See How These Awesome Women in Tech Take Down Sexism

Female industry leaders wrote an open letter: “Our experiences? They’re just like the stories you hear about.”
(Photo: Valerie Loiseleux/Getty Images)
May 24, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

The tech industry hasn’t exactly been welcoming to women. Men still dominate the field, and the minorities who nudge their way through still struggle. According to a 2008 study, 63 percent of females in science, engineering, and tech have experienced sexual harassment.

Sounds like a big number, you say? Just this month, an IT conference employed models as human Connect Four pieces. April saw the launch of CodeBabes, a site that features schoolgirl-uniformed coding instructors. The industry isn’t just looking the other way; it’s encouraging sexist behavior. And more than a few women have decided to do something about it.

A couple of Silicon Valley designers have hilariously put CodeBabes in its place. Their bro version of the site says, “You’re going to learn to write some damn code…and chug a few Jack and Cokes!!”

On Thursday, another group of female tech leaders posted an open letter on Model View Culture’s site. “We are tired of pretending this stuff doesn’t happen,” note the signers, who include BuzzFeed iOS designer Sabrina Majeed, Adobe product manager Divya Manian, Mozilla developer Angelina Fabbro, and software engineer Jessica Dillon. We recommend you read the whole letter, but here’s an excerpt:

Why we’re writing this thing:

We love working in this industry.

We love collaborating with like-minded colleagues.

We can’t give up and leave.

We’d rather be writing blog posts about best practices for development, design, and tech management instead of the one we’re writing now.

We are tired of pretending this stuff doesn’t happen, but continuing to keep having these experiences again and again. We keep our heads down, working at our jobs, hoping that if we just work hard at what we do, maybe somehow the problem will go away.

We are tired of our male peers pretending that because they do not participate in bad behavior, that it is not their problem to solve. If you see someone engage in bad behavior and you do nothing, you’ve chosen to let that person think that what they did is okay. This leaves us feeling like we’re fighting this alone. We can’t work on what we can’t see, but if you’re there when it happens, you can help. It is absolutely imperative that men work with other men to combat bad attitudes and behavior.

You might be surprised how few people want to help or engage on this still.