was afraid people would think it was a reward for a sexual favor. I'm always worried that people will think I get ahead, not because my work is great (it is!), but because I use sex in some way. This mostly comes from having heard this stuff said frequently and by numerous people about another woman in a director role at my job. I don't think there's any evidence of it being true. If I could rate the reasons I'm unhappy in tech or at least my current organization, #1 would absolutely be the lack of mentorship, specifically female. The one female leader in my organization just resigned to go elsewhere ( a natural career move ), and I'm disappointed I will have no other female. I do not have a male mentor currently (I have in the past) and do not see an obvious choice to play that role, nor do I see an opportunity for this to happen in the near future
It would be nice to get more support from men when discussing new tech concepts. If a tech exists, men are awesome in trouble shooting, design, configuration. I've experienced 20 projects that had severe pushback from men "That can't be done." "That shouldn't be done." Then criticism after it's been sold, built, implemented (about not being an elegant design or lacking finesse). I feel like more opportunities would make a huge difference for getting more women in tech. By opportunities, I mean contracts to compete for (and win). My firm has gone after a lot of deals and we didn't get them. That didn't stop the sexual harassment. The mid-west is the worst when it comes to clients making comments of a sexual nature. The really large companies still employ men that will try to make booty calls when traveling, away from their wives and children. Usually accompanied by too much to drink. Plus any happy hour or dinner with too much booze means I'll have to remove myself quickly if I don't want innuendos or worse. The last thing I want to say is that vitriolic comments about women in powerful positions is disheartening. I wonder if verbal support from some men isn't shared from concern about being attacked, like women are attacked. Gamergate really makes me sad. There are so many men that I know that will discuss this in private, are also saddened by it, and won't say anything publicly. Shanley Kane often says things that I feel do not help get and keep more women in technology. However, she is saying something. Which is priceless compared to every person who says nothing, regardless of their gender.
I used to / still call myself Cassandra. In the Greek mythology, the god Apollo gave her the power of prophecy in order to seduce her, but when she refused him, he gave her the curse of never being believed. Anytime I gave my opinion about something I disagreed with (especially if a person was doing a technical change) I would not be listened to, many times the change / project would fail, and sometimes afterwards I had to then clean up the garbage left behind. Heaven help you if you didn't want to clean up after someone else screwed up because then you wouldn't be a "team player."
I've almost always had wonderful coworkers, a few short-term contracts excepted. Conferences are a lot more mixed.
I've been in situations at work where I felt uncomfortable with the jokes that were made, or have been misunderstood/felt undervalued... but never! by my fellow developers (all males and super sweet guys that made me feel safe and respected).
I've been lucky and have only had one situation where a colleague made persistent comments about washing and ironing to wind me up. No sexual harrasment per se. Have been in the same job for 13 years - when started 50% tech colleagues were female. Now dropped to about 15% - which makes me sad and a little uncertain of my own future here.
I've been lucky, my father is a computer programmer and was the reason I got into the field. He had connections that got me into my first internship and I did well from there. My current company is very supportive of me.
I've had 4 jobs since graduating, and several summer jobs. All in the software industry. I have never felt less valued than my male counterparts. I have never encountered sexist behaviour. I do wonder if I'm oblivious or just lucky. I've had a great experience so far, and where I haven't (and ended up leaving a company) it's had nothing to do with gender.
I've had very little (almost none) of gender issues apart from positive discrimination.
I've seen a lot of women working in the softer sides of the field: content development, communication, marketing. I see a lot of women in quality assurance. Female developers and product owners are rare and often get pushed toward the sideline. And when a content person like myself wants to move more toward technology, there is often resistance.
I've worked in female majority, non-technical environments where I could've ticked many of the boxes in the question about discriminatory behaviour. Society is misogynist, at least in tech so far I can earn more. Currently very very happy in a great, friendly and supportive environment (being female, a mother, and part-time hasn't stopped me getting promoted) - so they do exist!
I was working in computing in a university department where 3 women including me became pregnant at the same time entirely coincidentally. one was in an administrative role and the other 2 (including me) were in tech roles. I was refused being considered for promotion because of being pregnant! All 3 of us left, 2 leaving tech for ever. This was about 17 years ago.
