Diverse hires are often treated as though they should consider themselves lucky to be hired, even when they have the same (or better) skills than the people they beat out during the hiring process. Being told that you were hired simply because of what you brought to the table demographically isn’t good for morale, and it doesn’t speak well to a company-wide commitment to change culture.
The worst part is that this is a self-fulfilling prophecy: If men make an assumption that women aren’t great at tech, then those men won’t help mentor women. Women will then start believing they aren’t great at tech or feel alienated from the community. As a result, there will be no women in tech, which just perpetuates the stereotype and the cycle.
Last year, soon after I’d moved into a co-working space, I was working on yet another Saturday afternoon. A fellow founder in the space — a male, early forties — started chatting with me. He’d just started working on his own startup, and had a question.
“I see you in here every day working late, and on the weekends. I’m building out my own team and was just wondering how he keeps you motivated to work so hard?”
“What do you mean?” I asked. I was thoroughly confused. “Its my own startup. Of course I’m motivated.”
“Ohhh,” his voiced trailed off. “I just thought… well, I just assumed he was the founder.” The guy pointed at Marcin’s desk. Marcin just happened to be the only male on the team who worked in that office.
The main excuse given by the IeSF seems to be that women are segregated in order to better promote women’s esports, giving women opportunities to compete without being dominated by higher numbers of male competitors.
If this reasoning were sincere, we’d be seeing women’s tournaments given the same coverage and support as men’s events. The Hearthstone World Championship, to be held at Blizzcon in November, boasts $250,000 in prize money. The Starcraft World Championship Series offers up $100,000 for first place alone (and, of course, also uses male pronouns as default throughout its site). Esports are serious business, not chump change, and relegating women to separate brackets on the sidelines under the guise of supporting them sends a very clear message about how seriously the IeSF takes female competitors.
Narelle Battersby’s epic smackdown on the Hearthstone bullshit: “When it comes to women in esports, separate is not equal”