Sexism at startups has once again been thrust into the limelight following a bizarre chain of events at a recent tech conference.
It all began when two male attendees made a joke about “big dongles” and “forking,” a play on tech terminology at software developer conference PyCon on March 18. Tech developer and evangelist Adria Richards, sitting in front of the men, took offense. She snapped a photo of the two and posted the image along with their joke to Twitter.
The backlash was extreme. One of the men, who worked for mobile gaming platform Playhaven, was fired. Richards started to receive death threats, hackers exposed her private information, and both her personal site and SendGrid, her employer, were hit with cyberattacks. Soon after, Richards was fired for “publicly shaming the offenders,” according to a blog post by SendGrid CEO Jim Franklin.
All this raises the question: is the tech world, a sector largely dominated by men, a safe place for women …