Atlassian apologises for sexist presentation

Atlassian apologises for sexist presentation

Summary: Atlassian has been forced to apologise after one of its engineer's presentation gave a presentation featuring "inappropriate content" comparing software to his girlfriend.


Australian start-up Atlassian has apologised after one of its engineers presented a slide at the company's developer conference in Berlin, Germany that compared Apache Maven — an automation tool used primarily for Java projects — to his girlfriend.

The engineer compared the software to the characteristics of his girlfriend as "looks beautiful, complains a lot, demands my attention, interrupts me when I'm working, doesn't play well with my other friends".

On the company's blog, co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes wrote that what was presented on the slide does not reflect the company's values and that its "quite simply, not OK".

"Sexism is a difficult issue for the tech industry, and today we didn't make it any better," he said.

"We are going through all the events that allowed this slide to reach the public. We've already started immediate action. Where our organisation and process were lacking, we will add oversight. Where our culture is at fault, we will change that culture."

Dell's second annual Gender-Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI) revealed recently that more than 75 percent of countries surveyed are not meeting the most fundamental conditions required for female entrepreneurs to prosper.

Commissioned by Dell, the Gender-GEDI found Australia is one of three best places for female entrepreneurship, together with the United States and newcomer Sweden. Australia is recognised for providing a good environment to start a business as well as having a high percentage of female business owners who were highly educated. The country also had the most female technology startups out of the 30 countries studied.

Topics: IT Employment, CXO, Start-Ups


Since completing a degree in journalism, Aimee has had her fair share of covering various topics, including business, retail, manufacturing, and travel. She continues to expand her repertoire as a tech journalist with ZDNet.

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  • Sexism

    Why do I find the joke less offensive than the fact there's a company trying to forbid a harmless joke? I'm not saying all jokes are fine, there are sexist jokes, but to classify they usually have to reference the kitchen or bedroom, or implied violence.
  • Not Sexist ...

    Derogatory maybe but that's between the engineer and his girlfriend

    Damn these people with no sense of humour and all the PC companies out there so willing to offend the masses with their overt correctness that is generally either reverse discrimination or makes the idea of having a point of view near illegal (and possibly a disciplinary offence in the workplace)
    • Yes, pretty much sexist

      as it was a bunch of "girlfriend stereotypes", rather than the likely characteristics of any actual individual. Comes off that way to me, anyway.
  • How narrow-minded

    I disagree. The statements made on the slide were funny.
    Even reading them made me smile. I guess the people who disagree and find them offensive are regularly injected with nag-serum. But then again. What else can you expect from the audience at a conference in Berlin. Germans are not widely known for their sense of humor. ;-)
  • actually

    He was referencing his own girlfriend. This was not sexist. He did not say all girlfriends. If this is his opinion of how his girlfriend acts and you are saying he can't say it, you are denying h freedom of speech. Now was this professional? That's another question.
    • The Golden Rule...

      ..."Know Your Audience".

      I agree with you completely - not sexist, but not professional. Could have been OK in the right setting, but presenter failed to properly/completely align the message to a particular audience.

      To completely expose the ridiculous nature of the "sexist" classification - what if he were gay and was referring to his partner is this way. Would it be sexist then? Gay stereotype?

      People are much too tightly wound. Perhaps his GF has a better sense of humor and didn't require one/many people to jump to her defense, or the defense of her gender.