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Case exposes problem of gender discrimination in the tech industry

While pockets of tech entrepreneurs can be found throughout the nation, including right here in the Twin Cities, the undisputed center of the tech industry remains Northern California’s Silicon Valley.

Interestingly enough, however, recently released reports indicate that the Silicon Valley might also hold the unwelcome distinction of being the undisputed center of gender discrimination in the tech industry.

Indeed, one report found that only about 30 percent of employees at the area’s largest tech companies are female, while another report found that the number of female partners at tech-based venture capital firms dropped from ten percent in 1999 to just six percent in 2014.

Interestingly, many advocacy groups are now hoping that a high-profile case filed in the California court system will highlight the problem of gender discrimination in the Silicon Valley and help spur meaningful change.

The lawsuit in question was filed by the current interim CEO for the social media giant Reddit against the powerful investment firm for which she was once worked as a junior partner.

In her lawsuit, she accuses the firm, which has backed some of the industry’s largest companies, of denying her both raises and a promotion following her decision to end an affair with a married partner.

Specifically, she claims that she felt pressured into the affair and that after deciding to end it and complaining of harassment by the married partner (who is no longer employed there), the firm began a systematic campaign of retaliation.

For its part, the investment firm has claimed that the decision not to promote her was based purely on performance and in no way discriminatory.

It will be interesting to see if this case, which is expected to last a month, will have the desired effect of raising awareness about gender discrimination not just in operations based in Silicon Valley, but throughout the entire tech industry.

Stay tuned for updates …

If you believe that you’ve been victimized by some form of discrimination, please understand that you have rights and you have options.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor, “How does tech industry treat women? Discrimination case could expose details,” Cristina Maza, Feb. 24, 2015

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