Sexism Still Pervasive in Silicon Valley, Tech Firms

Tech is still a man's world.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCDFW.com
    The male-dominated tech industry is still a forbidding place for women.

    Boob jokes, Mad Men-worthy office escapades -- and among the outright sexism, giant piles of earth-changing money from the latest IPO.

    That's Silicon Valley for you. The tech world may rely on cutting-edge technology to attract capital, but tech firms are still stuck in the 1950s when it comes to gender equality, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    Women outnumber men "at the top schools and in the work force," yet at most companies, only 4 percent of the workforce are women, the newspaper reported.

    Examples of gender disparity abound. There are no women on Twitter's board of directors.

    Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook COO whose entreaty to women to "lean forward" has made her a kind of vanguard feminist in the industry, tells the tale of a talk she had with two male colleagues about women in tech. One said he'd like to hire more women -- but he'd likely sleep with them, the Times reported.

    There have been some high-profile backlashes against the "brogrammer" culture, however: Pax Dickinson was fired from Business Insider in September for sexist tweets, and a pair of Australian programmers were shunned for making a punny remark about a fake app to photograph women's chests at a TechCrunch event, the newspaper noted.

    So what to do about the presence of "booth babes" at technology conferences, which are male-dominated? What to do about the discrimination and harassment that women say begins in computer science classes in college?

    Technical writer Nóirín Plunkett says she was sexually assualted at a 2010 conference -- and then received rape and death threats when she reported what had happened to her on her blog, the newspaper reported.

    The industry "is pretty toxic" for women, she told The Times.

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