Brotopia Book Summary By Emily Chang

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Brotopia is a 2018 book by Emily Chang that dives deep into the male-dominated world of Silicon Valley and the technology industry.

It examines why women are excluded from it and how this exclusion affects everyone involved, not just those being denied access.

The book looks at such questions as: How can women break through this tech world “brotopia” to gain acceptance and inclusion? What is causing Silicon Valley to be so unwelcoming to female engineers, scientists, designers, entrepreneurs, investors, and others?Throughout the book, Emily Chang explores how the persistent biases against women in these industries play out in hiring practices, investment decisions, product development, office culture–and often contribute to toxic work environments.

The wealth generated by these companies has far-reaching societal effects that limit equality of opportunity—and Brotopia provides an eye-opening look at how we got here.

Brotopia Book

Book Name: Brotopia (Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley)

Author(s): Emily Chang

Rating: 4.6/5

Reading Time: 16 Minutes

Categories: Economics

Author Bio

Emily Chang is a remarkable journalist, broadcaster, and author.

She has won five local Emmy awards for her reporting and is also the presenter and executive producer of Bloomberg Technology as well as Bloomberg Studio 1.0.

Emily is known not only for her work in television, but also for her book "Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys Club of Silicon Valley".

In this insightful book, Emily dives deep into the world of tech start-ups in San Francisco and their implications on both the tech industry and our culture at large.

It's an essential read if you are looking to get an up-close look at one of the most influential industries in our modern age.

The Negative Impact Of Male-Dominated Workplaces In The Tech Industry

Tech Industry

For far too long, the tech industry has been dominated by men.

Women have been pushed aside, relegated to supporting roles as CEOs and investors continue to prioritize male-led companies for investment money.

But times are changing and it’s time the tech industry learned that women are needed in these male-dominated jobs.

In order for the tech industry to make progress and ultimately succeed, companies need to wake up and recognize their need for female employees.

The evidence is out there: computer science degree holders were predominately male in the 1980s – but now women are getting 50% of those degrees today!

And yet, female-led companies receive significantly less investment money than their male peers.

Clearly something needs to change.

If businesses want true success and innovation, they must learn that having a diverse team leadership means more successful trends – so it’s essential they start seeing why they need women on their teams.

Women bring a lot of unique skills and perspectives that can push a company in daring new directions that no one could have imagined before!

Therefore, hiring more women in leadership roles is key to creating a well-rounded and effective business strategy than ever before.

The False Stereotype Of The Lone, Introverted Computer Programmer

For years, the face of computing wasn’t a nerdy man, but rather a woman.

In the early days of computers, programming was considered ‘women’s work,’ and it was indeed women who were behind some of history‘s most influential computer-run operations.

During WWII, for example, US Army computers were programmed by women and John Glenn’s successful orbit around the Earth in 1962 was thanks to three female mathematicians at NASA.

Grace Hopper even made a comparison between programming and organizing a dinner party!

Unsurprisingly, women excelled at this line of work because they had the patience and attention to detail required by such a complex job.

But sadly, in 1967 came an influential report that changed everything.

It effectively swayed the software industry into believing that men made better programmers as they possessed certain traits like “not liking people” or being introverted or antisocial.

This unreasonable assessment led to fewer female programmers – leaving us with what we have today: a male-dominated computing world – despite the fact that female programmers often excel at this task harder than their male counterparts.

How External And Internal Sources Helped Create A Male-Dominated Tech Industry

Male-Dominated Tech Industry

In the late 1960s, a distinct shift in the technology industry was taking place – women programmers were being replaced by men.

This trend derived from several factors that were happening around this time.

Firstly, computing was beginning to be seen as an intellectual job, which ties into existing societal perceptions of intellect being a “male trait”.

Additionally, as computing degrees gained popularity among students, males were more likely to have pre-existing computer skills and prove themselves more confident during admission tests.

As a result of this gender imbalance, computers soon began to be seen more of as “boys’ toys”, resulting in girls being given less exposure compared to boys in terms of understanding the complexities of computer science.

This is made even worse by growing pop culture stereotypes of nerdy boys triumphing over attractive but mundane female characters through impressive computer prowess in films such as Weird Science or WarGames.

Finally, this male dominance within the tech industry started to repel female talent away from it – female college students at Carnegie Mellon University started dropping out from computer science courses twice as fast than their male counterparts did by 1995.

Consequently, these activities and attitudes led to an almost ‘neural’ dominance of men within the technology sector after the 60s

Silicon Valley’S “Brogrammer” Culture Normalizes Uncomfortable Business Deals And Sexism

The tech industry’s work culture has long been dominated by brogrammers, or a mash-up of “bro” and “programmer”.

