Sexism at Uber

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.

Uber was a pretty good-sized company at that time, and I had pretty standard expectations of how they would handle situations like this. I expected that I would report him to HR, they would handle the situation appropriately, and then life would go on – unfortunately, things played out quite a bit differently. When I reported the situation, I was told by both HR and upper management that even though this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man’s first offense, and that they wouldn’t feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to. Upper management told me that he “was a high performer” (i.e. had stellar performance reviews from his superiors) and they wouldn’t feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part.

I was then told that I had to make a choice: (i) I could either go and find another team and then never have to interact with this man again, or (ii) I could stay on the team, but I would have to understand that he would most likely give me a poor performance review when review time came around, and there was nothing they could do about that. I remarked that this didn’t seem like much of a choice, and that I wanted to stay on the team because I had significant expertise in the exact project that the team was struggling to complete (it was genuinely in the company’s best interest to have me on that team), but they told me the same thing again and again. One HR rep even explicitly told me that it wouldn’t be retaliation if I received a negative review later because I had been “given an option”. I tried to escalate the situation but got nowhere with either HR or with my own management chain (who continued to insist that they had given him a stern-talking to and didn’t want to ruin his career over his “first offense”).

So I left that team, and took quite a few weeks learning about other teams before landing anywhere (I desperately wanted to not have to interact with HR ever again). I ended up joining a brand-new SRE team that gave me a lot of autonomy, and I found ways to be happy and do amazing work. In fact, the work I did on this team turned into the production-readiness process which I wrote about in my bestselling (!!!) book Production-Ready Microservices.

Umm, this is sexism?

It’s a number of things, sure, including most undesirable that management should be propositioning those who work for them, but sexism?

The other stuff about organisational chaos and bureaucratic backstabbing seems like every large organisation everywhere everywhen.


She may be known as the Queen of the Aga saga, but Joanna Trollope claims that the moniker is sexist and “damaging” to her literary career.

The author, whose tales of rural intrigue have made her into a household name, said that the Aga saga tag had been applied to her novels as a result of gender discrimination within the literary establishment.

Then again, in a world where some seriously claim that standing while peeing is sexist what is there that cannot be claimed as sexism?

All seems sensible

Judges are labouring under antiquated notions of chivalry in awarding women maintenance payments which extend years into the future, despite the fact many divorcees go on to earn good salaries on their own, says a leading female peer.

A Bill tabled by Baroness Deech calling for a three year cap to be placed on most maintenance payments is now set to go to the Committee stage after passing its second reading in the House of Lords.

The cross bench peer says this would reflect the situation in Scotland, the rest of Europe and North America, where a short time limit is set on maintenance payments in divorce cases. Baroness Deech says that far from doing women a favour the law as it stands in England is both patronising and stops them being treated seriously in the workplace.

“If there is one thing that stops women getting back on their feet and being treated seriously and equally at work it is the assumption throughout the legal system that once a woman is married she is somehow disabled and incapable ever of managing on her own for the rest of her life. It is a very serious impediment to equality.”

It’s entirely possible to design a reasonable sort of contract here. Money from before the marriage is personal, not part of the marriage. Anything earned in the marriage is 50/50 and the richer of the two offers a few year subsidy to allow the other to readjust upon divorce.

After that it’s just child maintenance to deal with.

The interesting question is why the law isn’t that way – I believe it is in part in Scotland.

Shrinking snowflakes

Midwives have been told to use the word “partner” during antenatal classes after a lesbian couple complained about a nurse using the term “fella”.

The duo told hospital bosses they are too uncomfortable to return to the sessions and were given one-to-one sessions following the incident.

Diddums, eh, the nasty words hurt me.

It’s really not that difficult for “fella” to mean the one who doesn’t have a baby’s head popping through their cervix, is it? A little tad of mental translation there would save all some bother.

You know, given that in what, 99.5%? 99./9%? of cases “fella” will be the correct word anyway?


