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New Report Details Rampant Harassment & Discrimination Across Silicon Valley and Tech Industry

Findings from this year’s State of Women in Tech report highlights that nearly 50% of women in tech and women founders have been harassed.

Released yesterday, Women Who Tech‘s 2020 report shows that, despite the #MeToo movement, all of the trending hashtags, diversity pledges, and tech companies hiring a Chief Diversity Officer, over 40% of women founders and women in tech continue to be harassed.

  • Of the women of color founders who were harassed, 46% were harassed by a potential investor, compared to 38% of white women founders.
  • 41% of women founders who were harassed experienced sexual harassment. When asked what kind of sexual harassment, 65% of women founders said they were propositioned for sex. This was up 9% from our study in 2017.
  • 48% of women working in tech experienced harassment.
  • 43% of women in tech who said they were harassed were sexually harassed. 35% of women in tech who were sexually harassed were propositioned for sex. And 18% were propositioned for sex in exchange for a promotion up 5% from our 2017 data. 

Women working at tech companies also shared the following experiences with us anonymously about the harassment they experienced such as.

  • “Locked in a conference room while co-worker masturbated between me and the door.”
  • “He asked if he could rub my feet and if I would take explicit photos.”
  • “In addition to multiple normal microaggressions, I have been assaulted by a senior executive, and I have been told that someone wanted me to join his department because he wanted to “f*ck me like a man wants to f*ck a woman.”
  • “Kissed on the back of the neck without my knowledge or approval while sitting at my desk.”
  • “I am 50 yrs old with a PhD in engineering. My entire professional life has been filled with harassment, sexual or otherwise.”  


When asked why they didn’t report the harassment some specifically said:

  • I’ve seen what happens when people do report and I don’t want my life made harder.
  • I was scared to lose my job.
  • I was embarrassed and worried that it would impact my job with my supervisor and coworkers

Women founders shared the following experiences:

  • I was physically slapped across the face. Publicly humiliated in a professional setting.
  • We were invited to an opulent private club (with hot tubs, which the investor kept inviting one of our female founders to use with him after we finished — implying we could close sooner if she’d agree to go).
  • I was blackmailed and told I must go on a date in order to sign a key contract; I was threatened with being reported to immigration.
  • Women also shared they were sexually assaulted and experienced attempted rape.
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