How to make your workplace toxic for women.

- 3 mins

Was I hired for diversity sake? Or was I hired because of my skills? Am I the only one who has thought about things like these?

In my tech journey, I have heard stories of women complaining about being treated differently in a male-dominated work environment and I would like to share tips on how you can make your team a toxic one for women, based on my own observations.


You should mansplain a lot. This is a common attitude in every “tech bro” team and it is important that you do this, so that you don’t stand out. An example of how to do this is, when she says something in the architecture design meeting, ignore her until a guy repeats the same thing, then you can have your aha moment! Isn’t that awesome? You have to make sure the boys speak over her during sprint planning. It is important. Remember, if she does not make noise, then she is probably not smart and not a good team fit.


Will your work environment be toxic enough if you don’t micromanage? Whenever she is given a task to work on, be sure to sit beside her looking over her shoulder, because she has no clue about how to accomplish her task. Always ask her, every minute, every second, whether she has done something. Make sure she writes notes on every step she takes while solving the problem, and do not read it but make her repeat it again to you each time you see her. This alone is bound to make her feel like she is not good enough, and remember, that is the goal.


When your company needs to go for a conference, ask her to apply for a diversity scholarship. After all, you hired her for diversity sake, right? You can get conference tickets for the guys, but it is not necessary to get one for her. You should be certain that she will get a diversity scholarship particularly when she satisfies all of the requirements for diversity in tech.


Does she deserve a promotion? No way? Should you give her a raise? Nope! Even though she always gets her tasks done, how are you sure she even knows what she is doing? When she asks for a promotion or a raise, bring up other things you want her to do, but don’t allow her to do it. Remember the micromanagement cycle has to continue, and you want her to know that you don’t trust her well enough to handle tasks, so don’t even allow her to take ownership of those tasks. Make sure you only assign routine, boring tasks and minor bug fixes to her. The big, challenging and interesting refactoring or feature work should always go to the boys - that way, she won’t have any claims for promotion or a raise.


When there is a need for a leadership position like team lead or manager, do not give her the opportunity to play that role. Even if it means bringing a guy from a different team to manage her team alongside his, do it! Remember, the goal is to prove to her that she is not good enough to handle leadership responsibilities.

You may have read this article and wondered what the point of the whole sarcasm is, but, as a team lead, manager, boss, or whatever leadership role you might be in, it is very important to take time and reflect on whether your work environment or team is a toxic one for women in tech. Many women, including me, have experienced some or all of the points listed above. Because we are not screaming about it, does not mean it should remain as the norm. Sometimes, it is the things you overlook and consider irrelevant, that can cause your workplace to be an uncomfortable place for women.

Kosy Anyanwu

Kosy Anyanwu

The lady who travels the world and loves karaoke

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