Today, I read an article that came across in my Twitter by inc.com, I often refer to that site for inspirations, and what I read truly shocked me.
The article states the huge disadvantage for female counterparts in the technology industry particularly in the Silicon Valley, according to a survey conducted on 200 women with at least 10 years of experiences, with the questions focusing on 5 areas: Feedback & Promotion, Inclusion, Unconscious biases, Motherhood, and Harassment & Safety.
I have been in the technology industry for 10 years in two different countries. Let’s look at some of the listed items in the survey and discuss them.
84% have been told that they are too aggressive
I’m not sure if I resound in that. In fact, I am rather told I am too soft when comes to pursuing results because I rather believe results are based on capabilities and not by snatching businesses behind someone’s back. I also chose to talk at the same level with my staff, rather than talking down to them. I chose to pursue a common understanding with my team rather than to bark instructions. And if the above makes me too soft, so be it because I produce results with my team backing me up.
However, I pursue my own principles and beliefs. When I see something needs to be right, I will not hesitant to point it out. If I see someone being bullied at the workplace, I will report to HR. Does that make me aggressive?
47% have been asked to do lower-level tasks that male colleagues are not asked to do ie. note taking and lunch buying
I have not come across that. I suppose my bosses usually will get their own lunch and as for note taking, I don’t think it was ever specifically targeted at me. In fact, I rather it targetted at me since I often contributed ideas across the table and I probably would use the chance to elaborate more on the ideas I raised in the minutes taking. Haha!
75% have been asked about their family life, marital status and children in interviews
This I totally agree! I have been asked so much, I truly lost count. One bad experience I had encountered was when I went for an interview many years ago for an insurance company applying as a personal assistant. The interviewer told me I passed his expectations and was looking forward to work with me. As I turned to exit, his parting question was whether I would love to have kids someday and I replied I would. I didn’t hear from the company for a month thus I chose to call in and find out what happen, especially since the interviewer has explicitly told me I made the mark. His words that pierced through my heart was that he did not want to risk having me go on maternity leave and burdening him with finding a replacement. My gosh, I was only 21 years old! I wasn’t ready for the world yet, let alone having kids right now when I’m fresh out of school.
But I have not encounter that in the tech industry, in fact, my ex-bosses often encourage family life as we locked ourselves with a laptop, cooped up with hardly social interactions.
65% of women who report unwanted sexual advances had received advances from a superior, with half receiving advances more than once
1 in 3 has felt afraid of their personal safety because of work related circumstances
It is truly sad and disappointed to have to work in a place where you constantly in fear, whether it is due to sexual harassment or safety. Nobody should feel that way in a work environment. I advocate strongly against bully in workplaces. I am fortunate not to come across any creeps or not a target for the lecherous in the tech industry, in fact, I find the guys rather shy and quiet. But I did encounter harassment in the retail industry where I find sales folks are likely to be more egoistic and arrogant than tech guys. It’s who they are that makes them so good at their job.
88% have experienced clients/ colleagues address questions to male peers that should be addressed to them
Yes, it happens and yes, in the tech world, although I don’t think it is specifically only happened in the tech world but people do have a tendancy to think that Tech and Men go hand in hand and having a female in a tech team throws them off balance. This is also why technical sales team often hire attractive females sales executives to throw clients off balance, in hope, they would not ask difficult technical questions.
I take that as a challenge rather than a setback. To change a person’s mind is possible even during a short hour meeting. I relished seeing surprise and delight on my counterpart’s face when I presented a brilliant idea. Does that mean I have to work harder than my male coworkers? No. I just have to work smarter.
Let us know if you have encountered the above situation that you are dealt unfairly in the comments below.
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