This creates an exclusive environment for male tech professionals and a disproportionately uncomfortable one for women.

One way the chauvinistic culture marginalizes women is through business meetings held in places like nightclubs and strip clubs.

While such events put men in the position to make deals and form connections, it leaves female attendees in perpetual conflict between missing out on investment opportunities if they don’t attend and damaging their career credibility if they do.

The Yelp work space serves as a shocking example – its employees dubbed the Silicon Valley strip club as “Conference Room G.”

The Susan Fowler sexual harassment allegations at Uber further proves how severe gender discrimination is in tech industry workplace.

Bro culture disguises itself as progressive but actually marginalizes women by disregarding their concerns; this includes false promises of upholding safety while attending sex parties wherein female participants are at risk of objectification or worse, sexual assault.

Evidence shows that venture capital investors have shied away from hiring those seen at such gatherings, effectively having their careers sabotaged before even beginning.

The Tech Industry’S Sheer Disregard For Women Is Unacceptable

Tech Industry

When it comes to working in tech, women are undervalued and achieving a balanced work/life balance is extremely difficult.

Even highly successful women like Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki have had difficulty establishing their careers within the tech industry, often being attributed to opportunities rather than actual talent or hard work.

This bias also goes beyond just perception – studies have found that when coding gender is not disclosed, women’s work is accepted much more often than men’s, yet female-led companies are still grossly underfunded by venture capitalists compared to their male counterparts.

While this can be due to a variety of factors, ultimately the underlying theme here is that women are less considered as competent workers when compared to men.

Furthermore, most companies in the tech industry don’t consider parenthood as a major factor in their workplace structures.

The common “work hard, play hard” ideology seen in many Silicon Valley corporations pervades a culture that doesn’t leave room for families with set schedules and expectations out of employees that may not be conducive to those with children.

Women doing the same jobs as the men around them are often asked how they’ll manage taking care of their families while balancing work demands – meanwhile their male counterparts do not face this question so frequently (if at all).

The Hiring Practices Of Silicon Valley Perpetuate The Marginalization Of Women And Have Harmful Effects On Consumers

Changing an established culture or status quo is notoriously difficult.

The problem with the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley is that these companies still think they’re hiring people based on merit and don’t recognize their own biases.

As a result, the same people who were hired at the beginning – usually white, educated men – become the norm and those same people are likely to hire other candidates much like themselves.

Take PayPal’s early days as an example.

They thought they were recruiting people based on merit, but didn’t realize they were actually just hiring their founder Peter Thiel’s friends and acquaintances all along.

Since this group already had conforming ideologies, PayPal perceived their all-male staff as being “the best there is,” leading to even more like hires and perpetuating a cycle where one group of people dominates the selection process in favor of similar candidates time and time again.

One way companies can help avoid this sort employee mitosis is by ensuring every team has a diversity advisor, such as Pinterest did by bringing on Joelle Emerson.

Additionally, they should consider having a head of HR specifically targeting diversity before there are 50 employees or asking for referrals from underrepresented groups when filling positions.

Ultimately it’s extremely important to break away from the status quo built by this kind of hiring practice in order ensure that workplaces are open and fair to everyone, regardless of their gender or background.

It’S Inevitable: Businesses Need To Embrace Gender Equality In The Tech World For Profit Margins To Improve

Gender Equality

When it comes to making money in the tech world, gender diversity is key.

Studies show that when more women are included in leadership roles, financial returns increase.

An International Monetary Fund examination of two million European companies found that those with 40-60% women in leadership positions generated bigger earnings.

It’s not just bigger profits; companies with different genders on board also benefit from more creative thinking and risk aversion.

It’s thought that having a balanced number of males and females reduces the risk of business failure, an idea backed up by tech investor Roger McNamee who suggested that gender balance would lead to fewer company failures.

Having a diverse range of customers means being able to reach markets you may not have been able to before.

Ever since League of Legends began suspending abusive gamers and providing them with detailed explanations as to why they were being banned, its monthly user base has increased from 67 million to 100 million.

From a consumer perspective too, women make up around 70-80 per cent of all purchases giving businesses a huge incentive for having services targeted toward them.

Wrap Up

Brotopia by Emily Chang offers a comprehensive look at the history and current state of gender imbalance in the tech industry.

Throughout the book, Chang delves into how this disparity has evolved over time, and examines its impact on today’s workforce.

Ultimately, Chang’s message is clear: though improving diversity within tech may not be an easy task, it could offer significant long-term benefits for companies who choose to embrace it.

She provides clear evidence that a more diverse tech sector could yield greater innovation, as well as open new job opportunities for women already present in the field.

By implementing a long-term commitment to increasing female representation throughout all levels of their organizations, businesses can build a stronger, more profitable future.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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