Man-packed "Sexism in tech" panel flops


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A “man packed” panel on sexism in tech could work, but they shouldn’t be telling women what to do. THey should be talking to men. They should be giving men advice on how not to be a sexist asshole. How to recognize when their coworkers (or themselves) are being sexist and how to stop it.


Mansplain (v) - to delighting in condescending, inaccurate explanations delivered with rock solid confidence of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course he is right, because he is the man in this conversation.




Ally Bingo. Hilarious!

I dunno what gave the GHC the genius idea to basically have a Mansplaining Panel, but clearly, we have all heard quite enough from rich middle-aged white dudes on this topic (and I’d hope, as a society, in general). Time to stop humblebraging and nopologizing, time to start following the lead of some of these smart, passionate women.


Maybe, possibly, kind-of, don’t make the panel a bunch of dudes? Maybe it should be, like, a series of women speakers who tell the crowd what sexism is and how, maybe, they could stop being sexist at work?



At first I wondered why a women’s tech conference, convened by women, would have such a panel. Turns out they already answered this in their post “Why We’re Inviting Men to the Table at GHC 2014.” Reading that post it seemed like a good, well intentioned idea. They even tried to pre-empt the godaddy criticism by explaining why they invited godaddy’s CEO.

It seems like the CEOs on the panel just didn’t get it. Hopefully they took away more from this experience than the audience did. And they definitely should have allowed live questions.


Do you make it to CEO by paying attention to inconvenient data presented by people less important than you?


Below are quotes highlighted in the article.

From the article

  • Eustace: “The best thing you can do is excel, and to push through whatever boundaries you see in front of you. Just continue to push and be great.”

  • Eustace: “It will be twice as hard for you … but you can make a big difference in your company.”

  • Irving: “The only thing I would add is speak up … Speak up, be confident.”
  • Stansbury: “It’s more expensive to hire women, because the population is smaller.”
  • Schropfer, after describing a Facebook student program on computer science: “The program was 96% diverse, we actually got anecdotal feedback they wanted some other men in the program.
  • Irving: “When a guy has an idea, he gets really pumped up about it,
    really vocal about it. Back to that notion of speaking up, if you
    have an idea … tell people your story and then execute it.”

These are just… I mean, I’m not surprised that they say them, but given the format, the forum, it’s just incredible how they couldn’t hear, couldn’t keep from dripping these old chestnuts, clearly did Zero homework before attending, or if they did research, researched only that which confirmed their bias…

All men are guilty of mansplainin at times, some more than others, some less or more as they age, but these guys? At a women’s convention where the topic they are to discuss takes centre stage?

And no live questions… weaksauce.


Eustace: The best thing you can do is excel, and to push through whatever boundaries you see in front of you. Just continue to push and be great. It will be twice as hard for you … but you can make a big difference in your company.
Irving: The only thing I would add is speak up … Speak up, be confident.

Wow, that is condescending.

Julie Ann Hovoth: Women should be leading this conversation. We should be building platforms to amplify the voices of women in tech, not to cater to the egos of men. Men who want to help need to get the hell out of our way, basically. Because we’re coming. And we don’t need their support.

And apparently good advice?

Maybe these guys are like drill sergeants. They want women angry at them, to inspire them to push harder. :slight_smile:

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The panel I ended up attending just had this guy. I think it was the wrong one…

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For even more tone-deaf cluelessness, check out the story about the interview with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the very same conference. Unbelievable.

Well…totally believable, actually. And sad.


Largely tangential and probably ill-considered on my part, but:

I love explaining things to people in great detail. Sometimes, those people are women. I don’t do it because they’re women, I do it because I love explaining things. So feel free to call me a socially-maladjusted pedant nerd, but I’ve never “mansplained” in my life.

I’ve got no defense for the dudes in the article. I’m just sayin’.


It’s mansplaining if you just assume you know more about a topic than she does. If she doesn’t know anything about, say, building a sous vide cooker and you explain it and she’s interested, you’re good.

If you’ve got a bunch of entirely theoretical advice on how women can avoid harassment or workplace discrimination that you think is NEW and REVOLUTIONARY if women would only just … then you’re mansplaining.


I can understand the reasoning behind having a panel of men, but I think the better format would have been to have a simultaneous panel of women CEOs to keep them in check. Male CEOs probably need to listen more to women about discrimination than talk to them.

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Even if the person doing the explaining is a woman? Even if the person being explained to is a student and the explainer is a professor? Some qualification would help here I feel.

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OMG, the Bingo cards were pure genius.

But, hey, if you are wondering why there aren’t too many ladies at the top of tech culture, here is Exhibit A.


I honestly wonder if the point of inviting them wasn’t for them to speak, but so that they’d have to attend.

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Yeah…if you’re going to have a panel where you talk about sexism, in whatever capacity, it should probably be more like this:

I think someone posted this somewhere else on the forums, but I can’t remember who and where it was posted? But, this panel deals with issues of masculinity, race, and sexism, and what men can do to address them.