Diane Green wears a red ribbon in support of International Women's Day. Business Insider
On International Women's Day on Wednesday, Google's Diane Greene, one of the most famous women in tech, took the stage to lead a conference of 10,000 people in tech.
Between talking up all the new products and customers for Google Cloud, Greene paused and pointed out the red ribbon she was wearing.
Then she said something fairly amazing: She basically promised to protect the women that work for her if they were ever to come forward to say they were sexually harassed at work.
Wearing red on Wednesday is a symbol of support for women, some of whom have chosen to go on strike for the day to show how valuable they are in the workplace.
"I want to pause. I'm wearing my red ribbon. I want to acknowledge that it's International Women's Day today," Greene said. The crowd burst into a minute of applause.
Greene has had a storied, decadeslong career in tech, beginning as the founder and CEO of the major tech company VMware. But she said that she hadn't always wanted to see what other women went through (emphasis ours):
"With this industry, I've been incredibly fortunate, but it was sort of an industry where I was lucky, and I chose to be kind of oblivious to what was going on. And now we're in an environment where women are having a huge impact and adding a lot of value to our industry, and women are celebrated if they raise their hand and say, 'Hey, you are missing my value. You're not recognizing what I'm doing.' At Google, we strive at Google Cloud to have an environment where no one needs to raise their hand, but no matter what, it's completely safe to do that."
She added: "I really look forward to the day when this audience is 50% women. It's more fun to have diversity."
When Google CEO Sundar Pichai took the stage, he too was wearing the red ribbon.A time of allegations
This comes in the wake of sexual-harassment allegations that have hung over Google and Uber in recent weeks.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai also wears a red ribbon. Business Insider
Silicon Valley is reeling from the revelations of a "toxic culture" at Uber after a former engineer, Susan Fowler, published a blog post saying she was sexually harassed and that HR penalized her when she reported it.
Shortly after that, Amit Singhal, a top Silicon Valley engineer, stepped down from his job at Uber after it was discovered he had been accused of sexual harassment at his previous job at Google and that he did not disclose that when he was hired at Uber. Singhal oversaw Google's search engine for years and was considered one of the company's most powerful executives. He has vigorously denied the allegations.
Since then, more women at Uber have shared stories about their experiences, and women across the tech industry are speaking up. Before the allegations surfaced at Uber, Google had shouldered its share of similar allegations.
Greene's promise is a pretty powerful one, especially since fewer women than men have pursued careers in tech over the past decade, and that among the women who do, a lot don't stick around — a trend that has been dubbed Wexit.
This kind of toxic culture has been blamed in part for Wexit, and it will take people in positions of power to stand up and say, "Not on my watch."
People in the crowd at Google Next. Business Insider
Get the latest Google stock price here.