A Thousand Tiny Paper Cuts

A re-post: This fascinating NYT article, “Technology’s Man Problem,” discusses the systemic discrimination faced by women who enter the tech sector.

“Women who enter fields dominated by men often feel this way. They love the work and want to fit in. But then something happens — a slight or a major offense — and they suddenly feel like outsiders. The question for newcomers to a field has always been when to play along and when to push back.

A male-dominated subculture, I’d argue, isn’t necessarily an urgent problem. (At least no more than a female-dominated one is; both such cultures could certainly benefit from a greater diversity of perspective.) But a misogynist-dominated culture of any sort–that’s a terribly urgent problem. And that’s exactly what’s described in this article.

“‘It’s a thousand tiny paper cuts,’ is how Ashe Dryden, a programmer who now consults on increasing diversity in technology, described working in tech. ‘I’ve been a programmer for 13 years, and I’ve always been one of the only women and queer people in the room. I’ve been harassed, I’ve had people make suggestive comments to me, I’ve had people basically dismiss my expertise. I’ve gotten rape and death threats just for speaking out about this stuff.’”

I, for one, am thrilled that Dryden continues the courageous project of speaking out.


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