Sexism and gender discrimination against women in industries, whether it is tech or film industry, is not a new thing. Just recently a senior engineer at Google tech company named James Damore was fired as he wrote a memo in which it was mentioned that “biological difference between men and women is the main cause of gender inequality in the tech industry.” The same discrimination was faced by 2 women entrepreneurs named Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer. And so they decided to create a fictional male co-founder, Keith Mann, to negate the gender discrimination which both of them were facing the industry. Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer are running a company named Witchsy, it is a curated marketplace where they sell different products such as shirts, bags, and diaries etc made by different artists.
While talking to a media outlet, they said that, they created fake male co-founder as they were facing repeated sexist tone like at one time a developer emailed them and which started with words, “Okay, girls”. Furthermore, at another occasion, a developer which they hired to built the website of their company tried to delete everything as Gazin, one of the co-founders of the company, declined to go on a date with him. One can assume how horrifying it would be for them to face repeated sexism and gender discrimination.
Dwyer said that, before Keith — the imaginary co-founder, no one took us seriously. However, when we sent email from Keth’s account the response was entirely different and amazing. They said that the story of Keith helped them, bringing the attention of the world to a fact that sexism exists in the tech industry and in workplaces.
“It was like night and day,” says Dwyer. “It would take me days to get a response, but Keith could not only get a response and a status update but also be asked if he wanted anything else or if there was anything else that Keith needed help with.”
In an email to Business Insider Dwyer said, “Keith is being used as a tool now to help highlight how rampant sexism is in tech and the workplace in general. It’s been great seeing so many people respond positively. Once again, Keith has done a great job!!”
On the website of the company, it is written that “ Each time you place an order you are buying directly from an artist. They are receiving and fulfilling your orders. We will always work with buyers and artists to assure that everyone is having the best possible experience.”
The experiment done by these two brave women is enough proof for us to conclude that sexism is real and we all have to take steps to curb it not only from industries but also from our society.