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  • Writer's picturekathelinejeanpierre


Updated: Nov 4, 2018

This is the part 2 of the series "Make Room for Women in Tech" blog posts.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama suggested that we “Make more room for women in tech” in Silicon Valley.

#1 The media: Powerful VCs featured in the Style Section

Female VC portray of Shelly Kapoor Collins is published in the Style section. Is she a fashion model or is she an investor investing in women-founded startups?

#2 Follow the money: Whoever has the money has the power. In the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem, the “powerfuls’’ are the VCs. The VCs who came out about their sexual harassment behaviors received countless support from other males who justify the behavior of sexually harassing, touching and assaulting women as “just being a man”. One example below.

#3 The helplessness of men: “Women, please, tell me what to do”

I am speechless when I hear senior executives in the tech industry who “don’t know what to do or where to start”. Really? You were able to make millions as a VC but you can’t figure it out? I’m a firm believer in the skill / will matrix. If you have the will to transform it at your level, then you will develop the skill. I did not have the skill either. I simply Googled it and read multiple abstracts on the topic to solve for the gender gap.

#4 Silicon Valley is a Rape Culture

Let’s name things. What’s all that fuss about sexual harassment? Why does it matter? It matters because it leads to rape which is a crime. Gender blind sexism is an indicator of a rape culture among men and women and studies further showcase that.

Individuals who hold attitudes consistent with the frames of gender-blind sexism are more likely to accept common rape myths.

A “rape culture” is a culture in which we normalize rape and sexual assault. Victims are blamed, either implicitly or explicitly, when these crimes are committed against them. A culture in which other factors such as media objectification make it easier to see women as dehumanised objects for male sexual purposes alone.

Now what? #DecencyPledge

I found a couple of ideas to break things by “Just Googling it”.

  1. Companies can terminate employees with wrongful conduct of sexual harassment, assault and rape.

  2. Companies can correct and adjust salaries to full parity like Marc Benioff who paid $3M to deliver equal pay for Salesforce (article). Additionally companies could analyze and compare salaries not just at current level but at levels of experience in the field.

  3. Companies who “Don’t know what to do” can hire firms like Accenture and Deloitte to break and rebuild. Accenture has built a whole practice to solve for women and diversity.

  4. Top female talent can be enrolled in fast track growth development programs

  5. Companies can launch bias busting trainings focused mainly on systemic sexism, assault, rape and racism. These trainings would be focused on men/women stereotypes and interactions.

Every initiative, every conversation, every individual and every collective act counts towards the transformation of this culture.

With Gratitude,


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