Today in geek misogyny: women being offered as perks in a job ad.
Event organising start-up Evvnt.com is looking for a developer, proficient in the Ruby programming language. They're eager to get a good one, so in an advert posted to the London Ruby user group yesterday, Richard Green, the CEO and founder of the company, offers a list of potential perks. Here it is in full:
Let me know which of the following would tempt you from you desk...
- Keg of beer and beer tap fitted to your development desk?
- The recruitment fee as your welcome gift?
- 4 day week?
- Building your own team of 4 from scratch
- Shares and equity (so dull)
- Commission from online sales.
- An endless jar of Cadbury chocolate eclairs...
- 4X female french, italian and spanish junior / front and backend developers
- Your own Expresso [sic] coffee machine with frothy milk maker...
- 30 days paid holiday if taken in December and August.
Notice which of those things is not like the others? That's right, number eight appears to be placing female employees on roughly the same level a jar of chocolate eclairs.
Later last night, Green responded to some of the criticism already building up on the mailing list by agreeing with one user that what he had actually meant was "We are an equal opportunities employer and our team contains people from a variety of countries, backgrounds and genders." He tells a different user that "We simply welcome female developers and indeed developers from all nationalities. Mostly to date the developer world does feel very male."
I'll leave it up to you to decide whether Green was tragically misunderstood, or executing a hasty reverse-ferret. But either way, it's not the first time this sort of thing has happened. Last year, almost exactly the same thing happened when a hack-a-thon in Boston was advertised with "great perks" including "massages", "Gym Access" and "Women". That time, there was no backing out, since it goes on to read: "Need another beer? Let one of our friendly (female) event staff get that for you." The company involved eventually apologised.
When women in tech aren't being advertised as perks, they're being told that they probably won't get the job (one ad for a CTO read "this will almost certainly be a man (a female CTO would be too much to wish for)."), getting fired for complaining about sexist jokes, or just having to deal with stuff like this. Hell, there's a whole blog devoted to programmers being dicks. Tech needs to shape up, because this is too embarrassing to continue.
As well as the comment below, describing the ad as a "Social Experiment… to see what actually creates viral news", Evvnt has posted an apology on its website. It's lengthy, so I won't quote it in full, but here's the operative bit:
To be judge and jury or to offer council – I learn today that offering council wins. I also would like to offer my Humble apologies when we get it wrong, today I got it wrong. [Emphasis original]Finding the right tone in ‘text’ is never easy, even harder when your have no relationship with your audience… today we start.