I work for a distributed company and I think working far outside of Silicon Valley protects me a bit from the garbage that women working there seem to be subjected to. I find it painful and anxiety-promoting reading about the horrible abuse some women in the industry are going through, and avoid reading about it or getting involved in conversations about it, which makes me even more sad - I feel like I'm putting my head in the sand at the same time I'm extremely aware of the awfulness going on and feel powerless to do anything about it.
I work for a non-tech organisation in a tech role.
I work for government, not a tech company. There seem to be more women techies on my personal radar than you're detecting in the private sector. The gov't jobs are socially relevant, interesting and relatively plentiful, but advancement opportunities are limited (I'm 42, and will never have a raise again unless I stop coding and go back to being some kind of godawful manager. There's no career path at all beyond where I am. I'm at the top of the tech ladder. Which sucks because I'm kind of a genius coder, but found management boring and stressful.) Your research doesn't seem to notice the public sector, even though it's a major part of the working world. It might be interesting for you to look into this --and the demographic stats will be easier to acquire.
I work in a technical role in a non-technical company.
i would have preferred this survey have a way to indixate whether employer took positive action on negative issues listed in the checkboxes (my current one did!) i feel like my employer might look the same as a really bad one based on the checkmarks but it is actually an overwhelmingly supportive env and any inappropriate situations are dealt with very well. that they come up in the first place is an industry wide issue - what differentiates companies is how they handle it.
lack of mentor and importor syndrome made me move out of development into testing which I though I was less likely to be found out. I regret this decision, Now in testing there is a very loud aggressive mostly male school of testing that are extremely intimidating on Twitter . I wanted to speak at testing events but now I think I want to get out of testing.
Men hiring new employees: scrolling through photos while making sexist comments :'( Male co-workers are hitting on my family and friends through facebook :'(
More than anything, I'm emotionally and mentally tired from the brogrammer culture, the push back because of my gender, and "enlightened, progressive" men unwilling to listen to feedback from women and other underrepresented populations because they feel "attacked."
Most of what's in tech is juvenile, and ignorable. And occasionally there's the outright harassment, which need to stop. Context matters, we need to encourage stronger communication and inclusion such that what's juvenile doesn't escalate to harrassment. At the end of the day everyone wants to go back to creating and getting cool products shipped.
Moving from FE dev to UX.
My company is not technically a tech company in the way you are talking about but my department within the company operates like a tech company.
My current company is the best tech company I've worked for, and I don't feel comfortable leaving because I don't think other companies will be as concerned about workplace culture and equality. If I leave tech it will be because I want to leave my current company but there's nowhere better to go.
My dad was a programmer and taught me how to make websites, but discouraged me from entering tech because he saw how it treated minorities firsthand and didn't want me to suffer, so I stayed the hell away from it for at least a decade. When I realized that I wanted to become a dev, I cried because I knew it was going to suck. It still does, but I've learned to put blinders on-- I try not to talk to techies or go to meetups alone, I try to stay away from forums like Reddit, Quora, and HN, and I try not to watch or read any tech news, all so that I don't get psyched out by what the world is constantly implying: that I should not be here.
My experience at working at Microsoft is that they are one of the few companies that do not have a problem with sexism.
My experience in tech personally has been great, and I don't think I'd be happier right now in any other industry. However, even though I'm personally treated well and don't experience any sexism/harassment, I see a lot of other people having awful experiences, and I find that really unacceptable.
My experience may be non typical since I work in a big tech shop in a non-tech company. So while there is a lot of IT there is also a lot of not IT. I think this helps tone down the experience a bit in comparison with what I say saw in college.
Note: currently pursuing a PhD, all industry experience is through internships
Only focusing on does not eliminate the social system that upholds discrimination. I've experienced as much discrimination from female groups as I have from male-dominated organizations.
On the questions "make you happier" I didn't tick any of the boxes because none applied not because I skipped the question.
Out of all the places I have worked, Facebook seems the most aware, and works the hardest to support women. I've experienced sexism at other companies in the Bay Area, but it wasn't until moving to the Bay from the Midwest that I received equal (and fair) pay in all my roles. Prior to Facebook, I worked at many places with a woman in a leadership role (in larger orgs, never startups) in my part of the org, but was shocked they never supported other women or provided mentoring. If anything they appeared to isolate themselves from everyone else in the company.
