Last Friday, we came across a new technology site that claims to combine “learning to code” with “hot babes.” Called CodeBabes, it hosts “educational” courses featuring hypersexualized women who remove pieces of clothing whenever students pass a test. As you might expect, the site has already sparked a massive online backlash and hundreds of #NotBuyingIt tweets.
CodeBabes emerged in the same week that the co-founder of GitHub resigned after he faced allegations of sexism, and the CEO of RadiumOne, another man leading a tech company, was fired in the wake of domestic violence charges.
In an industry where women hold just 25 percent of tech jobs, and are only 18 percent of computer-science majors, stories like this only reinforce the feeling that not everyone is welcome in Silicon Valley.
While experts repeatedly cite the growing need for a qualified workforce to meet tech demand and the increased innovation that comes from having a diverse team, hypermasculine tech culture sends the message to girls and women that they are only valuable for their looks – not their intellectual capacity.
In the most innovative, best paid and fastest growing sectors of our economy – where much of our present and future society is being built and shaped – we deserve better representation. This week, in addition to tweeting #NotBuyingIt, let’s support those that are actively drawing more women into tech careers. Help spread the word about organizations like Black Girls Code and Lesbians Who Tech that are changing culture, providing mentorship, and increasing opportunities for marginalized groups.
Together we can challenge the status quo and make the tech industry a safer and more inclusive place for everyone!