This week, according to Vox, the
women at Microsoft are calling it a toxic place to work as alleged
discrimination and harassment cases begin to surface after an internal email
chain was made public.
The tech industry has long-held the reputation for
mistreating their female employees, assigning them what I call “busy work”, and
not taking their careers seriously. While women make up over half the workforce,
we certainly have a way to go in the tech industry. Inc. recently published
some data on the status of women in tech:
average only 30% of the workforce across major tech companies.
30% includes both technical and non-technical jobs, such as HR and marketing.
Women can’t even hit 20% when it comes to technical jobs at tech companies.
They hold merely 17 percent of the tech jobs at Google, 15 percent at Facebook,
and only 10 percent at Twitter.
- Out of
the 41 of the Fortune 500 companies in the tech industry, only 5 have a female
hold just 14.3% of board seats of the top 100 tech companies.
are 2 times as likely to be hired for a role in math when the only difference
between candidates is their gender, according to a 2013 study from the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
40% of women with engineering degrees either don’t enter the field at all or
quit soon thereafter. In addition, women in tech with business degrees also
have the tendency to quit the industry before rising in rank.
With stats such as these, women have it hard enough to
launch their careers in tech- let alone to seek advancement while dealing with
More than likely, the women who work at Microsoft involved
in this complaint are facing an uphill battle and my advice is to also consider
your own well-being and careers.
This recent news indicates that Microsoft may have a
culture problem. Once sexual harassment complaints are made and allegedly
ignored, it is a sign that an organization needs to start taking steps to not
only rectify the issues with its female workforce but to initiate cultural
change and work with its senior leadership towards what they want their male
workforce to represent. Consistently denying women promotions while men are
running circles around them advancing and they’re only doing secretarial work
is toxic. In addition, sexual harassment is demeaning and can do a lot of
damage to one’s psyche.
As someone who dealt with sexual harassment in the
workplace only to have it denied and told it was “my fault”- it creates the
most impossible circumstances to work and succeed in. I had projects rejected,
was told that my work was sub-par, and that I wasn’t ever going to succeed. It
became clear to me that change was not on the horizon, let alone in the cards-
so I took my career into my own hands instead of letting it be defined it for
Women’s caliber is equal to their male counterparts and
they are deserving of so much more and there are organizations who be happy to have
them as part of their workforce.
If these allegations are true, Microsoft needs to take
active steps towards changing its corporate culture, such as Uber did.
Anyone who understands corporate culture, knows that it
refers to the beliefs and behaviors which determine how an organization’s
employees and management interact. It develops organically over time from the
traits of the individuals an organization hires. This accumulation of traits is
what can make an organization evolve and become one that is less focused on
equality, diversity, and the advancement of women. However, senior leadership
plays an important role by embodying the change that they want to see, caring
about its employees’ well-being, and creating a workplace in which everyone can
thrive while carrying out the organizational mission and values.
If these are allegations are true, this is where Microsoft
needs to make deep-seeded changes because their culture has evolved over time
and it now reflects the traits of those hires that are sexually harassing
women, rather than those that are there to do good work.
These ladies are taking the first step by making their
voices heard within Microsoft and the tech industry. They are talented, bright,
and accomplished women who have a solid future in front them.
To them, I say, don’t give up.
Even if your company chooses not to hear you, there are
women who do and appreciate your efforts towards making change and speaking up.
I hear you and I am with you even if you don’t realize it.
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