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Sexism in the tech world

If you’re interested in reading about women in technology, or really, any STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) profession, you should read this comic: Ping Pong Theory on Sexism in the Tech World


It’s really quite true. I can’t say that I have ALWAYS experienced the same kind of behaviour at the office, but maybe it’s because I’m from Canada, or just lucky.

I will say that I HAVE experienced similar attitudes from men when I work with them, in particular men who feel threatened that I know more than they do and could potentially expose them for being the frauds that they are.


I’ve had more bad experiences with American men on the whole, during interviews and that sort of thing. When I bid on American contracts, I find that the interviewers for the technical piece tend to contradict me a lot even though I know I am right, but when I push back and tell them that they’re wrong and I’m right, they get really angry. …. and I think: Hell I don’t want to work there anyway, if they’re all going to be jackholes like that.

(Why, yes I just made up a new insult formed from 2 standard ones.)

Also, I have never worked for a startup. I’ve only worked for established companies, so that might make the difference.

What I have experienced from that comic are the following:

  • Not being taken seriously because I’m a young woman
  • Being attacked by other rather mean women I worked with
  • Being told I was wrong about something when I knew I was right — this happens a lot
  • Having my ideas stolen — this happens a lot

Anyway, it’s a great comic which is why I highlighted it in its own post.

(Thanks to Jean!)


  • Kassandra

    I can also relate. I have had a couple of tense moments with some males who come from countries where women are not supposed to take lead roles. I managed to get an apology from one but it’s a cultural perception that is hard to break.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      And what can you really say? I mean in some cultures it’s okay to kill / beat / “discipline” your wife/daughters, so it extends to the workplace for them although they don’t physically harm any women, they don’t treat us like equals.

  • Kristine

    I would like to think it’s different in the startup world (you do see people actively working to support women and minorities), but the recent Tinder lawsuit highlights the fact that startups DO still have these problems.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I think it’s also because not many women start.. startups. It’s mostly guys, so they build this “bro” culture that excludes women.

      • Kristine

        @save. spend. splurge.: Women are creating more startups, but still only 3% of invest funding goes to women run startups. It’s definitely still a boy’s club, especially in the tech sphere, but I do think it’s changing for the better because people are having these conversations in the startup scene.

        • save. spend. splurge.

          That’s interesting. There’s something about people in general not thinking that women can hack it, especially for startups or in tech.

          I mean just look at Sara Blakely who created Spanx. I read about how difficult it was for her to even find a factory to agree to do it, and it was only the owner’s daughters who BEGGED their father to let her use his machines to create Spanx. Now she’s a billionaire.

          There’s a whole untapped market out there for women marketing to women. Men think they can market to women but do they really know what it’s like to have to worry about muffin top? Get a period? Get pregnant? Have a baby? These are all things that women can relate to and can deal with.

          And other industries like technology are neutral ground as far as I am concerned. No one gender is better at it than the other, it’s all based on individual aptitude and interest.

  • Charlotte

    I can totally relate. I work at a software company and although it’s not something I deal with often, it has come up before (and you’re right, mostly when working with Americans). Unfortunately it seems to come with the territory, in some industries more than others.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I can’t say that ALL Americans are like that, but the ones I worked with, yes. Or if they come from countries where women are not equals.. I really get that cold shoulder then.

  • dojo

    I worked for 10 years as a radio DJ. this is mostly a man’s job. Experienced some issues, but never cared. Always did my best and ignored anyone who was mean. Now I’m a web designer .. so it’s kinda the same 😀

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Something about male-dominated industries …. I don’t think it’s the same in female-dominated ones. Or is it?

      • Gen Y

        @save. spend. splurge.:
        No, it would say it is quite the opposite in female-dominated industries. I work in a very female dominated sub-field of healthcare, and the few men we work with are usually appreciated. Usually they are good at their job and less ‘petty’. I find working in a very female-dominated environment that there’s a lot of petty fighting and silly drama, maybe it’s just the few places I’ve worked at, but it seems to be a trend…

        • save. spend. splurge.

          *sigh*… If only men would take a cue from women.

          A book you might like to check out is “Getting to 50/50”. It’s about parenting and working mothers with dual incomes, but it’s still an interesting read on how men see themselves and how they perceive women.

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