Survey: 60% of women in tech report unwanted sexual advances in the workplace

“Stories and even court cases about the uphill battles women working technology face are nothing new,” Abigail Tracy reports for Forbes. “Now, a new survey puts data behind the challenges women in Silicon Valley face.”

“There are several disheartening results in the survey titled The Elephant In The Valley, which focuses on the experiences of female executives in Silicon Valley. A total of 222 women responded to the survey, all of whom had worked for at least 10 years in the tech mecca,” Tracy reports. “Of the women who participated, three-quarters held titles of vice president or above, three-quarters had children and three-quarters are 40 years of age or older.”

“According to the survey, 60% of women who work in technology have been on the receiving end of unwanted sexual advances in the workplace. Of these women, 65% reported having received such advances from a superior,” Tracy reports. “Additionally, 66% of women surveyed said that they have felt excluded from key networking opportunities or social events, with 90% saying that they have witnessed sexist behavior at company offsites or industry conferences.”

“Of the women survey, 88% said that they have had clients or colleagues address questions to male peers that should have instead been addressed to them,” Tracy reports. “Another 84% experienced people not making eye contact with them but making eye contact with their male colleagues… Of those harrassed, 39% did nothing because they thought it would negatively impact their career and 30% did not report these occurrences because they wanted to forget about them. Of those who did report, 60% were dissatisfied with the course of action.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Would that we were more evolved by now. Alack and alas.


  1. One solution is being practiced here in Saudi Arabia where I am teaching Mechatronics to engineering students: there are no women in technology here. I taught in an Institute of Technology in Canada for many years and found that the people who are interested in tech are generally socially backward and have not learned to respect women. They are often cruel and demeaning to women with inappropriate jokes and put downs. The problem appears to me to be in the raising of our sons from infancy. The time has long come for us to raise our children with a deep respect for each other and and appreciation for the equality of the genders.

    1. The genders aren’t equal, I really have no clue what you’re talking about. Tech isn’t dominated by men because of sexism and discrimination, but because men are overwhermingly more interested in the field than women, it’s biological. It’s as if you think our genetics have nothing to do with how we turn out, just how we’re raised, this isn’t reality.

      1. With a moniker like yours, you should know better. Women and men have the same capacity for intelligence and technology. Do you know the history of computing? There are many women in it but attitudes like yours keep them away from getting into the field or staying in it when they do finally push past the bigotry of men who hold beliefs like yours. Science has proved it time and again that women are capable but they are conditioned to focus on their beauty rather than their intellectual capacity. I found the same sexist attitudes in aviation when I was a commercial pilot and again in my electrical engineering school and then again in my own classroom by my students. Sometimes the attitude comes out in subtle ways but more often in overt judgements and put downs. Only 5% of my students were women but in mechanical engineering, women made up over 50% of the classes.

        As men and women get pregnant and start raising a family, it is the women who are relegated to the home to raise the children and have to drop out of the workforce. That pushes the numbers of women further down in the tech sectors.

        You are a pitiful example of bias, bigotry and sexism. Hang your head in shame or join the rest of society who use real science to understand the true capacity of the genders.

    1. Neither do I, not anymore. First off, the article headline is a lie. They didn’t interview ALL women in tech. That I know without even reading further. Second, what about men who receive unwanted advances? The point is that this is an issue which every single person deals with at one time or another, however men have much less tendency to whine about it. Third, if you know anything about the history of women in…well, anything…you know that it really is a lot of it feminist b.s either made up or resulting from psychotic people who had preexisting psychological issues. If the goal was to make men fear expressing any interest in a woman, they’ve won. The workplace is now a place shot through with lawsuits and legal red tape, which suits the whole “war on patriarchy” mindset just fine. The abuses that were there have long since been corrected.

  2. I think the real story here is 40% of women wanted sexual advances in the workplace. 88% of women are so incompetent their clients have to address their questions to a peer. 69% of harassed women won’t bother to report it because it may inconvenience them. Nothing to see here except what you want to believe. Women complain about unwanted sexual attention, then complain people won’t even make eye contact with them. It could be harassment either way!

  3. Is there a real study done in all work places or just in tech again. No, just trashing tech again with a story that could be in any industry. Is this not a story about women/girls in the work force trying to do their job and wishing that others could just focus on theirs too. Being a part of a job often limits your ability to meet, contact, avoid and never see someone ever again. Sometimes, you are hired because management thinks you can draw attention to yourself and their company. What about a story about those who can’t attempt to ask another employee out because of all these new HR rules. I believe a simple “No thank you” or “Sure I would like to have dinner with you after work” is all that is needed.

    Note: If people did not like to meet and attract other people, we would have died off thousands of years ago. This isn’t tech. It is about the human race. How about, asking if advances ended after she or he said “No thank you!”

