Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 28th May 2012 19:25 UTC
In the News This topic comes up quite a lot on technology websites, but I generally try to steer clear from it as much as possible, since I'm not the one to talk about it (you know, with me being a man and all that), however, I feel it might be a good idea to just get my opinion out there and be done with it. The topic of women in IT is a hot-button issue, so let me just go out guns blazing: assuming women need special treatment, help, protection, and affirmative action is just as insulting and degrading as outright claiming women have no place in IT - maybe even more so.
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It will never be fair.
by jefro on Mon 28th May 2012 19:39 UTC
jefro
Member since:
2007-04-13

Part of the issue is how we teach children. Young boys are put in games that require them to excel. It may be part of their dna even. We expect boys to be tougher than the other kid. Young girls are not under the same treatment. In fact they are either or both by dna and training in a different subset of rules.

One thing that did bother me about women in politics is that a lady running for VP tended to have comments about her dress more than her point of views on topics. Who ever said anything like that about a male politician?

Reply Score: 11

RE: It will never be fair.
by bertzzie on Tue 29th May 2012 07:00 UTC in reply to "It will never be fair."
bertzzie Member since:
2011-01-26

To be fair, all male politician wear almost the same dress (suit + tie).

*i kid, i kid* ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: It will never be fair.
by galvanash on Tue 29th May 2012 07:09 UTC in reply to "It will never be fair."
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Part of the issue is how we teach children. Young boys are put in games that require them to excel. It may be part of their dna even. We expect boys to be tougher than the other kid. Young girls are not under the same treatment. In fact they are either or both by dna and training in a different subset of rules.


Your right - It boils down to upbringing. I have daughters - I require them to excel. I expect them to be tougher that the other kid (not physically, but mentally). And for the most part both of them do and are. If you treat your daughter like a barbie doll and they grow up to be one should you be surprised???

Reply Score: 4

RE: It will never be fair.
by unclefester on Thu 31st May 2012 02:39 UTC in reply to "It will never be fair."
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Part of the issue is how we teach children.


Complete and utter nonsense. Masculinity and feminity are hardwired. Boys and girls are observed behave quite differently at just a few days old. eg baby girls make far more eye contact than baby boys.

Raisng boys as girls or vice versa has essentially no effect on long term outcomes.

Read The Blank Slate by sociobiologist Professor Steven Pinker for further enlightenment.

Edited 2012-05-31 02:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Indeed
by tylerdurden on Mon 28th May 2012 19:52 UTC
tylerdurden
Member since:
2009-03-17

as a male non-IT worker you're clearly qualified to voice your opinion, purely based on your perception as a 3rd party, on what female IT workers need, feel, and how they should be treated like.

I mean, sure journalistic integrity would dictate that you should have taken at least 5 minutes to talk to women who work on IT and gather their opinion on the matter, since they are the ones affected. But who wants to do that when there is a false equivalence handy, right?

Edited 2012-05-28 19:53 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Indeed
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 28th May 2012 20:28 UTC in reply to "Indeed"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

as a male non-IT worker you're clearly qualified to voice your opinion, purely based on your perception as a 3rd party, on what female IT workers need, feel, and how they should be treated like.

I mean, sure journalistic integrity would dictate that you should have taken at least 5 minutes to talk to women who work on IT and gather their opinion on the matter, since they are the ones affected. But who wants to do that when there is a false equivalence handy, right?


Such anecdotal stories will only serve to detract from the point being made. I'm not saying that it's easy for women in a men-dominated field (or vice versa, for that matter) - I'm arguing that the proposed solutions are not grounded in reality.

The fact that I'm a man has no bearing on whether or not my points are valid. If you think it does, then I think you just unknowingly illustrated my point better than I did.

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Indeed
by Moredhas on Mon 28th May 2012 20:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Indeed"
Moredhas Member since:
2008-04-10

To reinforce Thom's point, what if this were about race or religion? "I got this contract because I'm black", or "I got this contract because I'm Christian". Discrimination, no matter how well intentioned, is still discrimination.

Reply Score: 11

RE[3]: Indeed
by Kivada on Tue 29th May 2012 15:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Indeed"
Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

To reinforce Thom's point, what if this were about race or religion? "I got this contract because I'm black", or "I got this contract because I'm Christian". Discrimination, no matter how well intentioned, is still discrimination.


Being from the US and hispanic I know a few things about discrimination, for racial discrimination there is the problem of ethnic peoples being 300 years behind in terms of economic and social status, there are no black or hispanic family dynasties in the US like there is with caucasian families, some of which can trace their family fortunes to land stolen from the native americans. Lets not forget about segregation, slavery, being counted as 3/5ths of a person, separate but equal, Jim Crow etc.


The reasons for these discrepancies, upbringing, education, integration or lack there of, even how education is funded here in the US all play a role. In a poor area the schools are heavily underfunded and under staffed because the schools are paid for via property taxes and certain political factions want noting more then to slash tax collections to cut school funding indirectly as well as cut education funding directly by putting in place a testing structure that causes the school to lose even more funding depending on the pass rate of their students, creating a cycle destined to fail.

Affirmative action like this is based on two false premises. First, the insipid one, the one that actually infuriates me to no end: affirmative action assumes that (in this case) women are less capable than men, and that they need special help, incentives, money, and regulations to achieve parity with their male counterparts. In other words, these laws actually advocate the very same idea they are trying to combat; namely, that women are less capable than men.


As to women, they still on average make only $0.77 on the dollar a man makes for the same amount of work, seniority, education etc. Upbrining also plays a large role here, we don't expect girls to be good at math and science. You see it in the toys and games designed for boys and girls, girls toys are baby dolls, barbies and tea sets, while toys for boys are much more engaging like Legos, weapons/G.I. Joes, and sporting goods. For games, girls get stuff like Nintendogs and barbie in princessland dressup while every other genera of game is targeted towards males.

We're expected to compete and problems solve, girls seem to be expected to be nothing more then cute.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Indeed
by Dave_K on Tue 29th May 2012 20:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Indeed"
Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

As to women, they still on average make only $0.77 on the dollar a man makes for the same amount of work, seniority, education etc.


That's not true.

The 77% wage gap statistic is simply the difference between median annual earnings for men and women. It doesn't take into account seniority, education, or the different choices that men and women make.

That doesn't mean that there's no wage gap for equal work, but determining it would be a much more complex and difficult proposition than just comparing average wages.

We're expected to compete and problems solve, girls seem to be expected to be nothing more then cute.


Yet women are pretty well represented in a great many complex and competitive fields, including law and medicine.

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Indeed
by phoehne on Wed 30th May 2012 02:50 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Indeed"
phoehne Member since:
2006-08-26

The only problem with one of your statement is that there is evidence of a wage gap among entry level workers as well. So, it's not completely explained by 'choices.'

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Indeed
by Kivada on Wed 30th May 2012 04:11 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Indeed"
Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

Yeah, but not as doctors and surgeons, only as nurses and HUCs, least thats what I've seen in every hospital I've ever been in.

As for lawyers, in the photos I've seen of the local law offices there are few if any women pictured working in their office as full lawyers, sure they may have several women working as paralegals, but they aren't going to be the ones arguing in front of a judge, at least not any time soon.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Indeed
by Dave_K on Wed 30th May 2012 12:12 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Indeed"
Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

Yeah, but not as doctors and surgeons, only as nurses and HUCs, least thats what I've seen in every hospital I've ever been in.


I couldn't find any statistics for the US, but in the UK women make up over 40% of doctors. At the moment significantly more women are graduating with medical qualifications, and women doctors are set to outnumber men in the profession in the next five years.

As for lawyers, in the photos I've seen of the local law offices there are few if any women pictured working in their office as full lawyers


According to the statistics I've seen, women make up 32% of lawyers in the US, although only 20% of partners in law firms. It's not full equality, but the number of women in law is increasing year on year, and that's certainly a much better balance than in IT.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Indeed
by phoehne on Wed 30th May 2012 02:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Indeed"
phoehne Member since:
2006-08-26

Implicit in that statement is that there is a meritocracy when it comes to getting the contract and there is no discrimination. That's wishful thinking. Personal relationships matter, especially in areas where it's hard to judge the output of the product. Is the software buggy because the contractor did a bad job, or is this a really hard problem with lots of last minute changes by the client? The personal relationships are so important that many contractors happily hire former senior people in those agencies only in part because they have 'business knowledge,' but even more importantly, they have those connections. Even if they have to spend 1 year at some other client because of ethics rules (and they don't get a waiver), the connections are still valid. So discrimination is inherent in the process. The same can be said for the relationship between the prime contractor and the subs, where they've worked with each other and for each other for several years.

Now add to that the fact that these guys started working in the late 70's and 80's, when things were not politically correct. They are the by product of going to male-only country clubs (Augusta is one of the last ones but they were more common in the 80's and 70's), strip clubs after work (even in the 90's this was a common enough practice that one of my co-workers 'sucked it up' and went anyway because the rest of her team was going), and (in the case of the military) explicit prohibitions against women serving in certain roles.

So, I agree with you discrimination is completely unfair. However, discrimination is inherent in the existing system. Because of discrimination, these networks were formed between people which are now used to secure business relationships. I agree that there *should* be no discrimination, but in point of fact there is. Women were excluded from these networks (in some cases very intentionally) when these networks were formed. To say that women are being coddled is stupid. It shows that 1) you haven't been around for very long, and 2) you have done little or no thinking about this issue.

Reply Score: 2

v RE[2]: Indeed
by mjg59 on Tue 29th May 2012 02:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Indeed"
RE: Indeed
by earksiinni on Mon 28th May 2012 21:01 UTC in reply to "Indeed"
earksiinni Member since:
2009-03-27

Ah, yes. The "Hey, you're an X! Can I call on you as a representative of X?" card. Its close cousin: "I don't hate X's! I even have an X friend!"

It wouldn't have been bad if he did include such interviews, but then it would've been a different kind of piece: namely, an interview. Not having done so hardly makes him a sexist or discredits his "journalistic integrity" (P.S.: isn't this a blog?)

Reply Score: 5

RE: Indeed
by JAlexoid on Tue 29th May 2012 02:32 UTC in reply to "Indeed"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

As a male IT worker and having worked a lot with women in IT, I can say that they don't need our help.
Women in IT are perfectly capable of pursuing a great and a rewarding career without artificial interference. In fact, most of women in IT do have great careers.

