Ellen Pao on Silicon Valley sexism

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/08/21/ellen-pao-on-silicon-valley-se.html


I guess i’ve been lucky to work at places that had a lot of women in management positions. My current job has a good number of men that do manual work so you’d think that sexism would come up but i haven’t seen it yet.

However when i was married my ex-wife would constantly get talked over or ignored. This would 100% always happen when it came to anything to do with the car. She knew more about the car than i did but the mechanics would constantly treat her like she wasn’t there. I’m still good friends with my Ex and recently she bought a car, i helped her with the financing and the car salesman kept talking to me as if i was buying the car despite all the paperwork having an obvious woman’s name on it.


One of my direct observations when I worked at a multinational company was that the pretty strict PR policies were not applied evenly. When a certain person was wildly talented at their post, they could get away with sexist/racist behavior that would (and did) get more easily replaceable people fired. I would assume that those type of talents would be even more important in a tech company.


My wife and I see this all the time. When we’re together interacting (or trying to) with salespeople. I have to deliberately remain completely mute, and appear distracted, or many salespeople will simply ignore my wife.


BMW send everything to me that has to do with my wife’s car. She paid, and had all the service done. They were told over and over to no effect.


…and then forced out.
It happens to (I’m sure), the majority of women in Tech.
It sickens me. Is this the future?


One time my Ex took her car by herself to get some work done at a shop. The guy that was helping her told her it was going to take a while and that she should go shopping and come back an hour later. I’m sure he meant no harm by it but telling a woman to go shopping instead of just telling them its going to take some time. She was pretty pissed over the comment.


No, it’s the past. We need to make sure to raise the next generation to understand that these kinds of attitudes are never ok.


I hope, Devil, but I’m not convinced.
If I hadn’t seen it to the degree that I have I could be more sanguine.

Progress takes time unfortunately because it’s a generational thing. It might not feel like enough progress is being made but i read and see enough videos from multiple content creators and sources to see the good work being done to make the world a better place. Perhaps it helps that i’m an optimist, despite how cynical i can be. If you see attitudes toward women or other groups 50 years ago things were definitely much worse than now, but we still have a long way to go.


When I was buying two cars ago, I popped the hood and pulled the dipstick, just to see where it was and how easy it was to do. The salesman said “I’ve never seen a girl do that before!”

That should have been my clue to walk the fuck out of that dealership, because I bought that car and it was utter garbage. The next time I buy a car I’m going to pretend that I have no sense of humor and walk out the minute anyone acts like an ass.


I’ve done this (walked away). You’d think in Metro Detroit the default would be “everyone works for the Big 3 in some way” instead of “oh, no penis, must know less than zero about the shiny metal boxes.”


Does anyone remember why she couldn’t make a public statement about Reddit while she was CEO? I remember afterward there being a lot of egg on people’s faces when they realized that she was one of the only allies the shitheads had.

For me, the fact that every time a woman exposes sexual harassment problems and gender bias in the tech industry there’s a proverbial hurricane of negative publicity about the person doing the exposing is clear evidence of two things: One is that it’s definitely a real problem. If it weren’t a real problem, the reaction wouldn’t be so fraught with frenzied denial and character assassination. Second is that the hurricane is ersatz. It’s manufactured on demand by interested parties who know exactly what buttons to press on which people to transform them from potentially reasonable people into howling internet shit gibbons.

I think those of us who have been “woke” for considerably longer than that term has had its current meaning in the popular lexicon have suspected that such a thing existed in some form or another, but with Trump we have incontrovertible proof that these “hate machines” exist, and are ready for just about anyone to hire.

The good news is that they’ve overplayed their hand, and the fact that it exists is becoming common knowledge. It will be interesting to see how things play out, but I think that knowledge of these tactics will significantly diminish its effectiveness.

With that said, we still have to stay vigilant, and call the bullshitters out wherever they may be. Increasingly, it seems, lives literally depend on it.


I’ve worked in high tech for a long time and before that, I worked in another male-dominated field.
You only need to have but a shred of empathy and common sense to see the sexism that still exists in many places. And the pay gap is very real. I have a dear friend that fought for a long time to just be brought up to the same level as one of her peers. In the big picture, and because of the underlying infrastructure, they were not even peers because she was truly the single senior DBA for a large company - with a couple backups when she was on vacation or whatever. Both her bosses during that time were clueless a-holes not willing to make even a modicum of effort on her behalf.
I’m glad that in the last 30+ years that I’ve been in the working world I’ve seen a lot positive changes in attitudes, but it’s also slightly shocking that it’s not changed more.


Considering the bullshit I’ve dealt with when buying cars as a man, I can only imagine how much worse it is for a woman, especially if you appear to know what you’re doing. That doesn’t make them honest, it just makes them commit harder to the lie. The last car I bought involved a meeting with a salesman that was so awful and openly dishonest it still boggles my mind.


Private party transaction is the only way to go in my book. Takes a little longer to find the right deal but but even with the extra time involved the cost and hassle savings is well worth it.

1 Like

Buying cars could be a whole post in itself.


When we (or should I say my wife) bought a BMW, it was registered only in my wife’s name. She paid for it as well and signed all the paperwork. Nevertheless all the follow up emails and promotional material came only to me. Infuriating.

1 Like

If sexism was a problem that only existed in some people’s minds, there would not be all this ‘hullabaloo’ every time a woman dares to publicly speak out against it.