Silicon Valley harassment statistics highlight challenging workplace environment for some women

January 16, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Newly released Silicon Valley harassment statistics revealed what the world already knew; women are sexualized and belittled in the workplace. According to the statistics, female workers in Silicon Valley are often fondled and insulted by male superiors and clients, and when they speak up – they are punished or asked to laugh it off.

Silicon Valley

A series of Silicon Valley harassment statistics published under the title “The Elephant in the Valley” are making headlines and raising so many questions. The harassment statistics were gathered by a group of Silicon Valley veterans including Trae Vassallo, Ellen Levy, Michele Madansky, Hillary Micelle, and Bennett Porter with the help of Stanford academics – Monica Leas and Julie Oberweis.

The experts posted their disturbing findings on the following website where they are asking other women to share their sexist stories. The survey was put together using questions posed to over 200 women, who currently work in Silicon Valley and have been in the tech industry for over ten years. Among the 200 and more women, 77% are over the age of 40, and 75% have children.

The study revealed that almost all of the women had suffered unwanted sexual advances in the workplace mainly from their superiors. Here are some data from the report:

90 % witnessed sexist behavior at company offsites and/or industry conferences.
88 % have had clients or colleagues address their male peers instead of them.
84 % of respondents have been told they were too aggressive.
75 % were asked about their family situation, including marital status and children, in interviews.
66 % felt excluded from networking opportunities because of their gender.
60 % reported being the target of unwanted sexual advances from a superior.
60 % who reported sexual harassment were dissatisfied with the outcome.
47 % have been asked to do lower-level tasks, like ordering food, that men are not asked to.

The Silicon Valley harassment statistics were accompanied by cringe-worthy stories about women, who were told once they have babies, their careers are over or are asked to take food orders, fetch coffee while their male colleagues were never asked to do these things. Female workers confessed that they have been told that late-night drinking and clubbing are considered as “networking,” and being a mother is a liability.

Below are few of the stories shared by women. A tech employee said:

“Once a client asked me to sit on his lap if I wanted him to buy my products. My company didn’t do anything about it when I told my boss, so unfortunately I asked to be taken off that client.”

An app developer shared:

“I had a fellow VC sending me flowers, gifts, even a mix-tape, over the course of several months. Another portfolio CEO asked me to go through a door first so he could ‘watch me walk’ and my superiors at the firm told me to laugh it off. I also had another VC tell me likes married women and put his hand on mine. (I’m married).”

Another businesswoman revealed:

“At Company X we had a joke that there were only two reviews for women – you are either too reticent or you are too bossy – no middle ground.”

One victim of sexist behavior explained:

“I was once invited to a networking event, only to have the invite rescinded when I rsvp’d and they realized I was a woman — they told me ‘this is just for the guys.'”

Another female executive stated:

“When I am with a male colleague who reports to me the default is for people to defer to him assuming I work for him… I have also had male colleagues say to me that once a woman is pregnant she is irrelevant.”

One last woman concluded by saying:

“I was asked during fundraising meetings ‘how do we know you’re not going to run off and have a baby?'”

The authors of the report are hoping that men will understand their bad behavior and make some changes and push other women to share similar workplace stories.

What are your thoughts on the Silicon Valley harassment statistics?


Category: Tech

Comments (3)

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  1. john says:

    Says the 2 manly looking lesbians.

  2. Tim McD says:

    As a husband, and father of two girls, if I actually believed your numbers it would upset me. Unfortunately, I find you to lack credibility and objectivity, and I don’t believe your numbers. More self selection nonsense that had people believing college campuses were more dangerous than South Memphis….at night.

  3. Ryan James says:

    You should have not used people, who according to a jury of their peers, falsified claims of sexism in a 10-0 verdict with video documentation proving you lied… And I fail too see how a being disinvited to a Stag is sexism. It’s the same as a bridal shower, which usually has no men, or a girls night out which also has no men, which my girlfriend does regularly while I stay at home, and doesn’t make me cry sexism… And a joke amongst yourself (between two females) regarding how you feel hardly qualifies as sexism. Thats your own perception and unless you have a specific incident which made you have that view then it is a moot point and not “evidence”. Also a client asking you too sit on his lap is not your boss asking you too sit on his lap, you could have and should have said something right then and their. But you didn’t, you choose to talk to YOUR boss, who isn’t HIS boss, and has the SAME authority over that CREEP that YOU do. 5 years ago I would have eaten this article up and rah-rah’ed on your behalf. But after finding out that those rape numbers on college campuses, where falsified with the question “Have you ever regretted sleeping with someone the next day?” and counting that as unwanted sex made me disgusted. I have regretted sleeping with numerous women the next day. I wouldn’t call it rape, though by that definition I certainly could. I prefer to view women the same as the generations before me does, as equals and not some delicate flower who needs to be protected from every decision she makes, and most be dealt with kid gloves at all times.

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