Over 20 women from the tech start-up industry have taken a big step toward smashing the culture of harassment—and silence—that pervades Silicon Valley.
In the midst of widespread allegations of sexual harassment at companies like Uber and among the backdrop of a male-dominated sector that has pushed women like Ellen Pao out of the fold, these women are now speaking openly and honestly about what happened to them—sparing no detail and taking every risk.
Their stories came out slowly, even hesitantly, at first. Then in a rush.
One female entrepreneur recounted how she had been propositioned by a Silicon Valley venture capitalist while seeking a job with him, which she did not land after rebuffing him. Another showed the increasingly suggestive messages she had received from a start-up investor. And one chief executive described how she had faced numerous sexist comments from an investor while raising money for her online community website.
What happened afterward was often just as disturbing, the women told The New York Times. Many times, the investors’ firms and colleagues ignored or played down what had happened when the situations were brought to their attention. Saying anything, the women were warned, might lead to ostracism.
Now some of these female entrepreneurs have decided to take that risk.