Letter: Women in tech face sexual discrimination and patronization

Kelowna letter-writer says an article in the Kelowna Capital News missed the point

To the editor:

There are times when keeping quiet in the face of seemingly deceptive information is not an option. One of those times for me came after reading the March 8, 2018 article “Number of women in tech growing in the Okanagan.”

While I am glad that women interviewed for the article are happy with their employment positions within the tech industry, I find it deceptive that these woman are being labelled as women in tech. Individuals who are referred to as either men or women in tech represent those who are pioneers in the field. Founders, co-founders and CEO’s alike which are very different than employees in the technology field.

(It’s surprising) that an article such as this could be published on International Women’s Day without actually interviewing women founders in the technology industry that are operating out of Kelowna and persevere in the face of seemingly impossible odds. In order to understand the accurate state of women in technology, one needs only read the thorough investigative article published on the “Move the Dial” website.

Related: Kelowna tech leader takes on a male dominated industry

The report co-authored and contributed to by authorities in the industry present an eye opening and compelling snapshot of the odds women in tech face today. The facts are clear in that women represent only five per cent of solo founders in tech, and even more skewed is the fact that only three per cent of funding for tech companies goes to those founded by women.

In addition to the skewed representation and allocation of funds, women in tech often face sexual discrimination and patronization in a male dominated industry. My first hand experience supporting my fiancé in her battle to realize her tech company has opened my eyes to the true nature of the industry. Inappropriate contact, demoralizing comments and sexism are common place while the intuitive sensitivities and compassion that women intuitively exhibit and embody in their products has been generally ignored in the tech industry.

My eyes have been open wider than they were before I met my fiancé in that the value and purpose of a product are often eclipsed by the sex of the person who founded the product. That we (society) continue to gloss over the true nature of (not only) the tech industry and ignore the benefits that women are able to contribute holistically to the way we see and interact in the world, is a sad state of affairs indeed.

I invite you to visit mazufamily.com and see for yourself the difference a woman’s sensibility can make in a digital world that tends to be devoid of values, purpose and love. I am holding my breath that the world will come to embrace ideas that benefit society at large without being influenced by the sex of the person who contributes such ideas. At the same time, I encourage others to speak up when the issue of discrimination is carelessly glossed over as a collective voice is one of the ways that we can change the world in a way that will benefit us all.

Matthew Johnston, Kelowna

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