In recent weeks, sexism in the tech industry has come under the spotlight again. For the Atlantic’s April cover story, writer Liza Mundy explored the issue of gender bias and discrimination in Silicon Valley, from the boys’ club atmosphere of startups to problems at tech giants.
Last year’s “Elephant in the Valley” study surveyed more than 200 senior-level women in Silicon Valley and found that 60% had reported experienced unwanted sexual advances. The ability to carefully reject such an advance is “a pretty important skill that I would bet most successful women in our industry have,” investor Susan Wu told the Atlantic.
The same report found that 66% of the women surveyed felt “excluded from key social/networking opportunities because of gender.” Tumblr product manager and former Facebook employee Bo Ren told the Atlantic, “These backdoor conversations are happening in settings that women are not invited to. The whole boys’-club thing still applies.”
Tired of hearing the same solutions proposed over and over, a group of female tech veterans started Project Include, which offers recommendations for promoting inclusivity. The recommendations range from “Put thought into the process of developing your code of conduct” to “Expand benefits beyond young single employees.” One of the group’s founders, Bethanye Blount, was particularly frustrated by the lack of change she has seen over the course of her career. “I am angry that things are no better for a 22-year-old at the beginning of her career than they were for me 25 years ago when I was just starting out,” she told the Atlantic. “I made decisions along the way that were easier for me and helped me succeed — don’t bring attention to being a woman, never talk about gender, never talk about ‘these things’ with men…But in retrospect I feel I should have done more.”