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BROTOPIA by Emily Chang


Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley

by Emily Chang

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-7352-1353-1
Publisher: Portfolio

An in-depth analysis of the tech-industry brotherhood.

Why aren’t there more women working in Silicon Valley? According to Bloomberg TV journalist Chang, “women hold a mere quarter of computing jobs in the United States, down from 36 percent in 1991.” In her first book, the author takes a deep dive into this frat-boy–like society of engineers and designers, an environment that has “become toxic for women.” Beginning with a brief history of the invention of the first computers and the roles women played in developing software for them (think Hidden Figures), Chang shows how personality tests helped force women out of this burgeoning industry. “If you select for an antisocial nerd stereotype,” writes the author, “you will hire more men and fewer women; that’s what the research tells us.” Companies flourished in this male-dominant world, and Chang describes the excessive partying that commonly takes place on the weekends at work-sponsored events. Networking sometimes takes place while sitting in hot tubs, joining in “cuddle puddles,” and/or going to a strip club. The women who do manage to find positions in the industry are constantly subjected to sexual harassment and advances, made to feel inferior; many have even been threatened with rape and/or death. While conducting research, Chang interviewed countless women in the industry, including engineers, video game designers, and those who have scaled to the top—e.g., Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. The women who persevere endure these daily stresses in order to work in a field they love. As the #metoo movement accelerates, this unveiling of the sordid world behind some of the most valuable companies in the world comes as no surprise, but Chang’s scrutiny breaks open a wide doorway, allowing fresh ideas about a tainted industry to circulate and spark discussions.

A thorough, important examination of the often sleazy, male-dominated world of Silicon Valley.