Overall I found this survey to be very biased toward negative feelings about working in tech. While I definitely recognize that this is some (maybe even a lot of) womens' experience, I felt somewhat misled when directed here from Twitter to take a survey about "women in tech." Would love a survey sometime to focus on *us* and all the cool stuff what we're actually doing, rather than continuing to focus on aspects of tech that are primary brought on by men.
Overall, I think women are still paid way less than men. We have fewer chances to be promoted and the tech-bro network is tough to break into.
Overall I've had an overwhelmingly positive experience as a woman in tech, and consider myself quite fortunate in that respect. I'm working in healthcare IT now, which has a great gender ratio and excellent people and meaningful work.
Overall I've had a wonderful experience working in tech within my bubble of supportive community and coworkers. It wasn't something I knew I wanted or could do long term until I found a community and support network of women in tech. I want badly for other women to have great experiences too. I go to a number of conferences and meetups, and the absence of women is painful - as a shy person, it's hard for me to reach out and make connections when I feel like I'm the odd person out. I appreciate women who make efforts to reach out to other women at conferences, and try to do the same myself.
Over the years, it was so subtle, but while men were promoted, I was sidelined and told I didn't need additional leadership training. I watched peers go to new heights while I perfected and elevated my current role, but was never able to move beyond it because I was perceived as indispensable in that role, but it also locked me in away from management opportunities. Now after 40, no one wants to invest in the middle-aged worker, so I'll likely be a senior individual contributor for the rest of my career because I missed the bus earlier.
Part of our promotion criteria is how well we team with others. Yet, when women team with others, our contributions are not seen equally (and have even on occasion been attributed to other men on the team). But if we work by ourselves to avoid this, it's very harmful to our careers. Sexual harassment and hostile environments are a huge problem where I work. If women report the problems, they fear other men will not want to work with them as much or that they will further be treated as an outsider. When women do report the problem, management tends to minimize it, ask the women what they did to encourage it, or assumes the men involved had good intentions and are just socially awkward. The managers tend to know the males involved in the complaints better than the women, since more often the women try to maintain a professional relationship with the managers in hopes they will be judged solely on their work. This results in the managers being more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to the men or even try to protect their personal relationship with the men by downplaying the complaints and taking little to no actions. The result is that after reporting harassment or a hostile environment to the managers, it usually harms the female's relationship with her supervisor while the manager retains a cordial relationship with the man involved.
Plenty of tech people don't work in tech companies, so q3 seems very short sighted.
probably worth noting I'm older and done childbearing, with most of my children no longer living at home.
Recently targeted for layoff at Microsoft. Looking at the statistics there were sooo many of advanced age or women or like me, both. Women in technology need a second career plan for when technology firms throw many of us out in our forties.
Regarding first-hand experience in a work environment: along with the "bossy" label there's "emotional." Have also had to deal with work not being taken seriously because of feminine looks & dress. This is especially true when in a marketing or sales role, and it's not just men.
Regards from Chile!!!! (where the gender gap and troubles with women in tech are the same than other places)
Requiring product managers to have technical degrees also limits women in the field. I've noticed some of the best product managers did not come from engineering backgrounds.
So glad you're doing this!