  4. I don’t know about the methodology of this particular survey, so I can’t say anything, but there have been plenty of carefully executed studies and research on this subject, with meticulously worded questions to avoid any kind of bias. Not just in America, but in other countries of the developed world.

    Nobody who interacts with people in today’s modern world should be surprised by the results of this survey, which more-or-less jibe with more scientific research.

    Men have always been the assertive group, and traditional behavioural patterns haw always expected men to initiate sexual contact. Gender roles have rapidly evolved over the last century. Women today largely have equal opportunity for productive employment, were there not for male hiring bias (i.e. gender discrimination). Much like any other kind of bias (=discrimination), it has negative impact on everyone involved.

    The stereotypical men in tech (the socially inept dork, as epitomised in the HBO comedy show ‘Silicon Valley’) simply never developed social skills for proper interaction with peers outside of his comfort zone. This doesn’t only mean women; it also means men who are remote from tech (professional athletes, entertainers, other “Alpha-male” types). While in such interactions the tech dorks often end up on the receiving end of bias-induced treatment, when interacting with women, the role is very often reverse, simply because they are incapable of correctly reading signs, even if they are quite direct and literal (“No, thank you!”).

    As long as there are idiots who refuse to accept the possibility that there is strong bias against women (or others, for that matter), the problem will not even begin to be solved.

      1. I don’t believe in bullshit. I believe in data. Carefully collected and well scrutinized.

        It is difficult to understand how an educated person, living in America, witnessing bias and racism almost every day, can flat-out state that the only bias is against white men. I could possibly see someone in rural Montana nurturing this type of conspiracy, but not in the mainstream America.

        As a foreigner born in Europe and currently living in New York, I don’t feel directly affected by the relations of American society, but almost every day, I see this bias, from the way a white person looks at a black teen on the subway (as opposed to a white teen), to the way people around me think when they interview job candidates, to the way people react to things on social media and forums like this one. That is all anecdotal, of course, but for those who don’t like bullshit and prefer hard empirical data, there is tons of it. It would be difficult to find a study that would show that no racial or gender bias exists anymore, and that, when controlled for all other factors, response data is statistically the same for various races and both genders.

        1. It is NOT difficult to understand. You are reading into situations every day and then generalizing your fears and paranoia to unbelievable extremes. You don’t get mainstream America. Do you think that New York City is mainstream America? Hint: it isn’t. You’re clueless.

          Do you ever think about the biases of people who conduct the studies, who pays for the studies, and who wants to see such results? It’s all part of a well-entrenched government and racial-grievance industry that STILL claims that things are as bad as the 1960s, despite years and years of progress, spending, and hectoring.

          The point is: in their minds, the problem will NEVER be solved, so it’s time to ratchet down the screws on everyone, but particularly the hated white man. Thus, more studies with the expected results to fund more studies, keep professors employed, and to create more jobs for people who love telling others what to do. THAT is what is obvious.

          Case in point: the ridiculous Black Lives Matter movement, whose catchphrases are based on lies. There never was a “Hands up, don’t shoot” moment. The police officer shot his attacker AFTER he was tackled and the youth grabbed for his gun.

          1. You clearly don’t know how scientific process works. What’s worse, you are conflating rigorous scientific research with political movement of the day.

            I am a white European-born male. In my 30+ years of working life, I have been on the receiving end of that bias on several occasions (and on one of them, it was painfully clear that the non-white candidate was better than me, yet the chose to hire me; I withdrew, so she got the job). But that is not really important here.

            What is important is that scientific research is based on careful gathering and analysis of data, and then publishing that analysis, together with data, so that others can review it. There are plenty of people like you who don’t believe in these biases. They could have easily discredited each and every study that either contains invalid data (whether the problem is sample selection, bias in questions, or any other), or improperly draws conclusions based on the data. And yet, all of this research stands there without a challenge, because you simply cannot challenge very hard and unbiased data. And data continues to confirm what every rational person of any colour (white, black, asian, whichever) can plainly see in daily life: a persistent bias in favour of a white man.

            Examples are many (congress, senate, state senates, public courts, police, all dominated by white men)… Most recent: yesterday, they announced nominations for Oscars, and again, the nominees were almost exclusively white, and in non-gender categories, mostly male.

            The change from the 60s is no doubt significant, but there is no doubt that the road ahead is as long as the one behind us.

    1. You left out the only behaviour unique to humans—Rational behaviour. The rest of your list describe any group of mammals, which also behave similarly to men in any workplace with a pretty girl or two.

      The unfortunate fact is that, in matters of behaviour, Rationality is most often employed to justify one’s unconscious, instinctual decisions, instead of overruling them. Using this greatest of gifts to generate a bunch of excuses for default animal behaviour is disgusting, almost unthinkable, but we all do it.

