Ana Rueda-Cortes says it’s been a busy week for the tech industry, but it’s not just the people leaving the offices to take a break.
The same is happening for the women who work in them.
Rueda, a 27-year-old freelance writer, and Cortes, a 28-year old IT specialist, say they’re tired of having to put up with “noisy” women at their desks.
“It is like being in a club where you can go out, but the noise is really loud and it’s really exhausting,” said Ruedas sister, Sara.
The loudness can be heard from a few blocks away.
“We’re so tired,” said Cortes.
“We are all tired.
It is like we’re in a gym, or we are working on a project.”
Ruedas work is based in Mexico, but Cortes said she has had to relocate to Florida in order to have enough room to write and edit.
Ruey Hernandez, a writer and social media expert who has lived in Mexico for five years, said she often finds herself frustrated by women at her desk.
“I feel like I’m in the gym,” said Hernandez, who has two children in school.
“Sometimes, I’m so frustrated, I’ll say to myself, ‘I’m going to get my daughter’s lunch and I’m going on my way,'” she said.
“But when I go to a coffee shop and I walk up to the counter, it feels like I have to pay a little more.”
Hernandez and Ruedes stories are similar.
“You have a lot of different women,” Hernandez said.
“They are all at work and they are all very loud and they make the office very noisy,” said Herndon.
The trend started in 2015 when the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas sued Apple and other tech companies to force them to stop gender-based discrimination.
“There are plenty of examples of women doing the exact same things they were doing 20 years ago,” said Texas ACLU attorney Marisa Brown.
“They are doing the same jobs.”
Brown has filed several class-action lawsuits in Texas, and says she’s heard stories from other women that have been discriminated against at work.
“Women are going to be leaving to take advantage of the fact that they have access to the internet,” Brown said.
And as more women leave to work remotely, so do their children.
“When you go online, you’re also putting the stress on your child,” said Marisa Herndons daughter, Grace.
“She is in school and I have homework and she is on her way to school and she’s sitting in the car and it is a constant stress on her.”
Hernon has noticed a noticeable increase in online harassment and bullying of women.
“In the last few months, it’s becoming more and more difficult to be a woman in tech,” she said, “and it’s become harder to work and more and it makes it harder for her to go to school.”
Herndon says it isn’t just her daughter who is struggling to find time to go online.
“Every day she says, ‘Dad, I don’t want to be home because of this,’ ” Herndón said.
Ruela says she can’t get through her morning email without getting a comment or a text.
And she says she thinks the tech companies are getting away with it because of how the lawsuits are being filed.
“The lawsuits are not getting enough attention,” Ruela said.
In 2017, Texas passed a law to require companies to pay women at least 20 percent of the wage they earn, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by companies that have sued to block the new law.
The Texas law, which was signed by Gov.
Greg Abbott in 2017, says that women who receive more than half of their pay in overtime are not eligible for state benefits.
According to Ruelas mother, “they are so scared that they don’t even know what they’re getting into.”
Ruelas parents are suing Apple, Microsoft, and the other tech giants because they say it violates the Texas Equal Pay Act, which requires companies to compensate women who are paid less than male counterparts.
“If you do not have a legal remedy to remedy discrimination, we cannot trust that you will not do so,” said a statement from the Texas Association of Business.
Apple responded to the lawsuit in court, saying it “does not discriminate against employees on the basis of gender or race, and that it has taken action to ensure equal pay for its employees.”
Microsoft also responded to The Associated Press, saying the lawsuit is “based on a baseless claim of gender-specific discrimination.”
“Our employees earn equal pay based on merit, with no disparate impact on any group of employees,” said Microsoft in a statement.
Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment