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Sixty Percent of Women in Tech Say They've Been Sexually Harassed

"Each woman I talked to had some set of stories they wanted to share. The guys didn’t."

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

We already know that when men behave badly to women in tech, women leave. But what happens to the women who stick around?

According to a new study called “Elephant in the Valley,” which focused on women with at least 10 years of experience in Silicon Valley, the answer is depressingly predictable. Two of the study’s co-authors, Trae Vassallo and Michele Madansky, joined Kara Swisher on the latest episode of “Re/code Decode to discuss the results.

You can find all the numbers, as well as eye-opening stories about the respondents’ experiences, at But here are just a few of the stats:

  • 84 percent of women had been told that they were too “aggressive.”
  • 66 percent felt excluded from social and networking opportunities because of their gender.
  • 88 percent had clients and colleagues address questions to male peers that should have been addressed to them.
  • 75 percent were asked about family life, marital status and children in interviews.
  • 60 percent reported unwanted sexual advances, two-thirds of which came from a superior.
  • 39 percent of women who were harassed did nothing for fear of retribution.
  • 60 percent who did report harassment say they were dissatisfied with the results.
 Michele Madansky and Trae Vassallo
Michele Madansky and Trae Vassallo
Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

Vassallo and Madansky said the Ellen Pao trial was an inspiration of sorts. Even though Pao lost, Vassallo — a former Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner who was subpoenaed in the trial — immediately began hearing story after story of sexual harassment from her peers.

“Each woman I talked to had some set of stories they wanted to share,” Vassallo said. “The guys didn’t.”

Listen to or download the episode in the player above, or click here to subscribe to “Re/code Decode” on iTunes; you can also find “Re/code Decoderight here on TuneIn.

Peter Kafka will be in this space on Thursday to talk to CEO Chris Altchek. Kara will be back on Monday to talk to PayPal co-founder Max Levchin.

But wait, there’s more! This Friday, Jan. 15, we’re launching a new podcast: “Too Embarrassed to Ask.” It’s a bigger and better version of Lauren Goode and Kara Swisher’s weekly Q&A segment from “Re/code Decode.” To make sure you don’t miss a beat, you can click here to subscribe to the new show on iTunes right now.

And if you like this show, you should also check out “Re/code Replay,” an archive of audio content from our events and interviews by Kara Swisher, Walt Mossberg, Peter Kafka, Ina Fried and more. To subscribe to that, click right here.

You can follow @Recode on Twitter for the latest on upcoming guests.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara and Peter. You can also suggest guests for the show on Twitter, and we’ll do our best to nab them for a Red Chair interview.

This article originally appeared on

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