It’s not OK

There are two people that I really look up to in my life. My mother, and my wife.

My mother raised me single-handed after my dad left, all whilst learning how to grow and run her own successful business, and whilst being an immigrant in a foreign country. She learned and did everything on her own and was able to gift me with an incredible sense of self, and allowed me to believe that I truly could achieve whatever I set my mind to.

My wife is literally one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. As a woman in the digital space she completely rules in the world of data, and has built a team (mostly female) from scratch within a fortune 100 company that literally brings home billions of dollars a year. I learn from her every day and wouldn’t be the person I am today without her.

Like many of you, I’ve been following the fallout from the now infamous internal white paper at google. I’ve seen how sexual prejudice and harassment has led to the recent fall of. members of the investment community, and I’ve read about the growing concern about how the bro culture dominates the field where I aspire to make my career.

Like many of you I find this incredibly troubling. Not only because it’s disturbing to read, but also because I’ve seen it in real life, and experienced it through the eyes of my mother and my wife.

I’ve thought long and hard about how I should react to this, and whether it is even worth adding my voice to the chorus of people fighting against this plague.

But I think I have to react – I think I have to add my voice, because apathy and inaction only ever benefits the transgressor, never the victim, and inaction is as much of a choice as action is.

So here it is.

It’s not ok.

It’s not ok to believe that men are fundamentally superior to women.

It is not ok to humiliate, belittle, or joke about the abilities of women just because they are women.

It is not ok to exclude, doubt or select against women in the workplace or at home.

Prejudice of any kind limits us as a species. It limits our growth, it limits our ability to create a better future. It stands against everything that a technology enabled world should symbolise.

For all of us in tech we need to decide what sort of world do we really want to build? If we want to build world-changing companies, surely that needs to start at home, in your own office, through your own actions.

Your beliefs determine your actions, but beliefs themselves are a choice, and we can choose to change them if we want to.

So what sort of company do you want to build? What sort of example do you want to set? What sort of world do you want to live in?