Every now and then, the Silicon Valley gender gap issue makes headline news. The Kleiner Perkins harassment lawsuit, Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller "Lean In," Google’s recent self-flagellation about not having enough women on staff, and in a lighter way, the season finale of the HBO series, Silicon Valley. These are examples of a complex issue which illustrates the ‘’darker side’ of Silicon Valley. It’s not the all-inclusive, cool and innovative meritocracy that outsiders dream of. Quite the opposite. It’s more similar to the rampant nepotism that one finds in “Old World” societies where a male-dominated tech elite calls most of the shots. It reminds me of the bankers crowd in my hometown of Paris where it would be hard to match the traditional, un-imaginative approach to diversity. But Silicon Valley’s tech crowd has managed to do it.
Granted, my perspective on the Silicon Valley gender gap is influenced by who I am and where I come from. Full disclosure: I am a woman, born and raised in France. I have been working in tech for 15 years in Europe and the U.S. I am not an engineer. I am a business type. I am the cofounder of a tech startup. In the recent past, I held executive positions at Gartner in Europe and Microsoft and Sharp Electronics in Silicon Valley. I’ve been a VC in a Silicon Valley firm. I have been based in Silicon Valley for the past eight years.
The following is my perspective, based upon my background. It’s uncommon in the sense that I am a French transplant in the Silicon Valley system. Take it as such.
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