Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe: “I’m at the table with these ‘big shots’ and I still feel belittled”

Whitney Wolfe
Image by Jake Rosenberg
The creator of Bumble, Whitney Wolfe, has spoken out about sexism in the technology industry.

Speaking to Harpers Bazaar, Wolfe touched on the success of her dating app, Bumble, which has over 23 million users worldwide.

Last year, the company launched Bumble BFF, where women could make new friends, and this year, Bumble Bizz, a networking app for working women.

Discussing the growth of her career, Wolfe described the sexism that comes from working in the male-dominated technology industry.

“I end up in these big boy meetings – that’s what they’re called – we’re talking big money, big moves, big shots,” she said.

“The people in those rooms think of themselves as big boys.

I’m at the table with these self-proclaimed big shots and I’m telling you that I still feel belittled at times.

I still get spoken to like I’m niche and cute versus actually a force.”

She continued, “Bumble is growing 60,000 users day. It’s not a joke; it’s serious. They’re real numbers.

I would love to know what people would say if I was a man, how these numbers would be weighed.”

Wolfe also tells the publication of an incident with a British broadsheet, where the (female) photographer asked her to recline sexily on a sofa for photographs. She asks:

“Would you ever have a respectable photographer ask a man, ‘hey, would you mind laying on the coach a little bit, then pose?’”

The entrepreneur continued, “When I said no, everyone looked at me like it was weird, but no I’m not going to do that.

And if I wanted to do that great, women CEOs are allowed to present themselves how they want.

If they want to wear see-through dresses and have every photo they ever do on their couch, then do it. All power to you. It’s just not what I want to do.”

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