Then there is the software development field, that has traditionally been seen as a bad place for women to work.
That space in not a boys club because boys decided for it to be so. It's a boys club, because a woman has to deny her socially acceptable role and, sometimes even, biological burdens.
Why? The biggest factor is that it tends to be very dynamic and takes a lot of time and energy outside of work.
Is aye-tee the exception? No way. Any field that requires 8h for work + X hours of educating yourself per day is less likely to have a lot of women. Not because women are less likely to learn, au contraire, but because it takes too much personal time. (ex medical research tends to have a similar problem)
Is it limited to women? Oh hell no. Many men move out to "less of a technical positions" because it takes too much time. But we only judge by the people that are left behind in "that" department.

Out of all women I know in IT, only 1 is still in a developer role. She's extraordinary, to say the least. The rest, have moved on to project management, business analysis, enterprise architecture and other less dynamic areas of IT. In their words - "I like working more with people" (in other words "A developer position was taking too much time away from personal interactions")

As for starting a company, women are sociologically more risk averse(for the better). So no wonder that there are both less women starting businesses and even less so in IT.

Reply Score: 6

already past fair and missed the mark
by TechGeek on Mon 28th May 2012 19:58 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

We have already compensated for the differences in gender so much that the average woman now has a better chance in getting into a STEM career than a white male. Yet I can't help but think about some of the statistics that a female graduate student in our IT program found during her thesis project. The number one reason why women don't want to be in IT: "I don't want to spend all day working with computers, I want to work with people." The number one reason why women chose IT as a career: money. Now here is the real kicker. 25+% of women will leave the IT field within 5-10 years and never go back. They either change careers or quit working to have a family.

What that tells me is that we are pushing women into a field they won't be happy in just because we think the field should be 50-50%.

Instead of focusing on a certain field, we need to develop a system of promoting career exploration so that everyone finds their niche, whatever it may be, without worrying about the statistics.

Reply Score: 14

Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

I'm curious: Where do you get that 25% figure, and can you separate out career changes vs. no longer working (for family or whatever)? How do these numbers compare to other industries?

Also, do you have equivalent numbers for men?

Reply Score: 4

ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

The number one reason why women don't want to be in IT: "I don't want to spend all day working with computers, I want to work with people."


There's actually a video put together by Google employees to address just that misconception but, unfortunately, I forgot to bookmark it because I didn't realize Women@Google had put together so many other videos too.

Reply Score: 3

Timmmm Member since:
2006-07-25

I'm not sure Google is very representative. Unless they did a survey of lots of people outside Google.

Reply Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

25+% of women will leave the IT field within 5-10 years and never go back.

To my experience it's even higher than 25% in even less time - 2-5 years.

Reply Score: 2

Your premise is completely wrong
by lindkvis on Mon 28th May 2012 20:01 UTC
lindkvis
Member since:
2006-11-21

... and your whole argument is built upon this fallacy:
that affirmative action or female quotas are about giving women special treatment because they aren't as capable.

This is not the case. It is about combating the current outright bias and bigotry among the men that decide upon promotions and employment in the IT industry. Only when women are well represented in tech industries will they get a properly fair chance.

Now, even if you disagree, your argument is still flawed, because you completely fail to discuss the reasons for quotas and affirmative action, but just take it as fact that it is about capability.

Shame on you.

Edit: You really need to read this:

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowes...

Edited 2012-05-28 20:03 UTC

Reply Score: 4

looncraz Member since:
2005-07-24

Hmm... let us do a little exercise:

Ten people are vying for the same position - as a L1 Code QA C++ Tech at a small/medium - stable, profitable, and well-respected - company. The job pays $65k/year starting, with a typical benefits package. This person will be critical to your operation's ability to deliver quality products on time due to increased demands. You currently employee 28 white males, 2 white females, 5 Hispanic males, 1 Hispanic female, one black female, and one Asian male.

Or 34 males, and 4 females. This is a very typical ratio, in my experience, but you have been told to give women priority because of the government's regulations. Further, you have been informed that your racial ratio is out-of-whack for your area, as blacks make up 35% of the local population, Hispanics make up 28%, and whites take up most of the remainder.

You then look through the applications summary:

SEX, RACE, DEGREE(S) @ GPA, EXP

01. M, W, BS (CS) @ 3.76, 2 yrs
02. M, W, BS (CS) @ 3.83 & BA(PS) @ 3.41, none
03. F, B, BS (CS) @ 3.11, 1 yr internship
04. M, H, BA (MK) @ 3.52, 4 yrs
05. M, W, -- (--) @ -.--, 20 yrs
06. M, W, MA (CS) @ 3.81 & BS (PH) @ 3.74, 3 yrs
07. M, W, BS (SA) @ 3.76, 6 years
08. M, B, MA (CH) @ 3.31 & BS (CS) @ 3.04, 7 yrs
09. M, W, DR (CS) @ 3.92 & BS (SA) @ 3.58, 2 yrs
10. F, W, BS (CS) @ 3.63, 3 yrs

Which would be best qualified for the job?

You can't afford to try someone with no experience, so you disqualify those completely. You want to disqualify the guy without a degree (#5), but his 20 years of experience in the field seems that it should make up for the lack of a degree.

You do not exclude any females.

One female has a Bachelor's in Computer Science degree and 3 years of experience - but she's white, while your other female is black. So you give them equal footing in your consideration - even though the black female has only a year of intern work under her belt, and a weaker GPA. BUT, thanks to the recession, you have a white male DOCTORATE Graduate competing for this position - he obviously needs a job! He only has two years of experience, but that degree certainly must be worth something!

Please note, you have now discarded all the other qualified males without even a second look, but have kept the two females. One white, and one black. The white one being more qualified, but you considered them equal anyway... but you're favoring the black woman because you need to fix your ratios to be considered "Equal Opportunity."

You make your decision. You hire the black woman. Not because she was more qualified for the job at hand, but because she gets the government off your back.

Sadly, you are still out of ratio, so you will repeat this process every time a non-white female comes in, only accepting the males when you really really can't afford to suffer the loss of talent - or when your ratio is decent enough.

See anything wrong with these practices now?

How about this:

In the military, women do no compete against the men for their ranks or jobs. They compete entirely against other women.

Men applying are typically 15-20% better scorers than women. Meaning a man scoring an exam score of 95 will 'flunk out' of the same job that a woman passed with a score of 89.

Does that sound right to you?

It doesn't to me.

--The loon

Reply Score: 11

the_trapper Member since:
2005-07-07

How about this:

In the military, women do no compete against the men for their ranks or jobs. They compete entirely against other women.


I don't know what military you served in or when, but currently the United States Army does everything it can to make competition for ranks and jobs equal for each gender. The obvious exception to this is the combat arms series of professions, which has traditionally barred females completely, however, this is actually starting to change, believe it or not. Obviously there are some physical differences between males and females when it comes to their physical abilities, so they are scored on different scales when it comes to running and pushups. Situps are graded the exact same way between the two genders, and our promotion system is IDENTICAL for both genders and all professions. Weapons marksmanship is IDENTICAL for both genders as well.

Reply Score: 2

radix Member since:
2012-02-07

I'm wondering why are men discriminated in pushups and running ...

Reply Score: 2

the_trapper Member since:
2005-07-07

I'm wondering why are men discriminated in pushups and running ...


It's a simple matter of physical differences. When the scoring tables were created for the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) they had a group of soldiers complete 2 minutes of pushups, 2 minutes of situps, and a timed 2 mile run. The results were then used to create a scoring table. They found that most women scored lower on pushups and running than their male peers.

Reply Score: 3

radix Member since:
2012-02-07

Well, statisticians also found that black people tend to score lower on SAT than asian. That doesn't mean that admission scores to universities should be lower for black people.

This is simply discrimination. Men's performance need to be significantly better than women's to succeed.

Reply Score: 1

the_trapper Member since:
2005-07-07

Well, statisticians also found that black people tend to score lower on SAT than asian. That doesn't mean that admission scores to universities should be lower for black people. This is simply discrimination. Men's performance need to be significantly better than women's to succeed.


You can't possibly be serious in arguing that this is the same thing. Males and females have different physical characteristics. Do you honestly think that your average female can does as many pushups as your average male? (Note that I said AVERAGE, of course there are exceptions to this.)

The physicial differences between different races are much less than the physical differences between the different genders. Also, there is considerable evidence that the differences between races on SAT scores is due to social issues, not genetic differences. Black people have a tendency to attend public schools in poorer areas than their asian counterparts.

There are a lot of aspects to the Army's promotion system which are unfair, but gender differences are not one of them.

Reply Score: 2

radix Member since:
2012-02-07

You can't possibly be serious in arguing that this is the same thing.


I am. Does it matter whether the difference in SAT scores are caused by genetic or societal factors? It's still the same thing - you positively discriminate some group of people because of their lower performance.

Males and females have different physical characteristics. Do you honestly think that your average female can does as many pushups as your average male? (Note that I said AVERAGE, of course there are exceptions to this.)


Can't argue with that. However, army is not about averages, top 10% or whatever. Admission tests are there to test that you can perform to some certain level in combat situations where it doesn't matter if you are man, woman, black, eskimo etc. Performance is all that matters.

Reply Score: 2

looncraz Member since:
2005-07-24

I'm an Army spouse - I've witnessed it first hand.

--The loon

Reply Score: 3

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

... and your whole argument is built upon this fallacy: that affirmative action or female quotas are about giving women special treatment because they aren't as capable.


I'll give you that one... That is not the current or historic rationale to such programs - they have never been about compensating for reduced capabilities. Thom should retract that bit in his article because it is patently false.

This is not the case. It is about combating the current outright bias and bigotry among the men that decide upon promotions and employment in the IT industry.


And I agree, yes - that is exactly what it is "about".

Only when women are well represented in tech industries will they get a properly fair chance.


That I don't agree with. I work in IT - with women. My boss is a woman. All said the percentage of women in our IT department is around 10%.

Is that "well represented"? What exactly would be? Do we have "only" 10% women because we discriminate? Are we bigots? I'm sorry but the entire point of view you are promoting is a steaming pile of horsesh*t... We have 10% women in our department, but I would guarantee you that the percentage of women applying for jobs is way less than 10% (more like 3% if that)...

You want more women in IT? Get them to go into IT. If they are good then they will get hired. If they are really good they will get promoted. Im not saying there is no sexism going on - but sexism isn't the problem... The problem is simply less women than men pursuing careers in IT.

I can't speak for any other companies, but at ours women already have a better than fair chance - and it isn't because of affirmative action, it is because more often than not the well qualified ones are quite good at their jobs. Isn't that a good thing? Would it be better that we had 30% women but most of them sucked because we hired them just because of their sex?

