Leaving Women Out

20 Feb

Just a few days ago I received an invitation from a technology group, “exclusively” for CEOs, to attend a networking event.  Here is the description of the event:

Hi Sabrina,
Hope all is well at Palo Alto Software.  You might be aware that we here at ____ are launching an exclusive executive series of events for our executive members.  We would like to invite you to our first one in 2009.
The event will be a cigar smoking social at ________ Cigar room on Thursday March 19th starting at 5pm.  We will spend a few hours mingling and smoking nice cigars and watching the Blazer game vs. Cleveland.  Please RSVP if you are interested in attending.  Space is very limited.  First to RSVP by emailing me will be able to attend.  I will confirm your space with an email reply.  Cost is $40 (cigars included).

As a woman in technology I am often dealing with the “old-boys’ club” aspect that can be inherent in careers that have been traditionally more male than female. I am often times the only woman in the room. I am fine with it. I know that I have a strong tech background, I know that I work hard, I am dedicated, and I think, pretty smart. I am not intimidated by men who might judge me not as a person in technology but instead as a woman, and I know I can hold my own. But really? Do you think I really want to go to a networking event that STINKS of the “old-boys clubs” that women have been fighting against forever? Not to mention, who really smokes cigars these days anyway?  How quickly can you make sure that you make all women in this group as aware as possible that they are not considered a part of, nor welcome in, the “old-boys’ club”?

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4 Responses to “Leaving Women Out”

  1. Tamara Paton February 20, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    I hear you, Sabrina. When I worked in bond trading, networking events took place in strip clubs. When I objected once, I was informed that the guys only went to the “nice” strip clubs and that they were sure I would feel comfortable there. Nice, eh?

    • sabyberry February 20, 2009 at 12:06 pm #

      Wow! That’s worse then my story!

  2. Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama February 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    Ugh, that event truly stinks! Sorry about the pun! Are you going to respond to the invite telling them that it is too “old boy’s club” for a modern woman CEO as yourself and that they need to think of a more inclusive theme to have a successful networking event? I hope so!

  3. Sara December 5, 2009 at 12:59 pm #

    Hello. I’m a 2nd year law student concentrating in IP law. Previously, I worked in the tech field. I ran across this entry while researching for a paper I’m writing about women leaving technology. I would like to use this post (about the cigar networking event) in my paper (not to be published — its for a class). If granted permission to use it, I would redact your name, and the location information.

    My professor and my fellow students who I’ve been working with through the semester are all non-technical people and specifically told me they would appreciate personal experiences and anecdotes to get a feel of the problems for women in tech.

    I enjoyed running across your blog!

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