SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – The day after KPIX 5 reported on a new trend of some tech firms hiring attractive young models to add glitz and glamour to holiday parties, a Bay Area CEO addressed the topic.
Adriana Gascoigne is the CEO and founder of Girls In Tech, a company that helps tech firms diversify their staff and is working to create change in the male-dominated industry.
Gascoigne says she was enraged when she heard the news that tech companies were hiring models to attend holiday parties and socialize with male employees.
"It is sending the wrong message if executives are paying for models to entertain men it's a subtle form of exploitation," said Gascoigne. "I'm shocked because of the headlines you see every day, you think people would get a clue."
Gascoigne She founded the company ten years ago after realizing there was a problem in the tech industry, one she experienced first-hand.
"I've dealt with sexual harassment in the workplace since the inception of my career," said Gascoigne.
She's personally attended events with so called booth babes, women required to wear short shorts and cleavage at sales conferences.
"It made me feel like in order to fit in I had to wear things or look a certain way and that's very isolating," said Gascoigne.
Tech companies have a long standing history of hiring models to appear at holiday events. But this year the demand has grown and they've added a twist. Modeling agencies tell us women were instructed to learn fake back stories and pretend to be friends with male engineers at Silicon Valley parties.
Gascoigne says that should not just insult the women, but their male counterparts too.
"Men in these companies can't be socially able to engage with someone of the opposite sex or bring women as a date. That's problematic," said Gascoigne.
KPIX 5 reached out to Google, Apple, Facebook, Lyft and Uber for comment on this story.
Lyft, Uber and Facebook said they do not engage in this behavior. Google and Apple did not respond.
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