Brianna Wu makes video games for a living. She’s been chased from her home by death threats, because she’s a woman on the internet. She writes in Bustle:
Software increasingly defines the world around us. It’s rewriting everything about human interaction — I spend a lot more time on my iPhone than I do at my local civic center. Facebook, Apple, Tinder, Snapchat, and Google create our social realities — how we make friends, how we get jobs, and how mankind interacts. And the truth is, women don’t truly have a seat at the table.
This has disastrous consequences for women that use these systems built by men for men. I must use Twitter, as it’s a crucial networking tool for a software engineer, yet I must also suffer constant harassment. Women’s needs are not heard, our truth is never spoken. These systems are the next frontier of human evolution, and they’re increasingly dangerous for us.
Wu’s right. There are not enough women designing the digital systems that we all use. It’s important that women have a say in these processes because men don’t suffer the same abuse online that women do. Nobody harasses men on Twitter, so the men that make Twitter don’t make it harder for trolls to harass people (read: women) on Twitter.
If men chase women out of computer science, then by the time they graduate and go off to build things like Twitter, the only people to hire are men who chase women away. What kind of system do you think they’ll build?
Hint: it’s right here.