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Women in Tech

The comments on the Gizmodo article about Vivek Wadhwa and women in tech are really disappointing. I can't deal with any more comments suggesting that feminists are sputtering harpies who are upset that Wadhwa is heroically fighting for gender equality just because he's a MAN, misandry!!!, etc. I'm also really not a huge fan of using that sexist Newsweek cover as the illustration for the article.

Wadhwa is a perfect example of how not to be male ally, and the (majority of) the comments are perfect examples of why there's still a problem around women in tech.


I was actually at a tech conference last year, and attended a session about women at tech companies. And it was super, super disappointing. Because the entire thing was centered on how individual women can overcome the barriers that sexism puts in their way (for example: Be more confident and assertive! Ask for a raise!) while barely acknowledging the double binds there (women who are confident and ask for raises are viewed as abrasive and selfish; men are praised for being assertive, and are already at an advantage when it comes to how much they're paid and how much they're listened to and respected). And there was no discussion of how women who do get ahead (and men who are supportive of women in tech) might help to actually remove those barriers for the women that come after them, so that women aren't always having to overcome hurdles that men don't have to deal with.

And this is the kind of approach that Wadhwa seems to favor. The one that puts the burden entirely on individual women, instead of recognizing that institutional problems can't be solved on an individual level, and the burden has to be shared collectively for any real change to happen. And on top of that, Wadhwa fails to use his privileged voice to bring women's voices into the spotlight, and he fails to do his due diligence as an ally to hear what women are telling him. His approach seems fundamentally self-serving.

Anyway, the WNYC podcast that was removed is here, and Amanda Greenhall's response to the removal is here. It's also worth reading Greenhall's original article about Wadhwa.




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