Exclusive: How To Break Up The Silicon Valley Boys’ Club
Susan Wojcicki has a dynamite article, and do watch that video “Youtube’s First Eureka Moment” (which, oddly, is not on Youtube).
Every year around this time, we hear the same story in Silicon Valley. This year, it was Susan Fowler’s distressing account of her year at Uber, followed closely by A.J. Vandermeyden’s story alleging a culture of “pervasive harassment” at Tesla. Like many who read the stories, I was mad. But I was also frustrated that an industry so quick to embrace and change the future can’t break free of its regrettable past.
The allegations of explicit gender discrimination that Susan and A.J. describe are unacceptable, and any report of harassment deserves a thorough examination. But implicit biases can also harm women in the workplace through more subtle forms of gender discrimination. These include being frequently interrupted or talked over; having decision-makers primarily address your male colleagues, even if they’re junior to you; working harder to receive the same recognition as your male peers; having your ideas ignored unless they’re rephrased by your male colleagues; worrying so much about being either “too nice” or “sharp elbowed” that it hurts your ability to be effective; frequently being asked how you manage your work-life balance; and perhaps most difficult of all, not having peers who have been through similar situations to support you during tough times.
Fortunately, there is a solution that has been proved to address gender discrimination in all its forms, both implicit and explicit: hiring more women. Employing more women at all levels of a company, from new hires to senior leaders, creates a virtuous cycle. Companies become more attuned to the needs of their female employees, improving workplace culture while lowering attrition. They escape a cycle of men mostly hiring men. And study after study has shown that greater diversity leads to better outcomes, more innovative solutions, less groupthink, better stock performance and G.D.P. growth.
Despite this evidence, tech lags other male-dominated industries, such as finance and media, when it comes to gender balance, according to a 2016 World Economic Forum Study. So how can tech do better? Well—unlike the work of many Silicon Valley companies—it’s not rocket science.
First, tech C.E.O.s need to make gender diversity a personal priority. . .