New report examines sexism in the workplace

Women in tech: Have you faced gender-based discrimination?

Sarah Schlothauer
women in tech
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A recent survey by Girls Who Code examined the experiences of young college-aged women entering their first internship. The results showed that roughly half of women have experienced some form of negative experience, ranging from inappropriate remarks to biased technical exercises. A question for women in tech: Have you faced gender-based discrimination or bias in the workplace?

A common question in the meta-analysis of programming is: Why are there so few women programmers? According to the 2019 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, 91.7% of global respondents were men. Only 7.9% of respondents were women. A 2016 report by the National Center for Women and Information Technology claims that women only make up 25% of computing occupations.

Organizations such as Women Who Code, Black Girls CODE, and the Grace Hopper Celebration seek to inspire and help women succeed in tech, as well as provide a space for women to work with and talk to other women.

When it comes to gender discrimination in the workplace, a large percentage of women in tech have experienced some form of discrimination. A survey from Girls Who Code, a non-profit organization focused on helping young women studying computer science, asked college-aged women about their experiences with discrimination, biases in the workplace, and harassment. The results showed that around half of respondents have had a negative experience while applying for a job in the tech field or know a woman who has.

Facing gender discrimination

One of the key points of this survey from Girls Who Code is the relatively young ages of the women surveyed. Women as young as 19 have already faced gender discrimination in the tech field, often going into their first internship.

SEE ALSO: Women in tech: “The most important thing when starting out is to be more self confident”

According to data collected from the survey:

  • 54% of women reported a “noticeable lack of staff diversity”
  • 21% of women were asked biased interview questions; 16% encountered biased technical exercises
  • 25% of women surveyed had their personal attributes focused on during an interview, instead of their skills
  • 25% of women encountered inappropriate verbal remarks, while 7% received inappropriate written remarks

Gender-based discrimination can and does, happen anywhere. Small startups and big-name tech giants alike are not immune to reports of sexual harassment, bias, or other forms of discrimination.

Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code Reshma Saujani responded to this survey:

We’ve brought our girls so far—through obstacles in elementary, middle, high school, and college—only to face this kind of behavior in the workforce. What’s worse, though, is that it’s happening in an industry that claims to be working toward gender parity.

Read the full GirlsWhoCode report and read a few anonymous testimonials from young women interns.

Women in tech resources

Sure, we are all aware of historical computer science ladies such as Grace Hopper (computer scientist and US Navy rear admiral), Margaret Hamilton (software engineer), and of course Ada Lovelace. But what about the everyday women behind the scenes of your favorite open source software? Let’s hear it for the women combing through bug reports, or developing a new IDE?

SEE ALSO: Know your history – STEM’s diverse roots

Two years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Our women in tech series aims to highlight women in the tech scene, their stories, struggles, and tips for other women.

We interview women about their role models, support systems, and what they are most proud of accomplishing in their careers.

Let’s hear it

A question for our women readers: Have you faced any workplace gender bias or discrimination? We would like to hear from you and your experiences. The answers provided are completely anonymous. Feel free to leave a comment further explaining your answer.

Women in tech: Have you faced any gender bias or discrimination in the workplace?

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Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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