Recently, Google disclosed that only 30% of its employees are women, with the numbers getting even worse higher up: Only 17% their engineers and 21% of their executives are women.
And Google is not alone: Ingram Micro and eBay have workforces that are only 40% female; Dell's workforce is only 31% female; Cisco and Intel have workforces that are only 25% female.
It's a big problem in tech. A problem that is more deeply entrenched by repeated instances of rank misogyny at tech conferences.
And here we go again:
Jonathan Doklovic, a developer at a software company called Atlassian that's currently holding a two-day developers conference in Berlin...was making a presentation called, "A P2 Plugin and a SaaS Platform Walk into a Bar…" In the presentation, he threw up a slide about Maven, a plugin execution framework supported by Atlassian that developers can use to add software components to their existing applications.
In the slide, Doklovic compared Maven to his girlfriend, saying that although she looks beautiful she "complains a lot, demands my attention, interrupts me when I'm working" and "doesn't play well with my other friends."
Atlassian's co-founders moved quickly to cover their asses:
Today one of our engineers delivered a presentation that contained inappropriate content at our AtlasCamp developer conference in Berlin, Germany.Well, that's a nice way of putting it. By which I mean: A way of putting it that does not actually acknowledge harm. "We didn't make it any better." No, indeed not. You made "it" worse.
We are sorry for having allowed this offensive slide into an AtlasCamp presentation. The content does not reflect our company values – nor our personal values as co-founders and individuals. Quite simply, it's not OK.
Sexism is a difficult issue for the tech industry, and today we didn't make it any better.
And referring to misogynist, objectifying, sexualized content as "inappropriate," rather than any word that means harmful, they're continuing to make it worse. Sure, it's "inappropriate," and, yes, some people might find it "offensive," too, but those are not real accountability words. Women aren't marginalized because of bad manners. They're marginalized via harm.
Harm that's never going to go away as long as men in charge refuse to own it.
We are going through all the events that allowed this slide to reach the public.Passive voice. Not owning it.
We've already started immediate action. Where our organisation and process were lacking, we will add oversight. Where our culture is at fault, we will change that culture.Is there an app that just churns out this shit for these guys every time this happens? There might as well be, for all the sincerity and meaningful reflection that happens in these totally original "apologies."
It's times like this when your culture and values as a company must guide your decision making. If they are true, they will shine through. We take our values seriously. We apply them to everything we do. We endeavour to ensure all Atlassians live and represent our values.
I know the engineer responsible well. I hired him. I know the slide does not reflect his values any more than it reflects Atlassian's, and he is as deeply sorry as we are. It was an error in judgment, but one the company shares responsibility for making.
I know this guy. He's a good guy. He had a lapse in judgment. He's no misogynist! We're no misogynists. Our values our values our values blah blah fart.
Which means: Stop yelling at us. We're saying words that are supposed to make you stop yelling at us!
And now comes the inevitable discrediting as oversensitive, bitter, hysterical, looking for things to get mad about, never happy etc. any woman who dares to call out this bullshit word salad for what it really is.
As Atlassian, we don't stand behind the slide – but we stand as a team. When we do good, and when we do bad. Today, we failed as a team. We will help him learn from this, as we all must. Our engineer, our event, our issue, our learning, our growing – as a team.They promise to "learn" that women are human beings. Give them their fucking cookies.