Mansplaining at issue

Vivek Wadhwa steps back from the women-in-tech debate

Vivek Wadhwa, the academic and researcher who has been a vocal critic of high-tech’s male-dominated culture and a proponent of women’s role in technology,  is stepping back from that fight, according to a post he wrote for the Washington Post.

Wadhwa, who is affiliated with Duke and Stanford, as well as the for-profit Singularity University, has faced criticism — which he denies — that he profited from his advocacy of women in technology. What appears to have been the last straw was a WNYC TLDR podcast, subsequently removed, featuring criticism of Wadhwa by Amelia Greenhall, co-founder of Model View Culture.

Wadhwa complained that he was given no chance to respond. He ended up providing that reaction in a Huffington Post blog in which he pointed readers to a cached version of the podcast, so that listeners can make their own decisions. WNYC did air  Wadhwa’s response to the initial podcast.

A big part of the issue critics have is that they don’t think that men are qualified to speak on the topic of women in technology. Women technologists don’t need some guy to “mansplain” their issues, is the gist. The Financial Times has more on that here.

Note: This story was updated at 9:39 a.m. PST to add a link to WNYC podcast with Wadhwa’s response. 

10 Responses to “Vivek Wadhwa steps back from the women-in-tech debate”

  1. Had it been Ryan Gosling advocating for women in tech, the outcome would’ve been much different. He would’ve been praised, celebrated, and probably even sought out by the same women who are ostensibly creeped out by Vivek Wadhwa’s offer to discuss their unsubstantiated allegations and grievances in his Stanford office. Women with racist, ageist, and attractiveness biases making a stand against sexism. Seems about right. Too bad Vivek Wadhwa will never bring that up.

  2. “A big part of the issue critics have is that they don’t think that men are qualified to speak on the topic of women in technology.”

    Which is absolutely sexist and another reason I choose to completely ignore advocates for more women in tech and instead take on the opinion that everyone is _equal_ and that given the choice, I was hire someone for their _skillset_ and not because a _quota_ needs to be met.

    As a gay man I am offended that women make such noise about these so-called issues, especially when I do not call for businesses to suspend their hiring of heterosexuals until their homosexual quota has been met.

    I would be ashamed, as a man or a woman – as a person – to be hired simply because of my gender, sexuality or anything other than how well I can do the job.

    I have only just discovered this particular site, but let me see now if it is the same as all of the others, and my unpopular but realistic opinion is censored.

    • I don’t know of any advocates of women in tech who are proposing a quota system, and I certainly don’t know any who think women should get hired for their gender and not their skill set. In fact, the latter implies that women are unable to compete on the same level of men, which is sexist and not something advocates for women in tech posit. There are many qualified women who drop out of tech because of systemic discrimination such as hostile work environments, lack of maternity leave, and poor hiring methodology. If you would like to learn how to build a more diverse team, here is an excellent guide:

      • That’s -exactly- the problem. The very phrase “diverse hiring” screams “hiring to maintain diversity in your workforce”.

        I don’t give a damn about diversity, whoever is there are the time and most suitable for the job should be hired. It doesn’t matter if they’re black, white, male, female, gay, straight.

        Your “diversity” IS a quota, don’t be so naïve. If you are hiring at all for reasons other than the person’s skillset, then you’re working to a quota, whether it’s government enforced (like Germany) or your own.

        Hostile work environments are a myth, at least where I live. I’ve seen plenty of women try to make trouble regarding that sort of thing, the guys won’t let them join in their reindeer games etc etc. Have a cry, sometimes they won’t let me join in either; that’s just life. I don’t let them join in on some of my particular reindeer games, either.

        I wasn’t hired to be besties with a guy or a gal or anybody, I was hired to do a job and if I have something in common with a colleague, _only then_ will I consider being friends with them.

        Do you know how annoying it is to have females, most especially those in secretarial or office duty roles – the “gossipers” – to want to be friends with you/assume that you want to be because you’re gay? This “problem” is just one giant hypocritical mess; “omg, u can b my gay bestie!1111”. No, I will not.

        Yes I spew out a lot of text. I find it hard to summarise myself properly. :/

    • Jerry Weinstein

      As a gay man, I SUPPORT women making “noise” on these issues.
      Misogyny is rife everywhere – including the LGBT community.
      Patricia Arquette’s remarks were ineloquent, but she’s right. We’ve made progress. It’s time to support women.