Female tech entrepreneur shows the messages she received after asking for business advice
There are several important industries wherein women are significantly underrepresented, and perhaps the greatest example of this is to look at the tech industry. Back in 2015, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) reported that as few as one in four of computing employees are female.
We're slowly getting better, though; younger women are slowly beginning to seep into positions at tech companies and startups, but that brings with it a whole host of new problems. Women getting messages and unwanted advances from creepy guys is sadly a phenomenon not limited to the tech workplace, but one young female entrepreneur working in the business has shone a light on the darkness that can occur.
18-year-old Lydia Jones is part of a talented new generation of entrepreneurs, working with the startup Trooops in the North of England. Like anybody making their tentative steps into the cutthroat world of business, she reached out to others for some career advice, but she would have been dismayed at some of the responses she got from some of the males in her industry.
She made contact with Vishal Morjaria, another entrepreneur in the industry based in London, to see what she could learn, and possibly make some connections and gain funding in a way that just isn't possible outside of the capital. "I simply asked him if he could introduce me to any mentors or advisors in London for growth and funding," she said, but that is decidedly not what she got.
Instead of helping Lydia make contacts, or offering her any kind of advice, Morjaria instead asked if the entrepreneur if she was single. Lydia replied to the negative, but the questioning didn't stop there; eventually, Morjaria found out that Lydia was a lesbian. When he learned this, he asked the 18-year-old: "so men don't turn you on at all?"
Luckily, common sense prevailed on Twitter, as other members on the social network swooped in to help her out, condemning Morjaria's behaviour, and then offering her some advice that will actually help her moving forward.
While steps have been taken in order to close the gender gap, it's still much harder as a woman to be respected and recognized in the tech industry, not to mention the rest of the STEM industries as well. Just this year, we've had high-profile cases of gender discrimination at two of the biggest tech companies in the world.
A few months ago in June, Travis Kalanick, Uber's CEO and Founder, had to take a leave of absence after being implicated in a sexual harassment scandal at his company, while Google had to fire James Damore after a memo leaked that implied the tech giant's hiring process was significantly skewed against women. Lydia Jones is hopefully one of many women who will usher in a new era of gender equality in the tech industry, but as she says herself, the industry still needs to wake up.