What if I don’t want to work at Apple or Google?

In recent years women have continued to be underrepresented in scientific-technological vocations. This trend, maintained over time, is attributed to multiple factors (e.g., lack of references or the masculinization of some careers). However, there may be other factors that we may not be considering which could explain this issue.

At the end of August, the news broke that a group of Apple employees had begun to protest by denouncing internal practices and humiliating situations within the company. Under the hashtag #AppleToo, Cher Scarlett, Apple’s security engineer and the face of the movement, collected different stories from employees within the company. They began with an informal survey which exposed that women earned on average 6% less than men in the same position as them. This led them to collect information on other cases that occurred in the company. According to the movement, they have more than 500 open cases against the company which, Cher Scarlet said all have something in common: they include some form of discrimination. At the moment, only five of these issues have been published.

These situations may seem like isolated events. The truth is that these problems occur repeatedly in technology companies. And similar cases have been reported in video game companies creating legit games that pay real money such as Ubisoft, Acitivision, and other technology companies such as Uber or Google.

In all these cases, the most recurring complaint from employees is – at best- a lack of action on behalf of the companies, at worst – protection from bullies. These types of attitudes create a toxic working culture and a sense of impunity. Several investigations have warned of this type of culture in technology companies and the negative impacts they have on employees, especially women.[1]

The lack of women who work in the scientific and technological field is a severe problem, not only from the sector’s point of view but also from a social justice point of view. Initiatives such as the INSPIRA Steam at the University of Deusto seek to alleviate this lack of scientific and technological vocations in girls and mitigate some of the problems mentioned above.

However, fostering these vocations is of no use if these individuals end up in companies whose cultures are toxic and who discriminate against female engineers. What girl will want to do a computer science degree if working at Google or Apple could be more of a nightmare than a dream?

[1] (Becker PA (2020) Work Alienation and Disengagement: Sexual Harassment and Uber. In: Dhiman S . (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Workplace Well-Being. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-02470-3_29-1)

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