In this era where technologies are advancing and innovation is booming, issues like racism, ageism sexism, patriarchy and misogyny still prevail. Tech industries have also been in light because of these reasons. In 2014, Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella’s comments on women made news as he suggested that women shouldn’t be asking for a raise. In 2016 Microsoft came up with an AI chatbot called Tay, that got racist by learning from the negative conversations on Twitter.
And recently one of the female employees at Microsoft complained about sexual harassment. They shared their frustrations about discrimination and sexual harassment, which was ranging from sexist comments during work trips to being told to sit on a coworker’s lap in front of a human resources leader.
She mentioned that an employee from a partner company threatened to kill her if she did not perform implied sexual acts during a work trip. “I raised immediate attention to HR and management.” She further added, “My male manager told me that ‘it sounded like he was just flirting’ and I should ‘get over it’. HR basically said that since there was no evidence, and this man worked for a partner company and not Microsoft, there was nothing they could do.”
It’s disheartening how giant tech companies like Microsoft have a lot of things going on inside and women employees suffer due to baseless responses from the management.
According to Microsoft’s recent diversity report, 87% of Microsoft employees are white or Asian and more than 73% are men. Employees are questioning the company over its diversity and employee policies. They have now started discussing on Yammer, Microsoft’s internal message board. A female engineer asked, “Does Microsoft have any plans to end the current policy that financially incentivizes discriminatory hiring practices?” In the same post she added, “To be clear, I am referring to the fact that senior leadership is awarded more money if they discriminate against Asians and white men.”
Similar posts on Yammer related to discriminatory hiring which read, “Women are less suited for engineering roles” received more than 800 comments where few agreed to the statement and few criticized it.
A female program Manager commented on the post, “I have an ever-increasing file of white male Microsoft employees who have faced outright and overt discrimination because they had the misfortune of being born both white and male. This is unacceptable.”
According to Quartz, a member of Microsoft’s employee investigations team replied to a post related to discrimination, “The company does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”
Employees are not satisfied and they feel that there have been no steps taken so far in this regard. In a statement to Quartz, an employee said, “HR, Satya, all the leadership are sending out emails that they want to have an inclusive culture, but they’re not willing to take any action other than talk about it. They allow people to post these damaging, stereotypical things about women and minorities, and they do nothing about it.”
With all sorts of discrimination and harassment at the workplace, it is high time that tech industries introduce major policy changes to encourage a fair, open and comfortable environment for the employees especially women. And for this few have already taken a stand against such issues and are coming together for a transition.
The internalized misogyny in women, as seen in the Microsoft anti-diversity story, is particularly painful to see, *but* there are still plenty of us women in tech on the “transition team” working for justice.
Remember that you have the power to choose where you put your energy! https://t.co/Gpz8zY6xV4
— April Wensel (@aprilwensel) April 19, 2019
To know more about this news, check out the post by Quartz.