Women In Silicon Valley: Corporate America’s Gender Paradox
Helen McFarland, Seyfarth Shaw
discrimination lawsuits in Silicon
Valley and in the high tech
industry are common and have
been increasing since the 2012
Pao v. Kleiner Perkins lawsuit,”
says Helen McFarland, Labour
and Employment Attorney,
Seattle, Seyfarth Shaw.
The American tech industry is still
a ‘boys only’ club, predominantly
led by male executives. The
number of women running
Fortune 500 companies hit
a record high of 37 in 2020,
according to Fortune 500 list.
However, even with 37 female
CEOs, women make up just 7.4%
of the leaders on the list!
Nishith Desai Associates
”Tech industry remains maledominated.
As more gender
discrimination lawsuits come up,
it does give a sense that the issue
may be more widespread than
what we originally perceived,”
notes Vikram Shroff, Head, HR
Laws (Employment & Labor) at
Nishith Desai Associates.
Françoise, in her blog post
titled The Pinterest Paradox:
Cupcakes and Toxicity, wrote
extensively about “the rampant
discrimination, hostile work
environment, and misogyny that
Françoise notes that although
70% of Pinterest’s users are
women, “the company is steered
by men with little input from
female executives. Pinterest’s
female executives, even at the
highest levels, are marginalized,
excluded, and silenced. I know
because until my firing in
April, I was Pinterest’s chief
Tech Was Not Always a Man’s World
Throughout the 19th and most of 20th; through World War II
and up to the 1980s, the computer industry was a woman’s
world. Programming was then predominantly done by women.
Women in Computing
●● Ada Lovelace developed the first algorithm intended to be
executed by a computer.
●● Grace Hopper was the first to design a compiler for a
●● Ida Rhodes was a pioneer in the analysis of systems of
programming, designed (with Betty Holberton) the C-10
programming language in the early 1950s for the UNIVAC
I. Ida also designed the original computer used for the
Social Security Administration.
●● Sophie Mary Wilson helped design the BBC Micro and
●● Adele Goldberg participated in developing the
programming language Smalltalk-80 and various
concepts related to object-oriented programming.
●● Mary Lou Jepsen is technical executive and inventor in
the fields of display, imaging, and computer hardware.
However, by early 1990, the scenario changed.
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