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Wowsa! Brotopia had me saying WTF pretty regularly because what's happening in Silicone Valley is beyond disturbing and speaks to a culture that needs a complete overhaul! As a WOC, I recognize and witness discrimination in its myriad forms, so I knew Silicone Valley wasn't any different. However, Emily's unmasking of this 'bro' era goes beyond the classic unethical, misogynistic, and exclusionary hiring practices and pulls up the roots of the specific manifestation in tech. While highlighting the underbelly of an overall epidemic of what too much money colluding with a false sense of power can do to individuals lacking in maturity, self-worth, a value system, and or simple decency are capable of in an environment that in turn feeds on itself. A well researched and assertive book that is an invaluable read for everyone, since these are the people and this is the world upon whose axis we all turn.
I've worked in tech for ten years, including in start ups, and the sexism is pretty shocking. I've had a manager tell me he didn't hire a qualified candidate because she was attractive and it would end up in a sexual harassment suit as the male employees were already oggling her. One senior employee told me she was groped. A coop told me she was the subject of a wet t-shirt joke by a fifty year old. A team lead giving massages to female staff non-consensually.
I knew all this going into reading this book. I also knew of the stats as I have given training on diversity in tech. But I still learned so much, from the gendered disparity in VC funding, to explaining the falling admissions rate of women in computer science in universities from its mid-80s peak of 40%.
I learned way more from this than I expected to. Also although I read this with awareness of the tech sector, this is written to be accessible to non-technical people.
Brotopia by Emily Chang is a decent, but very surface level, examination of Silicon Valley’s misogynist culture. Considering the significance of topic, Brotopia feels like a missed opportunity to expose and critique the tech industry in a productive way; instead, I felt that only summaries were given on most topics.
Not to say that there were no interesting sections. The beginning of the book, which describes the evolution of the tech industry in the 1960s, was a beneficial history lesson on how the misogyny seeds were first sowed. Likewise, the critique of PayPal’s male “meritocracy” contrasted with Google’s focus on hiring women was also a highlight. Afterward, however, Brotopia’s promising looks at VCs or managing motherhood (for example), failed to follow through with any impactful insight or resolution. Right when the topic summary was over and I started getting invested and curious on the issue, it seemed like the chapter ended and Chang moved on to another subject.
Brotopia is a sufficient introduction into the tech industry’s shortfalls but too many equally interesting topics are fit into this short book. The result is an insubstantial critique short of meaningful solutions beyond the vague “we must do better.”
In 1990, 30% of programmers in Silicon Valley were American females.
Presently, less than 5% of programmers in Silicon Valley are American females.
Wonder what percentage of programmers are American?
Now, a sane person might be inclined to think that this author should be dwelling on that catastrophic economic number for millennials: 47 percent of workers at that age group are free lancers, while overall, the percentage of America's greatly reduced workforce freelancing is now 35 percent, but instead . . .
Emily Chang is an idiot - - and this book is idiotic! [And her photo on the book jacket looks evil.]
A book I read just prior to this [Live Work Work Work Die] is written by a somewhat self-aware [still youthful] journalist who has a grasp of what's taking place; Emily Chang embraces the Uber economy, just wishes there was more diversity within the Third Reich, more gender equality in Hell! [News Flash, Emily, the Uber - - or slave labor - - economy is baaaad!]
I suspect Emily Chang is Exhibit #1 as an example of a product of the Fake History/Fake News environment she grew up in - - but still worships it, evidently from this book.
Emily reminds me of a 2002 article in the business section of USA Today, where the remaining American female employees at an IT firm were litigating under the EOE Act because, long after all the American males had been replaced with foreign visa workers from India, they - - at the lower IT rungs - - were finally being replaced. Believe they lost that suit, but I am not certain? Ten years prior to that, another article in the business section of USA Today - - just after Clinton won the 1992 presidential election - - recounted how an investment firm head was retiring because he believed Clinton would work to get China into the WTO, thus turning the workaday world from a dog-eat-dog environment into a rat-eat-rat arena, with the opening of such a large cheap labor market.
After wasting time on this book my only description of the author is . . . vacuous!
An exhilarating history of how high-tech selected for "brogrammers". Chang writes crisply yet descriptively as she covers unhappy men like Thiel (the PayPal Mafia Trump supporter) and Damore (infamous Googler "biology favors the dudes" memo writer); the false promise of meritocracy when mostly everyone in Silicon Valley has Stanford/Harvard connections; the sexist venture capital culture (which then affects who gets funded); short yet probing summaries of three high-profile women--Wojcicki, Mayer & Sandberg; Susan Fowler's bravery at Uber; shutting down online trolls; exposing sex parties for their silly premises (yah, we dunno what to do with our money); and finally, Chapter 9, a clear-eyed look at what companies and people can do. "It is because of their endurance & courage [the women who speak up and their male allies], I believe, that we have reached a cultural tipping point. From here on out, ignorance of the problem can only be willful. Reactions of "Gosh, I didn't know _this_ was going on" and "Is it really that bad?" are simply no longer credible. Or acceptable."
You'll find it hard to disagree... that there are just some things the more 'mechanical' males can accomplish that women physically can not. Like-wise, there are things the more 'animalistic' females can do that men can physically not do.
You have to tame and train the 'wild beast' within her, or she will go out of control!
The argument seems to be more centered about actually 'doing' anything at all.
Most of history; women's work is centered around the house and not job site. Employers just don't want to pay for the more accident prone and weaker subjects. Can you lift 100lbs and not get hurt - or do you look prettier putting on make up and wearing a nice dress. This pushy lesbian mentality is NOT SOMETHING WE should have to adhere to, especially employers. Sexual harassment can often works THE OTHER WAY. I am not going to put females on a pedestal for substandard work and complaints.
Lady, if you want to buy the business PAY FOR IT IN FULL FIRST. OTHERWISE YOU CAN NOT TELL ME WHAT TO DO IN THE WORKPLACE. IS THIS UNDERSTOOD?