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Sexual Scandals are Rocking the Silicon Valley Elite
The names of executives and founders of tech companies involved in cases of sexual scandals continue to emerge. There are more and more women who are publicly denouncing them. What is happening in Silicon Valley?
The truth is that it has been going on for some time now.
Ever since the ex-Uber employee, Susan Fowler, opened Pandora’s box in her blog post to denounce the sexual harassments that she endured over 1 year that culminated in CEO Travis Kalanick’s resignation as CEO, women have come out and finally begun to unveil the ugly truth of harassment they have endured privately for so long.
Nobody was saying it publicly before her.
Indeed, Uber has not been the only company implicated in sexual harassment.
The latest case has been the resignation of Dave McClure, the founder of investment firm Startups 500, on July 1, after confessing in a blog post his transgressions. But there are more names in the talk of technological gurus who have fallen out of favor because of sexism scandals.
Although the Uber crisis grabbed many more headlines, perhaps the case of Justin Caldbeck was one of the ones that caused the most impact in Silicon Valley.
The popular venture capitalist and director of investment company Binary Capital announced in June this year that he took an indefinite vacation after six women in the tech industry accused him of sexual harassment – while working in three different firms – as reported by Forbes and theinformation.
He acknowledged it and Matt Mazzeo, another partner of the firm, also resigned after the accusations were known, in addition to co-founder Jonathan Teo.
“It is scandalous and unethical for anyone to take advantage of a position of power in return for a sexual gain, and it is clear that this was exactly what I did,” Caldbeck told the same media.
Since then, Binary has collapsed with withdrawal of funds from investors, according to the New York Times.
But that chain of events has empowered women to publicly denounce the treatment they receive from technology investors.
A compromise of decency
Some of them spoke recently at the Female Founders conference, an annual event in San Francisco, United States, where this year – last June 29 – there was a lot of talk about sexual harassment.
Nearly a thousand women attended the event, Warrior said in front of its female audience that the number of women in the technology industry has not changed much in the last 30 years.
In fact, a 2016 report from the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) in Colorado, United States, revealed that the percentage of IT jobs has declined in recent years.
But there are also men trying to change the situation. For example, Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, who has asked to establish a “compromise of decency” in the industry.
Hoffman argues that preventing abuses of power is complicated, especially with regard to the world of investors.
“I think the industry should actively work to create a human resources function so that venture capital investors who behave like that face the same kinds of consequences they would face if they were addressed to any employee,” he wrote in a blog post.
Despite this, the lack of diversity in the financial and tech industries is systemic and entrenched. Unfortunately, Im not hopeful that things will change anytime soon.