Thursday, September 19, 2013

Being an ally for equal treatment of women in technology

As a male, I am appalled by how poorly women in technology are treated.  Back in 2009, when the pornographic slides came out of Golden Gate Ruby Conf, I hoped we had learned our lesson.  Then in 2013 at Pycon, we had the Donglegate incident where a woman who pointed out some very inappropriate sexual comments ends up being threatened with rape and murder.   That should be enough to make anyone step back and say this has to stop.

But no! Two weeks ago at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference we ended up with demonstrations of Titstare, an app where you take photos of yourself staring at tits, and a demonstration of simulated masturbation complete with sound.    

This reminds me of the quote from Lieutenant General David Lindsay Morrison, "The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.   Each time we walk past someone doing something terrible, we are telling them that it is ok and making it easier for the next person to do something even worse.

Next generation of Allies ©Jeff Norris
It is vital that men stand up and be vocal advocates for equal treatment of women in technology. Women shouldn't need to be the ones to speak up, because none of us should tolerate this terrible behavior.  It is hard enough trying to work in a hostile environment, let alone change it.

My 9 year old son says that he wants to be just like me and be a programmer when he grows up.  I want to leave him with an industry to be proud of, where women are treated with the respect that they deserve. Everything that we do or fail to do is setting the standard for the next generation of technologists, so it is time to step up.

1 comment:

George said...

What makes you think that coders do much of anything that is worthwhile? :(