      We never should have been allowed to take over this planet. We are not worthy.

      1. I don’t know how to judge our worthiness. We don’t have any other ‘master’ species to compare ourselves to. It’s a subject that flummoxes me.

        We are so incredibly diverse in so many characteristics. Sometimes I think I’d like to weed out the more dire of the ‘psychopathic’ as we vaguely call them now. The set of stories I’m working on involves exactly that. But then what if having that way-over-the-edge perspective is useful in some unexpected ways. I’m trying to consider that as well.

        I’ll spare you blethering on about it. We should sit down and spend an afternoon with good coffee or green tea and compare notes. I’ll just say that I love some aspects of our species and am in wonder of them. Then there’s that ‘self-destructive imperative’ I sense that drags us down.

        1. A worthy custodian marshals his planetary resources, not squanders them. Is not the human race, with its delusional self-importance, laughable in the extreme? Plundering and rapine is all that this sorry species has ever successfully managed. Anyone with another idea is martyred and sainted, a sop to the “weak” side of human nature.

          We need another 50,000 years to evolve further. My ineffable spirit, and yours, may well flit through time and gently alight on an olive branch far from here. We’ll talk then.

          1. Mankind is making great strides in societal and technological endeavours. Your estimate of 50,000 years may be accurate if your goal is absolute perfection. I believe that the growth of mankind’s capacity is extraordinary and is exponential. The strides we have been making since the mid 1800’s are the basis for our accelerated development and as we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, so do our children stand on our shoulders. Progress in inevitable and if both genders are pulling at the oars of society, we will achieve greatness in just two short generations. The fruits will multiply and we will see unimagined things as we let go of old ineffective ways and attitudes.

            1. LOL. It depends on how you define progress. Western liberalism’s desire for making the genders interchangeable will result in declining birth rates (already there) and eventual human extinction. If you think that’s progress, then, ok I guess you’re right. Of course this suits the environmentalists just fine (“man is a cancer”), but lost in all this utopianism is the fact that there are unchangeable realities about the human condition. One of this is that men and women are different.

              If you study history, you will soon see that progress is NEVER inevitable. The people who think it is are the ones often responsible for genocide (Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, the Kyhmer Rogue, etc). They were all very very interested in progress, so you’ll forgive me for some cynicism….

          2. ROFL. I love how you generalize from individual actions to the entire human race, as though one entity was responsible instead of tons of people; lost in this simplification is the fact that not everyone did the same thing.

            Also lost in the analysis is the simple fact that if you’re using anything but a stick to write your message is that human beings have done more than plunder and rapine. They built stuff. If you can read, then you know that human beings have mastered the art of teaching language and creating great works of it.

            How do you know it will take 50,000 years?

            Your entire post is filled with unprovable assumptions, risible slight-of-hands, and preposterous lies. But such self-delusion is necessary for people who imagine themselves gods and goddesses.

            1. I believe it’s “sleight of hand.”

              Of course I wasn’t presenting any analysis, only starkly expressing an emotional state brought on by reading dystopian science fiction.

  5. Well well, the majority of responses on this thread really prove the point. The tech business really has a lot of people who never got over their low status in high school and now use a fake machismo to show how tough they are. Most women could kick their butts, but they’ve got too much class.

    1. No, they don’t prove the point, because the point is obviously false on its face. So there’s no point to prove. You generalize from a few posts you don’t like to an entire industry to pat yourself on the back, for some reason.

      And if you think what you read is fake machismo, how do you know it’s fake? You think this low level of angst and frustration is machismo, anyways?

      You think most women could kick the average tech guy’s butt?

      Wow. You must not know many women, nor many tech folks. All I can say is ignorance is often the loudest voice.

    1. And this is the root of it. Whether or not a sexual advance is desired says more about the status of the man making it than anything else. This too is an unchangeable fact of life.

      This isn’t to make the case for geeky computer guys per se, but it is to say that you have to take such surveys (which suffer from respondent and interviewer biases) with a bit of salt. Even the rape stats (1 in 4) are bogus.

      In short, men aren’t the monsters feminists think they are, and most women know this. The big lie, however, needs to be continually repeated and kept in view so that the childless feminists can keep getting their vengeance.

  6. Important is to understand what’s considered as “going too far”. Are compliments to be considered as “sexual advances”? Is the simple fact of being attracted by a person already a sexist attitude?
    With a clear base from the start, things can be much easier on the go.

    1. If the compliments would also be given to men by men at the workplace then there may be a case for it to be OK BUT the reality is that if men compliment other men then it would also be taken as a sexual advance. Think about it.

      1. Wrong. Women compliment other women all the time. Men can compliment other men without it being a sexual advance. Men can compliment women without it being creepy or pervy. You are simply making feminism’s case that men — and men only — are to be restricted and/or punished because they are not like women.

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