Sexual harassment and discrimination common in tech sector
There is no question that sexism exists in workplaces of all sorts. While it is of course possible for either gender to experience sexism, in today’s society it is widely accepted that women are the gender that faces it most often. One field where women face this is technology. In fact, it may be pushing women away from that field.
This is illustrated by statistics. Despite the fact that the technology industry is growing at a rapid pace, the number of women going into the field is not keeping up. Today, fewer than 20 percent of female undergraduates are graduating with computer science degrees. In comparison, 30 years ago that number was close to 40 percent.
The sexism that women in the tech sector face takes multiple forms. One is sexual discrimination. For example a woman may not get a well deserved promotion because of her gender. Sexual harassment is another issue when men in the field inappropriately proposition colleagues or coworkers without consideration of the action being inappropriate. In other situations women may be sexualized to a degree that they are not hired for certain positions for fear that they will distract the men they would work with or, when they do land a power job or are promoted, are assumed to have “slept their way up.”
There are, of course, things that can be done to try to combat the issue. The first is to encourage females to enter the field and make sure that they are provided the same opportunities as members of the opposite sex. Next, is for men to acknowledge that sexual harassment and discrimination occur and the role they play in the matters. While some men may participate in sexist behavior without meaning to or even realizing it, it still needs to stop.
Everyone can take steps to end discriminatory and harassing behavior toward women. Women can come forward to report it. Men can support them when they do come forward as well as choose to not tolerate even subtle sexist actions.
For women who have faced either of these issues, coming forward could be accompanied by legal action. In this situation working with an employment lawyer is a good idea.
Source: Forbes, “Sexism In Startups: The Frank Conversation We Need To Be Having,” Joseph Steinberg, Sept. 18, 2014