Tech has all the time been a person’s world. However for a interval within the early aughts and youths, it was actually extra a boy’s world. Because the second huge tech bubble of the digital age swelled in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, the aesthetics and preferences of very younger males have been all over the place. Ping pong tables. Kegs within the workplace. Hoodies as formal apparel. Bunk beds in “coliving” homes. Watch one episode of the hit HBO present Silicon Valley and you’ll see it in all of its glory.
However whereas Silicon Valley the present led to 2019, Silicon Valley the place continues to be coping with boy tradition. As just lately as July 2021, staff at Activision — the gaming studio behind World of Warcraft, Sweet Crush, and Name of Responsibility, amongst different well-liked video games — staged a walkout in response to their employers’ “tone deaf” response to a lawsuit filed by the State of California. The swimsuit alleges “rampant workplace inequality, from unequal pay for related work to a management tradition that permitted sexual harassment and even retaliated towards ladies who got here ahead,” in response to reporting by WIRED.
Staff of Activision describe a “frat boy” tradition during which ladies have been pressured to endure crude jokes, sexual harassment, and sexual advances from male coworkers. “Frat boy” tradition is simply “boy tradition” in its teenage years — and the allegations about Activision define simply how far the tech trade nonetheless must go if it’s going to be welcoming to individuals of all ages and genders.
That’s to not say we’re nonetheless caught in HBO’s model of Silicon Valley. Because the small startups who survived the extraordinarily excessive startup failure charge began to thrive, the tradition additionally began rising up. The furnishings bought nicer; the beer went from kegs to draughts and wine was added; and the open workplace areas bought greater. The places of work have been brighter and extra enjoyable than the places of work of extra old-school industries. It seemed like startup tradition actually had disrupted workplace tradition for the higher.
However then we now have conditions like what happened at Uber. And Google. And now, Activision. All of that are horrible, horrible examples of what occurs when boy tradition is allowed to run amok. Nonetheless, they’re additionally nice examples of how the tradition has modified in recent times — as a result of there’s a purpose they occurred now, and never 10 years in the past.
So have we executed it? Have we saved the utopian beliefs of the second tech wave and left behind the poisonous elements? Sadly, not fairly — that lawsuit continues to be ongoing towards Activision. However, on the flip facet, their workers have been indignant sufficient about it to stroll out of their very profitable jobs. That’s undeniably an indication of progress. And possibly the third tech wave will carry us a tech world the place lawsuits like that don’t ever need to be filed.
And we are coming into a 3rd wave. The Covid-19 pandemic has upended the tech trade. Working from house has led individuals to understand that “hustle tradition” is poisonous and a few Massive Tech firms are giving their workers the option to continue working remotely, even after the worst of the pandemic subsides.
As we make this shift into new methods of working, it’s as much as everybody in tech to ask: Are we able to lastly transfer away from “boy” and “frat” tradition? What does a grown up future seem like for tech? And might we lastly create the office utopia we’ve been promising for the reason that first tech wave?
Over the subsequent few months, I’ll be exploring these questions and others about this cultural shift that we’re all transferring by. Keep watch over this area for deep dives into what it might seem like if tech, lastly, is now not only a man’s world.
For those who’d prefer to study extra about ladies in tech at Avast, try our diversity and inclusion page.