Tech

It won’t be a joke anymore. Women in tech, let’s step in!

Sexual harassment. It won’t be a “joke” anymore.

No opinions, just facts. Sex for funds has always happened in the past but none believed it was still happening. VCs and accelerators are looking for the best ideas and projects: why women should give out their body to talk with them?
Sexual harassment has always been a taboo, and a few women have ever had the courage to share their experience. Because it seems there isn’t even a proper definition for it. Or just judges can talk about it. But finally, the time to think sexual harassment is “simply a joke” has arrived at an end.
Men are not only acknowledging but getting fired from their position of top CEOs in the Valley for inopportune behaviours towards women. Take David McClure from 500 Startups or Chris Sacca who founded companies like Twitter, Uber, Instagram, Twilio e Kickstarter.
Things are going to be different. If the consequences are like firing someone that important, it seems “it’s not a joke anymore”. Women can now speak up, without being scared, and everyone will finally agree that those things can’t simply be just jokes.

sexual harassment silicon valley startup life

Sex for funding?

Silicon Valley is living a bad moment. After Uber, with Susan Fowler sharing her weird experience working there, a few other CEO & Companies, including the world known Dave McClure, are admitting they made advances towards a few women and they’re stepping off too.
With Kalanick pushed to step off as CEO by his board, it seems a new era is coming up, where those topics are actually shared publicly and judged as important by EVERYONE.
Women as entrepreneurs, developers, devs are needed as tech is going to be key for our future. Today, for women, it’s not even easy deciding to have a career in tech.
Women empowering other women is important, there are a few women in tech groups, but it’s not enough.
You know, this isn’t just one episode. This is the top of a story where women have always been perceived as less important and less capable in many jobs. Men have always tried to take advantages just because they’re considered more powerful by other men.
SV knows the story now and now they can make things better. And I’m sure it can bring a positive future to the rest of the world, as Silicon Valley has always been seen as the example for the tech industry.

Men, we need you on our side

As I wrote in this Medium post last year we need men on our side. And we need men telling others that exchanging sex for funds is not just women’s fault. That having fewer chances to get funded is BAD. That earning less money for the same job is BAD. That having fewer opportunities to sit at boards is BAD.
That sexual harassment can’t be judged in a personal way. It doesn’t depend on culture.
We are talking about women accusing VCs in SV of sexual harassment. This isn’t something you can discuss whether it’s sexual harassment or it’s just a joke.
Those VCs are admitting it, explaining what they’ve done, saying sorry and acknowledging they need professional help to solve their personal problems. Isn’t it understanding you’ve done something super bad? Why trying to understand or to excuse them?
I think creating a better world is possible, as in the tech world of tomorrow our skills are going to be the most important thing and hopefully, we won’t be paying attention to genders or ethnicities.

It’s not just in Silicon Valley, what’s the situation in London and in Italy?

Even if probably London and Italy are less toxic, there are similarities.
I personally know women talking about discriminations and disrespectful situations being entrepreneurs. And we’ve been told it’s quite common in an industry where the majority is men.
When I joined one of my first hackathons, on #IWD in 2015, a women-focused one, we shared our feelings regarding inopportune or embarrassing situations. We were developers, marketers, biz devs, tech and non-tech people, everyone with the same feelings.
When last summer I attended a few events talking about Growth Hacking Marketing in Italy I didn’t get that feeling. But it was different when I started talking with tech and startup founders, though.
Joining the groups and speaking up hasn’t been easy but I’ve found amazing people supporting me, starting from the guys at Hoepli, and all the other who supported me, after and before the release of my book Startup Marketing.
In Italy, there are still a lot of people who classify me as a feminist because I talk about equality, in terms of salaries and numbers. It’s not about being feminist, rather speak about inequalities.
But I don’t care. I like to meet and talk with people, sharing my experience working in tech, what I’ve achieved and empowering everyone would love to achieve what I worked hard to get.
I bet: things can change.
I’ve seen men stepping in to help women, asking for respects and for sharing equality principles.
Women, we need to step in. We need to share our thoughts and feelings.
A lot of men are already sharing our feelings and they’re deciding to step in, too.
Because it’s tremendous. And horrible. They’re doing it for their wives, for their daughters and granddaughters. They won’t say “it’s a joke” anymore because others took responsibility.
Because in a world where technology is the key for our future we need to work side by side to change this world for a better tomorrow.

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