I'm sorry but it feels like a solution looking for a problem that for the most part isn't there... Yes, there are sexist twits at every company (probably even mine), but do you really think these guys are running things? Anyone working in IT (especially in development) in this day and age that think that a woman can't do the job as well as a man is a moron... Most people I know would agree with that statement. Haven't you already won?

Just to be clear, I'm not against affirmative action - as in the real meaning of the term - taking actions that promote job openings equally to all. But I am against quotas and other such favoritism practices that masquerade as something else but in reality are really quotas (which are still technically illegal in the US but you would be hard pressed to notice). And I am definitely against the notion that success is judged by how "well represented" a group is. Equal salary? Fair game, I totally understand that one. But looking at the problem as being percentage employed is just moronic - that shouldn't be the goal...

edit: To expand upon that last statement... The problem with setting employment goals (as in percentages) is that it transforms the problem from "making things fair" to "making things fairer than they were last year". Everyone gets the magic 50% target number on the brain and forgets about the real problem... At some point things will truly be fair, but it won't be because 50% of IT workers are women, it will because no one even thinks about it anymore.

Edited 2012-05-29 08:35 UTC

Reply Score: 5

From the other side of the fence ...
by MacTO on Mon 28th May 2012 20:04 UTC
MacTO
Member since:
2006-09-21

I feel qualified to comment on this because I am a male working in a female dominated industry. Even though there is an desire to recruit more men, men still actively suffer from discrimination.

The problem is that prejudice enters the hiring process in insidious ways. Employers actively pursue skill sets or attitudes that are dominant in one gender rather than the other. This has nothing to do with being able to do the job effectively, it simply reflects what the employer thinks that the employee needs in order to fit into the workplace.

Let's assume that you've acquired the skill set and attitudes that are desirable in that industry. You walk into that boardroom to negotiate a contract (may it be as a contractor or an employee), and you have to face the stereotypes again. It doesn't matter if those stereotypes are demonstrably untrue, people will still assume that you fit into that culturally dictated role to a lesser or greater degree.

Stuff like that is why incentives are required to hire women for IT jobs or (in my case) men for teaching jobs.

Yet that still doesn't negate some of the challenges that the contractor or employee may face when they have secured that contract. Swaths of IT seem to be like the police force: dominated by men who cannot keep their hormones under control. I'm not comfortable around men who behave in such a disgusting manner. I can hardly imagine what it would be like to be a woman who has to actively deal with it.

Reply Score: 5

You misunderstand Affirmative Action
by Drumhellar on Mon 28th May 2012 20:38 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

Thom, these types of Affirmative Action rules aren't based on the premise that women need help, either due to lesser ability, or a perceived lesser ability. Nor are they born out of an attempt to change public perceptions of women.

The purpose of WOSB is to improve the visibility of women in business and technology as a means to combat the subtle, but pervasive influences and social pressures that affect women their entire life, steering them away from business or technology oriented careers.

Some of these influences are more obvious, like buying Legos and Erector Sets for boys, but dolls and easy-bake-ovens for girls, but some effects are more subtle. One such influence is teacher insecurities for grade-school subjects. Statistically, women teachers are more likely to report feeling insecure bout math and science subjects as compared to their male counterparts. Girls will learn these insecurities from female teachers (but not from male teachers), and over time they accumulate. Note that girls will also learn confidence in the same subjects when they have female teachers that display confidence.

These programs are to show women that women can be successful.

Edited 2012-05-28 20:53 UTC

Reply Score: 6

rr7.num7 Member since:
2010-04-30

Thom, these types of Affirmative Action rules aren't based on the premise that women need help, either due to lesser ability, or a perceived lesser ability. Nor are they born out of an attempt to change public perceptions of women.

The purpose of WOSB is to improve the visibility of women in business and technology as a means to combat the subtle, but pervasive influences and social pressures that affect women their entire life, steering them away from business or technology oriented careers.

Some of these influences are more obvious, like buying Legos and Erector Sets for boys, but dolls and easy-bake-ovens for girls, but some effects are more subtle. One such influence is teacher insecurities for grade-school subjects. Statistically, women teachers are more likely to report feeling insecure bout math and science subjects as compared to their male counterparts. Girls will learn these insecurities from female teachers (but not from male teachers), and over time they accumulate. Note that girls will also learn confidence in the same subjects when they have female teachers that display confidence.

These programs are to show women that women can be successful.


What these programs show is that women can be successful... as long as they get special help.

Reply Score: 1

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

What these programs show is that women can be successful... as long as they get special help.


What, and us males don't get special help by the prevalence of precognitive bias for males in technical roles?

I don't know about you, but I don't feel threatened by correcting for precognitive bias against women.

Reply Score: 3

Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

I don't know about you, but I don't feel threatened by correcting for precognitive bias against women.


I'd question whether that's all affirmative action is designed to do. Its proponents often go much further than that, for example pushing for quota systems intended to manufacture equality of outcome.

In addition, I think that crudely attempting to balance things by providing advantages to women could reinforce any biases. You can say that it's just making things fairer, but it certainly makes it look like women can't succeed without special treatment. When women are employed in preference to more experienced and qualified men it's bound to create resentment too.

Reply Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"I don't know about you, but I don't feel threatened by correcting for precognitive bias against women.


I'd question whether that's all affirmative action is designed to do. Its proponents often go much further than that, for example pushing for quota systems intended to manufacture equality of outcome.
"

Sure. But affirmative action opponents are in dangerous territory when they implicitly assert there isn't even any precognitive bias, or even postcognitive bias, as a reason to get rid of it. Improve it by all means, but to even reject it I think is crazy.

In addition, I think that crudely attempting to balance things by providing advantages to women could reinforce any biases. You can say that it's just making things fairer, but it certainly makes it look like women can't succeed without special treatment. When women are employed in preference to more experienced and qualified men it's bound to create resentment too.


In my experience reading these kinds of discussions here, on Slashdot, on entertainment "news" and such-like, the only people to whom it would seem that affirmative action equates to women (or blacks or gays) not being able to succeed without special treatment are those who ignore the facts and have some bias against women (or blacks or gays) in the first place.

Hey, a great number of men get hired over more experienced or qualified men too. We should address the problems of nepotism and favouritism, but they are orthogonal to gender affirmative action.

And if someone resents another person being hired or promoted above them and jumps to the conclusion that it's "reverse sexism", I question their ability to think logically. A lot of male techies like to think they're logical and factual, but they often end up using their own very narrow view of the world as though it were representative of everywhere.

Reply Score: 2

Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

Hey, a great number of men get hired over more experienced or qualified men too. We should address the problems of nepotism and favouritism, but they are orthogonal to gender affirmative action.


Two wrongs don't make a right. When there's a clear case of nepotism, such as a director's unqualified nephew being given a top job, there'll be a lot of resentment towards them from other members of staff. They'd better be great at their job if they want that initial unfair advantage to ever be forgotten.

Affirmative action creating preferential hiring/promotion for particular groups is effectively favouritism as official policy. The risk is that every member of the group it's designed to help (including those who've succeeded purely through merit) might be seen in the same light as a beneficiary of nepotism.

And if someone resents another person being hired or promoted above them and jumps to the conclusion that it's "reverse sexism", I question their ability to think logically.


If there's an affirmative action policy in place designed to give women preferential treatment then they're hardly jumping to an illogical conclusion.

I've sat through a meeting where the need for more women was discussed, with it agreed that relative qualifications would be ignored, and any woman meeting the basic requirements for the post would be hired. I don't think it's a massive leap see "reverse sexism" in that.

I'd say there was some regular sexism there too, as to me it seemed rather patronising to women. After all, despite any biases and discrimination that may exist, there are still plenty of women who've succeeded in IT without that kind of affirmative action.

Reply Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"Hey, a great number of men get hired over more experienced or qualified men too. We should address the problems of nepotism and favouritism, but they are orthogonal to gender affirmative action.


Two wrongs don't make a right.
"

That was kind of my point. Just because some women do get hired unfairly is no reason to then go and dismantle the policy of affirmative action. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Affirmative action creating preferential hiring/promotion for particular groups is effectively favouritism as official policy. The risk is that every member of the group it's designed to help (including those who've succeeded purely through merit) might be seen in the same light as a beneficiary of nepotism.


As a scientifically minded person, I say screw people's perceptions. If they like to perceive whatever makes them happy, go right ahead. The only things I'm interested in are the actual numbers.

This is no different than how the Christians of a Christian-majority country can see themselves as being persecuted. Who cares about what they feel? They're wrong.

I've sat through a meeting where the need for more women was discussed, with it agreed that relative qualifications would be ignored, and any woman meeting the basic requirements for the post would be hired. I don't think it's a massive leap see "reverse sexism" in that.


It's a strange thing that opponents of affirmative action talk about merits and achievements and qualifications, but they always use anecdotal evidence to back it up. Why don't we actually measure the differences in the hiring of women now and before affirmative action? Measure how many of them did not deserve their positions?

After all, despite any biases and discrimination that may exist, there are still plenty of women who've succeeded in IT without that kind of affirmative action.


Yes, but why should people have to go through a trial by fire in the first place? Especially when you don't have to? It's easy for people like us to say, given that we've been advantaged by being born male.

Reply Score: 2

rr7.num7 Member since:
2010-04-30

That was kind of my point. Just because some women do get hired unfairly is no reason to then go and dismantle the policy of affirmative action. Two wrongs don't make a right.


Oh, but affirmative action is the second wrong.

Reply Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,


"And if someone resents another person being hired or promoted above them and jumps to the conclusion that it's 'reverse sexism'"

I get your point. However considering how few females there are in the field, I find it almost humorous to think anyone holds much resentment towards them for taking away their carrier opportunities as a male. If every qualified female who wanted an IT job was given one, I doubt it'd make much of a dent in available jobs. (Maybe things are changing, but it was rare to have more than 2 females in any of my CS classes. Some CS classes had none at all.)


"Hey, a great number of men get hired over more experienced or qualified men too. We should address the problems of nepotism and favouritism"

I've witnessed alot of this. More often than not the person with connections will automatically win out over others just because of the connections. Occasionally I've even been the benefactor of this policy (even if only for small clients).

Reply Score: 2

Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07


I'd question whether that's all affirmative action is designed to do. Its proponents often go much further than that, for example pushing for quota systems intended to manufacture equality of outcome.

The quotas are in place because of the basics of human psychology, nobody wants to be the only one at the party, it's like calling up someone and saying "Hey, we're having a party, but not allot of people are showing up, wanna come?"

If you say there are no women in IT, then no girls will want to go into IT.

It's sad to see that something so basic as this even has to be discussed in a profession with such a high education level, as you wold believe people with this level of intellect would be able to see this plain as day.

