Katz, Marshall & Banks partner Debra Katz was mentioned in an article that appeared in The Washington Post titled “This Influential Silicon Valley Firm Is Spearheading a Blacklist of Venture Capitalists Accused of Harassing Women.” The article discusses attempts in Silicon Valley to respond to a growing number of accusations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination that have become a stain on the high-tech, start-up community’s reputation. Specifically, enterprising technologists are incorporating technology to help provide an avenue for workers within the start-up sector to report occurrences of harassment and discrimination. Prominent incubator Y Combinator emailed 3,500 entrepreneurs an online form that encouraged employees to blow the whistle on sexual harassment by venture capitalists, by naming names of offenders. The organization is now creating an app that would facilitate future reporting.
However, there are potential pitfalls that Y Combinator, as well as other organizations seeking technological solutions to the harassment problem, face. As Katz points out, the anonymous apps, blacklists and databases could be used to harm the makers of the apps, those who feel unfairly accused or women who have faced harassment.
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