So I'm in a really interesting position which I hope will help round out your sample. I have a _great_ working environment. I'm in analytics, and although our team lead is a man, the other three members of my team are female, including my immediate boss. Even our engineers have a pretty reasonable gender ratio (25% female -- 3 out of 12). When you take our product and QA teams into account, we actually have a slight female majority in my office overall. Although most of the people who are ultimately in charge (the founders/first employees of the original startup) are male, they've collectively hired a lot of women. In fact, we've even had female engineers who left come and ask if they can have their positions back, because they liked the environment so much. The biggest reason our working environment is great is because the people here are really mature. I'm the youngest person in my office, at 26 (nearly 27). (Another member of my team is slightly younger than me, but she works remotely.) The majority of people here are in their 30s. Many are parents. The atmosphere is generally stable and chill. Interestingly, we do have one engineer in particular who can be loud and overbearing and could, if given enough power, make the environment somewhat hostile -- but that's exactly why no one gives him that power. Our director of engineering and the other people in charge are mature enough and good enough at recognizing talent to realize that being loud about your opinions doesn't necessarily make your opinions right, it just makes other people kind of uncomfortable. So overall, I think a lot of the credit for our good environment goes to the managers, who have been really good at establishing and maintaining a mature, reasonable, supportive work culture. We also have very good parental-leave policies -- several of the women (and some of the men) here have had children and gone on leave and come back without any problems. Plus, my team lead in particular is really good at being supportive of me and the other women on our team. He's actually a very good manager in general, possibly because he really wanted to manage people and has read extensively about effective managerial techniques, rather than doing it just for the status or being forced into doing it. I think it probably also helps that our office is so small and has very low turnover. The culture is very established, and close personal interaction means that people maintain that -- there's no way that individual teams can establish their own sub-cultures and then wreck the entire culture overall, because there's just not enough people for that to happen. I've read enough press about cultures at companies like Github to realize how extremely lucky I am to be at this office and to experience this environment. My hope is that describing all this will help you with identifying behaviors and policies that other companies can undertake to create supportive environments too. Thanks for all the work you are doing!
Someone once said (and I'm paraphrasing) "I don't want a seat at your table, I want to destroy the table." This is how I feel about the tech industry. I want the structures that shut out and drive away women and minority participants dismantled.
Sometimes I think that a lot of the shitty things about the tech industry actually affect most men just as much as women, but women just have a lower tolerance for the bullshit.
Sometimes it's really lonely being a woman in technology. I wish I had access to female mentors.
Tech companies need to offer more/better resources to support their employees experiencing work-related stress. They need to give equal focus and attention to everyone, and stop making/letting engineers be the center of attention.
Tech hardly has any women of color.. That includes role models..
Tech is a great place for women to work. Yes, it is an industry that tends to take advantage of workers generally, however it also offers the opportunity to shape and influence the future, and it pays better than a lot of other kinds of work. Women shape different futures than men alone would. We know from research and the market that groups with women in them do better work, make better decisions, and produce better products and services than all-male groups. Although there is still hostility toward women from some men, for the most part the abuse is from a minority, and if the industry does a better job of zero tolerance for everyday sexism, and starts ejecting the bad actors, then the workplace will be better for everyone. Because the tech workplace is very diverse culturally, it is still coming to grips with its own cultural norms. I now see men in tech who have a clue about feminism helping curb their male peers in public, which is a sign to me that the tide is turning. I would like to see a lot more women in tech management and engineering, but the women in those roles whom I've observed are being treated with respect as equals, from a social and professional perspective. That said, without equal pay, we are just the low-cost option, which can't continue. Employers need to change that ASAP, and it needs to be enforced legally, so that women will not be second-class workers.
Tech is a sea of hostility and misogyny and I would really, really, really like to get out.
Tech isn't just biased against older (i.e., 35+) women, but all older people. Being female just makes it worse. The focus on pushing more younger women into the field feeds the ageism — the resulting perception is that if you're over 21, you're no longer worth any effort. Encourage the older women who WANT to stay in tech, and the next generations will see role models and then decide on their own that they want to participate.
Thanks for conducting this survey.
Thanks for putting this survey together. I am anxious to see the results. I believe it is important to create awareness of the realities that are interfering with our ability to hire and retain female talent, and our ability to leverage all of the benefits of diverse teams that are fully engaged. I do believe that some of the issues we uncover about job satisfaction for women in tech will also benefit men with similar concerns. Although, women do have unique challenges, I don't believe it is a gender issue. There a million+ unconscious and conscious biases. Studies like this are a step towards removing the blinders and beginning discussions toward tolerance and appreciation of those differences...and toward inspiring women and men to be more confident and intentional about their choices.
Thanks for this survey!
Thank you for compiling this survey - despite working in the supposedly more liberal world of academia, I have still seen women fired for becoming pregnant, told there is no point in doing their PhDs because "they'll just end up getting married and sit at home having babies", and been told myself that I don't need an income because "your partner can just support you". Hopefully making people more aware that these issues still exist will go some way towards making them obsolete.
