It happens, or it has happened, to all of us. A promotion denied, a struggle to be heard in the meeting, a hand on a thigh.

The boss is out with all the dudes from the office, and somehow he forgot to invite us.

We’ve watched a man with less experience and less education get promoted ahead of us. We’ve wondered: “Is it because I’m not as good, or is it because he’s a guy?” Even now, we don’t know.

The VC only invests in hot chicks.

We’ve felt a combination of angry and hopeless when the idea we presented gets repeated by a male colleague, praised, and implemented.

Worse: Some of us have been raped. Some of us have been hit.

Our friends have witnessed the harassment, the belittlement, the slow erasing. They didn’t say anything because they were too afraid of jeopardizing their own position, or they just didn’t know what to do.

Our colleagues undermined us, because they needed the trust and support of the boss. They needed to be one of the boys, and they obtained admission to the group by denying what they saw around them.

We didn’t say anything either because it was too dangerous. Because we couldn’t afford to lose our jobs; because a public accusation would turn into a “he said, she said”; because someday we wanted that career-making project.

But mostly we didn’t say anything because we didn’t think we were strong enough to stand up alone.

So we’re going to stand together.

We want a career in tech. We love what we do. We want to stay.

And though we still can’t tell you what happened—because we can’t prove anything, and we can’t name names—we’re going to tell you that it did happen.

We wear this badge to say so, and to let every woman in tech know that she’s not alone.

I am Spartaca.

Wear the Badge

I knew she was left out. I saw that guy being an ass. I could see the hurt in her face.

I helped when I could. I tried to make her laugh on the bad days. I made sure she got home safe.

I was sad when she left.

She was smart. She was passionate. She was good at her job.

Should I have done more?

I know now, that I could have helped. I didn’t know what to do.

We, your allies, wear this badge to say that we saw it happen. That we want you here. Every woman in tech should know that she’s not alone.

I am Spartaca.

Wear the Badge

Enough. It’s time for this cycle of insult, indignity and injustice to end.

There is no need to suffer in silence. You do not bear these burdens alone. Together, we stand up and speak out about all these ways in which our friends, colleagues and sisters have been mistreated. An affront to one is an affront to us all.

We wear this badge because we stand together for a better, safer, and more equal community, and to say to every woman in tech: You are not alone. I am with you.

I am Spartaca.


Originally posted on Medium