Review: Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley

Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley by Emily Chang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chang critical look at the misogyny and chauvinism of the tech industry that sits well with books like Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, and Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech, providing another vantage point by which to understand the tech industry. In particular, Chang takes on the often-touted but never-true idea of technology being a place of genuine meritocracy. Instead, she traces from the beginning of computers in the 1960s and 1970s to the present, how a variety of tactics in higher education and the industry itself have led to not only alienating women but being outright hostile and aggressive towards women either as programmers, venture capitalists, critics in the field (e.g. Gamergate), and others in the field. Instead of a meritocracy that recognizes and promotes based on skills (skills that the industry itself claimed were largely masculine based upon dubious standards set decades ago), Chang reveals through research, interviews, and explorations of the repeated scandals throughout the industry that the tech industry is overwhelmingly a boys club often attempting to promote the idea that tech will set us free while simultaneously caging women's opportunities and equality.

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