Thank you for organizing this.
Thank you for putting this into words. It's the first time I've seen this called out and understood other women face these topics.
The elephant in the conversation: women and babies. Raising children is like a startup, it requires time, commitment and sacrifice. Women who invest in the early development of their children, building roller coasters with their children, taking them to see the latest Honda Robot walk down stairs at the Science Centre, playing math games all Sunday afternoon in pyjamas ....create brilliant brains for engineering and computer science. These moms are bright and ambitious, but face an intractable path back from parenting to positions that exploit their diversity of experience, perspective, maturity, depth, creativity, curiosity and cleverness. So, some women never try to come back or can't find a way back into the profession; some women never invest the time necessary to build the neuro-circuitry in their young children in the first place; some women struggle to achieve the elusive balance. The choice seems to be extremes: career focus or kid focus with a lot of juggling, tradeoffs and sacrifices. Imagine the potential for a positive sum solution: deeply invested in young kids + early and late career opportunities! Neuroscience supports an investment in early development. Women returning after this investment are the most under exploited resource in the field.
The impostor syndrome thing hits home. My primary goal is to be good at what I do, and sometimes it feels like I will never get there. My boss identifies with this as well though, and admits he has the same thing. He speaks (jokingly) about the "fraud police" coming to get us. He's exceptionally good at what he does, so that is food for thought.
The question, "Of the following, which do you think would make you happier and more successful in your career " seems to assume I am the one in need of fixing and it includes no choices about technical anything. All of the answers are focused on helping me be better or more confident or more social. The fact is, I have already read so many self-help books and spent so much money on therapy that I am feeling quite well-adjusted, thanks. I would have checked boxes for more employer provided technical training and diversity/unconcious bias/social training for my entire team.
The question that asked what would make me happier didn't come close to addressing what would really make me happy in *any* job, tech or not. The problem is, it's the hardest to pin down: working with really good people on a good project. "Good people" means that I respect them personally as well as professionally. They are smart, hard working, critical thinkers, and genuinely care about people and work. People leave jobs because of the people they work with much more so that what they do or how they are paid. That's the biggest summary I can think of for all the various issues that are rampant and mentioned in this survey.
There is a Women In Technology (WiT) group in Atlanta that is really great at bolstering women and giving them advice, speakers, courses, etc. designed for women by women. Love it and hope other cities have this as well.
There's definitely "bro-culture" at work. If you're not one of the bros, forget about going to lunch with upper management, getting that raise, or getting the best projects. A female coworker of mine was told to "just sit and look pretty" at a meeting once. I don't know if this is typical for every tech company, could just be current poisonous leadership.
The tech industry is a great place to be and one day women will feel just as welcome as men to be in it. I hope I'll get to see that day myself.
The tech industry is an automation of paper-pushing, and I don't really find it admirable at all. I don't like what it does to people. I don't think it improves the world aside from making it finally plausible to see the bigger patterns of how humans develop societies. I think that most of the tech world is plainly repulsive, blatantly self-interested, and unable to see further than the end of its own backside. It appears jealous of medicine and law and bridge-building, hopelessly lusting after the power of banking, dependent on untold pounds of human misery inside and out to keep itself running. When it is not these things, it is deeply, unrepentantly, colonially American. What an awful place to put people. Like democracy, the best bad thing we've managed yet. On the other hand, I like eating regularly and organizing patterns, and will therefore remain in this industry until weaving comes back into fashion.
The whole "women in tech" thing has confused me my entire career. I kept hearing that I was rare, that I don't belong in tech, that the industry is trying to push me out and thus we need all these "women in tech" and "diversity" initiatives. I've *never* felt out of place in the tech industry, and all of my male colleagues have bent over backwards for me -- if anything, I believe I've experienced "affirmative action" and granted greater opportunities than comparable male colleagues.