Reply Score: 2

rr7.num7 Member since:
2010-04-30

What, and us males don't get special help by the prevalence of precognitive bias for males in technical roles?

I don't know about you, but I don't feel threatened by correcting for precognitive bias against women.


"Us"? I don't know about you, but I've always worked very hard, even in my free time, to be good at what I do. I've never felt like I was underqualified for any job I've had, so I don't have any reason to believe that I've received special help. If I knew there's someone better suited than me for a job, but I'm getting it because of someone doing me a favour, I would reject it. And I don't want to sound arrogant, but I've never felt threatened by anyone, male or female. That's one of the good sides of being semi-obsessed with your career, I guess.

My problem with affirmative action is exactly what Thom (and others) already said. That's all. It doesn't have anything to do with the fact that I am not a woman. I do have a sister, nieces, and maybe I'll have a daughter one day, so, I'd have to be very stupid, selfish and short-sighted to oppose to it just because it made me feel "threatened", or because it doesn't directly benefit myself. Every time I read or hear something along the lines of "oh, you just say it because you are not a woman/black/whatever", it makes me feel like I'm back in elementary school. I'm better than that, and I hope you're too. For instance, I don't like tattoos or piercings, but I really, really hate it when tattooed/pierced people get discriminated. And, of course, I would be against banning tattoo shops, and against affirmative action too.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by mtzmtulivu
by mtzmtulivu on Mon 28th May 2012 20:43 UTC
mtzmtulivu
Member since:
2006-11-14

lets say there are 100 equally qualified applicants and only 3 are women.

What are the chances that a woman will get selected if gender does not play a part? Can you suggest how to increase te number of these highly qualified women without paying attention to gender? At some level or another, you have to.

Statistically speaking,under the above scenario, men will always get selected more simply because far too many of them apply and special attention need to be made to get more women.

Under such disproportionate level, even some higher qualified women may get passed simply because those who select applicants are simply overwhelmed with male applications.

Getting more women even those who are less qualified to meet the quota will do more harm than good. Ignoring statistical inequality and assume this will even out eventually will most likely do more harm than good.

Taking active steps to get more qualified women who would otherwise be missed due to a much larger number of male applicants will do society well. More women present will encourage more qualified women to apply and things might even out eventually.

Reply Score: 4

A slice of ~IT history
by zima on Mon 28th May 2012 21:07 UTC
zima
Member since:
2005-07-06

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Lovelace
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_Computers
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_computer "ENIAC [...] the world's first professional computer programmers were women"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper "developed the first compiler for a computer programming language"

Yeah, women can do just fine.
(and you know, most men can't...)

Edited 2012-05-28 21:08 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: A slice of ~IT history
by MacTO on Mon 28th May 2012 21:52 UTC in reply to "A slice of ~IT history"
MacTO Member since:
2006-09-21

You are missing something: in most cases, women were accepted for those programming roles because it was a mechanical task. In most cases, it would have been men who did the stuff that we think of as programming today: developing the algorithms that they women entered into the computer (or executed themselves, in the case of human computers). And the main reason why women were given those opportunity was the lack of able men to fill the role. The able men were already on the front or contributing to the war effort at home. Most of the remaining men weren't good fit for anything.

I don't mean to paint this as a negative thing. Grace Hopper was certainly a solid contributor to the field of computer science and the employment of women during the war opened up opportunities for women to enter and remain in the workforce after the war. But most of the women in early computing were doing the mundane stuff that men didn't want to.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: A slice of ~IT history
by zima on Mon 4th Jun 2012 23:59 UTC in reply to "RE: A slice of ~IT history"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Well though it was happening also outside (before, after) the time of (the) war.
Not even necessarily a very universal factor - a lot of women fought on the eastern front. Plus only minority of men were shipped away to fight, and women were also "contributing to the war effort at home" in more general terms.

But yeah, largely a matter of acceptance - already in the works, coming also from earlier inroads into ~office (thanks to introduction of typewriter for example)

Edited 2012-06-05 00:19 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Gullible Jones
Member since:
2006-05-23

We guys get most of the advantages most of the time, we can take a little discrimination against us for a change. Man up and deal with it!

Reply Score: 4

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Yeah! Screw emancipation!

Reply Score: 2

you've completely misunderstood
by michaelt on Mon 28th May 2012 21:19 UTC
michaelt
Member since:
2012-05-28

You seem to have completely misunderstood the purpose of such a law. The point is not that women need help because they are inherently not as capable as men, the point is to overcome the rather pervasive prejudice against them in IT to showcase that they are, in fact, perfectly capable. Unfortunately, without such a law, they will not be given the chance. Women don't need help because they are incapable of doing the job as well as men, they need help to combat discrimination (which may not even be conscious, I will add). Let's face it, technology is a boys club, and it has nothing to do with ability.

Ensuring that women get into the workplace is the only way to eliminate preconceptions and prejudices, and encourage girls to pursue a career dominated by men without fear of being held back because of their gender.

So while I understand where you are coming from in this post, you've unfortunately completely missed the boat.

Reply Score: 2

RE: you've completely misunderstood
by radix on Mon 28th May 2012 21:51 UTC in reply to "you've completely misunderstood"
radix Member since:
2012-02-07

Okay, there's probably some discrimination. So let's replace informal discrimination with discrimination by law. If that doesn't work (still too little women), let's throw some more discrimination. After some time we may find out that there are simply less women interested in technology than men (as there are less male elementary school teachers than female).

Reply Score: 3

RE: you've completely misunderstood
by jgfenix on Mon 28th May 2012 21:57 UTC in reply to "you've completely misunderstood"
jgfenix Member since:
2006-05-25

I think Thom understood it perfectly. And I think that he is completely right: quotes solve nothing

Reply Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Let's face it, technology is a boys club, and it has nothing to do with ability.


It's quite a bit more than just "we don't want no stinking girls". When we accept women, they skip on giving feminine insights that a lot of tech needs.

See a very interesting talk: http://youtu.be/TmROmy5jT80

Reply Score: 3

Affirmative action isn't a solution
by Dave_K on Mon 28th May 2012 21:49 UTC
Dave_K
Member since:
2005-11-16

Setting aside any issues of whether affirmative action as a concept is right or wrong, a major practical problem is that it comes into play far too late to create the intended outcome. It doesn't take into account the fact that men and women have (on average) already chosen different paths before they even enter college, let alone join the workforce.

I think it's fair to say that fewer women take an interest in fields like IT and engineering while growing up. Even with programmes to encourage women to study these subjects, they're certainly still heavily male dominated in university.

If most of the graduates in a particular field are men, then most of the people entering professions requiring those qualifications will also be men. The reverse is true if you look at fields (like psychology for example) that are becoming female dominated. That inequality of outcome will still exist even if there's no sex discrimination when hiring employees.

This is something I've seen while working in IT. When a job was advertised there'd often be 20+ male applicants and maybe one single woman. Needless to say, the office was full of guys.

I'm sure some people would be looking to blame that on misogynists at the company giving preferential treatment to men. In reality management went out of their way to hire women, even if they were less qualified and experienced than some male applicants. But it wouldn't have mattered if they'd hired every woman who applied, there still wouldn't have been a 50/50 split.

Affirmative action practices like gender quotas and preferential hiring can't create qualified women out of thin air. I don't think they'll work without first convincing women to make different choices from an early age.

Reply Score: 4

michaelt Member since:
2012-05-28

Have you ever considered the reason why women don't choose IT careers? You think it might just be that women naturally don't want that sort of job? Seems a little far fetched to me. How about this one: maybe women don't want to pursue an IT career because it is completely male dominated and they don't want to spend their lives being drooled over by an office full of IT guys? Not a great work environment. Now, I'm not say that all male IT workers are going to be creepy or hostile to female employees (although, please refer to the rise of the brogrammer), but that is certainly the prevailing stereotype. Ensuring that more women get jobs in IT will demonstrate to young women that IT is a career that they can pursue and enjoy, and will encourage them to pursue it. So yes, affirmative action CAN help create qualified women, but I wouldn't say it's out of thin air.

Reply Score: 4

Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

Have you ever considered the reason why women don't choose IT careers? You think it might just be that women naturally don't want that sort of job?


I didn't say that. Although I do think that men and women are different (on average), and I'm not convinced that as a group they'd always make the same choices, even if they were treated identically.

My point was that unequal representation in a particular workplace doesn't necessarily mean that there's discrimination in that environment. That seems obvious to me, but a lot of feminists (and other affirmative action proponents) seem to take inequality of outcome as proof of unfair treatment.

Why men tend to choose some fields and women tend to choose others is a different issue. One that the forms of positive discrimination I've encountered (such as gender quotas when hiring employees) don't really take into account.

Ensuring that more women get jobs in IT will demonstrate to young women that IT is a career that they can pursue and enjoy, and will encourage them to pursue it. So yes, affirmative action CAN help create qualified women, but I wouldn't say it's out of thin air.


To significantly increase the percentage of women in their IT department, the company I used to work for would have had to hire women who weren't just unqualified, but were also uninterested in the job.

I'm not sure that hiring blatantly unsuitable female applicants would really do much for women in IT. How much respect would they get if it was known that they were only hired as part of a social engineering project to encourage the next generation?

Reply Score: 2

v You fucking moron.
by blahbl4hblah on Mon 28th May 2012 21:52 UTC
RE: You fucking moron.
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 28th May 2012 22:17 UTC in reply to "You fucking moron."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

The gains from the feminist and civil rights movements were really very important. The fact that you don't understand them is saddening. There is more to this issue than you weird attempt at painting it in the typical "anti-man bias" that is usually reserved for reactionary angry white man bullshit. Let me guess, you probably also think that "reverse racism" is real as well.


...what?

Reply Score: 2

RE: You fucking moron.
by M.Onty on Mon 28th May 2012 22:25 UTC in reply to "You fucking moron."
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

You fucking moron.


I'd say positive discrimination is a debatable point where its possible to make a strong, considered case either for or against. Yet you start your case with "you fucking moron".

Why bother writing the rest of the comment? Who do you think is going to be prepared to agree with you after reading past the title?

Reply Score: 2

RE: You [explitive deleted]
by jerryk on Mon 28th May 2012 22:41 UTC in reply to "You fucking moron."
jerryk Member since:
2010-09-24

When you resort to name-calling, it is a flag to most people that you have no argument. Furthermore, your vulgarity indicates you might have forgotten a sentence in the "Implicit trust" section of this website ("We like to think we can trust our readers to behave nicely.")

Affirmative Action is a PC term for reverse discrimination. It is just as wrong as the original discrimination and it does nothing to solve the original problem. Like several posters have said, it creates resentment for a lot of people.

