The Gag Tactic Wall Street Taught Silicon Valley
Legal barriers for women in tech have grown, thanks to some bi-coastal knowledge sharing
Yesterday, Sheelah Kolhatkar, released her piece for this week's New Yorker that digs into why gender disparity is so prevalent in tech. It's a juicy read, and I'm a big Sheelah fan. I ate up her book Black Edge last winter that looked into how hedge funds ultimately get away with insider trading. I urge you to read Sheelah's entire story - it's long but worth it. In the meantime, I'm highlighting one of the more revelatory parts that details why it's so hard for women in tech to speak up about the discriminatory practices they witness.
"...in recent years in Silicon Valley there has been an enormous increase in the use of arbitration clauses in employee contracts—a legal strategy pioneered by Wall Street firms..."
The paragraph I lifted the above quote from follows and you can read Sheelah Kolhatkar's entire piece here.
"Meanwhile, the tech industry continues to erect barriers to legal action. A recent study by the law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt found that in recent years in Silicon Valley there has been an enormous increase in the use of arbitration clauses in employee contracts—a legal strategy pioneered by Wall Street firms, whereby disputes such as harassment must be settled through arbitration rather than litigated in federal court. The arbitration process is both shielded from public scrutiny and generally considered more favorable to employers. Tech companies have also embraced the use of employee confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements. Ostensibly, such agreements exist to protect company secrets, but when they are too broad they prevent employees from comparing salaries or talking publicly about their experiences at work. One former Google employee told me, "I wish we could have a twenty-four-hour moratorium on N.D.A.s, because that day would rock the tech industry."
The pandemic's impact on collaborative software company Quip's technical recruiting team started slowly.
First, their roster of engineering interviewers started to dwindle as rising concerns about COVID-19 led some of them to start working from home in January and February, remembers technical recruiter Grace Kim. "We needed to rethink how we conducted our onsite interviews with a limited pool," she says.
Brittany Boardman went to her first interview with Stack Overflow without expecting much.
"I'm not technical, I'm not an engineer. And I wasn't necessarily looking [for a new job]. But Stack just blew me away," says Brittany of her first exposure to the company behind the world's largest and most trusted software developer and technologist community. "The people I met that day seemed like they genuinely liked coming to work. There was this cohesive belief in what the company was doing. I was converted pretty quickly after that interview—Stack was somewhere I wanted to join."
7 Tips from SoftwareONE's Khristy Young
Khristy Young is used to working hard.
She came to the U.S. from the Philippines at 19, computer science degree in hand, and landed her first job in tech, working in frontline support, at 21.
Balancing two full-time jobs — as a mom and [insert your title here] — has never been easy. Add to that the stress of the holiday season and a global pandemic, and your brain may well feel ready to explode.
If you're feeling overwhelmed these days, you're not alone. Hear how Ping Del Giudice, Director of Revenue Operations at Chainalysis and mother of two, has been coping amidst the chaos. (Spoiler alert: she's perfected her multitasking skills.)
What are your best work-life integration tips during this challenging time? Let us know in the comments.
Learn more about Chainalysis' culture here!