- Oli Scarff/Getty Images
A prominent venture capitalist is drawing the ire of the internet after writing an op-ed that suggests women in tech would be better off if only they weren’t women.
John Greathouse, a partner at Rincon Venture Partners, outlines his ideas in a Wall Street Journal op-ed about how women might further their careers in the industry.
His suggestion? “Women in today’s tech world should create an online presence that obscures their gender.”
Greathouse suggests women use their initials instead of their real names, not include photos of themselves in their pitch deck, remove photos from their LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, and otherwise pretend they’re men.
Greathouse cites blind auditions for orchestras – which resulted in orchestras being more gender balanced, he says – as the reasoning for his suggestion, as well as data that shows that people are more likely to pay attention to someone who has a similar name as them.
People immediately took to Twitter to express their displeasure about Greathouse’s piece. Here’s a compilation of some of the more scathing tweets:
Woman on the internet: why not just be men?
— ian ownbey (@iano) September 29, 2016
Hey @WSJ I’d be happy to write about women in tech leadership if you want to choose an actual woman in tech leadership next time!
— Sara Mauskopf (@sm) September 29, 2016
— Rebekka Bond (@RebekkaBond) September 29, 2016
— Valerie Conners (@vmconners) September 29, 2016
Puts down iPhone
Throws through nearest windowhttps://t.co/50ZhhN4v3S
— BPLewis (@BPLewis) September 29, 2016
@WSJ Regarding the inane, pernicious “women in tech should use their initials online” article: It’s a slap in the face. Take it down.
— Matthew Rechs (@MrEchs) September 29, 2016
— Kristina Lustig (@kristinalustig) September 29, 2016
— Hannah Rutherford (@lomadia) September 29, 2016
Clearly, Greathouse’s piece didn’t go over well in the tech world and beyond – and for good reason. Simply because there’s data to support the idea that gender bias exists doesn’t mean that bias should be perpetuated.
However well intentioned, Greathouse’s suggestion that women are holding themselves back in the tech world – and every other world – simply by appearing to be women is not only insulting, it sets back whatever progress women have made in the tech industry.
Women in tech are still grossly underpaid compared with their male counterparts, subject to harassment, or just generally not taken seriously in the industry. Those issues can’t be solved by women hiding their gender online.