Susan Fowler worked at Uber for a year. She wrote up the saga, and why she left.
After the first couple of weeks of training, I chose to join the team that worked on my area of expertise, and this is where things started getting weird. On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.
Oh, that sounds familiar. Open relationships are fine, but some of the people in them seem to be using it more as an excuse to harass.
Take a guess what happened after that. Go on, try.
Nothing happened, of course, other than denial, excuse-making, and lying. I bet none of you are even surprised. Fowler did transfer to another group, though, but the problems persisted. I get the impression that Human Resources ought to change its name to Man Resources.
When I joined Uber, the organization I was part of was over 25% women. By the time I was trying to transfer to another eng organization, this number had dropped down to less than 6%. Women were transferring out of the organization, and those who couldn’t transfer were quitting or preparing to quit. There were two major reasons for this: there was the organizational chaos, and there was also the sexism within the organization. When I asked our director at an org all-hands about what was being done about the dwindling numbers of women in the org compared to the rest of the company, his reply was, in a nutshell, that the women of Uber just needed to step up and be better engineers.
She finally had enough.
On my last day at Uber, I calculated the percentage of women who were still in the org. Out of over 150 engineers in the SRE teams, only 3% were women.
Good to know, for next time someone tries to claim it’s all the women’s fault for not being good enough.