Big Tech Whistleblowers May Be More Likely to Be Women

Technology was a historically male-dominated industry—but over the past decade, high profile, big tech whistleblowers have been disproportionately female. When compared to the percentage of women in the tech workforce, experts wondered if there’s a connection between gender, technology and whistleblowing.

Women, whistleblowing and technology

The article above studies the nature of the technology sector, whistleblowing and gender. A computer scientist and a sociologist explored several contributing factors that may explain why high profile tech whistleblowers are often women.

First, there’s a “narrative of virtue” surrounding women: they’re commonly thought to be more altruistic and less susceptible to corruption. Multiple studies have backed up that fact. Female leaders and employees are associated with lower levels of corruption and bribery. They’re also considered more ethical in business dealings. The authors point out that this is likely due to gender roles and socialization.

Next, whistleblowers often speak up when they feel that they can’t effect positive change through the existing system. Because women make up a quarter of the technology workforce and just 30 percent of executive leadership, they’re more likely to use this “last resort.” While it’s hard to tell the exact whistleblowing gender breakdown, due to anonymity, studies have shown women are more likely to blow the whistle when they can do so anonymously.

Finally, women and other marginalized groups are less likely to hold the party line when they notice employer wrongdoing. Because they’re “outsiders” in the male-dominated tech industry, they may feel they have less to lose by reporting problems.

The authors can’t definitively state whether big tech whistleblowers are more likely to be women. The evidence, however, suggests that this may indeed be the case, thanks to societal expectations and existing systems.

When you’re ready to report employer wrongdoing, call a trusted whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group.