If you are a woman working in a male-dominated industry, chances are good that at some point in your career trajectory, you have experienced sexual harassment and/or discrimination in the workplace.
Discrimination can sometimes be subtle, such as not being asked to attend a “guy’s golfing trip” where the Chief Executive Officer mingles with male underlings out on the links, giving the subordinates an unfair advantage to shine favorably before a big promotion.
But many incidents of harassment are far more blatant and can affect more than the individuals’ careers. Consider some recent cases making headlines out in California’s Silicon Valley.
Industry rife with allegations of harassment
A female entrepreneur who was seeking employment from one venture capitalist detailed how she had to demur after being propositioned. She did not land the job. Another woman received messages of a questionable nature from one investor she had approached about financing for her start-up.
The harassment is not limited to underlings, as a female chief executive told of having to dodge a series of sexist remarks from the investor she contacted in order to generate funding for an online community website.
No help from above
It’s hard to fathom that in the enlightened age of 2017, when women are on the receiving end of unwelcome sexual advances from male bosses, colleagues and associates, that those in upper management would turn a deaf ear to their complaints.
But that is still frequently the norm, especially if the alleged harasser is considered to be a valuable team member. Complaining female employees might experience ostracism instead of the ones they accuse of harassment.
Technology field still a “bro mecca”
Technology remains one of the last frontiers of gender imbalance in the workplace, which accounts for many of the allegations of harassment across the industry. One tech media site focused on reports of predatory behavior toward female entrepreneurs from the venture capitalist who co-founded Binary Capital. He allegedly repeatedly sexually harassed female entrepreneurs while they pitched their start-ups to him.
The industry appears to be on the brink of a sea change, with several leaders publicly condemning the man’s predations. One of the founders of LinkedIn called the harasser out and asked investors to sign “decency pledge[s].” The firm in question has closed its doors following the revelations that caused investors to flee in droves.
Predatory behavior happens in all industries
Harassment and gender discrimination can occur in any workplace that lacks the proper oversight from management and Human Resources personnel. If you have been subjected to this type of abuse while attempting to seek a job or carry out your duties, you may have the grounds to take legal action to right these wrongs.