Techie Fired After Tweeting About Men’s Comments

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Gender gaps are the hot topic in Silicon Valley, in large part because of the bestselling book “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook Inc. Sandberg has launched a “Lean In” movement to encourage and support women in the workplace.

On Friday, thousands of tweets, blogs and online comments swirled about the incident, some supporting Richards and the “call-out cultures,” others belittling her or asking what she might have done differently.

Telle Whitney, who heads the Anita Borg Institute, a Palo Alto-based nonprofit working to advance women in computer science and engineering roles, said Friday “that racist or sexist comments have no place in today’s work environment and are counterproductive to fostering a diverse, productive and innovative workforce.”

“Events such as these make it more difficult for our industry to attract, recruit and retain women in technology, which is extremely important given the growing global demand for technology workers,” she said.

Richards, reached Friday by The Associated Press, said she couldn’t comment. But she confirmed her blog and tweets, along with the report that she was fired.

“Have you ever had a group of men sitting right behind you making joke that caused you to feel uncomfortable? Well, that just happened this week but instead of shrinking down in my seat, I did something about it … ,” Richards wrote in her blog post about the incident.

She said she was spurred in part by a photo of a young girl on the stage at the time, and the thought that the men seated behind her would make it impossible for the girl to learn programming.

The men were not identified by name.

Richards said she also had confronted a man earlier after he told her what she thought was a sexist joke at the conference.

“There is something about crushing a little kid’s dream that gets me really angry,” Richards wrote. “Women in technology need consistent messaging from birth through retirement they are welcome, competent and valued in the industry.”

SendGrid was founded in 2009 and has developed a cloud-based email system, according to its website.

(Photo: Twitter)

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3 thoughts on “Techie Fired After Tweeting About Men’s Comments

  1. When will people ever learn? Say it and forget, write it and regret it. If she was so bothered, why didn’t she just speak to them then and there? Why put it on display? It was between her and them. She should have kept it that way instead of trying to show what a brave woman she is by tattling on someone behind their backs. People really need to grow up.

  2. Bullshit! She wanted her tweet to go viral and be talked about in the positive but got caught dry snitching and was fired. Man telling jokes to one another had nothing to do with young women getting in the business. I have yet to hear of a woman turning down a great job because she don’t like the jokes male co-workers make to one another. I think this went too far as well with the companies. I company needs to know that I just work there! Period! I am not a role model for anyone other than my kids and those in my circle and I DO NOT REPRESENT THE COMPANY I WORK FOR! Once I’m off the clock it’s a wrap.

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