On Women in Tech

[Content Note: Misogyny; sexual harassment; gender essentialism.]

There's a good piece by Issie Lapowsky over at Wired about the challenges, including straight-up harassment, that women in tech face when searching for funding. It starts with this anecdote:
Shortly after Kathryn Tucker started RedRover, an app that showcases local events for kids, she pitched the idea to an angel investor at a New York tech event. But it didn't go over well. When she finished her pitch, the investor said he didn't invest in women.

When she asked why, he told her. "I don't like the way women think," he said. "They haven't mastered linear thinking." To prove his point, he explained that his wife could never prioritize her to-do lists properly. And then, as if he was trying to compliment her, he told Tucker she was different. "You're more male," he said.

Tucker didn't need to hear any more. "I said, 'Thanks very much,' walked out, and never spoke to him again."
This, in the year of our lord Jesus Jones two thousand and fourteen.

The piece notes that "all of the women interviewed for this story have found investors who they say have been wholly supportive throughout the process," which is terrific. Full-stop.

But I also note that all of the women pictured are young, thin, pretty women who appear to be white. Would women of color, out trans women, out gay women, fat women, older women, women with disabilities have survived the harassment and gone on to eventually secure funding, too? Who are the women who failed to secure funding, for reasons other than having an uninvestable product?

That is at least as important a story.

As we observe over and over in this space, if only the most privileged women are succeeding, even in spite of contemptible harassment, that's not an indication that at least some opportunities exist for all women.

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