A Potential Investor Shows Candace Fleming A Nude Picture Of Himself On His Yacht|Women’s Stories
When Candace Fleming was raising money for her start-up company the Crimson Hexagon, she recalls “one venture capitalist telling her that it didn’t matter that she didn’t have business cards, because all they would say was ‘Mom.’
Another potential backer invited her for a weekend yachting excursion by showing her a picture of himself on the boat — without clothes. When a third financier discovered that her husband was also a biking enthusiast, she says, he spent more time asking if riding affected her husband’s reproductive capabilities than he did focusing on her business plan.”
The Skill Within Her Female Body
All that sexist, belittling crap, which shouldn’t happen to anyone, was bestowed on a woman who holds a double major in industrial engineering and English from Stanford and an M.B.A. from Harvard. No small potatoes. She also held a management position at Hewlett-Packard, was president of a small software company and had a great idea. Yet between the three of these moneyed slime-buckets:
- She was told her only business was as a mom.
- She was shown a nude photo of one of them.
- Because Fleming’s husband was a biking enthusiast, she was subjected to a discourse about her husband’s reproductive capabilities after riding. (I’d love to put that guy on the phone with Erika Napoletano, biking enthusiast, of Redhead Writing so she could spew some Redheaded Fury his way).
This Isn’t A Post About Gender Discrimination Among VC’s
The New York Times wrote an informative article on April 16 about the continuing barriers for women in the tech world. They started with Fleming’s story and then provided eye-opening data and further examples of gender bias. You can read about that by clicking here.
What I want to write about is that the article said people claimed “outright sexism is rare in the tech world these days.” Rare? Fleming met with 30 potential backers and 3 of them behaved in a sexist, obnoxious and outrageous manner. One out of 10. Ten percent. That’s not rare.
Continuing Sexual Bias & Sexual Harassment
I had hoped things had changed since I in college and then in my 20′s and 30′s when things like this happened too routinely:
- There were no customers in my check-out line at the grocery store when an older male employee cornered me against the register and rubbed himself (erection included) against me.
- When I was a Community Organizer an older man clenched me in a bear hug and stuck his tongue down my throat where it stayed until I was able to push him away.
- During a job interview I was gently, paternalistically told that as a woman I could not possibly be tough enough to work with & negotiate with the union.
- After an evening dinner meeting a male co-worker helped me on with my coat and rubbed his arm across my breast (I’m small breasted so this was no easy feat or accident.)
- At a conference a married boss said goodnight, and shook my hand leaving the key to his room in my palm.
- A man received the promotion I was going after and I was told by the boss, that although I had better skills, he could talk more freely with another man.
I know that education and work opportunities have improved for women since I started my career and that overall women are more accepted in the workplace and their capabilities recognized. For that I am grateful. But to learn that this other crap continues is disheartening. Is this the way it will always be?
What do you think, will sexual bias and harassment always be present? What have your experiences been?
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