The tech sector may be making tremendous advances connecting us in unimaginable ways, but it fails when it comes to advancing certain societal causes. Silicon Valley is a leader in so many ways, with the glaring exception of both hiring women and protecting them in workplace. Women in technical roles and leadership positions are few and far between. Worse, many of them are often the recipients of unwanted sexual advances by male colleagues, many of whom never suffer any repercussions of such behavior. In a sense, not much has changed from the Peggy Olson days from Mad Men. Women are regarded as inferior, get hired as secretaries, do not get equal pay and are sexually discriminated against in the workplace.
Currently, women make up about 51% of the US population and 59% of the US labor force. However, they only make up 29.1% of the labor force in tech companies. The number of women working in technical roles is even lower, at only 15.6%, indicating that women have little influence shaping technology.
In addition to being left out of technical roles, women also don’t steer ships of technology companies, with only one out of five women holding leadership roles in tech companies. As a result, women lack proportional influence regarding the direction and the vision of tech companies. Upward mobility for women in the workplace is also at issue. In fact, 66% of women reported feeling excluded from key social/networking opportunities because of their gender. Isolating them reduces the probability for further networking and possible career advancements.
One of the most pressing issues, however, revolves around sexual harassment in the workplace. A recent study of women with at least ten years of experience in the tech sector revealed that 65% received unwanted sexual advances, with most coming from their immediate supervisor. Ninety percent reported witnessing sexist behavior at an out-of-office event or at a conference. The net effect is that women are excluded from networking events, except for those moments when they are on the receiving end of unwanted sexual attention by male colleagues. Unfortunately, 60% of victims who reported sexual harassment were dissatisfied with the outcome.
Laws protecting women from unwanted sexual harassment in the workplace, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 have been on the books for decades. While these laws are widely known to exist, they are woefully enforced, meaning that women have to actively fight for a safe and fair workplace environment. The fight begins with reporting sexual harassment internally. If the company falls short of protecting them and the resolution is not acceptable, the fight needs to continue. It needs to be brought to a Labor and Employment lawyer, and Jurbid can help you do that. If you experience sexual harassment at work and feel unsatisfied, post your case today.