On a sunny summer morning in January, I stepped outside my apartment in Palo Alto, Calif., to see what it would be like to have a job.
It was still summer and I had just come off my first maternity leave.
I had been working at a hardware startup, but had never experienced the full breadth of tech.
My boss, the CEO of a software startup called Trulia, had just given me a call, telling me I’d been promoted to “Senior Technical Engineer.”
I was thrilled, but also somewhat worried.
The tech industry is, by most metrics, one of the most male-dominated.
That’s not because women don’t want to work in tech, or because they don’t value their careers as much as men.
It’s because many of the companies that hire women, like Trulia and Dropbox, are already male-owned and male-run.
And, it turns out, some of the company’s senior leaders aren’t just male, they’re also men.
The chief operating officer of Dropbox, the world’s largest storage service, is a man named Brad Smith, a former chief operating officers of eBay and eBay itself.
“I was the CEO for almost a year, but when Brad Smith left eBay, he went to work at Trulia,” says Jill Stein, the former chief of staff to Senator Tammy Baldwin.
“He was really passionate about it.”
I’m also told that, when Trulia was looking for a technical director, they found a woman named Kiyoko Kimura.
She’s the head of a tech startup called Bitnami, which has been growing at a healthy rate for nearly a decade.
“When I was promoted to Technical Director, I had a meeting with the CEO, Brad Smith,” Kimura tells me.
“And then I had an interview with Brad Smith.
And then, the first day of the new job, I walked out of the door.”
Kimura says that she was initially nervous, and that her manager initially told her she was being promoted to the CEO’s role.
“But then, I saw Brad Smith walking out of his office and it was like, OK, well, I’ll do it,” Kimuras says.
Kimura worked at Trumulia for three years, and was one of several female tech leaders who joined Bitnamis CEO.
She says that the company was “really inclusive” in its hiring practices.
“We were just able to get a lot of women to join us,” she says.
“The first day, I was the only woman, and I didn’t get any raises.
And the first year, I got three raises.”
She says Trulia’s leadership was “very supportive,” and that she felt “really empowered.”
She also remembers being able to meet other women working in tech.
“They’re really supportive,” she recalls.
“That’s something that is really valuable.”
Kimuras adds that the tech sector has a “huge gender gap.”
It’s also “very male-led,” which is to say, a tech industry that has traditionally been dominated by men.
But Kimuras, like other women in Silicon Valley, says that there’s also a problem within the industry itself.
She cites the example of the gender gap in the field of software engineering.
“There are women in software engineering, but only a handful,” Kimulas says.
She points to the recent “toxic” harassment scandal involving two top programmers at Dropbox.
Both of the men involved have been fired, and the case has also been referred to the Department of Justice.
The problem, Kimulas claims, is that women are not represented in the workplace.
“At the end of the day, it’s a gender issue,” Kimols says.
According to Kimuras’ company, Trulia has seen an increase in women working there, but the company does not provide an explanation for the increase.
“Women don’t feel represented at Trumias level,” she adds.
Kimuras points out that many of Trulias female leaders have already been in the industry for a long time, and are experienced in the roles they hold.
“In my case, I’m a software engineer,” she tells me, “and I’ve been there for two and a half years.”
In her experience, Kimuras believes that this is a problem that needs to be fixed.
“It’s a problem for me personally,” she told me.
She has two young children, ages 8 and 10, and she’s also working as a software developer.
Kimsays that she’s proud to be a woman, but she’s not happy that Trulia is “making the mistake of assuming” that it will always have a female-dominated workforce.
“My goal is to be the first female CEO in the country,” Kims says.
As I speak with Kims, I ask her about the gender imbalance in the company.
“People are always saying,