The exit of engineer Julie Ann Horvath from programming network GitHub has sparked yet another conversation concerning women in technology and startups. Her claims that she faced a sexist internal culture at GitHub came as a surprise to some, given her former defense of the startup and her internal work at the company to promote women in technology.In other words, her colleagues didn't think well of her work, she was having an inappropriate and unprofessional relationship with at least one male colleague, her presence caused the performance of another male colleague to go downhill, (possibly through no fault of her own), she pissed off the founder's wife, spent considerable time on a project of no possible use to the company's bottom line, spend much of her time at the office in the bathroom crying, the founder has now been "put on leave", as has one of the engineers, and the company has inadvertently become the focus of considerable media attention.
In her initial tweets on her departure, Horvath did not provide extensive clarity on why she left the highly valued startup, or who created the conditions that led to her leaving and publicly repudiating the company.
Horvath has given TechCrunch her version of the events, a story that contains serious allegations towards GitHub, its internal policies, and its culture. The situation has greater import than a single person’s struggle: Horvath’s story is a tale of what many underrepresented groups feel and experience in the tech sector....
In short, Horvath said that she felt she was being treated differently internally simply due to her gender and not the quality of her work. She calls her colleagues’ response to her own work and the work of other female GitHub employees a “serious problem.” Despite GitHub hiring more female developers, Horvath said she struggled to feel welcome.
How good does a female coder have to be to make her employment worthwhile if all that is the potential cost? Do you think the founder is likely to hire more members of that "underepresented group" the next time he starts a company? Do you seriously believe that every male coder who saw what happened won't remember it in the event he goes off to start his own company? Are other women, like the founder's wives, going to be supportive of their husbands hiring women in the future?
It's fine and dandy to proclaim that men and women should be robots, but it is also a fundamental denial of observable reality. Women are, and always will be, an intrinsically disruptive force so long as men are sexually interested in them. That doesn't mean that the cost of the potential disruption may not be worth it in some cases, but it is simply dishonest to pretend that it isn't a very real and important factor that needs to be considered by every employer. And the more the employment sex police attempt to impose their equalitarian "solutions" to the "problem" on companies, the harder it will be for women to find work in technology.