Frank, real and though-provoking. These words probably best describe the open letter penned by a group of “feminists in tech” about what being in the world of technology and being female really means.
The open letter was written by Divya Manian, Jessica Dillon, Sabrina Majeed, Joanne McNeil, Sara J Chipps, Kat Li, Ellen Chisa, Jennifer Brook and Angelina Fabbro.
In the letter, they talk about why they wrote it, their good and bad experiences, being a feminist in the tech world, promoting diversity of race and gender and advice to other women in the technology sector.
Below are a few passages:
Some of us identified as feminists before we came to this industry. Some of us only began to understand the relevance of feminism as we sought to understand what’s been happening to us. Some of us felt that we didn’t need the programs and events geared specifically towards women— until the bad stuff started happening to us. We thought they did more harm than help by calling attention to our gender, and we wondered what others were complaining about. It was hard to see until we suffered also.
Feminism is not a dirty word. Feminism is the radical notion that women are people, and that we want to be treated as equals. Don’t let someone else pretend otherwise out of their own misguided notions.
Imagine if you were the only person like you on your team and when you left your computer and came back there was very graphic porn on your screen (a specific example that we have experienced). Knowing that saying you were uncomfortable would alienate you from the rest of your team even more than you already were; knowing that you would no longer get the mentorship from the senior staff that was involved in these disgusting pranks, would you dare to talk about how it made you feel?
We are tired of our male peers pretending that because they do not participate in bad behaviour, that it is not their problem to solve. If you see someone engage in bad behaviour and you do nothing, you’ve chosen to let that person think that what they did is okay. This leaves us feeling like we’re fighting this alone. We can’t work on what we can’t see, but if you’re there when it happens, you can help. It is absolutely imperative that men work with other men to combat bad attitudes and behaviour.
Not everyone may agree with the content, but these women do raise a number of valid points. You can read the entire open letter on About Feminism.