Ada Lovelace Day – tackling the toxic tech ‘bro culture’
Ada Lovelace Day, which is held on the second Tuesday of October each year, is meant to be a vehicle to celebrate women’s achievements in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the annual live event at London’s Institution of Engineering and Technology moving online this year, its laudable aim is to promote potential new role models in order to encourage girls to embark on a STEM career and encourage those already in one to stay.
But the reasons for them choosing to do so are not necessarily very clear if the findings of a report by Women Who Tech entitled ‘The State of Women in Tech and Startups’ are to be believed. The study reveals that a huge 48% of the 1,000 or so females interviewed have experienced some form of harassment, with 63% of those affected being subjected to sexism and 43% to either sexual harassment or offensive slurs/’jokes’ respectively.
The most common venues to experience such behaviour were in the office during the day (88%) and at an offsite work event in the evening (32%) or during daylight hours (28%). The most likely perpetrators were colleagues (76%), direct supervisors (42%) and senior leaders (25%).
Even more worryingly though, less than a third (30%) of the women affected by abuse reported the situation to either HR (30%) or a senior leader (45%), with only a third indicating they trusted their employer enough to handle the allegations. And such feelings may be well-founded – of those who did report inappropriate behaviour, a mere 30% said their harasser faced any repercussions, although unfortunately 45% did so themselves.
To make matters worse, a massive seven out of 10 women felt their gender resulted in them being treated differently to their colleagues at work, compared with