Thursday, November 18, 2010

Creating, Propagating

Sexism is concrete. Sexism is total. Sexism oppresses like gravity.

Sexism is geography. Sexism is universal.

Sexism exists. Sexism affects.

Sexism impacts.

Sexism holds down.

Sexism is for real.

Sexism is here and now.

Sexism is today.

Sexism is an ideology, sexism is a worldview. And it has to be talked about. It has to be challenged. It is not a men versus women thing. It is a sickness versus health issue. Sexism is sickness.

There is a connection between the mass rapes in Liberia and the glass ceilings in Manhattan. Can you see the connection?

I was so glad to be able to show up for the Change The Ratio event with Fred Wilson and Rachel Sklar a few weeks ago. I thought it was a swell event. There is always food and networking. So yesterday I was glad to come across a tumblog post that talked about a possible next Change The Ratio (Twitter, Tumblr) event next week.

I think tech entrepreneurship offers a special opportunity to create that positive environment of better gender balances and the creativity and productivity that comes out of them.

Opening up opportunities for women from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

Something happened at TechCrunch Disrupt. I have heard insinuations. But I have not watched the video of the event. Let me go find it, watch it, comment on it.

Okay, I am at minute three, and I have to say something. So far I have been calling Sarah Lacy my favorite TechCrunch writer. She has had some great international coverage. But I might have to revise that label after this. She is doing Mike Arrington's hatchet job here. She is like, are you pointing fingers at my boss Mike Arrington? Is that what's going on? Are you saying TechCrunch does not cover enough women entrepreneurs? Are you saying VCs are not funding enough women entrepreneurs? If yes, then let me raise my voice.

Women who benefit from the existing arrangement - if the ratio is 80, 20, but if that 20 covers you, then why will you risk the space you have to pick fights for the women that are left out? Why will you not instead please the powers that be and keep your personal seat secure?

Minute six, good point Rachel. You don't have to be a coder to be in tech. Mike Arrington is a former lawyer. That guy is not cognizant of basic HTML.

Minute seven: Jewish, Italian, Sarah Lacy is part Native American? Well, if we go far back enough, we are all Africans too. This crowd is not in a mood to talk diversity.

Minute 11: Sarah Lacy is so off. She is like, Mike, are you watching? Are you happy now? Do I get a raise?

Minute 12: Sarah Lacy defending VCs is not factual. On average women entrepreneurs have given better returns than men entrepreneurs. But an early stage woman entrepreneur is more likely to get rejected than a man. Those are numbers.

Minute 16: Cutting some slack for Sarah Lacy. I have seen her in video several times. It is not that she is necessarily being hostile. That is how she always talks, a little loud, a little energetic, a little forcefully, quick to quip. I mean, she has been saying some good things.

Minute 17: Why are women not entering math, science, engineering in large numbers? The problem is at the fountain. I am skeptical of that line of thought. That is only part of the truth.

Minute 17: 70% of the global poor are women. There are far bigger gender problems globally than women not getting covered by TechCrunch.

Minute 18: Good point Rachel. Gender in America is not as bad as it might be in Iran, so women in America should not complain? That line of thinking is crazy. Men who get defensive of women in America complaining, how will they react when women in Iran complain? Oh, wait, I think we know. They kill them. It is similar mentality both places.

Minute 18: "Build something, don't complain." That is like saying, don't talk about gender. Well, the problem does exist. One way to keep the status quo intact is by not talking about it.

Minute 20: Claim 1: TechCrunch CEO is a woman. Claim 2: Half the TechCrunch writers are women. Well, I don't know about that. Most stories that come out are written by men on TechCrunch. Good point: if TechCrunch has the "right" ratio, that shows you can be the top tech blog in the world by having a 50-50 ratio.

Minute 21: Okay, Sarah Lacy is being hostile now. The topic of gender can get vague and complex. To keep asking for simplistic positions to take is to just be defensive.

Minute 24: Dudedom.

Minute 25: "Misery." Sarah Lacy just called the whole panel discussion a "misery." She is totally playing to the gallery. She is talking to the audience of one: Mike Arrington. This behavior is not hard to understand. There is sexism and there is internalized sexism. "Misery." "Bitching." Sarah Lacy is so out of line.

This is getting ridiculous. If you are going to end up with a bad taste in your mouth talking glass ceilings in Manhattan and the Bay Area, you are going to turn that TV off when they talk about Liberia. Or, wait. Maybe that is why they don't cover those far away places in the first place. They know you don't like to be reminded of ugly realities.

I want my spies to inform me if Mike Arrington bought Sarah Lacy a beer right after this.

I was able to see through the song and dance by Sarah Lacy. She was unfair. She is guilty of internalized sexism. She should stop being so defensive.

And I have some career advice for Rachel Sklar. Start a consultancy. Become a one person resource to women in tech who are facing issues that you feel strongly about. Be that person they can talk to for an hour one on one. Be the person who understands the issues and does not belittle them like Sarah Lacy belittled you. Become a resource person. Make a career out of your passion. You don't need to code. You need to gender.

Mike Arrington Is A Sexist Pig: Say PeeeeG!
Aliza Sherman Takes Mike Arrington To Task
An Apologetic Mike Arrington
Mike Arrington's Big Day

Another career suggestion to Rachel: start a tech blog to cover startups in New York City. There is an urgent need for that. And I think you can do it. And do a better job of covering women and minorities.

Also, if you are a woman entrepreneur in need of programmers, email me. I got a limitless supply of those in India. If you have an idea, if you can raise money, if you can manage and inspire people, if you can do the media thing, coders are out there. They are not in short supply.

Rachel, let's go into business. You find me women who need coders. I find them coders. We both get our cuts. Now that we have identified a few problems, let's seek solutions. Let's take a few concrete steps.

Change The Ratio: Fred Wilson, Rachel Sklar
Event At Hunch: Angel, Super Angel, VC
Event At Hunch: Gender Talk (1)
Event At Hunch: Gender Talk (2)
Event At Hunch: Gender Talk (3)
Event At Hunch: Gender Talk (4)

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