Showing posts with label Sexism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sexism. Show all posts

Thursday, January 02, 2020

The VC Blind Spot

VCs are leaving a lot of money on the table by only investing in people who look like them — mostly white men. Morgan Stanley estimates that VCs could be missing out on as much as $4 trillion in value by not investing in more diverse founders.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Gender And Tech

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Vivek Wadhwa I Know Is A Feminist

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 28JAN11 - Sheryl Sandberg, ...
DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 28JAN11 - Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook, USA; Young Global Leader are captured during the session 'Handling Hyper-connectivity' at the Annual Meeting 2011 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 28, 2011. Copyright by World Economic Forum by Jolanda Flubacher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am not even aware of the full conversation, but I caught a snippet first on his Facebook page, then on Twitter. Strange things are known to happen in social media. You don't have to be female to be feminist. And for me the term is like saying someone is a civil rights activist. Sheryl Sandberg is a feminist, in my  book. And Vivek getting called the opposite --- well, it is fun! Really. I am like, really? He is a rare man who makes intelligent, well thought out, numbers supported cases for why women should get more in tech. Few men cheer women, fewer still make strong, well thought out cases. Vivek is in the rare category. That is the truth. But don't let truth get in your way. Enjoy Twitter! It is the experience.

Looks like the spat even got colorful!

My response to the podcast that unfairly attacked me

Vivek Wadhwa is not just another dude who writes articles. He is the smartest dude in Silicon Valley. Yes, I did say that. He talks in terms of the trillion dollar industries of tomorrow, in ways only a free thinker can. Top tech CEOs in the Valley can not afford to. They need their horse cart blinders to keep their focus on the narrow stretch that is their company.

The funny thing is, he is not only on the cutting edges of innovation, he is also on the cutting edges of gender in tech. Take his name out and circulate his articles on the topic and compare them to writings on the same topic by top rated feminists. His are more effective. He is outdoing wo-men on gender! That is no small feat.

But a little color on Twitter never hurt.

This is a dude that I want sitting on my company's Board at the earliest possible opportunity. For the record.

The Tragedy of Losing Vivek Wadhwa as an Ally

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Google And Diversity: Fail Whale

The top tech company in the world is not doing it right.

Exposing Hidden Biases at Google to Improve Diversity
Founded by a pair of men, its executive team is overwhelmingly male, and its work force is dominated by men. Over all, seven out of 10 people who work at Google are male. ...... Men make up 83 percent of Google’s engineering employees and 79 percent of its managers. ..... of its 36 executives and highest-ranking managers, just three are women. .... the firm’s poor gender diversity.. the severe underrepresentation of blacks and Hispanics among its work force. ...... the centerpiece of which is a series of workshops aimed at making Google’s culture more accepting of diversity. ..... to fight deep-set cultural biases and an insidious frat-house attitude that pervades the tech business. Tech luminaries make sexist comments so often that it has ceased to become news when they do. ....... Google’s disclosure prompted a wave of similar reports across the industry, with Facebook, Apple, Yahoo and several other tech giants issuing similarly dismal numbers about their work forces. ...... Google’s diversity training workshops, which began last year and which more than half of Google’s nearly 49,000 employees have already attended, are based on an emerging field of research in social psychology known as unconscious bias. ...... discrimination must be governed by unconscious cultural biases rather than overt sexism. ..... the more pernicious bias was most likely pervasive and hidden, a deep-set part of the culture rather than the work of a few loudmouth sexists. ...... research that shows diverse teams can be more creative than homogeneous ones ..... a dismal fact: Everyone is a little bit racist or sexist. If you think you’re immune, take the Implicit Association Test, which empirically measures people’s biases. ...... some of the most damaging bias is unconscious; people do the worst stuff without meaning to, or even recognizing that they’re being influenced by their preferences....... The effect of bias is powerful, and it isn’t softened by Silicon Valley’s supposedly meritocratic culture. ..... a computer simulation of how a systematic 1 percent bias against women in performance evaluation scores can trickle up through the ranks, leading to a severe underrepresentation of women in management. ..... we aren’t slaves to our hidden biases. The more we make ourselves aware of the role our unconscious plays on our decision-making, and the more we try to force others to confront their biases, the greater the chance we have to overcome our hidden preferences. ..... a less biased culture as a result of the training. Not long ago the company opened a new building, and someone spotted that all the conference rooms were named after male scientists; in the past, that might have gone unmentioned, but this time the names were changed. ....... the training was working. “Suddenly you go from being completely oblivious to going, ’Oh my god, it’s everywhere,’ ” he said.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Creating, Propagating

Sexism is concrete. Sexism is total. Sexism oppresses like gravity.

Sexism is geography. Sexism is universal.

