Disgusting sexist behaviors in the tech industry and the Silicon Valley is old news. But Emily Chang’s Brotopia is explosive and appalling, exposing several common misperceptions.

Once upon a time, at the dawn of the computer industry mid-1950s and ‘60s, many women were recruited. However, 2 psychologists messed it all up. They were tasked with determining what makes for a good programmer and ended up profiling the “good programmer” as someone who “doesn’t like people”. This 40-year-old bias pushed recruiters to choose “white male nerds” over women. This bias is still active today. Investors want Gates, Zuckerbergs or Jobs, while the number of female graduates in computer science have dropped by half. These companies have become super sexist characterized by unbridled macho behaviors. In short, welcome to the real world.

The worst thing though, according to Chang, is that although board members are sensitive to the impact of movements such as the #MeToo, they don’t believe them to be significant or dangerous. Concerning talent pipelines, Silicon Valley’s top speakers talk a lot but do next to nothing in favor of gender equality, something that is worthwhile – and could help the next Sheryl Sandberg or Marissa Mayer emerge. As for questionable behaviors, Silicon Valley is much more resistant than Hollywood to movements such as #MeToo, considering we use their products daily.

So, now what? Despite formidable entrepreneurs who tear down walls, investors who contest gender stereotypes, and individuals who strive for gender balance, Emily Chang still reports that road ahead of us is long…
And in your work environment, how are things going?

To learn more:
How Sexism in Tech Impacts the World Outside Silicon Valley – (knowledge@Wharton, june 2018)