It’s hard to believe it’s been less than two years since Susan Fowler Rigetti blew the whistle on sexual harassment and gender discrimination at Uber.
Much has changed in the past 18 months when it comes to how we discuss and deal with sexual harassment at work, particularly since the start of #MeToo, which itself is not even a year old.
And in that short amount of time at Uber, former CEO Travis Kalanick has seen the problems he had been warned about behind closed doors aired openly in public, leading to a significant shift in public opinion on Uber and ultimately to his own downfall from the top job.
For Fowler, the column she bravely penned on her own blog made her a household name in tech circles and later lander her on the cover of TIME magazine. She was celebrated by many for exposing the true culture of a tech company that had almost been considered too big and too innovative to call out.
Now Fowler has a much bigger platform to explore toxic behaviour in tech, and much more power and influence in sharing a wider range of opinions on the issue.
She’s just been appointed a staff editor at the New York Times, responsible for opinion pieces published in the technology section. According to the NYT announcement, Fowler will commission and sometimes write pieces exploring: “The ways technology is shaping our culture, economy, relationships, politics and play,.
As CNET wrote on the announcement: “Watch out tech bros”.
The appointment is also significant in that too often the opinion pages of major newspapers can be female-free zones, especially when covering tech.
In her post ‘Reflecting on One Very, Very Strange year at Uber’, Fowler shared that within days of starting work she was sexually harassment by a manager. Her efforts to report the problem were ignored, and she later learnt that she was far from the only woman at Uber to have her sexual harassment complaints ignored.
The NYT says that Fowler’s writing is just one part of her remarkable story. Raised in rural Arizona and home-schooled as one of seven children, she later majored in physics and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. She joined internet payments company Stripe after leaving Uber, and started a tech magazine called Increment.
She’s also written a book on micrsoservices (as you do), and has a couple more in the works including a much-anticipated memoir — can not wait for that.
— Susan Fowler (@susanthesquark) July 23, 2018