Things I have witnessed at my most recent employer: 1) Been told by an oldhead that "you can't have fun at work ever since that whole Anita Hill thing." 2) Proposed a solution that got shot down, gave my work to a fellow coworker who repackaged it as his own and got approved. At least he thanked me privately. 3) A male employee mimicked hitting a female corker in the face as she walked by--twice. 4) Listened to my boss worry and fuss over the guy in 3 and had to remind him that the really important concern was that the woman involved felt safe from actual or threatened physical violence when she came into work every day. 5) Listened to MRAs talk about PUA tactics in the middle of a meeting. 6) Overheard a male coworker commented loudly on the fuckability of a female coworker and watched her startle and cower. She did file a formal complaint and they aren't allowed to work together anymore, so yay on that. 7) Was told by my boss that a colleague wasn't a good manager because she was "a mom." I could go on and on.
This is a horribly sexist survey. I was quite offended by it.
This survey does not really fit women who already own their own companies or are at small startups. It's also very US centric
This survey felt like it assumed that women have a bad experience working in tech. That has not been my experience at all -- my company is thoughtful about gender and diversity issues, discusses them regularly, and works to create and maintain an environment that is inclusive.
This survey is biased towards bohoo. Where's the option to say I feel great, valued, treated equally, competent and successful?
This survey is like "women in tech" movement in general: It focuses on negative issues. Why don't we have a survey to collect all positive comments or nice treatments we have experienced at work.
This was about when I was working directly in technology role (slightly non tech company). Currently now no longer in tech but in academia, but still have a techish job.
Though I feel highly vulnerable, being female, I don't know that the majority of what I face is unique to the tech industry, or even my gender. Discrimination and bias takes many forms. In many industries, and countries, it is far, far worse. However, I know that a male, particularly a white male, can use the exact same words as a female and get a different response. It also seems we are uniquely visible in tech and therefore more of a target. I have to be careful about my personal and professional safety all the time. I am afraid to be less than pleasant and accommodating, and must avoid be seen as aggressive or overly sensitive at work, or online. I mustn't speak up too much. Shut up, work hard - then you survive. But I wish we all had the skills, and support, to not resort to silence. Though I must sound fragile, I'm just questioning a lot of things and wondering what I can do to make them better. I seem to be perceived as strong and highly capable, perhaps because I work hard and care. I do stand up for others, I can't abide unfairness and I am getting better about standing up for myself. There are so many skills everyone needs to develop. My crazy dream is for annual, mandatory classes for everyone in compassion, consequences, correlation, bias, tolerance & differentiating fact from belief - given at school and work. In large companies managers only get Harassment training - usually poor quality training, but better than nothing. But I doubt we could all agree on what's required to help every person be a kind, decent, capable, thinking human who doesn't contribute to an unequal, even toxic, workplace and world, for women or anyone else.
To clarify: - I attained a quite senior position in my last employment, then was fired, apparently because my personality didn't suit - I am currently in a junior role (fixed term contract) and I am again experiencing daily discrimination: the typical double bind: if you are very good it is not seen or you are 'playing', if you make 'mistakes' then you are hopeless. No one views you as having a shred of expertise. - I am in my late 50s and I know my career is over: it is impossible for me to find a job in tech at my level of expertise. - all my professional life (16 years) after my PhD has been a misery of discriminations, sadly.
Twitter is more hostile towards women than its public persona will lead you to believe.
We need to find a way to stop the unconcious bias that both men and women have about women.
What's up with the lack of eye contact by some male co-workers?
When I began my career in tech writing in 1983, most TWs were men and many had military backgrounds. My boss at Northern Telecom, Babur Gul, was a rare bird; he mentored me in a time before the word was a verb. Science & tech fields were not among those that any guidance counsellor suggested for me. But tech writing offered me a chance to write and actually earn a living wage. The skills and tools I was exposed to at NT, launched me on my way to a 30 yr career that gave me the time flexibility and money to raise 3 daughters and send them out into the world, as well. In the 80s, all training in tech writing was on-the-job; there was no formal education available. I learned from people (mostly men, by far!) who treated me as a young, professional with a brain. I worked in writing teams across the spectrum of hi-tech and we shared our knowledge in the pursuit of excellence in documentation. Over the decades, the labour paradigm has shifted. Instead of groups of employees who grow in their careers and, in turn, plough our corporate knowledge back into the fertile soil of our collective success, we work in professional isolation on short contracts and take our knowledge away with us when we leave. I wonder, how do young tech writers go beyond a simple mastery of their tools and develop into artisans of our craft? Whether we are junior or senior on a project, we work alone. There are no young writers that I can mentor now that it's my turn. Maybe I can take this opportunity to make a plug for the Canadian Freelance Union ( Although there's no collective bargaining, there is help negotiating contracts and an affordable benefits package you can buy. There's a similar union in the States, too ( U.S. union also offers networking and their tweets are fun & useful.
