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Thread: Sexual assault and EDA collide

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    Blogger Daniel Payne's Avatar
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    Sexual assault and EDA collide

    The #MeToo movement is quite visible in the press these days and so it's not surprising to see it reach the ranks of our EDA and Semiconductor industry with recent allegations that Lucio Lanza sexually assaulted a woman named Danae Vachata while on a recent airline flight. Lucio is well known in EDA and investment circles for many years now, so this accusation is a big deal, let's see how it plays out in the courts and how it impacts our industry and events.

    Complaint.pdf

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    Hi Daniel,

    Thanks for bringing this up. My biggest fear at this point is that there will be a lot of attention, some heads will roll and then the attention will fade and nothing has really changed. This is a systematic problem and needs to be dealt with accordingly.

    When talking about this issue I get the feeling that we often mix up two related issues each which needs to be addressed separately.

    The first issue is the sexual assault, harassment and insinuations that women face in all industries. I believe the case you brought up here has come to attention because it's a high profile (i.e. "newsworthy") case. The reason it was at all reported is because Danae was brave and strong enough to report it! There are likely many many cases where the victim feels she does not have enough evidence, is worried that the consequences (no matter the outcome) will hurt her chances to keep working in the field or just that the attacker is someone she thought she could trust which makes the situation harder to deal with. There are of course a million other reasons as well, but what's common in all cases is that it puts a hard pressure on the victim to provide burden-of-proof and make decisions about herself and outhers. This, at a time where she is already suffering from having been victimized.

    I'm sure there are now plenty of people who would say "Well, I'M not a rapist, so this isn't really my issue". Thankfully, most people aren't rapists, but in some environments there are enough people to normalize their behaviour and not enough people to challenge them. A rape becomes a conquest, stalking becomes courting and a no becomes playing-hard-to-get. As a non-rapists you should take a step back and see if there is such behaviour in your surroundings, and act upon it. And if someone comes to you with a story of being abuse, please believe them. Don't start asking for proofs right aways. Dont' require them to name people. It was likely a long, hard and doubt-filled process to open up and any resistance at this point might make them close up again,Some people always bring up the teeny tiny chance that this person is lying, but if you ever use that as an excuse, then yes, you are very much a part of the problem. Again, there are a thousand more things to say about this but the ink of my keyboard is drying out so I'll quickly move on to the other issue.

    While sexual assaults are mostly targeting women, other prejudice, harassment and mistreatment has a tendency to target all minorities. And in the EDA and Semiconductor industry, this generally means everyone but white men. And the thing is that we need everyone. There just aren't enough clever people with an interest in electronics in this limited pool to fill the vacancies. This means we need to attract new kinds of people and make them feel at home so that they stay. The problems mentioned above are excellent examples why women have a harder time entering and staying in the field, but there are plenty of other ways to drive away people, like racism or age discrimination.

    Anyway, I hope things improve, but all of us must be prepared to put in some effort to make things better. As a closing example, I arrange a conference called ORConf. We had never had a female speaker and in 2015 we decided to do something about it. We had some ideas, but never actually did anything and lo and behold, next year there was still no female speakers. Last year we finally had our first female speaker and while this has an important symbolic value, it's still an embarrassingly low rate. I need to improve, you likely need to improve too

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    Blogger Daniel Payne's Avatar
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    olofk,

    I appreciate your take on sexual assault and harassment in our industry.

    On the topic of discrimination I worked at an EDA company where a new General Manager tended to hire people from Taiwan and only laid off people born in America. A lawsuit ensued and the GM had to re-hire the laid off American worker, so some balance was restored yet we all knew that to get ahead in his group that you had to be Taiwanese, not American. This GM finally left the company only to join a startup with mostly Taiwanese employees.

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    Admin Daniel Nenni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Payne View Post
    The #MeToo movement is quite visible in the press these days and so it's not surprising to see it reach the ranks of our EDA and Semiconductor industry with recent allegations that Lucio Lanza sexually assaulted a woman named Danae Vachata while on a recent airline flight. Lucio is well known in EDA and investment circles for many years now, so this accusation is a big deal, let's see how it plays out in the courts and how it impacts our industry and events.

    Complaint.pdf
    Fun fact: Google Analytics started reporting gender in 2015. SemiWiki is now up to 15.5% female readership and it is climbing. I find this number very believable based on what I see during my travels, especially in Asia.

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    Now available in print or Kindle: "Mobile Unleashed: The Origin and Evolution of ARM Processors In Our Devices"

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    @Daniel P, I'm sorry to hear that. I imagine it must be extremely frustrating and demotivating to work somewhere where you know that you're not valued for the work you do, but for who you are. Good to hear that there was at least some action taken. I fear that there are many cases where the victims of such discrimination don't have the strength or possibility to react in the same way.

    @Daniel N, That is good news. Especially knowing that it is a positive trend. Would be interested in hearing these kind of numbers on a regular basis

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