Yes Sallie! You are so right. Everywhere I turn here in Silicon Valley, the question I keep hearing in the wake of stories about Uber, or Binary Capital, or the treatment of U.S. Senators from all parties who are women, is:
“Do you think there is a sea change?”
My answer: Oh yes. By women.
In every conversation I have with other women now, about any team — a company, a VC firm, a board, a startup — the question that used to be implicit is now very comfortably explicit, even between women who barely know each other: Are they one of the good guys? Or not? Or does anyone know yet?
And if a challenge is acknowledged — e.g., an all male or all white or all both board, or leadership team, or known-to-be-hostile engineering squad, or the women at the firm apparently have to look like supermodels to work there — the talk quickly turns to alternatives.
Because predators aren’t the only thing women want to avoid these days. Women — and #POC and #LGBTQIA people — also want to avoid the more insidious creeping bias that limits our company valuations, our earning potential, our raises, our promotions — basically clamping a glass ceiling on our ability to change the world, starting with our own little corner.
So just as the ranks of people who want to be allies and door-openers is growing…so is the number of women who are fed up with risking betrayal of their personal and professional capital. Because while women don’t control enough capital to fund each other or our own dreams, we have enough momentum to change how we are getting there.
In the words of one enterprise software expert with whom I just got off the phone:“Because I’m done.” Now THAT sounds like opportunity to me. Like a sea change. Like women about to invest prodigious skills, wallets and badassery in themselves and others.
And for that, I have to salute and thank @susanthesquark, Ellen K. Pao, sarah kunst, Leiti Hsu, Susan Ho, Niniane Wang and so many others who have come forward on their sites and in the NYTimes and CNN to share their experience. That’s #leadership.
Thank you for a wonderful column.