What do Google’s sexism allegations tell us about tech in general?

Google has been ordered to hand over its salary records as a part of an ongoing investigation by the US Department of Labor, which has accused the company of systematically discriminating against women.

The ruling, that was made public on Sunday, has declared that the Android-maker must submit a snapshot of its 2014 salary data and contact details of thousands of employees. The judge however denied part of the government’s request for records, arguing that the demands were overly broad and could invade employee privacy.

The thrust of the case brought against Google by the DoL is based on the fact that the company has repeatedly refused to disclose data on its employee salaries after an initial audit had uncovered an ‘extreme’ gender pay gap.

But this isn’t the first time that a tech company has been accused of gender discrimination. Uber has very publicly had allegations of sexism thrown at it on multiple occasions, and even Apple has been said to have cultivated a ‘very toxic atmosphere’ for its female employees.

Certainly, it would seem that Silicon Valley has a sexism problem, but does that extend across the Atlantic?

Far be it from me to wildly throw accusations around tech in the UK, but it is clear that we are in a largely male-dominated industry. Just taking a look around at the PCR Awards earlier this year, it was very obvious that there were many more men than women in attendance.

And this is a sentiment known by people in the industry. Speaking to PCR last month, Raspberry Pi co-founder Eben Upton estimated that the percentage of women in tech in the UK is in the “10-20 per cent range”, and while the company is putting much time, money and effort to get more women involved, it is just one organisation and there is more that can be done across the board.

There’s no easy fix for the gender disparity in the tech industries both in the UK and in the States, but the first step is to acknowledge that it is an issue that needs to be looked at.

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