Reply Score: 3

RE: You fucking moron.
by chmeee on Tue 29th May 2012 15:25 UTC in reply to "You fucking moron."
chmeee Member since:
2006-01-10

The correct solution to this type of problem is NEVER to go to the extreme opposite, it is to eliminate the problem. You don't solve a problem by creating another problem.

"Reverse discrimination" is still discrimination. If one form of discrimination is intolerable, then all forms must be.

Any form of discrimination breeds entitlement. Nobody is entitled to anything, you must work for your success. "Success" handed to you is not success at all.

Reply Score: 2

Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

The system we used in local government in the UK was quite a good one and it was called Equal Opportunities, usually shortened to just 'Equal Op's.

First: we had to monitor and record the ethnic, gender, and where known sexual orientation, of our workforce at regular intervals. These stats were published along side similar population stats so that everyone could see which social groups were being under represented.

Second: everyone involved in recruitment had to undertake special Equal Op's training so that all interviewers and selectors of candidates were educated and trained in how to conduct fair and open recruitment programmes.

Third: Every job interview had to be scored independently by three people who kept full notes and had to use the same objective system of scoring against agreed lists of desirable skills and abilities required for the job. Those notes could and often were scrutinised if anyone felt they had been discriminated against.

Fourth: because those excluded and discriminated against in employment often could not acquire the required skills or experience, and thus a cycle of exclusion was created, it was mandatory for recruiters and interviewers to look for what were called transferable skills. For example if the ability to manage budgets was required and someone had never done that professionally but had managed the budget of a church, or voluntary association then that was a transferable skill.

Fifth: any overt expression of discriminatory or insulting opinions or abusive behaviour was a very, very serious and sackable offence.

The stated aim of the policy was that over time the ethnic and gender profile of our workforce (which was the largest local employer with over 10,000 posts) should try to match the local ethnic and gender population profiles. And over time it went from being way off profile to becoming a much closer fit.

And there was no positive discrimination.

Reply Score: 4

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

While I'm sure the entire system as you described had a positive outcome, I'm very concerned at step 1:

"First: we had to monitor and record the ethnic, gender, and where known sexual orientation, of our workforce at regular intervals. These stats were published along side similar population stats so that everyone could see which social groups were being under represented."

This was all mandatory? As in, you were forced to answer these questions if you were to work there? I'm actually fairly sure Dutch employers cannot force you to answer questions like this, nor to keep a record of it, nor to publish such records. Mind you, I'm not sure!

The idea that my hypothetical boss (I'm actually self-employed in a female-dominated industry ;) ) would ask me my sexual orientation and record and publish my answer would make me very, very nervous. In due time, if I ever reach the point where I would start hiring people, I would never even dare to institutionalise such questioning.

Reply Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

I don't think that being one of 10'000 respondents to a statistical oriented questionnaire is something to worry about. As long as the answers were anonymous.

Though, I would not answer ethnicity question as it would be a dead giveaway.

Reply Score: 2

M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23


""First: we had to monitor and record the ethnic, gender, and where known sexual orientation, of our workforce at regular intervals.


This was all mandatory? As in, you were forced to answer these questions if you were to work there? I'm actually fairly sure Dutch employers cannot force you to answer questions like this, nor to keep a record of it, nor to publish such records. Mind you, I'm not sure!
"

Nah, its just the last sheet on the application form you fill in. You can ignore it completely, you can describe yourself as part maori, part eskimo, part scouse if you so desire. Your answers won't be associated with your name when published. There's no personal consequences to filling in the form, falsely or otherwise, or leaving it blank.

I have to say I've only ever seen the race one (usually something like [White British / Irish / Black British / Asian British / Other]) on job application forms. There is the ocasional question about religion/denomination elsewhere, but that's pretty irrelevent as most just write 'CofE' to make the question go away.

Edited 2012-05-29 12:17 UTC

Reply Score: 1

bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

1, there are many reasons why certain groups may be under represented, especially in government work where it is often necessary to have security clearances which are much harder if not impossible to obtain depending where you were from.

There are also cultural differences which the employer has no control of, for instance in some cultures it is extremely uncommon for women to work, and there are plenty of immigrants who haven't learned the native language (or haven't learned it very well) of the country they moved to, putting them at a severe disadvantage.

4, Transferrable skills is a good thing, there are lots of people (especially in the IT field) who have exceptionally good skills, but no official paperwork to back them up...

Aiming to match the ethnic and gender profile of the local population is simply not viable at all unless your business is extremely diverse. There are many reasons why particular groups may not want to work at all, or may not want to work in your field of business.

Reply Score: 2

komorian Member since:
2012-05-29

"First" - Thom asks if it's even legal and I'm asking what's it for if you really implement Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth?

"And over time it went from being way off profile to becoming a much closer fit." - And what's your policy if it becomes even less closer fit as a result?

"our workforce (which was the largest local employer...".
Don't you think it's strange and a bit scary? But that's a topic for another article, I guess...

Edited 2012-05-29 10:27 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Incorrect premise
by jessesmith on Mon 28th May 2012 23:26 UTC
jessesmith
Member since:
2010-03-11

The premise of the article is incorrect, affirmative action isn't there because women are seen as any less capable, it's there to offset existing imbalances and unfair practices. It's a corrective measure.

Whenever one of these stories about how there aren't enough women in IT comes out I'm surprised at just how low the numbers are. In almost all of the offices I've worked in over the past ten years or so the IT departments have featured a relatively strong percentage of women in their ranks. Usually in the range of 25% - 50% of the IT staff have been female. Personally I haven't felt there is a difference, professionally speaking, working with women vs men.

In fact, the IT departments I've worked in are usually much more gender-balanced than the accounting departments, legal departments, HR departments and scientific departments in those same offices. Those I've noticed tend to be exclusively one gender or the other.

Reply Score: 1

yesterday's news (literally)
by unclefester on Mon 28th May 2012 23:41 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

There was an article in The Australian newspaper yesterday about introducing 25% enrolment quotas for female (non IT) engineering students at Australian universities. Female engineering enrolments are currently about 10-15%. Female engineering students automatically receive scholarships at some universities.

On a side note the Royal Australian Air Force first allowed females to train as fighter pilots around 10 years ago. Only a handful of women have ever applied and none have completed the five year training programme.

Edited 2012-05-28 23:41 UTC

Reply Score: 2

mramsey
Member since:
2012-05-28

My mother's first programming job was in 1952, on a computer some may be familiar with, called Whirlwind. She started with a degree in applied mathematics as a "computer", basically one of a room full of women with adding machines, calculating ballistic tables. Being a programmer back then was considered a lowly clerical job, the coding interface between the male researchers who devised the equations and the male technicians who wired up the circuit boards that encoded the programs (program memory was just being developed). All of the programmers on that project then were women, it was such a low status job that they had no issue hiring African-Americans to do it (like my mother). And, unlike the researchers and technicians, programming was not considered a true staff position at the MIT laboratory she then worked for.

For a bit more perspective of that era, she met my father there, who had just graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from MIT through the GI bill. His admission to MIT was through a quota system, though not the type Thom is thinking of. In fact MIT (and most other major colleges/universities then) limited the number of non-white males admitted, which basically included women (MIT was nominally "co-ed" then), Jews and other "ethnics", Asians, etc.

Fast forward to 1972 when I started programming. Outside of places like IBM, programming was still a relatively low status job. Some of the programming jobs were basically at minimum wage. Only a small number of computer science programs existed at the time. I ended up at a small office of a then major software house, writing assembly language code for PDP-8s, Novas, and the like. A few of the other programmers had degrees in electrical engineering or mathematics, some either had no degree (like myself), or degrees in english or even music. Programming was something that could be picked up on the job, through the military, in high school (like myself), etc. The majority of the programmers in my office (and nearly half of the hundreds of others working for that company) were women.

By 1980 most universities had computer science programs, status was rising, and programming was becoming a hot high paying job. Companies started competing for the top computer science graduates from MIT, Cal, CMU, Stanford, etc., and for whatever reason, the number of women interviewed and hired started dwindling.

During the early 90s, I was working for a newly public and still well known software company in northern California. I ended up there through the back door, as I started out as a consultant sent in by a workstation company to develop specialized graphics drivers. I would never have been hired if I simply submitted a resume. Out of 100 or so programmers when I was first hired, there was one woman and a handful of minorities. Once they started selling software to the US government they had to have an affirmative action program (covering race and gender) on the books, this was thought by upper management to be a big joke, and was written that way until I complained, and the lawyers advised them this would not go over well.

One last anecdote, towards the end of my stay at this company, I was managing one of the development groups, and happend to wander through the phone support area. I noticed one black kid in there who I'd never seen before (given that out of the then thousands of employees, the number of blacks could still be counted on one hand, this may be understandable). Turns out, he had graduated from the top of his class at Cal with dual degrees in computer science and mathematics. He had had an on-campus with another of the managers (who came back with a stack of resumes mostly from brothers in his former fraternity), submitted resumes for programming positions, etc., and no one noticed. So he managed to get a job in support. I was able to able to arrange for him to be transferred to programming position in another development group, where he ended up doing quite well. That, only because I saw someone who looked like me from 20 years before. From my perspective, none of the managers were particularly biased against anyone, they were simply clueless as to whom they were hiring and why.

This is all a (hopefully) nice roundabout way of informing Thom that I don't think he understands the context in which these discussions are taking place. The IT industry is gradually getting better in terms gender and racial diversity, but there is still a culture that tends to exclude those who are unwilling or unable to conform to their notions of what a programmer should look and act like. No one is suggesting that males should be replaced by less qualified females, just that it is time to switch back from what we now half-seriously refer to as the "brogrammer" culture, to something somewhat more comfortable for all of us...

Reply Score: 6

I'm with Chris Rock
by kwan_e on Tue 29th May 2012 00:18 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

If a white person gets a higher score on a test, or they have greater qualifications, they should get the job over a black person. But if they're EQUAL, fuck the white person. The same principle I think should apply in the case of gender affirmative action.

And I say this as a Chinese male, who has no claim in the argument. If anything, stereotyping may have worked out in favour Chinese (and Asian in general) males.

