It is commonly known that Silicon Valley lacks big percentages of female employees in general. However, the one division that women reign supreme is Marketing and PR for tech companies. Even though their jobs are not directly involved with the engineering or design of the product; they are seriously overlooked in terms of contribution.
Marketing and PR is a crucial part of a product’s development.
Nick Summer’s from Bloomberg Businessweek says of Tinder’s Vice President of Marketing, Whitney Wolfe,
“She went around the country visiting different sororities, promoted the app there at these different college campuses,” Summers says. The number of Tinder users nearly tripled at a crucial time in its development due to Wolfe. “She made some very important contributions in making women feel safe in signing up for the app.”
While Summers was writing his report of Tinder, co-founders Sean Rad and Justin Mateen never mentioned Whitney Wolfe. Summer’s said, “They were very eager to make it seem as if they had done this all on their own.”
Wolfe proceeded to die the company for sexual harassment and discrimination. Wolfe had been dating Co-founder Justin Mateen, and after the break up, she claims that he harassed her. She was then fired for complaining about the harassment and had her title as co-founder taken away.
Nick Summers, after hearing about the lawsuit, re-visited his previous reporting and wrote a sub-sequential article. He stated,
“That was an opportunity to go back and revisit this idea of creation myths,” says Summers, “and the way that people, and in this case a woman … can be written out of the sort of stories that startups tell about themselves and the way they were born.”
The fact of the matter is that because Wolfe is a woman, this may be one reason she was easily written out of the story.
The pUblic Relations Society of America reports that 70 percent of professionals in the PR field are women. Today, women in PR are unflatteringly referred to as “PR chicks” and have made their way into pop culture as air headed women concerned with makeup, clothes, and parties.
The founder of Brew Media Relations, Brooke Hammerling, says she created her own firm because she was fed up with the mixture of dismissive tech males and sexism inside some major tech companies.
Hammerling says, “We were in the background very much where companies didn’t want to, certainly CEOs didn’t want to think that PR had anything to do with the success of the company and that their PR girls were sort of just there to write press releases.”
Now, Marketing and PR divisions are being built from the ground up in tech startups for a fighting chance in recognition within the crowded markets. It is a critical and important element of the company, just as relevant as the technology aspect of it. Many investors believe that both pieces are necessary to achieve success within the company.
Although many women would like to see more diversity within the tech roles of a tech company, there is also a strong pull for recognition and credit to be given to the women behind the scenes who are already contributing to the industry.