Stanford University Survey: 84% of Women in Tech Told They Are “Too Aggressive”
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

A fascinating survey, called “Elephant in the Valley” conducted by Trae Vassallo, Ellen Levy, Michele Madansky, Hillary Mickell, Bennett Porter, Monica Leas of Stanford University, and Julie Oberweis of Stanford University – all women in technology and business – shows some startling facts about discrimination against women in technology.

[Related: 5 Black Women in Tech Bring Innovation To the Male-Led Industry]

Over 200 women with 10 or more years in the technology industry were surveyed. More than three-quarters of the respondents are over 40 and have children. They include C-level executives, founders, and those in venture capital. They work for tech startups as well as established tech enterprises including Apple, Google, and VMware.

The survey findings revealed:

  • 84% of women in tech have been told they are “too aggressive.”
  • 47% have been asked to do more menial tasks their male colleagues were not, such as ordering food and taking notes.
  • 66% felt excluded from key networking and social opportunities because they are female.
  • 90% witnessed sexist behavior at their companies or at industry events.
  • 88% have experienced clients and or colleagues direct questions to males that should have been posed to them.
  • 87% have experienced demeaning comments from male colleagues.
  • 75% were asked about family life, marital status, and/or children in interviews.
  • 40% felt they needed to speak less about their family to be taken more seriously.
  • 60% reported unwanted sexual advances.
  • 66% who reported sexual harassment were dissatisfied with the course of action taken.
  • 39% of those harassed did nothing because they felt it would negatively impact their careers.

Have you experienced any of the same as a woman in tech or other fields? Let us know in the comments section below or via social media: Twitter is @blackenterprise #WITsurvey (which stands for Women in Tech)

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Samara Lynn

Samara Lynn is a technology journalist, covering the industry for a decade. Her work appears in The Wirecutter, Tom's Hardware, PC Mag, and other online outlets. She's the author of "Windows Server 2012: Up and Running" and previously worked in the IT industry. She's currently the digital manager at Black Enterprise.


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