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March 7, 2017
Harassment in IT: Are things any better 40 years later?
March 7, 2017
Several high-profile sexual harassment cases in recent years serve as a reminder how far the tech industry has yet to advance with regard to the fair treatment of women in the workplace. Truth be told, it’s a pervasive problem in our culture that extends well beyond the IT field, however, the problem is particularly acute in IT due to the prominent lack of gender diversity in the field. It would be troubling enough if the problem were limited to discrimination in terms of unequal pay, lack of advancement opportunities, or disparaging remarks, but the fact that it includes harassment of the vilest kind, at times clearly crossing over into the criminal realm, raises the problem to crisis levels.The challenges facing women in the IT field break out into three categories:
- Sexual harassment and bullying
- Discrimination based on gender-denying women promotions, equal pay, and respect
- Lack of women entering STEM fields
- Susan Fowler, an engineer at Uber, was harassed by her supervisor and then denied a transfer to another group after she made repeated reports to HR and senior management. She subsequently left the company and published a viral blog post detailing her ordeal.
- Ellen Pao lost her lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins, a tech venture capital firm, alleging gender discrimination.
- A female engineer at Tesla filed a lawsuit against the company alleging a culture of “pervasive harassment.” The lawsuit is pending and she continues to work at Tesla. The company has vehemently denied her allegations.