The tech field needs a cleanup. I’ve been here for a long time, and bosses need to take an immediate and uncompromising stance when even a valued employee makes a sexist or harassing comment at work. Sadly, it doesn’t happen in the way I’d expect. That leaves others of us in a tough spot who don’t feel safe reporting our boss to HR [because, come on, in a fire at will state, a boss can make life really difficult for you and then fire you for reasons entirely unrelated to the HR complaint you made against him, even if he has to figure out the reasons and document them when he otherwise wouldn’t], don’t feel safe commenting to a peer whose behavior was simultaneously observed by the boss [the thugs who make these comments either feel safe because they are friends with the boss or are sociopathic enough that they’re going to make you a direct target].
I think part of company sexual harassment training should include being a good ally.
My steps of engagement include: try to make a quick comment standing up for what’s right at the time the comment is made.
Talk to the boss in private, asking him what he thought of the comment and what the appropriate steps are.