Reply Score: 4

As a member of a minority group myself
by darknexus on Tue 29th May 2012 00:30 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

I must completely agree with Thom on this point. A woman I am not, however the group of people that I have the misfortune to be a part of (being blind) has its own set of stereotypes that I must overcome--stereotypes, I might add, that most of the group created *using* affirmative action laws. Understand this, reverse discrimination is still discrimination. It doesn't matter how you put it, what words you try to sugar coat it with, facts are facts. From first hand experience, I can certainly confirm that having affirmative action laws in place, for any group, only confirms the stereotypes and hurts everyone in the long run. The individual may get hired but he/she will know that they didn't deserve it, the business might be out the most skilled worker, and resentment spreads from there. You cannot overcome prejudices, of any kind, with laws nor can you stop discrimination by simply adding more of it into the mix.
To anyone who says affirmative action helps, I say you have no idea what you're talking about, and I'll wager you never once had to deal with it. Quite honestly, you people make me sick to my stomach, and this is one of the few attitudes people show that can genuinely piss me off. To all those with such a viewpoint: I don't need your help. I don't even fucking want it, you pompous jerk. I'll wager the same is true for most of those affected, be they women, men, blind, deaf, black, hispanic, etc. You're making it worse for all those affected every time you put one of your dumb ass laws into effect. </rant>
Ok, going to go have a smoke and calm down. Sorry for the strong language, but this topic hits extremely close to me.

Reply Score: 3

Merits
by Alfman on Tue 29th May 2012 00:54 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

"People should be judged on their merits; their skills, qualifications, character, work ethic, track record, the work they produce, and so on."

Well there lies the root of the problem. Women want to be judged on merit, but all too frequently that's not how business or even life works, even for men. If the world were run as a meritocracy, the world would be a completely different place, indeed one where women would have much more prominent roles. But it's not, and affirmative action won't do anything to fix the core issues surrounding the lack of equal opportunity.

How does one fix a cultural phenomenon? I don't know.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Merits
by l3v1 on Tue 29th May 2012 06:12 UTC in reply to "Merits"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

If the world were run as a meritocracy, the world would be a completely different place, indeed one where women would have much more prominent roles.


Well, nicely implying that in a meritocracy women would rule ;) I find that funny and baseless, just as baseless as broadly stating that women are negatively discriminated (when sometimes just the opposite is true). I'm all against negative discrimination, just as I am against over-the-edge positive discrimination (which isn't that rare either), but statements like the above don't help either case.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Merits
by Alfman on Tue 29th May 2012 06:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Merits"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

l3v1,

"Well, nicely implying that in a meritocracy women would rule ;) "

At first I see the wink, so I think your only kidding...ok fine.

"I find that funny and baseless"

But then what's this about? I said "women would have much more prominent roles", how do you feel that's baseless?

I didn't write that women would rule in a meritocracy - you added that. But if it turned out they did rule in a meritocracy, then perhaps they'd merit it after all, don't you think? ;)

Edited 2012-05-29 06:27 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Merits
by l3v1 on Tue 29th May 2012 07:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Merits"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

But if it turned out they did rule in a meritocracy, then perhaps they'd merit it after all, don't you think?


Well, I can't argue with that ;)

But then what's this about? I said "women would have much more prominent roles", how do you feel that's baseless?


I pointed at the implied opinion that a general meritocracy would directly mean women would have more prominent positions, which can't be either proved or disproved.

Edited 2012-05-29 07:09 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Inkit
by Inkit on Tue 29th May 2012 01:22 UTC
Inkit
Member since:
2012-05-29

I agree. You don't find special facilities for male owned beauty salons for example do you?

Reply Score: 2

Sigh.
by mjg59 on Tue 29th May 2012 02:39 UTC
mjg59
Member since:
2005-10-17

The reason this article is offensive nonsense isn't because you're saying something controversial. It's because you're saying something uninformed. You make multiple claims about human nature, the basis of positive discrimination policies and how women feel about discrimination in the computing industry. You back none of this up. It's as meaningless as you presenting an article on your feelings about the rise of Islam in Indonesian culture in the 15th century - you know nothing about this topic, and as a result your conclusions provide no insight whatsoever.

Presenting controversial opinions is easy - it's just a matter of disagreeing with what everyone else is saying. But unless you actually have an argument based on reality rather than whatever random thoughts fill your head when you think about something, you're adding precisely nothing to the discussion. Come back when you're actually able to present some facts rather than ill-informed opinion.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Sigh.
by satsujinka on Tue 29th May 2012 04:56 UTC in reply to "Sigh."
satsujinka Member since:
2010-03-11

If you don't like what Thom said, then all you have to do is disprove his opinion.
1. Affirmative Action doesn't cause businesses to choose less skilled employees from applicants.

A few others you should probably prove:
2. Affirmative Action results in more friendly workplaces for the minority in question.
3. That the minority in question isn't given cause to doubt that their abilities are the reason that they were hired.

If you can't prove those (or disprove their inverse) then you've failed to give any valid reason for the existence of affirmative action and are instead espousing nothing more than discrimination.

Reply Score: 4

two points about discrimination
by TechGeek on Tue 29th May 2012 04:13 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

I have two other points about discrimination. First, a Princeton researcher recently did a study looking at college admissions practices across the country. At most colleges, you get a + for belonging to certain groups. The more +'s you have, the better chance you have of getting in. In the end, the study found that low income white males are at the bottom of the list when it comes to admissions.

Second, lets look at nursing. Nursing is a career that pays well, is in high demand, and dominated (90+%) by women. And yet we see absolutely no movements by any groups to promote men in this field. Why? Maybe because its generally accepted that the career appeals to women more than men? I don't see any real barrier to entry, just like women in IT. So why is there such a difference in attitude?

Reply Score: 2

Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

Because, obviously, there's no such thing as discrimination against men.

At least that's what the local feministas say in response to reports that men may be victims of domestic violence. Under Philippine law, only women and children could ever be victims of DV (cf. Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Law). The original bill was worded to be gender-neutral, but it didn't pass on the premise that allowing men to considered as victims would mean that women would be falsely accused of being abusive. Which is funny, since the "women and children only" definition means that men claiming to be abused (by women) are automatically suspected of being the real abuser.

Reply Score: 3

discrimination
by l3v1 on Tue 29th May 2012 06:04 UTC
l3v1
Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, regarding this article, there's only one thing I'd like to add, which I always do in similar cases as well, which is that I'm against all kinds of discrimination, positive or negative, including such as this, unless special circumstances prove its need. But, there being less women in IT is not a special circumstance, it's just how it is, and it won't change because of extra available funding for women-led businnesses.

Of course I don't live in wonderland, and I know there still exists some sort of difference between men and women at workplaces - sometimes including salaries -, but that is highly unrelated to the IT sector. Don't hate me for putting this bluntly, but the [sad] truth is, most HR people do not prefer young childless women because they can be expected to have children and "drop out" of the workforce for a longish period, and they don't really prefer women with children either, since there could be a lot of problems with kids that deserve a mother's attention, which can sometimes reduce workplace concentration and workload.

My experience with women in IT/CS-related jobs - I do have some colleagues who are women - is totally positive: they can do at least as much as men can do, their results are just as good as others', and - taking the topic of children out of the equation - they are just as dependable as anyone.

Plus, also from my/our experience, it's really nice to also have women around, simply makes the general atmosphere much better than without them.

All in all, I like having women around, workplace or else, and I'm all for helping when necessary - e.g. insuring they have their jobs back after having kids -, but otherwise I feel the mostly made-up discrimination rounds usually unnecessary.

Of course, this can also be a social issue, and less a problem in western societies, so I acknowledge that the topic can't be treated on an equal level globally, and sometimes there's a need for stepping in and advocating equal treatment.

Well, the "one thing" I wanted to add turned out to be a bit more complicated - as always, nothing is simply black and white.

Reply Score: 3

Disregard this article
by Almafeta on Tue 29th May 2012 07:34 UTC
Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

An article like this out of the blue has to be someone somehow getting access to Thom's account.

Reply Score: 2

No
by Coxy on Tue 29th May 2012 08:16 UTC
Coxy
Member since:
2006-07-01

Discrimination is bad, whether positive or negative.

You shouldn't get a job just because of your gender or skin colour.

Why should I not get a job just because another person waiting in the interview room is a woman?

This idea also assumes that hordes of women desperately want to become fat overweight 40 year old virgins sitting infront of 4+ monitors a day using eclipse.

The visitors to linux conventions, and IT conventions would suggest that there are not that many women interested in the subject.

Edited 2012-05-29 08:24 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Not sure it helps either
by Neolander on Tue 29th May 2012 08:34 UTC
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

I'm not inherently against the premise that governments can take action against gender inequality issues, but I also think that job quotas and special funding won't help much.

When you already have a huge asymmetry between men and women at the college education level, it is logical that less women will get "men jobs" in the end. IMO, the right answer is to fight the preconceived ideas that cause this asymmetry earlier in boys' and girls' education.

Acting after that will only cause capable job applicants to be let down in favor of less capable ones on purely sexist grounds, and thus resentment from those who have to face the consequences.

Edited 2012-05-29 08:45 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Hmh.
by WereCatf on Tue 29th May 2012 09:57 UTC
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

Personally, I don't expect or even want any kind of special treatment just because of my gender, it'd feel rather insulting if I got some sort of bonuses because I happen to have breasts. If I am going to work with other people I want to be at the same level with them, anything else will just foster bad atmosphere, like e.g. if you only get the job because you're female then you're much more likely to be shunned by your co-workers or you need to work extra hard to prove to them that you still earn that spot you got.

Yes, some women have trouble working in male-dominated areas, but...well, what I have seen has more-or-less always been that those women were brought up as princesses and were taught to always expect special treatment. If they are brought up like that then obviously they'll run into trouble when they don't get such treatment anymore. This is easy to solve, though it requires a decade or two for the next generation to come up to speed: stop effing bringing up your daughters like some delicate little flowers. Let them do what they feel interested in, don't try to push them in any specific direction and let them enjoy "boyish" adventures, toys and entertainment if they feel like it. Introduce them to electronics, rough sports and climbing in trees just as much as you introduce them to playing home or cooking. They'll grow up to be much more stable and will do just fine later on in their lives even if they end up in male-dominated jobs.

As for women leaving the scene to build a family: well, that is pretty damn self-explanatory. Men cannot get pregnant. That's all I need to say. And no, we do not need some fancy laws to try and "correct" this situation as it's an entirely biological thing that no laws can change, no matter how much you want.

Disclaimer: I'm not working in IT since I'm unemployed so my opinions may or may not even be valid. I would like to work in IT, though, so maybe my opinions matter to someone.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Hmh.
by Neolander on Tue 29th May 2012 17:58 UTC in reply to "Hmh."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

As for women leaving the scene to build a family: well, that is pretty damn self-explanatory. Men cannot get pregnant. That's all I need to say. And no, we do not need some fancy laws to try and "correct" this situation as it's an entirely biological thing that no laws can change, no matter how much you want.

