Tech Women: Pretend to Be Men!

women excluded from venture capital firmsA fairly weird op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal by venture capitalist and UC Santa Barbara professor John Greathouse has provoked a lot of understandable anger from women.

Looking at a landscape where less than 20% of venture capital (VC) firms have women as founders and just 7% of partners in the top VC firms are female, Greathouse offered advice that seems to rival even Donald Trump for being clueless about women.

Pretend You’re A Hermaphrodite?

Women, he advised, should “obscure their gender,” because “a gender-neutral persona allows women to access opportunities that might otherwise be closed to them.” We’re not sure how it’s possible to project a “gender-neutral persona” when one reaches the job interview stage. It appears that Greathouse doesn’t know either. Responding to a firestorm of criticism that he was blaming the victims of gender discrimination rather than its perpetrators, he took to Twitter a few days after publication to apologize, saying “…my insensitive comments only made matters worse. I am truly sorry.”

On a more encouraging note, top tech school Carnegie Mellon reports that this year women make up 48% of its incoming class of computer science majors. Nationwide, more women are currently taking bachelor’s degrees than men. If that trend plays out in tech, we wonder if Professor Greathouse will be advising men to dress in drag when they interview with tech startups.

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