Techweek is a “repeat offender’’ when it comes to sexism and has a “frat house mentality embedded in (its) organizational DNA,’’ according to a letter a group of local women in technology sent to Microsoft Corp. asking the company to withdraw its sponsorship from next week’s event.
The letter is based in part on a controversial flier featuring women in provocative clothing and poses that made news earlier this month, but women say it goes way beyond that. The Black Tie Rave and Spring Awakening after party, the subjects of the offensive flier, were fundraisers to be held June 14 in advance of the annual Techweek Chicago event, but were cancelled due to widespread complaints of impropriety.
“Techweek is not too big to fail. It is not a revered institution. It is a repeat offender,’’ reads the letter, sent to Microsoft on June 10. “It has shown its stripes over and over as an organization that views women as the entertainment, the decoration, or the prize, not as makers, doers, entrepreneurs, visionaries.’’