Together, they herald a new international feminist movement with an expanded agenda: at once anti-racist, anti-imperialist, anti-heterosexist and anti-neoliberal.

Some 97% of women are heterosexual. Why would 97% of women be against heterosexism therefore?

Outrage over divorce settlement

How could a judge make me hand over £2.7million to my ex-wife 10 YEARS after we divorced? Glenn’s cautionary tale and a ruling that could have consequences for all divorced couples
Glenn Briers, 61, from Willenhall, West Midlands, has a £10m fashion empire
He has already given ex Nicola £600,000 home and a £10,000 a year salary
The father-of-three divorced in 2005 and said they were amicable until recently

The reason is actually in the piece:

Had Glenn tied up their 2005 divorce agreement legally, he suspects it is unlikely that Nicola would have had a case to bring.

She sat in front of the solicitor and it was drawn up, but we never signed it.

Silly Billy makes a Glum Glenn.

This is an interesting claim

The massive women’s marches of 21 January may mark the beginning of a new wave of militant feminist struggle. But what exactly will be its focus? In our view, it is not enough to oppose Trump and his aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies. We also need to target the ongoing neoliberal attack on social provision and labor rights.

While Trump’s blatant misogyny was the immediate trigger for the huge response on 21 January, the attack on women (and all working people) long predates his administration. Women’s conditions of life, especially those of women of color and of working, unemployed and migrant women, have steadily deteriorated over the last 30 years, thanks to financialization and corporate globalization.

Really? Life has got worse these past 30 years?

Anyone got any evidence of this?

30 years ago is 1987. By what measures is life worse? And we’ll make this easier too, we’ll exclude all those women of colour, those migrant women, out there beyond America’s borders. For that would just be too easy, pointing out that the world has become immeasurably (although, oddly, we can measure it) better for some billions.

Lean-in feminism and other variants of corporate feminism have failed the overwhelming majority of us, who do not have access to individual self-promotion and advancement and whose conditions of life can be improved only through policies that defend social reproduction, secure reproductive justice and guarantee labor rights.

That’s a snowflake buzzword I’ve missed out on. “Social reproduction” is what now?

Violence against women, as they define it, has many facets: it is domestic violence, but also the violence of the market, of debt, of capitalist property relations, and of the state; the violence of discriminatory policies against lesbian, trans and queer women; the violence of state criminalization of migratory movements; the violence of mass incarceration; and the institutional violence against women’s bodies through abortion bans and lack of access to free healthcare and free abortion.

Capitalist property relations had to get a look in there, din’t it?

The women’s marches of 21 January have shown that in the United States, too, a new feminist movement may be in the making. It is important not to lose momentum.

Let us join together on 8 March to strike, walk out, march and demonstrate.

Those women who are rather happy about those capitalist property relations, you know, the ones who realise that the reason they’re not spending their lives dropping babies into the footprints of the water buffalo they must guide through the paddy is that very capitalism, might want to counter demonstrate. Which leaves open just what acts would drive this lot into paroxysms of rage.

Demonstrations of cupcake baking? Oven cleaning lessons? Pole dancing Barbie posters? Making a sammich in public?

Ideas please…..

Horrors, really, no, horrors, Jessica Valenti will not put out for one day

On Monday morning, the Women’s March announced on Instagram that there will be a “general strike.”

The Instagram post is simple and gives little to no information, reading: “General strike: A day without a woman. Date To Be Announced.” The caption reads: “The will of the people will stand.”

Many celebrities retweeted the news in support. “Hit ‘em in the wallet,” writer and comedian Corinne Fisher wrote on Twitter. Feminist writer Jessica Valenti added: “I am so here for this.”

Quite possibly a relief for her husband.

And a hint, Lysistrata worked because it was permanent until….no pussy until you men stop it.

You know, like modern marriage already is?

So this is the dream, is it?

