Why has sexism festered for so long in Silicon Valley?

Silicon Valley and the wider tech industry have a problem with women. At least, that is what you might conclude after a week that has seen a leading tech investor resign after admitting his involvement in sexual harassment.

In just two weeks, two powerful Silicon Valley investors have resigned from the firms they cofounded after women accused them of sexual harassment according to CNN.

The men, 500 Startups cofounder Dave McClure and Binary Capital cofounder Justin Caldbeck, didn’t just cross the line once, according to the allegations. Multiple women — both employees at their firms and female founders — have come forward about their mistreatment of women.

Silicon Valley’s power dynamics don’t favor women and minorities. Investors tend to be white men: 89% of those making investment decisions at the top 72 firms are male, according to one industry survey. Many women have said they fear retaliation if they speak out about inappropriate behavior.

You might think that California was among the most liberal, even politically correct, places on Earth. But tell that to women in the technology industry. We knew how few women there were at senior levels in tech companies – and the situation is even worse at the venture capital firms that fund them. Now we are finding out just why they may find it difficult to thrive.

According to BBC, more women have felt emboldened in recent weeks to tell their stories about sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination. Silicon Valley’s cool liberal image is under threat – and the pressure is growing to do something about it.


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