A freelance coder was eating lunch in downtown Toronto yesterday when she claimed she overheard some IBM executives casually discussing why they don’t hire women. Like any sensible tech professional who supports gender equality, self-proclaimed feminist activist Lyndsay Kirkham live-tweeted the entire alleged affair.
There’s no way to know for sure if the conversation really happened, or if the diners were, in fact, IBM executives, but here are some of the things Ms. Kirkham claimed occurred:
Sadly, if true, a woman also allegedly joined the troubling conversation:
Ms. Kirkham, who’s been coding since she was a kid, expressed her anger and frustration at the sexist notion that women — and particularly mothers — don’t make good tech employees:
In an interview with the Daily Dot following the alleged incident, Ms. Kirkham elaborated on what she claims the IBM execs said. They “discussed holidays and how [women] needed more time to download and decompress from work related stress,” she told the Daily Dot, and also how “mature” women were preferable because they were less likely to miss “years of work” raising children.
It’s irritating to even have to dignify the execs’ alleged remarks with a response. This is 2014, people. Women are entitled to have careers and also have babies — and shockingly, they actually want to do tech work, and not just leech their employers’ money during maternity leave. End of story.
And hey, even if the IBM execs’ conversation really did happen as Ms. Kirkham tweeted it (vom), let’s all take a moment to remember that women outnumbered men in new tech hires in 2013. Hurray for progress!