So it might be good to think about where we’re hoping to get to. Here’s what a feminist utopia is for me: a world where your genitals, hormonal arrangements or gender identification matter not a whit. Where no emotions are gendered: everyone gets to be both vulnerable and tough, aggressive and nurturing, effortlessly confident and inclusively consensus-building, compassionate and dominant. Each by turn, just as it exists in us: no part of our rich, human selves cut off or excised because “boys don’t cry” or “girls aren’t funny”.

Boys don’t cry as is girls aren’t funny.

However, I can’t help thinking that a world where genitals and hormones make no difference is going to be difficult to achieve. For there are actually differences and they make a difference. This might be hugely important, as with Tab A for Slot A to make a baby and might be subtle, as with female bond trading teams taking less risk than male, mixed taking more risk than either. And none of that subtlety matters a damn at the level of the individual, given that variance is greater within than across those genital and hormone arrangements.

As fort gender identification if it matters not a whit then why is so much fuss made about it?

But here are a few ideas. We urgently need to address the assumption bound up in our employment laws and custody arrangements that women are the “natural child carers” and men don’t really want much to do with their children.

Forcing this is of course wrong. But a general observation of the human race shows that there is something to it. And it’s not that men want nothing to do with their children at all, it’s that they interact with them, on average and in general, in a different manner. We’ve real trouble explaining this real world around us without at least considering this. For example, that women earn less than men could, if we didn’t investigate further, be assumed to be because the patriarchy (cont/ pg 94). When we realise that women without children make about the same as men, mothers less and fathers make more than non-fathers among men (yes, after adjusting for age, of course) then we’ve at least got an intriguing lead into the idea that men and women, on average of course and not to insist upon this for any individual, react to the existence of their own progeny somewhat differently.

Men are more likely than women to both perpetrate, and be a victim of, violence. I don’t happen to think men are “naturally” more criminal or violent.


As with so many utopias the description of this one starts out by assuming that we’re not dealing with human beings. Which is interesting, of course it is, but not hugely helpful. Perhaps the most important advice we can give about this wish list is that the the blank slate idea is wrong. We are not purely the results of our upbringing or environment.

Err, why would we want to love?

How can men support feminists on social media and beyond?
Carmen Fishwick

Of course, equality feminists get our support by being treated equally. The screaming harpies, why should we?

A tweet has the ability to catapult an important issue from obscurity into public consciousness, and inform news agendas around the world. Tilting the balance of power is arguably social media’s most valuable asset. But who should own the debate, and how should it be reported?

We’d like you to share your thoughts on how men can best support feminists, and women in general, on social media. Or maybe you’re a man who works or supports equality campaigns and has advice for others.

The Guardian is hoping readers will write their next article for them. Bonus points for anyone who manages to get them to print the word “sammich”

And a warm welcome to the sexist scientists then

An open letter from women of science:

Science is foundational in a progressive society, fuels innovation, and touches the lives of every person on this planet. The anti-knowledge and anti-science sentiments expressed repeatedly during the U.S. presidential election threaten the very foundations of our society. Our work as scientists and our values as human beings are under attack. We fear that the scientific progress and momentum in tackling our biggest challenges, including staving off the worst impacts of climate change, will be severely hindered under this next U.S. administration. Our planet cannot afford to lose any time.

In this new era of anti-science and misinformation, we as women scientists re-affirm our commitment to build a more inclusive society and scientific enterprise. We reject the hateful rhetoric that was given a voice during the U.S. presidential election and which targeted minority groups, women, LGBTQIA, immigrants, and people with disabilities, and attempted to discredit the role of science in our society. Many of us feel personally threatened by this divisive and destructive rhetoric and have turned to each other for understanding, strength, and a path forward. We are members of racial, ethnic, and religious minority groups. We are immigrants. We are people with disabilities. We are LGBTQIA. We are scientists. We are women.

The I is intersex. Sorry, you just failed the SJW Snowflake test. Still, there’s always sammiches need making, eh?