Sexism exists. Sexism affects.

Sexism impacts.

Sexism holds down.

Sexism is for real.

Sexism is here and now.

Sexism is today.

Sexism is an ideology, sexism is a worldview. And it has to be talked about. It has to be challenged. It is not a men versus women thing. It is a sickness versus health issue. Sexism is sickness.

There is a connection between the mass rapes in Liberia and the glass ceilings in Manhattan. Can you see the connection?

Monday, September 06, 2010

An Apologetic Mike Arrington

TechCrunch founder Michael ArringtonImage via Wikipedia
TechCrunch: Mike Arrington: Blogging And Mass Psychomanipulation: how perfect blogging is, with its constant feedback loop, as a training ground for mass psychology and manipulation ..... any blogger worth her salt could start, say, an extremely successful militant religious cult ...... Any blogger will tell you how frustrating the early days are. Getting someone, anyone, to link to you. Your first comment! etc. ..... If there is something nasty that can be said, someone will say it. Over and over ..... Bloggers have a direct line to the collective mind. .... I imagine priests and rabbis and career politicians have much the same experience. Speaking publicly so frequently they learn exactly how to manipulate the audience, or the camera, to get the reaction they want. It doesn’t work on every individual, but the masses as a group are easy to manipulate. and your audience tends to self reinforce over time, meaning the people who buy what you’re selling tend to come back for more, and others wander away.

Mike Arrington wrote this defensive blog post because he is not all too happy with the reaction his earlier post on women in tech seems to have gotten. I was one of those who did not take kindly to what Arrington had written. (Mike Arrington Is A Sexist Pig: Say PeeeeG!)

Kudos to Mike for at least bringing up the topic. Most men treat gender as a taboo topic. You just don't talk about gender. Most men have at ready knee jerk reactions. He obviously has had the courage to stick his neck out.

But that still does not take away from the fact that he sounded like he was defending the status quo in tech. The status quo marginalizes women. It is indefensible. And Mike Arrington does not have a clue.

To say there is a problem would be a good starting point. And Arrington is not there. This is not about blaming men. This is about identifying a malaise and then thinking up solutions as to how we can make things better. The world of tech has to be turned into true meritocracies.
Someone like Mike Arrington who has a big megaphone has the option to play a constructive role.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mike Arrington Is A Sexist Pig: Say PeeeeG!

SUNNYVALE, CA - APRIL 27:  Yahoo! CEO Carol Ba...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeThe father of Quantum Mechanics Max Planck said once, people don't change their ideas, they die with them. When I think of Mike Arrington of TechCrunch and gender relations, I get reminded of that Max Planck quote. This guy will never "get" it. That's the impression I get. Like Hillary says in her autobiography, how her father was still homophobic all the way to his deathbed. Gays are just wrong. I feel sorry for Mike Arrington. This guy is missing the forest, he is missing the trees. Those who manage to cross over get to experience the richness that women bring to work and to organizations and to excellence that the sexist pigs miss out on. It is like they are color blind or something. They just can't see. It is almost biological. It is as if Mike Arrington was born with a tail and there is no surgery for it.

When Mike Arrington humiliated the female CEO of Yahoo on a public stage in New York City a few months back, I literally cringed. Sexism is the only word that describes the experience. The Yahoo CEO is older, much more accomplished, she is a role model to women. There are so few women CEOs out there that you become a role model whether or not you want to, and Carol Bartz strikes me as someone who really does not want to. But what you gonna do? You are a woman. So put on the pin. You are a role model now.

Months before that Mike Arrington hounded Anu Shukla who has been a trailblazer. Some of her cutting edge company's work is equivalent to the ongoing click fraud with Google's AdWords, but that does not change the fact that Google's money minting machine is a revolutionary product. (Anu Shukla Has Found The New Frontier In Advertising)

Mike Arrington is dripping with sexism.

And I actually like the fact that the guy is the founder of the top tech blog in the world. That tells me the only reason at least half of the excellent work done out there has not been done by women is sexism. I dig it that this dude's product is so very visible. On a non sexist planet, the founder of TechCrunch would have been some Maya Arrington.

Sexism is like communism, it is like Islamofascism, it is an ideology, it is a worldview. And Mike Arrington is dripping with it.

Tech, Women, Diversity
Mike Arrington: Too Few Women In Tech? Stop Blaming The Men.
Fred Wilson: Women In Tech and Women Entrepreneurs Discussion
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Friday, July 16, 2010

Tech, Women, Diversity

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...Image via Wikipedia
Often when Fred Wilson puts out a blog post where he links to about four different blog posts, I know it is one of those posts that is asking for a reply blog post, sometimes to echo the sentiment, sometimes to express a disagreement, often just to give further momentum to a great topic. Today is the turn of women in technology.

