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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The tech industry loves to tout itself as a meritocracy, but its inequalities remain sharp: Not only are women vastly underrepresented, they are also highly likely to encounter sexual harassment.

By the numbers: Even with a heightened awareness of such issues, spurred by the #MeToo movement, one-third of women in tech say they have received or witnessed unwanted physical contact in the last year, according to a recent survey by FTI Consulting and Mine the Gap.

  • Nearly half experienced or witnessed harassment or assault in the last 5 years.
  • Those figures for the tech industry were worse than in other industries represented in the survey, including notoriously male-dominated fields like energy and finance.

"People think that the tech industry is very progressive," FTI's Elizabeth Alexander tells Axios. But, she adds, open workplaces and flat organizational charts don't equal an inclusive workplace — and might even create opportunities for unwanted contact.

Why it matters: There is a lot of talk in the industry about teaching girls to code and recruiting more women for tech jobs. But without addressing sexual harassment and other forms of bias, tech companies won't be able to attract a more diverse workforce and retain those entering the field.

What's next: Alexander says tech companies need to examine themselves with a tougher eye on everything from office culture to sexual harassment training to how well represented women are in leadership.

  • "You need to treat sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct as workplace safety issues," she said.
  • Even microaggressions and unconscious bias can lead to a culture where harassment is more likely to occur.
  • "Go beyond what's legally required," Alexander says.

Among her recommendations are sexual harassment trainings that are frequent, mandatory for all employees and interactive.

"You can't get away with a webinar once every 18 months."
— Elizabeth Alexander

The bottom line: The tech industry still has a lot of work to do to foster an inclusive workplace.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Science

COVID time warp

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a lifetime ago to some, and just yesterday to others. Scientists are beginning to unpack the way people processed the passage of time amidst the stress, uncertainty and isolation of the 1 year, 8 months and 21 days since WHO declared a pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic's global effects on how people experience time could provide new insights into the brain's ability to perceive and predict time — a fundamental feature of life.

Mitt Romney calls Ray Dalio's China investments a "sad moral lapse"

Sen. Mitt Romney walks to a Senate Republican caucus meeting at the Capitol on Oct. 7. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Thursday criticized billionaire Ray Dalio's investments in China, writing in a tweet that "his feigned ignorance of China's horrific abuses and rationalization of complicit investments there is a sad moral lapse."

Driving the news: Romney's comments come after Dalio's firm, Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, raised $1.3 billion in November for a new private fund in China, Bloomberg reports.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California — America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron — CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers.
  2. Politics: Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come — Meta removes accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  4. World: Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people — Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.