Could we please find some transgender person who is offended by the word Mother?

From now on, expectant mothers — in other words pregnant women — are to be referred to as ‘pregnant people’ in order not to offend the sensibilities of members of the transgender community.
What is even more extraordinary is that this is not some half-baked agenda dreamed up by members of a student lobby group, but official new guidance issued by no less an august institution than the British Medical Association.
In a new advisory booklet entitled A Guide To Effective Communication: Inclusive Language In The Workplace, the BMA’s 160,000-odd members are informed that ‘a large majority of people that have been pregnant or have given birth identify as women’.
The idiocy of this statement alone is enough to make my hackles rise. But it gets worse: ‘However, there are some intersex men and trans men who may get pregnant.’

At which point the nation will rise up as one and mock them mercilessly. The future being a sneer at an SJW forever.

No, seriously, could anyone who is in fact transgender and who is offended by “pregnant people” being called “pregnant women” please make themselves known? Because we’ve some introduction to the rest of us people that needs to be done here.

Perhaps not the correct career choice

Labour’s Harriet Harman claims sleazy professor offered to bump up her university grades in exchange for sex
The former deputy leader of Labour claims the “repulsive” offer was made while she was studying politics at York University in the 1970s

So you’re a rapey sorta character. Or perhaps just one willing to trade power for sex (ie, not far off the normal male spectrum even if off it). That is, your power for their putting out.

Your power is such that Harry Harmanperson is the best your power position can obtain. Or even make the offer to.

Yes, this is ungallant but might you not think that perhaps the career choice hasn’t led to quite, exactly, the life you desired?

After all there is a reason why there’s an occasional heterosexual who works as a model booker rather than politics lecturer at York.

Silly, silly

Cate Le Bon: ‘Guitars were inspired by female bodies. Why are they uncomfortable for women to play?’

They’re not. There are myriad guitar shapes out there (for electric ones at least, acoustic are rather determined by the sound box shape).

All of which is quite apart from the fact that there is indeed a difference between men and women. Those male rockers sling the guitar down low and wave it around as a penis extension. Women tend to cradle it like a baby. Nowt to do with tits of course. But, you know, men and women are different?

The Wisdom of David Leonhardt

Brenda Barnes became a national figure 20 years ago when she quit her job as a top PepsiCo executive to become a full-time parent. Some people celebrated her decision, and others criticized it. But everyone seemed to agree that she was doing it for her children.

Barnes died last week, from a stroke, at the age of 63. She died at an unfairly young age, but lived a deeply fulfilling life. She reminds me of what the psychologist Amos Tversky said before his own early death: “Life is a book. The fact that it was a short book doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good book. It was a very good book.”

Barnes always described her decision as a personal one, more for her own benefit than for her children’s (although they quickly came to relish it). She hated judgmental debates over women’s choices about work and family.

Yet there was really a larger wisdom in what she did. In her own graceful way, she called the country’s bluff. She made clear that our society demands impossible choices from parents — and pretends otherwise.

Society enables, nay positively celebrates, people taking decisions which they themselves feel leads to a good life well lived.

And this is society demanding impossible choices?


Err, hello?

When you see a man looking at porn in public (and yes, I know it’s not all men but a minority of them), aside from laughing, or feeling scared, or uncomfortable, you might also experience a sense of awe. Imagine, just imagine, having such a sense of ownership of and entitlement to public space that your need to watch a naked woman being penetrated outweighs the discomfort of the women (and children) in the physical environment around you catching you watching it. The lack of respect is staggering.

I thought we were supposed to celebrate other peoples’ sexuality these days?

How excellent

More than half of millennial fathers want to be demoted into a less stressful job in order to be better fathers, according to a report released on Monday.

As experts warn of a “fatherhood penalty” for men who want to be more involved in the upbringing of their children, 53% of millennial fathers told researchers they wanted to move to a less stressful job, while 48% would take a pay cut to achieve a better work-life balance.

Off you go then.