The tech industry — both startups and big companies like Google and Yahoo — have struggled with gender inclusion and its overall “brogrammer” culture. Men in tech outnumber women seven to three and make up an overwhelming majority of leadership positions. That disparity has been shown to shut women out for not “fitting the culture” or because they are considered unqualified. Once hired, women in tech frequently face sexual harassment and discriminatory policies that ignore gender-based harassment in the workplace. This kind of culture has also been blamed for the droves of women leaving science and technology jobs much sooner than their male counterparts.
The tech industry’s homogeneous culture has also been attributed to cultivating bad policies that alienate female customers by painting them as technologically challenged or excluding them altogether. Assassin’s Creed video game developer Ubisoft recently angered fans for refusing to add a lead female character to its newest game because it “too much work,” ignoring the fact that half of all gamers are women. Microsoft also fended off backlash earlier this year after it released a controversial commercial implying that women only use computers for wedding planning and checking Pinterest. Google faced similar allegations after airing a Gmail tutorial that suggested a woman could use the email service’s new format to easily confirm dates and shop for shoes. Since then, the company has launched new initiatives to get more young girls and women interested in tech and improve diversity.
The share of women in the construction industry has remained shockingly low—under 3 percent—for decades, due in large part to the discrimination that blocks women from entering and staying in the field. Sexual harassment and hostility, lack of mentors, and stereotyped assumptions about women’s capabilities all contribute to the problem. Unequal access to construction jobs in turn negatively affects women’s income, as traditionally male fields pay higher wages and have a lower wage gap than those dominated by women. More must be done to reverse this trend in construction, and the growth of women’s participation in similar nontraditional fields shows that it is possible.
Alyssa Funke, a straight-A student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, committed suicide last month after being bullied and harassed online over her choice to appear in pornography. Local police have said they don’t plan to press charges against anyone who taunted Funke.