This whole debate reminds me of the creationism debate. My take has been religion and science deal with two different levels of reality. Religion is a belief system. Those beliefs do not have to follow the laws of physics, and many of them don't. Jesus walking on water makes sense in religion, does not make sense in science. I am not going to think you are a prude for believing that.

Religion has to be looked at in the religious realm. Science inhabits the scientific realm. And there are intersection points, like when Galileo was harassed. When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, many people in Nepal did not believe. The moon is a god. The guy probably climbed some hill, and thinks he is on the moon, that was the sentiment.

Gender is as big a topic in sociology as gravity is in physics. It is big. It is all pervasive. Just because we don't think about it much does not mean gravity is not active every waking hour, and while we are down.

There are many - they tend to be white men for some reason - who argue technology is neutral to your background. You can be any gender, any cultural background, it does not matter. They are lying. Or they are ignorant. Some of them are evil. They are invested in persisting the status quo.

Even where meritocracy can be shown to exist, those with the merits and the skills and the intellect stand on centuries of favoring one kind of people over another kind of people. And that is when there are not outright sexist informal and formal structures in place.

Gender and technology: there are many intersection points.

Equality is something that has to be proactively sought. I don't think sexism is in the interests of men. A healthy male female ratio in the workplace and at the various leadership levels has to be attempted. This is not a male versus female issue. There are those - men and women - who are on the right side of history, and there are those who are on the wrong side. We should get more people to come over on to the right side. We have to constantly be evangelizing.

Fred Wilson: XX Combinator
Tereza Nemessanyi: XX Combinator
Brad Feld: The Discussion About The Lack Of Women In Tech
Eric Ries: Why Diversity Matters (The Meritocracy Business)

When you visit Fred's blog post, make sure you don't miss out on the action in the comments section.
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Call Out The Sexism

Dancers and Flutists, with an Egyptian hierogl...Image via Wikipedia
You Can't Launch the Next Generation of Startups Without Women - ReadWriteStart The current startup system essentially excludes the untapped pool of innovators who aren't developers - for example, women who want to launch Internet startups...... Women tend to take the entrepreneurial plunge later than men typically do, once they've had some professional and life experience.......... a study done in the U.K. in 2006 showed that women over 40 were more likely to start a new business than any other age group. ...... the Internet and the startup culture have been dominated and shaped by the vision and appetites of young men and old boys from the start. ..... a sharp rise in women-in-tech groups and activities lately, undoubtedly a response to this inequity. ...... revisit the startup system and create structures that foster innovation coming from a more diverse group of people (age, origin, gender)....... eak). Women tend to present their projects in terms of their value to users and society ...... women could benefit from mentoring that would teach them to conceptualize and present their concepts in technology terms and money terms. ....... today, non-technical entrepreneurs are just as likely to come up with viable startup concepts as programmers are ...... Investors need to start looking at paper projects again, and not dismissing non-technical founders. There need to be mechanisms that facilitate team building, like matchmaking resources for projects and developers.
If it is sexism, call it sexism. Don't overlook it, don't call it something else. Definitely don't call it meritocracy. If you are at a tech event, or a meeting, and some guy makes a sexist comment, then call him out. If you are a quiet bystander, you are an active participant. Tech entrepreneurship is a cutting edge thing, and there can not be room for sexism on the cutting edge. Sexism is not a problem for women to deal with. It is as much a problem for men. Our startups don't realize their full potential if we keep putting up with sexism.

If you don't have the time, inclination, penchant or patience for a long, drawn out argument, just call the guy a pig and move on. 

Shirky: A Rant About Women: not enough women have what it takes to behave like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks ...... We’re in the middle of a generations-long project to encourage men to be better listeners and more sensitive partners, to take more account of others’ feelings and to let out our own feelings more. Similarly, I see colleges spending time and effort teaching women strategies for self-defense, including direct physical aggression. I sometimes wonder what would happen, though, if my college spent as much effort teaching women self-advancement as self-defense. .... we live in a world where women are discriminated against ...... Institutions assessing the fitness of candidates, in other words, often select self-promoters because self-promotion is tied to other characteristics needed for success. ....... To put yourself forward as someone good enough to do interesting things is, by definition, to expose yourself to all kinds of negative judgments ........ the fact that other people get to decide what they think of your behavior leaves only two strategies for not suffering from those judgments: not doing anything, or not caring about the reaction. ......... Not caring works surprisingly well. ........ it would be good if more women see interesting opportunities that they might not be qualified for, opportunities which they might in fact fuck up if they try to take them on, and then try to take them on. It would be good if more women got in the habit of raising their hands and saying “I can do that. Sign me up. My work is awesome,” no matter how many people that behavior upsets.

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