This ‘leadership expert’ thinks women can solve the tech industry’s sexism problem by hiding their gender online.
Straight from the bureau of bad ideas, the Wall Street Journal has published a blog post advising women to avoid workplace sexism by keeping their gender a secret.
WSJ “leadership expert” John Greathouse wrote the post, titled, “Why Women in Tech Might Consider Just Using Their Initials Online.” He suggests that women can combat sexist hiring practises by creating a “gender-neutral persona” online, rendering their femininity invisible and therefore less damaging to their career prospects.
“Women in today’s tech world should create an online presence that obscures their gender. A gender-neutral persona allows women to access opportunities that might otherwise be closed to them. Once they make an initial connection with a potential employer or investor, such women then have an opportunity to submit their work and experiences for an impartial review.
Basically, he’s taking a symptom of institutional sexism—the assumption that women are more likely to be treated fairly if employers believe they are male—and reframing it as a solution to institutional sexism. Unsurprisingly, this idea did not get a positive reception among real women with real experience of real misogyny in the workplace.
John Greathouse, a partner at a venture capital firm who gives professional advice to tech startups, did not explain how women should handle discrimination after they get a job by hiding their gender online. Should they wear a disguise to work every day, or does sexism cease to exist once the hiring process is over?
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