I globally agree with your post, but can't agree with this part of your reasoning. Sure, men can't get pregnant themselves, but they can get others pregnant, and when they knowingly do it to someone who trusts them, I believe it's their moral responsibility to make sure that the event doesn't ruin the professional life of the mother.

After all, we are more or less half-responsible for the existence of them annoying screaming little brat... And for us lucky people, the whole thing is much more straightforward than for the ones who have to bear the children.

(But, on a totally unrelated note, someone should really invent a reliable masculine contraceptive pill)

Edited 2012-05-29 18:03 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Hmh.
by WereCatf on Wed 30th May 2012 00:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Hmh."
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I globally agree with your post, but can't agree with this part of your reasoning. Sure, men can't get pregnant themselves, but they can get others pregnant, and when they knowingly do it to someone who trusts them, I believe it's their moral responsibility to make sure that the event doesn't ruin the professional life of the mother.


It's not really up to the father: a woman is the one who has to carry the child for 9 months with all the negative side-effects that entails and which affect job-performance, a woman is the one who has to breast-feed the child since most men cannot do that, and if the parent is responsible she won't put the child in daycare for atleast the first 3 years.

After the 3 years the father could choose to stay at home with the child and let the woman go back to work, but such a long break from work can really make it hard to go back, and most men still refuse to be the ones taking care of the children. That area is one where more men could grow some balls and take charge of caring for the children at home, that I agree with. It just doesn't seem to be happening.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Hmh.
by Alfman on Wed 30th May 2012 02:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hmh."
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

WereCatf,

"a woman is the one who has to breast-feed the child since most men cannot do that, and if the parent is responsible she won't put the child in daycare for atleast the first 3 years."

Wow, I don't even know how to respond to this. It's sad and painful to leave a child and go to work, but that's the modern reality for every single "responsible" parent I've ever known. Having a spouse stay home full time to take care of the kids is an ideology that few families can afford any more. My wife's job only permitted a year of unpaid leave for childcare before they would dismiss her. Get this, on top of everything else, while she was on leave I was paying $1450/month to continue our cobra health plan that her job stopped covering while she was on leave. She didn't want to go back to work but I don't make enough income to support our family - sometimes I'm so ashamed of this fact that it brings tears to my eyes.


"That area is one where more men could grow some balls and take charge of caring for the children at home, that I agree with. It just doesn't seem to be happening."

It's not an easy thing to do. I watch our child for two weekdays, and the other 3 weekdays she's at childcare. But it's very difficult to find a good job at all, much less one willing to work around childcare. I've been denied positions due to my request to have some time off with her. I'm tormented about taking a job in NYC that pays better but forces me to commute 3.5hrs/day, since I wouldn't see my daughter at all during the week. I know parents who do exactly that, and I find it so sad that society forces us to make family compromises like that.


WereCatf, you need to count your blessings if you can stay home with your child or maybe have a relative that can while you cannot. Don't judge those of us who face this struggle every day, especially if you haven't been in our shoes.

Edited 2012-05-30 02:28 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Hmh.
by WereCatf on Wed 30th May 2012 09:11 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hmh."
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

WereCatf, you need to count your blessings if you can stay home with your child or maybe have a relative that can while you cannot. Don't judge those of us who face this struggle every day, especially if you haven't been in our shoes.


I quite obviously was talking about the people who have a choice in these matters. If you have no choice then you obviously cannot do anything about it and so why would I bother complaining to you?

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Hmh.
by Erunno on Wed 30th May 2012 11:54 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hmh."
Erunno Member since:
2007-06-22

while she was on leave I was paying $1450/month to continue our cobra health plan that her job stopped covering while she was on leave.


Wow, I say it with utmost sincerity that reading this sends shivers down my spine. It reminds me how thankful I should be for having general ("socialist") health care. I'm having a hard time imagining not being able to go to a physician or any other specialist whenever I'm not feeling well because I would have to worry how to pay for it.

She didn't want to go back to work


There are also enough mothers who don't want to be stuck with an infant for years all day long. As much as it runs contrary to the widely propagated image of mother and child living in happy bliss together, I've met (and read about) mothers who were on the verge of snapping after some time when your whole day consists of cleaning up shit, cooking, washing and otherwise having to entertain a living being which is on the intellectual level of an amoeba. Make no mistake, I love children but they are not very intellectually stimulating in the first stages of their live. Even worse, the only topic everybody else wants to talk about with you is your child, as if you didn't have other interests before giving birth. I remember a young mother which I knew a couple of years ago who was so immensely thankful to me because I regularly had some small talk with her about movies, books and other general topics.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Hmh.
by Neolander on Wed 30th May 2012 06:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hmh."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

It's not really up to the father: a woman is the one who has to carry the child for 9 months with all the negative side-effects that entails and which affect job-performance,

Sure, men can do nothing about this part, that's why I said that we have it easier in the beginning and should try harder later to compensate.

a woman is the one who has to breast-feed the child since most men cannot do that, and if the parent is responsible she won't put the child in daycare for atleast the first 3 years.

These are more matter of debates. Breast-feeding first : it's a choice, not an obligation. Some mothers do it, and some don't. I've recently heard something about its health benefits for the baby being overestimated (it would only have temporary effects, no long-term effects).

And then there is this three years number. I don't have statistics in mind, but this sounds like an oddly large number. I'm pretty sure no one does it for so long here, but I could ask all these young parents around me at work in order to get a better idea. It may be a bit of culture-specific thing (like the "Raubenmutter" stigma in Germany).

Concerning daycare... Here, an option that is often explored is getting help from the grand-parents, if one of them is retired at the time children are born. They are considered more trustworthy than strangers, so maybe one starts to get help from them earlier. But again I don't know how long after birth parents do it, I'd have to ask

And then, as Alfman mentions, there's the issue of money... A couple would really have to be fairly wealthy in order to afford losing half its income for an extended period of time, at the very time where there's an extra mouth to feed. Here, employers are supposed to keep the job contract running and continue paying a salary for about 4 months, but after that you're on your own...

Again, I can have a look around, but I'd be surprised if three years of parental leave is customary around here. That would make most French mothers irresponsible in your view, which is maybe a bit excessive.

Edited 2012-05-30 06:29 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Hmh.
by WereCatf on Wed 30th May 2012 09:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hmh."
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

These are more matter of debates.


Possibly.

Breast-feeding first : it's a choice, not an obligation. Some mothers do it, and some don't.


I know some people do, some don't. Personally though I hold the view that one should breast-feed if possible.

I've recently heard something about its health benefits for the baby being overestimated (it would only have temporary effects, no long-term effects).


In the short term it protects the child from various kinds of illnesses; whatever viruses the father or mother may carry will eventually wound up their way into the child, too, but thanks to breast-feeding the mother transfers some of the antibodies to the baby, protecting him/her in the process. Atleast I view this as quite a big benefit; a sick child is never a good thing.

Secondly, about the long-term effects: there's more mental long-term effects than physical ones. Physical proximity helps the child feel more secure and aids child's mental development.

I'm pretty sure no one does it for so long here


Almost no one does it here either. Doesn't mean it's right anyways, or that I have to agree with them.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Hmh.
by Neolander on Wed 30th May 2012 16:54 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hmh."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

"I'm pretty sure no one does it for so long here"

Almost no one does it here either. Doesn't mean it's right anyways, or that I have to agree with them.

It is certainly your right to have your own opinion on those matters, but if you judge people based on standards that are pretty much impossible to meet, you're necessarily going to be fairly disappointed...

More to the point : don't you agree that your earlier analysis of the extent to which men can help with children is somewhat flawed, if it's based on a model of mother behaviour that most mothers do not follow ?

Edited 2012-05-30 17:03 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Hmh.
by Soulbender on Wed 30th May 2012 07:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hmh."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

a woman is the one who has to breast-feed the child since most men cannot do that


Uhmm..most? Are there men who can??

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Hmh.
by WereCatf on Wed 30th May 2012 08:55 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hmh."
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

"a woman is the one who has to breast-feed the child since most men cannot do that


Uhmm..most? Are there men who can??
"

Actually yes, some men do start lactating and can in some cases even breast-feed. Not as much as a woman simply because these men do not produce as much milk, but still.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Hmh.
by Neolander on Wed 30th May 2012 17:01 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hmh."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Actually yes, some men do start lactating and can in some cases even breast-feed. Not as much as a woman simply because these men do not produce as much milk, but still.

So THAT'S what them silly man boobs are here for ! ;)

I'm really to bet that in most case, it was due to genetic errors or oestrogen poisoning, though.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Hmh.
by phoenix on Wed 30th May 2012 20:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hmh."
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

I had a college dorm-mate who could milk his nipples. Made for some great drunken party entertainment. Could get 2-3 drops out of each one, basically on demand.

Reply Score: 2

huh
by zhulien on Tue 29th May 2012 12:17 UTC
zhulien
Member since:
2006-12-06

if woman are the exception and don't need special treatment when the rest of us do, doesn't that just imply they require special treatment?

Reply Score: 1

Time to grow up as a society
by twitterfire on Tue 29th May 2012 13:22 UTC
twitterfire
Member since:
2008-09-11

Affirmative action, reverse discrimination and political correctness are plain unjust, inequitable and dishonest. Affirmative action is as harming as any kind of discrimination.

On one end you have a few members from the so called discriminated minorities or discriminated groups which might feel insulted or offended because they aren't judged by their merits and skills. However the majority of these minorities of groups are happy with the situation, they are using the opportunities and collecting the benefits. They think it is normal to have the others discriminated for their benefits and it's normal to have more rights than others.

The laws enforcing affirmative action and reverse discrimination are the doing of pressure groups and "rights movements" from within those minorities. We have to thank them, not some extraterrestrial intelligence coming from another planet.

On the other end you have the "normal" majority or group whose only guilt is being "normal" or "majority" and is now discriminated by laws. The outcome is anger and resentment.

Who profits? Rights activists, members of think-tanks, some politicians, ideologists and some members of the minorities.

Who looses? Normal people and most important, society of a whole. Resentment and anger will only amplify social tensions.

What has to be done? Provide equal rights and equal treatment to all people. Judge solely on skills, capability and merits. Assign jobs, grants and contracts solely on skills, capability and merits. Give someone subsidized housing, free healthcare or welfare or education because he's poor, not because he's a poor black, or gay or lesbian or latino or chinese or indian or jewish or muslim or buddhist or whatever.

Right now if you're in USA and you are woman, black, lesbian, muslim or jewish and have some disabilities you have 5 time more rights than a white heterosexual christian male.

Reply Score: 2

Brainwash
by twitterfire on Tue 29th May 2012 13:41 UTC
twitterfire
Member since:
2008-09-11

Oh and because Thom mentioned it in his article, why try to change how people think? It's not just, it's unethical is wrong from a moral point of view.

