Women in Tech Put Up with a Lot of Crap Too

I thought this might be of interest to my readers and to a lot of folks in the skepto-atheosphere: Dan Benjamin’s panel-discussion podcast The Crossover in recent months has done a couple of episodes that focused on the unique challenges faced by women in the tech and inter-webs industries. They’re both very insightful and illuminating conversations, and considering The Troubles in the ‘sphere, and that the Women in Secularism conference is just days away, I thought these might be of particular interest.
Usually this show is more general, taking a couple of hosts from existing shows on Benjamin’s 5by5 network to talk about whatever techie things might occur to them, but these two episodes were intentionally focused on women in tech. The first, “Assumptions,” has Jen Simmons and Gina Trapani (who I just freaking love on the TWiT network) taking a more wide-angle look at the topic.

The second, “Speaking Up,” is far more specific to the particularly troubling experiences of Sarah Parmenter and Whitney Hess (whose issues both, I should note, had a lot to do with conferences).

One thing that stood out to me about “Speaking Up” was the guests’ descriptions of trolls that seem to find comfort and camaraderie in their shared loathing of whomever they’re harassing. Interesting, that.

While these both ostensibly address women in tech, I think it’s pretty clear that their lessons and experiences will be familiar and broadly applicable.

3 thoughts on “Women in Tech Put Up with a Lot of Crap Too”

  1. the guests’ descriptions of trolls that seem to find comfort and camaraderie in their shared loathing of whomever they’re harassing. Interesting, that.

    And familiar. Very, very familiar.


  2. I’m one of those women in high tech–I work on supercomputers. Today I’m in an all-day scheduling exercise, which is a face to face meeting with everyone from all the disciplines that are needed to pull this off. The guy speaking about sample allocation referred to “the guys that will be working on this board”. So I looked around the room. There’s 30 of us in it, and with the trivial exception of me, he was completely accurate.
    IOW, sometimes this place looks just like it did on my first day here 13 years ago. Sigh.


  3. As an electrical engineer and veteran of 32 years of high tech, I’m of two minds as to the appropriateness of using “guys” as a generic inclusive. The question is whether the *gender* is invisible or the *woman* is invisible. I recall receiving an email sent to a team of people which was addressed to “Lady and Gentlemen”. Thing is, there were 2 women in the receiver list – I never did find out which one of us was the lady :).
    As for the parallels to the “skepto-atheosphere”, one interesting difference is that for at least the past 20 years, the high tech industry as a whole was, for the most part, *officially* welcoming to women, and most companies were taking steps to encourage women to enter (and stay in) STEM (and also had formal anti-harassment policies).


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