When I was asked to name one or more women in tech that I find inspiring, I realized that they don't get as much media publicity as men, and when they do is usually for the wrong reasons.
When I was in my early twenties, I shrugged off or denied the impact of gender bias because I didn't feel like it ever affected me or my classmates personally. 10 years later, my views have changed. Some issues still feel hazy to me, but I have a much better understanding of how and where gender bias is obvious and less obvious. It's the less obvious, subtle bias that is more alarming, because it makes me question my past experiences. It's impossible for me tease apart how sexism or impostor syndrome really impacted me during my university years, for example. Today, I often encounter the misconception that feminism and tech outreach to women is about valuing women over men rather than about equality. I often encounter resentment about "special treatment of women" and how it may be harming boys and young men, and so on. I hear this kind of stuff from other women! That's crazy. I hope to see more organized efforts to address these misconceptions directly. On another note, broadly angry messages directed at men in general (posted on Twitter by outspoken, frustrated activists, for example) are very destructive. I'm not angry at men, nor do I hate men, and I hate the idea of being lumped in with people who say they do. It adds tension to my work environment and it makes it harder to have conversations about feminism in the first place. If you're angry about something, do share, but please be specific when you express it publicly. Promoting stereotypes and bigotry is not cool.
When I was younger, sexual harassment was a continual threat but now that I am in my mid 30s I worry about ageism. I am so frustrated over seeing guys with less experience and/or aptitude chosen for tracks which result in higher pay and more desirable skills. I don't want to be the admin/project manager/den mother.
Where will the results of this survey be posted?
While I've worked in tech companies, working in the content strategy field is more important to me than "working in tech."
While my work environment is *very* supportive of women in learning roles/junior roles, there is little interest in helping women who are very competent and could potentially take on more senior positions/decision making roles. I feel like we are valued for our work, but very rarely consulted on important decisions or encouraged to take on more leadership.
While there are a lot of shitty aspects to being a woman in tech, I feel extremely fortunate to had a very kind, feminist man as my ph.d. supervisor. He made sure that myself and other aspiring women scientists were able to attend professional development seminars that were specifically aimed at helping women overcome gender-related discrimination in our field. I hope that in my future career I can pay it forward and help younger women advance their careers.
within the first 4 months of working at my first development job, I was exposed to so much misogyny, rape jokes, sexual jokes, & propositions that i had a relapse in my PTSD.
Women in the industry need to stick together and support one another.
Worked almost 20 years in high tech sales (EE degree) until I had children. Decided that I no longer had the patience to attend meetings in strip clubs, nor to harassed both by customers and coworkers.
Worked with men with similar skillsets/IT experience as me--they were given more interesting projects and system permissions while I fell into customer service roles. I often second guess my skills and hold back from opportunities only to see risk-takers/bullshitters get ahead. I love computers and it kills me that I'm worried about my future in tech.
Working at women's colleges and in other areas of higher ed with more women (librarianship) has made things somewhat easier for me. I worry about the sexism of the tech industry in general when I think about the next job, or going to conferences.
Wrt career goals question, I *am* one of the top experts in the field, and I don't want to manage people. I started as a volunteer in open source at 15, and I've worked mostly freelance since graduating college.
You didn't offer responses for people who are out and speaking at conferences and trying to drive the gender balance within their industries and workplaces. Most of the answers assume we are early on in our careers and have not figured a way forward. Some of us are on the frontier and hitting newer issues.
Your leaving tech question is incredibly biased. You should have just left it open ended.
Your reasons for leaving tech doesn't seem to include "retirement" as an option. Personally I'm not retiring for a while, but if you edit the survey you might want to add it.
Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment