As a female software engineer how do you assure your male co-workers you are not a "risk" to work with?

Mar 5, 2018 126 Comments

Many men in the workplace are showing new aversions to working with female employees. As a software engineer this worries me as many of my male co-workers are people who have incredible knowledge and experience and I'd like to learn from them. I am a fan of mentorship (me being mentored or me mentoring others), knowledge sharing, honesty, and joking / sarcasm / other typical male banter and/or horsing around. I would prefer if men kept their sex lives with their wives private and refrain from commenting on the hotness of the 20 year old they saw in the subway to themselves but I won't shame them or report to HR. I guess anything except for actual sexual harrasment is fair game in my eyes. Even joking about sexism or whatever Is probably fine and I won't find it super uncomfortable especially if it's something that I'd find humorous myself.

Anyway the point is I've seen a lot of anonymous polls and forums discussing how men will begin to retaliate against #metoo by avoiding women in the workplace! Now I just find this rediculous. Ok if you're a kind of guy who can't help but sexually harass or assault women in their presence maybe it's justified but otherwise you're basically assuming all women claim sexual harrasment when there is none? Or you're just worried that there's a risk involved even if all women don't or won't? Then how do I signal to you I'm not a risk?


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TOP 126 Comments
  • Amazon RBMY63
    When a man says “I guess I just can’t interact with women at all, they might accuse me of sexual harassment for nothing!” this more than likely means they have no self-awareness or they know they ARE inclined to say inappropriate things or act in inappropriate ways.
    We have to get better. We can have discussions and ASK women about expectations. What these men actually want is a country club where they can grab the bar cart girl’s ass and not have any consequences. They want to reverse the wave of change, and got back to when “men could be men” which means misogynistic, objectifying assholes.
    It isn’t your responsibility to convince your male colleagues that you won’t “unjustly” accuse them. You continue to work normally, and be open to discussing issues if asked. Otherwise you’re not their mother or babysitter.
    Mar 5, 2018 15
    • OP
      Clownworld idk, calling a spade a spade doesn't mean you don't think it's justified feeling. Regardless of how spiteful or immature it is.
      Mar 6, 2018
    • Amazon / Design baezos
      It's people like you who bundle together entire genders that need to be dealt with first.
      Mar 12, 2018
  • Netflix ybBb61
    Men who are doubtful of their behavior need to think more about their behavior. It says more about them then the movement or any women about them. It’s not that hard to not come across as a sexual predator if you aren’t one to begin with. These are just men scared of 1. Women 2. Themselves
    Mar 5, 2018 3
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      Men never screw over other men for career advancement? I guess you can’t work with anyone since there’s always a chance someone might betray you.
      Mar 5, 2018
    • Google tcCd20
      Men can and have ruined career advancement for me. It was a stressful from top performer to being managed out. I studied, interviewed and got a new job.
      On the other hand, if I come across the very rare case of a female co-worker falsely accusing me of sexual harassment that will likely make me lose my job, make it extremely hard to get a new one, possibly breaking up my family. The likelihood is lower but the damage is much greater in my opinion.
      That said, I don't try to avoid working with women. However I do understand where some of these men come from.
      Mar 5, 2018
  • New peq&X
    It seems to me guys who are worried don't believe the harassment that women face. If they did and they don't harass they wouldn't be afraid. They seem to be afraid because they think most stories of harassment are false which is not true.
    Mar 5, 2018 10
    • Microsoft YrHP68
      I do not want to fight with you. Present day femenism has made it as a war between men and women. We can solve this situation only by working together.
      I hope you understand my line of thinking, and I definitely feel that something should have been done in your case.
      Mar 5, 2018
    • Tesla Jvosla
      @peq&X : it seems there are two discussions.
      I recognize I'm lucky to be a privileged white male. I recognize most of the story are true. I recognize it is critical to support women and other minorities victims of harassment.
      I agree that there is likely no comparison in scale between the number of women victims of sexual harassment and the number of men falsely accused.
      So basically I agree with all of what your saying I believe.
      Yet it does not seem to invalidate the other line of thinking: i.e. after all of what I wrote above and even if I'm ready to stand up for women and minorities in the workplace, knowing that I'm behaving very well, what remains for me to fear for legitimately? The false accusation.
      Whatever I do I can't discount the risk, even if limited, to get falsely accused.
      This may not be a priority of yours and I'd understand if you prefer to focus on the majority of the issues (i.e. the true story), but I hope you'll understand that people like me still don't want to be falsely accused of anything on this topic, and also that we can think and talk about it without making a comparison with the suffering of the victim and the courage they have to speak up.
      Mar 5, 2018
  • Tesla Jvosla
    I never engaged in any inappropriate behavior in the workplace and I won't, but yeah I'd be careful not ending up alone with a female coworker in a closed room / office, because I wouldn't want to be the x% of false accusations in today's climate.
    Mar 5, 2018 7
    • OP
      I think so, i now know that there's nothing specifically I can do to gain the trust of certain men. I can always be cognizant of things
      Mar 7, 2018
    • Amazon lingading
      I agree Jvosla
      Mar 10, 2018
  • Cisco Yoko
    If I tell my female colleague to "grow a pair" and then she feels I harassed her, I'm in trouble for no fucking reason. Fuck this insanity. I'm not a big fan of women at the moment.
    Mar 7, 2018 19
    • Tableau / Other g3tTf0
      Pointless huh
      Mar 14, 2018
    • Undisclosed jarva
      I'm waiting for the rules to be clear. Avoid 1on1 with female coleagues, keep the doors open, use meeting rooms with glass walls. Use emails instead of verbal communication.
      Mar 16, 2018
  • Microsoft YrHP68
    Also how about we also start talking about the sexual provocation by women's at work place.
    Mar 5, 2018 9
    • Wells Fargo / Eng aggie
      If what you wear is irrelevant, why do we have different lines/types of clothing for work. At any workplace it's always the men dressed conservatively.
      Aug 30, 2018
    • Undisclosed Health
      What do you mean by lines tweedler? Feel free to wear a skirt if that's your thing. 😂
      Aug 30, 2018
  • Undisclosed microsvc
    you are not a risk, OP. men need to grow a pair and understand proper workplace behavior, period.
    Mar 5, 2018 0
  • Intuit theGiant
    I made this comment to a friend the other day - women need to be careful because they may not end up liking the world they are pushing for. Its a great narrative to push that you are oppressed when you might be able to get free stuff, but if in the process you make men distrust you, and the world is a super sanitized hopelessly boring place, and no one will talk to you or touch you out of fear of retaliation, will you be glad you fought so hard for this so called better reality? Everyone assumes this can only be a good thing. In the meantime women are already complaining about no “strong” men left out there or how they wish they could meet a “real man”. They don’t know what it means but they feel deep down something missing. That thing thats missing is directly being killed by the feminist movement - and women may not ultimately like the results.
    Mar 5, 2018 2
    • Undisclosed / Eng binarycafe
      Yeah i totally miss the 70s when my boss could come up and grab my ass, tell me to have sex with him or lose my job, and everyone would chalk it up to "oh boys will be boys"

      Cry me a river.

      If feminism is to "blame" for me not feeling like a piece of meat on a slab, I'm all for it.
      Mar 5, 2018
    • Intuit theGiant
      You were a grown woman in the 70s? Or are you just relying on the idea of the 70s which was created by liberal feminists in hollywood?
      Mar 5, 2018
  • Undisclosed xyzqwerty
    You can't. There's simply no reason to assume this career ending risk.
    Mar 5, 2018 5
    • Undisclosed xyzqwerty
      Your response is well thought and your points are valid. What I say doesn't apply to most people and you may think I am a terrible person, this may also limit the usefulness and derail the discourse but it's where I am at personally

      No I am not passionate about software engineering. I'm good at my job but it doesn't mean I have to like it. Since I'm good enough to not get fired, and promotions are insanely political and have little to do with skill, I also have no motivation. It's much easier to get hired somewhere else after two years.

      No I don't want to be a leader because I obviously have no people skills or interests in developing them.

      This is no way to live a life you say? Perhaps, but after a few years here I'll have enough to retire and do something else or travel to cheap counties. Given the pay difference between software engineering and the developing other marketable skills I'd be really dumb not to make some money while I can
      Mar 5, 2018
    • OP
      I think it's all a matter of personal preference. The industry allows for people like you to exist within it so why would we be so naive to think that every person who does software engineering is a go getter, trying to maximize their energy spent in the field go get more and more diminishing returns because they simply love it? The field is also great for people who look come in, turn around some tasks and collect a pay check. That does not make you a horrible person. That doesn't mean that there's things you'll miss out on, but as you said your goals is to get out as quickly as possible. More power to you but it must be very tiring to try to keep this under wraps , as I suppose to be outright about your true thoughts would mean possible ostracization and being a pariah. Honestly I support you, I think it's fair and fine to be your own person and it's quite unfortunate that these mentalities would not get taken kindly by the workplace at large as I would guess that passion and leadership potential are more valued. I could be wrong but look, I'd say for your best interest and your goals, it makes sense to avoid women in the work place. I don't think you're a terrible person. You've run the numbers and the benefit of working with women more closely doesn't outweigh the cost. It just sucks for you in a way you will have to hold up the charade of being tolerant and interested in your work and desire to improve yourself to get better pay. At least for me I can be really authentic but I still need to tone down various aspects of my personality i.e. the bluntness and the openness. It's unfortunate that you will never be able to determine whether a female co-worker would never throw you under the bus and ruin everything. I can guarantee you most won't.
      Mar 5, 2018
  • Undisclosed sUPA43
    We simply don't know what sexual harrassment is. there is no standard, no clear definition, it varies between companies, jurisdictions, states and cultures. it changes abruptly without sending updates.
    So we don't know how to not harrass. there was this NASA engineer with a shirt that his girlfriend designed, in a manga fashion. some of the figures were female.
    Apparently this harrassed millions of women to the point that nobody gave a fuck anymore about a spaceship landing on a comet.

    Last week a company fired someone who asked a woman out. He did it only once and immediately backed off, as we were taught by HR.
    Still fired because the term "harrassment" changed since last training session and now includes even the first date invite.

    Every now and then you'll find a genius who'll "explain" this concept using subjective, personal narrative, and lacking definition, and still tell you how simple it is.
    Mar 5, 2018 0


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