According to a survey carried out by top female executives in the tech industry, 60% of women in tech reported unwanted sexual advances. Of these, around two thirds say these advances were from a superior colleague. The survey called ‘Elephant in the Valley’ was inspired by the discourse surrounding the Ellen Pao & KPCB trial – in which the former sued her then employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for gender discrimination and lost on all counts. In fact, Trae Vasallo, who testified on Pao’s behalf in said trial, is one of the women behind the survey. Additionally, Ellen Pao went on to become the CEO of Reddit in which she made some authoritarian decisions that lead to an online backlash and ultimately her stepping down.
[They] asked 200+ women focusing on women with at least 10 years of experience. The survey islargely bay area with 91% in the bay area/silicon valley right now. [Their] respondents hold positionsof power and influence with 25% are a CXOs, 11% are Founders, 11% are in venture. In addition tocapturing start-up data, [they] also have employees from large companies including Apple, Google, and VMWare.
The results suggest that 60% of women in tech reported unwanted sexual advances and 30% felt unsafe in their work environments, an issue fuelled by insufficient recourse for women who reported sexual harassment.
Two-thirds of responders felt that they were excluded from important networking and social events because of their gender and 90% witnessed co-workers exhibit sexist behaviour at conferences or outside of work. 84% had been told they were too aggressive (with half hearing that on multiple occasions) and 88% experienced clients/colleagues address questions to male peers that should be addressed to them (eye contact with male colleagues and not me: 84%).
Further details about the selection criteria for participants, the proportion of responders among the women approached, or the generalisability of the selected sample are not reported on the study’s website. Since we don’t know the survey instrument used or how these women were selected, “Elephant in the Valley” is about as scientific as a survey conducted by Cosmo.
A list of dubious, subjective, unverified accounts of perceptions of sexism make up the entirety of results. The number of women who think someone should be addressing or looking at them when they’re addressing or looking at someone else is evidence more of a wave of adolescent narcissism and entitlement among senior women in tech in a number of large, well-known companies. The survey is sponsored by a collection of the industry’s top women executives, clearly with the intention of pushing a politically-driven, forgone conclusion as a narrative.
This unscientific advocacy ‘study’ has been touted in various media outlets including Bustle, Newsweek and The Guardian. As the tide turns against identity politics, one can hope the majority of readers will appreciate the utter meaninglessness of this survey’s conclusions.
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This also reminds me of the latest article I saw about college campuses. They used to say that One woman in Four was raped, but now they say that 25% reported receiving unwanted sexual attention. I am not really sure what the term, “Unwanted Sexual Attention” means, but it suggests it is something measured on a semantic differential scale, something very subjective, a feeling more than a happening. No definition is given, and one is needed, With no definition the concept remains nebulous and of a resulting limited use as a research tool. There is also no comparison with what happens to men, or what they feel is happening.
When I worked in the Casino in my younger Days many female customers would grab my butt or worse, or force me to walk close past them so that contact was made (Something I always did with my hands high above my head to show I was not a party to what was happening). I was also told to, “Smile, for God’s sake, boy! It’s only a bit of fun!” – Well – It may have been fun for them, but I was genuinely scared of assault and accusation of assault simultaneously.
Thanks for the article. So true. The raw power of gynocentrism will power that sort of survey into fame and glory to be quoted in college textbooks, the floor of congress, courtrooms etc. ugh