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Silicon Valley, The Root Of Tech’s Diversity Problem: The Impact Of #MeToo (Part 4)

Silicon Valley has always been a tough world for women to break into, with nonstop headlines of toxic culture and boy’s club overtaking major tech companies filling our news cycles.

The term “boys’ club” in the professional setting has been around for decades, and one of the best examples in media would be Mad Men. Since the #MeToo movement took off in November of 2017, the public as a whole has started to take a harder look at how women are treated in the workforce, from Hollywood to Capital Hill. One community that still seemed to lack attention that it desperately needed was making progress of it’s own, behind the scenes.

Although the campaign began back in 2006 by Tarana Burke, several stories shared on Twitter with the hashtag “#MeToo” led to one of the biggest social movements of the century.

The #MeToo movement made waves around the world, across several different labor markets and impacted countless lives. One of the industries it had the biggest influence on was the technology community, specifically those that are headquartered in Silicon Valley.

Serious allegations hit notable companies including Google and Uber, putting their office culture, employee misconduct practices and leadership teams under the microscope. However, this wouldn’t truly be like the other #MeToo movements that brought down hailed trailblazers of the industry, like Hollywood did to Harvey Weinstein.

Powerful names like Dave McClure, Justin Caldbeck and Chris Sacca, venture capitalists, alongside tech expert Robert Scoble all felt the heat from #MeToo.

But not all is lost—some women found strength in the movement that continues to show through to this day. Thankfully, tech companies in and outside of Silicon Valley have started making the long overdue changes to their organizations.

 

Silicon Valley, The Root Of Tech’s Diversity Problem: Sex, Drugs And Hot Tubs? (Part 3)

“About once a month, on a Friday or Saturday night, the Silicon Valley Technorati gather for a drug-heavy, sex-heavy party.”

Over the past year, it’s been exposed and then further investigated that it’s not uncommon at all for the leaders in the tech community of Silicon Valley to get together often for secretive (or so they thought) drug-fueled, sex parties.

Since these parties made their splash across headlines since the news first broke in early 2018, Silicon Valley’s toxic culture and male-dominated workforce has been under serious scrutiny, by people inside and outside the community.

A female investor in the San Fransisco area told Emily Chang, author of Brotopia: Breaking Up The Boys’ Club In Silicon Valley, in her Vanity Fair article, “Women are participating in this culture to improve their lives. They are an underclass in Silicon Valley.” Other allegations in the book include that many business deals are made outside of the office, usually in a bar or a private hot tub.

In a Medium article, Paul Biggar, an attendee to one of the parties that Chang depicted in her book, wrote a response denying many of the allegations she made, but did confirm that some details were correct and that the culture of Silicon Valley must be fixed. “I came to Silicon Valley to make things. And while it’s true that wherever there is money and power there are going to be people who abuse it, we need to step up and stop this shit from going on. It is never OK to abuse your power to exploit women or any underrepresented group, or to allow your power to be used by others to do so.”

For more on the prevalence of sex parties in Silicon Valley, check out the podcast, Recode Decode, as host Kara Swisher interviews Chang on “the quasi-corporate sex parties of the Bay Area” here.