Respect Diversity + Inclusion

Asian women in tech report more bias, discrimination than their white peers: study

A new report analyzed the experiences of women of color in the tech industry.
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Story at a glance

  • The report takes a look at basic patterns of bias, how bias plays out in both informal and formal workplace interactions and sexual harassment, and includes surveys from more than 200 women in the industry.

  • The report notes the experiences of women of color differed by racial and ethnic group, with Asian and Asian-American women, who are not underrepresented in the tech industry, reporting “many of the worst experiences” in the study.

A new report is detailing the bias and discrimination Asian women in the tech industry face when compared to their white peers. 

The “Pinning Down the Jellyfish: The Workplace Experiences of Women of Color in Tech” report compiled by The Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings School of Law analyzed the experiences of women of color in the tech industry. 

The report takes a look at basic patterns of bias, how bias plays out in both informal and formal workplace interactions and sexual harassment, and includes surveys from more than 200 women in the industry. The research also includes survey comments and one-on-one interviews. 


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While women of color in the study reported facing more bias than white women, the report notes the experiences of women of color differed by racial and ethnic group, with Asian and Asian-American women, who are not underrepresented in the tech industry, reporting “many of the worst experiences” in the study. 

“One might well think that women of Asian descent would benefit from the stereotype that Asians are good at science. They don’t. Particularly salient for East and South Asian women was that they had to put in extra work to prove themselves in order to receive the same recognition as their peers, and to be seen as a good team player,” the report states. 

The report found East Asians said they were expected to play feminine roles at the workplace and were looked over for leadership positions. South Asian women reported discrimination due to their accents and assumptions they will have too many children.

According to the report, East Asian women were 66 percent less likely than white women to report seeing a long-term future for themselves at their current organization. They were also 42 percent more likely to report being demeaned, disrespected, stereotyped and left out of the loop and treated like they are invisible at work. 

Women of Southeast Asian descent were 54 percent more likely than white women to report being given low-level work below their skill level and reported experiencing the “forever foreigner” stereotype, meaning facing questions about whether they’re “really” American. 


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