On Gender Equality Coming of Age, But Beyond Silicon Valley?


Doesn’t anyone get why CEO Marissa Mayer put the kibosh on telecommuting right now at Yahoo? It wasn’t discrimination folks. You see when you’re in the middle of a huge, nasty turnaround and trying to change the culture of a company — people need to show up at work.

Yeah, we all know that working virtually is the trend. In fact, teams often are dispersed around the globe. But in this case, it’s not rocket science or discrimination, so get a life folks. Nothing is forever. If she is right and Yahoo can be fixed, it will save all of the jobs, and we’re talking about 11,500 employees, and countless contractors and consultants. If she’s wrong, there may be no jobs to worry about. But now, this CEO is often referred to as the “Stalin of Silicon Valley” in the press.

So what is really going on here? Why the ensuing drama even when it’s discussed among friends and colleagues in Silicon Valley? What do you think? Could it be sexism sticking up its head against this girl geek in this male dominated world? Heaven forbid, right? Not here, no it just can’t be true.

Silicon Valley is the home of tech, the cradle of innovation. Yeah, but it’s probably so. Some like beloved Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook get somewhat of a pass, but not really. Of late, she’s been vacuum cleaned every which way. The difference is that she sought it out. When she unleashed her manifesto – Lean In — the call to action for young and old women from pillar to post, and went on television — everything became fair game.

But, maybe it’s not like that for the new CEO of Yahoo, the fair haired Marissa who has her head squarely down trying to do the job she was hired to do. Maybe she’ll go the press circuit after she’s scored a big win for Yahoo, but not now. Remember Yahoo is beleaguered, and quite an assignment for the girl geek, or any humanoid. You know, maybe Yahoo still has some juice with its very solid content, loads of good IP and customers, and it’s her job to figure it out. Aha, perhaps it’s not the decrepit dinosaur that everybody takes shots at, but still it isn’t perceived as the hipster place to work. Alas, once Stanford grad founder Jerry Yang sat in the ejector seat — Yahoo’s luster seemed to fade, regardless of how many Hollywood tycoons it brought into the fold. So maybe it is really time to let the girl geek have at it. Hollywood didn’t work. Sorry Terry and Ross. Autodesk wasn’t the right paradigm, Carol. Maybe it was quite brilliant to install the girl geek turned corporate dragon slayer. After all, she came of age at Google too, and is wickedly smart.

What could be so bad? Times certainly are changing — marriage equality is right around the corner regardless of what SCOTUS does, and innovation should not be gender based. Male coders shouldn’t be acting out publicly at conferences. Whistle blowers shouldn’t be chastised for calling them out as occurred last week. And maybe CEO Marissa in her own way, together with the brown-haired vixen Sheryl, individually and together are pushing Silicon Valley out of its comfort zone into gender equality. Go figure!

Photo credit: nytimes.

Michelle Kraus
Dr. Michelle Kraus writes on regulatory and political issues concerning the environment, the economy, technology, social networks and the political landscape. After pioneering the use of advanced search and data applications for the 2004 political campaigns, she is often referred to as a "Google Ninja" working behind the scenes to build communities, craft messaging and reach out to voters with new and innovative technologies.

Covering the Clinton Global Initiative in 2007, Dr. Michelle started the "quiet voices" series illuminating the monumental work of many of the participants across the globe who are quietly affecting change in health care and poverty alleviation.

She is also an experienced Internet executive who has built large companies, created profitable divisions within large companies and founded start-up ventures. As the CEO of one of the first open source companies, she helped to establish commercial applications and licensing standards. She has published two books that have received critical acclaim, and has written for many industry publications. She speaks nationally on politics, regulation and technology.
Read More Share

Recent Author Posts

Join Our Community

Connect On Social Media

Most Popular Posts

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

We Blog The World