Does this Newsweek cover hurt women in tech?

If you are a girl standing in line at the grocery store and see the above Newsweek cover, chances are you don’t think, “I can’t wait to go to Silicon Valley when I grow up and start my company. ”

The cover states in the most simplistic way that women are objectified in Silicon Valley, and that subconsciously will influence people, Alexia Tsotsis writes in TechCrunch:

It makes women feel excluded, sexualized and degraded as it tries to point out how bad it is to exclude, sexualize, and degrade women. It’s un-self-aware…. You cannot pull readbait like this on topics as complex as gender bias in tech. It’s an intellectual and artistic crime to be this simplistic and manipulative on hot-button issues, issues that materially affect the careers and lives of millions of people.

“That is total nonsense,” Newsweek’s editor in chief Jim Impoco told her when she explained her views.

The Mercury News’ Heather Somerville wrote here that the cover, more than the accompanying article, misses the point of Silicon Valley style sexism, which is about money and access to opportunity rather than sex.

In a column, I quoted a female venture capitalist who said VC firms are engaged in the gender discussion. Alison Berkley Wagonfeld, operating partner at Emergence Capital. told me:

Among my peers, particularly over the past six to 12 months, there has been a greater discussion about the solutions. If ever there was a group that liked to fix problems, it’s Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and I have confidence this one we can fix as well.

Above: Image of Newsweek’s cover. 


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