San Francisco, CA- Silicon Valley may be the hub of technological innovation and forward thinking. But the recent departure of GitHub CEO Julie Ann Hovrath shows show the sexist Mad Men mind set is still alive and well in the tech sector.
Hovrath, who was a developer for GitHub, revealed in an interview with TechCrunch that she was harassed by one of the company’s co-founders and engineer while working for the company. And it was her treatment by the two men that prompted her to leave the company.
Hovrath told TechCrunch that as the only female designer/developer she could not get used to the “culture” and that her work was being judge by her gender. She said the men she worked with didn’t value her opinion.
An engineer for GitHub, who Hovrath did not name, was hurt after she rejected his advances he “started passive-aggressively ripping out my code from projects we had worked on together without so much as a ping or a comment.”
She described his attitude towards women who he felt were possible “opportunities” was “disgusting.”
She also alleges that she was subjected to a campaign of intimidation from the co-founder’s wife after she expressed her growing discontent with the gender discrimination. The co-founders wife told Hovrath she didn’t want her to quit and say “something bad” about her husband’s company.
As tensions began to rise, the co-founder’s wife made the working environment hostile for Hovrath, so much so that she decided to leave the company.
In a tweet after the interview was released, Hovrath wrote: “My only regret is not leaving or being fired sooner. What I endured as an employee of GitHub was unacceptable and went unnoticed by most.”
In response to Hovrath’s allegations, GitHub said they would launch an investigation and both of the men she accused of harassment and discrimination have been suspended. Co-founder Chris Wanstrath also issued a formal apology to Hovrath.
Of course, Hovrath’s revelations were met with criticism by haters and internet trolls who seem to think women take sexual discrimination and harassment far too seriously.
A woman asking not to be leered at or discriminated against or have her worked judged not on its merits, but because of her gender is not being a radical feminist, as the internet trolls suggest. What many men–who represent a small fraction, roughly 15 percent,of sexual harassment complaints received by the EEOC– fail to realize is that when women come forward with allegations of sexual harassment, they have endured the behavior for a sometime, in many cases years.
For a person to even have a legitimate civil case, federal law states the sexual harassment must be “repeated and pervasive.” That means a formal complaint cannot be filed for one comment about their boobs or ass from one coworker or one request for a date or a sexual favor. The harassment must happen over and over again, and many women don’t even bother to report sexual harassment for fear of being fired or called “bitch,” “too sensitive” or “femi-nazi.” Many women don’t retain sexual harassment attorneys and file formal complaints; they just quit their jobs and try to move on.