The following is a line-by-line remix of the essay at tableflip.club.
Women are leaving tech companies because we’re feeling overwhelmed by cultural patterns of gender inequality. We deserve better.
Many of us thought we were failures. We thought that if we worked very hard—and often much harder than those most prominently represented in tech—that we’d move up in the ranks too. However, we weren’t getting the same promotions and respect as our male peers. The explanations we often received discounted systemic gender bias and placed all the blame on us not trying hard enough.
If you lived through such experiences, you’d be fed up too.
Due to the human habit of preferring those who remind you of yourself, men tend to promote other men. Due to the vestigial cultural habit of expecting better occupational performances from men, more men tend to be promoted, even in female-dominated roles such as marketing, HR, and QA. Due to the once crucial but now oft-problematic human behavior of pattern matching, women in tech are judged more harshly because it can be difficult to respect oddity the same way one respects conformity. When women try to conform to the cultural expectations for women, we find that we’re never seen as good enough for the opportunities we so long to achieve. When we don’t conform, we risk threatening the expected social aesthetic and getting penalized for being too forward.
When we try to take a seat at the table like Sheryl said we should, we’re seen as presumptuous.
Many of us have stories about not getting approval or encouragement unless it’s done in an oddly condescending way. Due to what can only be described as an entrenched cultural illness, even some of the most well-meaning men are second-guessing us and not giving us a fair chance to prove ourselves.
Our performance reviews use vague negative terms that reveal discomfort with our gender role-breaking presence rather than pointing to any actual problems. We’re encouraged to be nicer and more helpful, while action items and measurable metrics are nowhere to be found. When we finally do get promoted, it’s because we noticeably excelled in our work, while many of our male peers get promoted on some subconscious notion about their potential.
At some point, a woman has to wonder if she should simply leave the industry.
Thankfully, it’s a new age of increased coordination which is allowing us to bootstrap a cultural shift from the ground up. Women are incorporating and fundraising their own companies, and angel investing in other women who are building amazing things. Women are starting organizations and volunteering their time to build up other women, and we’re creating new social standards that will make this a more positive community for everyone. We hope you’ll join us in thoughtfully rejecting the outdated monocultural norms that are keeping our industry so stuck in its ways. There are hard problems to solve in tech, and we need all kinds of people to solve them!
2015 is the year of the tableflip.