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The Real Revolution Of The Ellen Pao Trial

Stashed in: Venture Capital!, @lizgannes, Awesome, Sexism, Best of BuzzFeed, XX, Silicon Valley, Journalism, Ellen Pao

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Illuminating article points out that all the tech reporters on the case were women.

Hashtag #ThankYouEllenPao is trending.

This is new.

The statistics are staggering and unequivocal. Only 15% of technical jobs in Silicon Valley are held by women; recent studies reveal that there are no more women in computing fields now than there were more than 50 years ago in 1960. Ellen Pao may be an anomaly in venture capital — only 4% of senior investing VC partners are women, a figure that has actually declined in recent years — but she’s far from the only woman to allege gender bias in tech. Since her trial began, two other women have come out of the woodwork with claims similar to Pao’s: Chia Hong suedFacebook for sexual harassment and gender discrimination, and Tina Huang filed a class-action lawsuit against Twitter, alleging that the company’s promotion process is inherently and unfairly favorable to men. This case is already reverberating through the industry.

But ultimately, the most salient thing about the trial may not have happened on the stand, but in the press box. This was the moment at which, amid the region’s boys club brogrammer culture, a new and powerful Silicon Valley female press corps emerged.

Consider this: Damn near every major outlet that sent someone to cover this trial sent their star reporters, and those reporters are women. Re/code’s Liz Gannes and Nellie Bowles delivered wall-to-wall coverage, huddling on the courtroom lobby’s floor typing away though lunches and breaks. The Verge’s Nitasha Tiku has produced lively and insightful writing about the trial. Forbes’ Ellen Huet dipped in and out of the courtroom, while also covering Uber’s failed U.N. women’s partnership and Lyft’s latest fundraising round. USA Today’s Elizabeth Weise has filed 28 columns and news stories and counting. Wired’s Davey Alba has earned the dubious distinction of being the only reporter to go “gavel to gavel,” taking only the briefest of breaks.

There are many, many more: the San Francisco Chronicle’s Kristen BrownTechCrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis and Colleen Taylor, CNN’s Heather Kellythe Los Angeles Times’ Andrea Chang and Tracey LienLaw360’s Beth Weingarnerthe New Yorker’s Vauhini VariArs Technica’s Megan GeussThe Recorder’s Marisa Kendall, and Pacific Standard’s Susie Cagle, among others. You can see it in line at the courthouse’s basement cafe or at Acre Coffee on Polk Street, chatting in the courtroom before proceedings begin for the day, in the elevator: female reporters, everywhere. Of the people who’ve spent significant time covering the trial, fewer than a handful are men.

This is new. Just two years ago, tech journalism’s rising stars — the ones who seemed to be telling the most important stories the most loudly — were, by and large, men, and though the beat has always had a few high-profile elder stateswomen, numbers-wise, it barely had a better record than the industry it covered. Industry-wide, women still contribute only about a third of the bylines in major US newspapers, and the stories they do write are much likelier to focus on service and lifestyle than hard news.

How women in tech see Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination case:

This resonates:

Only 6 percent of V.C. partners are women, so that’s pretty poor. But V.C.s have a big impact on all start-up companies. They sit on their boards. They advise the CEOs. They obviously provide the capital for growth. So, in many ways, a lot of tech companies take their cues from what they see in the V.C. world.

Also from that video:

I think the message for women is not to get too discouraged. We need to step up. We need to do more. We need to form more of our own companies. We need to invest in each other. We need to find some investors on some of the new networks like Portfolia or some of the female-led V.C. firms like Aspect and make things happen.



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