Trans Software Developer Calls Out Tech Companies Charging for Tampons but Not Beer

'The only way to solve this class of issue is to get women and trans people in the room when decisions are being made'

Is the bathroom really open to everyone if people need to pay for tampons? Flickr Creative Commons

As we’ve reported numerous times, it’s not easy for women in tech: they often face sexism and harassment, and founders who are pregnant or nursing have been forced to breastfeed on broken escalators.

But the problem is even worse for transgender people in tech fields. A Boston-based software developer named Jackie brought this point home in a series of tweets Tuesday night:

Jackie, who identifies as trans and uses “they” pronouns according to their Twitter bio, only has 303 Twitter followers. But over the past 36 hours thousands of people have liked and retweeted the post. Others have commented on the tweet and quoted it to share their own experiences with gender inequality in tech:

One Google staffer pointed out that while some tampon/pad machines in tech offices list prices, the products are still free. While Jackie admitted they didn’t look into this in the bathroom they tweeted about, they pointed out that system makes no sense:

Jackie told the Observer they tweeted about their experience to make sure they weren’t being unreasonable.

“I was tired and a bit angry,” they said. “It really resonated with people just how ridiculous this was.”

Tech companies can better serve women and trans people by putting them in positions of power, according to Jackie.

“These aren’t the kinds of things that cis men are likely to think of, ever,” they said. “The only way to solve this class of issue is to get women and trans people in the room when decisions are being made.”

Several female-led startups are helping to make it easier for working women to deal with personal issues like this. Companies featured at TechCrunch Disrupt showed off new approaches to skincare and breastfeeding, while one of the kickass female founders featured in our She’s the Boss series created an online lingerie shop that provides women with bras and intimate apparel that actually fit.