There’s nothing wrong with providing a service, of course, especially when it’s one that people need and one that a service provider conducts effectively. But women are particularly stereotyped into such roles. In Western culture, women’s traditional role was seen as that of caregiver and homemaker. And even when women entered the workplace, they did so in roles that reinforced that stereotype. Service-oriented jobs like nurses, social workers, cashiers, secretaries, teachers, servers, librarians, customer-service representatives, and housekeepers are disproportionately held by women. Today, manufacturing jobs are on the decline and service jobs are on the rise, but even so, men have been avoiding the new opportunities in the service sector—partly because they are seen as women’s work.
The letter also cites the number of women Amazon has in senior executive roles, compared with other tech companies, and asserts that could have an impact on how the company addresses allegations. It cited numbers from a recent New York Times story, which reported that just one of the top 16 executives (6 percent) at Amazon, known as the “S-team,” is a woman. At Apple, five of the top 19 executives listed on its website (26 percent) are women. Six of the 13 people (46 percent) on Google chief executive Sundar Pichai’s team are women, and three of the 16 executives listed on Microsoft’s website (19 percent) are female.
One thing I thought Amazon might point out is that there are several women running important parts of the company at the level below the senior vice presidents. They include Toni Reid, a vice president overseeing Alexa; Stephenie Landry, a VP who runs Prime Now; and Jennifer Cast, the vice president running the company’s Amazon Books retail-store initiative. However, it doesn’t seem clear to the employees Recode spoke to if or how these VPs might ever reach the SVP level, where they might have a more direct line to Bezos.