I dislike laws, states, politicians, think-tanks, journalists, ideologists, activists, media who try to impose what people should think, who try to force others to view an issue some way or another. Of course, in the name of "greater good", democracy, positive action.

Who gives someone the right to say what and how others should think? Is he more intelligent, more clever, more informed than the others?

In a free society anyone should think and speak what and how he or she likes as long that his or her actions don't infringe other people rights. And only actions can infringe rights not thinking or speaking.

In a civilized society people shouldn't be told how to think or speak instead they should be correctly informed and educated and let their free will and intelligence take care of the rest.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Brainwash
by Erunno on Wed 30th May 2012 11:38 UTC in reply to "Brainwash"
Erunno Member since:
2007-06-22

And only actions can infringe rights not thinking or speaking.


Emphasis mine.

Are you for real? Go outside and tell everybody you meet on the street that your neighbor is a child molester. Not only will you (or rather your unfortunate neighbor) learn that just speaking can have devastating effects on other people lives, but you will also come to the painful realization that most jurisdictions have provisions against libel.

Reply Score: 2

Women and IT
by twitterfire on Tue 29th May 2012 13:52 UTC
twitterfire
Member since:
2008-09-11

There aren't many women in IT for the same reason there aren't many male nurses: not because they aren't capable but because they don't like it. There aren't many women auto mechanics or soldiers or fishermen (or should we say fisherwomen ?) or firefighters.

It isn't a bad or a good thing. If at some point some women would enjoy more being programmers than being teachers or doctors or journalists or whatever, they will become.

We shouldn't bring women forcefully into IT. We shouldn't militate for women into IT as we don't militate for more woman firefighers or more woman fishermen (or it is fisherwoman ?).

However, people who consider we should force women into IT roles should pray the Goddess, maybe She in Her infinite wisdom will grant their wishes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goddess_movement ;) :D:D

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Tue 29th May 2012 14:10 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

Just a few pointers:

1) Simon Baron-Cohen noted that babies exhibit gender specific behaviours very early within their development - before any socialisation could have taken place by the environment and parents. It isn't too far fetched to say that there is an element of a biological element that pushes males/females in particular directions. With that being said it isn't a hard rule that all will go one way or another but a general rule of thumb that takes into account that there will be those who fall outside of the 'bell curve' if one were to call such a spread that.

2) There is an element of the old boys club but it is naive to believe that an act of parliament is going to undo such institutions that have been built up organically over decades just as one can't expect radical change over night to occur in other industries that are over repented by either males or females. Until really there is an acceptance of such institutionalised 'closed shop' to outsiders it won't make a lick of difference. Lets assume that there was a law passed - it won't some how make the work environment change over night so simply opening a door won't change the dominant culture for said industry.

4) When there are quotas and allocations one has to ask the question how it impacts upon those individuals who earned their place based on hard work but happened to be from a targeted minority group. When it comes to such programmes I have to ask myself whether one is treating a symptom rather than going straight to the cause.

Edited 2012-05-29 14:12 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Women are grown ups.
by ajaik on Tue 29th May 2012 15:34 UTC
ajaik
Member since:
2012-05-29

I just dont buy it that women are not interested in IT or other technical careers purely because they are male-dominated - otherwise we'd have no females as police officers or in the Army.

When I was studying CS, there were very few women in my classes. And the few that were doing CS were not deeply interested in it. They attended lectures and did all the coursework but from the way they talked about it, it was a means to an end and not something they "loved" doing. They had no real enthusiasm for the subject (of course, this is purely my own subjective observation but I think there's an element of truth in it).

As someone else pointed out, men in IT or in development do a lot of work outside of work hours (just like teachers) to stay ahead of the curve (reading, training, working on personal projects) and so they always have new skills and are thus more employable.

Anyway, let's deal with some actual facts shall we? In the US, we are now living in a time where there are more women than men (In fact, I think this is true for most western countries). Also there are more women in higher education than men. And the number one degree in the US is...? Psychology. I dont think these two facts are unrelated. Of course, this is a problem for the US in general because it means there will be a lot less technical workers available now and in the future. Since technology is the only field doing well in the current economy, this is becoming a major problem. We're already seeing the effects right now - software developers salaries have jumped up into 6-figure territory especially if you're experienced and have skills that are in big demand.

Do you think the increase in female students and thus the decrease in students in engineering, math and computer-related subjects is not going to have a knock-on effect on our economy?

Reply Score: 2

Comment by abstraction
by abstraction on Tue 29th May 2012 18:56 UTC
abstraction
Member since:
2008-11-27

Yes affirmative action is a sort of racism. Problem as I see it is that all woman I know suck at programming. It is not because they are stupid, it is just that they haven't spent half their life in front of their computers in some gloomy basement surviving on jolt and take away pizza.

Reply Score: 1

Any Engineering Discipline has Sexism
by lucas_maximus on Tue 29th May 2012 19:40 UTC
lucas_maximus
Member since:
2009-08-18

While I don't agree with Affirmative action.

I have seen a lot of sexism in the industry, at one of my old companies.

If a Woman got interviewed one of the guys would go to check her out. On of my best friends said "I don't believe a Woman can write code".

After doing a few interviews myself, it always best to employ someone who seems "Human" and knows their stuff.

This law is about eliminating the "old boys club".

Reply Score: 3

status, income and prestige
by unclefester on Wed 30th May 2012 00:49 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

A male is basically defined by his job title and income. Women aren't. A poor but attractive woman can always marry a rich man.

In the USSR medicine and dentistry were traditionally very lowly paid and low prestige jobs. The vast majority (80+%) of Soviet doctors (except surgeons) and dentists were female. [The highest prestige job in the USSR was engineering which was totally dominated by males.]

In contrast Western dentists and doctors have traditionally been highly paid and high status. This has meant that many high achieving males have been attracted to these traditionally caring professions.

Medical incomes (and status) are gradually falling in most western countries. This has lead to many ambitious males to be attracted to very high paying postions in banking and business rather than medicine. In turn the number of female medical graduates has increased markedly over the past 30-40 years.

Reply Score: 2

RE: status, income and prestige
by zima on Mon 4th Jun 2012 22:40 UTC in reply to "status, income and prestige"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

In the USSR medicine and dentistry were traditionally very lowly paid and low prestige jobs.

Not really so; not sure where you're getting this from. The pay for such professions was comfortable enough (not exactly "lowly" anyway) ...and, most importantly, a job in ~medicine usually came with notable "unofficial" financial incentives (bribes, really) - so the prestige was at least high enough to exploit the job position like that with impunity.

And I'd say the highest prestige job in the USSR was being part of nomenklatura...

Reply Score: 2

phoehne
Member since:
2006-08-26

What seems to turn off a lot of my female colleagues is the sit in the room and hero-code for 15 hours to come up with the 'solution.' I can't speak for all my my colleagues, but that seems to be a common thread. The women I work with interact more on a personal level. They like talking to clients, and often have better social skills. They often make good leads as well. I think other companies have problems recruiting and retaining women as a part of the culture of that company rather than as something about IT. Overseas there are women that go into IT and CS with greater frequency. I currently work for a company that is able to build a culture where they can attract and retain women to the point where 50/50 teams are common.

As far as the premise of the post, it's flawed. The reason we have preference programs for veteran, minority and women owned firms is it's not a meritocracy in contracting. Even in government contracting there's a lot that rides on history and personal relationships. It's my personal estimate that maybe 20% of all federal RFPs are truly competitive RFP's. The rest are written to favor specific vendors. (Which is not always a bad thing - sometimes you don't want to change vendors just because a particular contracting vehicle has run its course). But the point is that the program manager that you start working with today in 20 years may become be a COTR on a large project, or fairly senior in the office of the CIO. The team lead you're working with today may become a director at another system integrator/engineering firm with which you will do business.

For decades women have been shut out of clubs where their male colleagues would go after work and talk shop. Augusta National still does not admit women at their golf course, for example. That's the kind of place these guys 'run into' each other or have man-dates to go golfing. When you go to Vegas for a conference, you hit the strip clubs. You wind up going into meetings with fairly senior people (director to C-level) and many are male. And they're all in their 40's, 50's and even 60's. They built their personal networks when they were golfing and hitting the strip clubs in their 20's and 30's. In the late 70's and 80's, was well before the politically correct era. It was common for women to be treated, in terms of pay and dignity, as second class co-workers. Forget about equal pay for "equivalent" jobs. It's still common for women to be offered lower starting salaries for the *same* jobs.

So, fast forward 30 years and you walk into a room where the deputy CIO and his senior staff are almost all male. The senior leadership from the prime contractor and the large subs are all male. Some of them have worked with each other for decades. The idea you are going to break into that network because you will be judged as worthy on the basis of your good work is balderdash. It is nonsense.

Reply Score: 2

Not necessary in IT
by spiderman on Wed 30th May 2012 06:36 UTC
spiderman
Member since:
2008-10-23

I am not against affirmative action. I believe it is necessary sometimes, especially with gender, since women have children and they need a balance.
However, I don't think it is necessary at all in IT. I don't know if it is the same everywhere but where I live, there is much more demand than offer in IT. It doesn't matter whether it's a woman or a man, they will take whoever is available and want to work. Affirmative action in this field would have no effect at all, neither negative nor positive.

Reply Score: 2

Discrimination
by TheUnemployedITGuy on Thu 31st May 2012 11:45 UTC
TheUnemployedITGuy
Member since:
2012-05-31

I was passed over for my chosen college despite I had a higher SAT score than a black man
I was passed over of a college scholarship because I wasn't Hispanic, and my parents made more money, even though they would not pay or help.
I was passed over for a job because I wasn't a woman despite the fact I was more qualified than she was.
I was passed over for promotion because I wasn't Asian despite I was a better worker, with more qualifications and experience.


I'm a white male and unemployed, and spent 20 years in IT working for the odd large companies. The gentlemen has a point. It is getting so much that if you are a white male, you are discriminated against. I'm just waiting for the order to 'get to the back of the bus' I know its coming sooner or later, despite having sunk over $20,000 of my money in Certs + an undisclosed amount for college having to pay all of it out of pocket. Despite that I do still love IT. But I have seen some fellow co-workers who never should have been hired in the first place. (She actually asked us what a floppy drive was.)
When the big lay off came, they kept her because she threatened a 'discrimination' lawsuit because she was a woman, and black.

I'm not the only one in this position because of 'affirmative actions' and I have no problems seeing the 'better talent' get the jobs. Its when a person with less talent, less training, and less common sense gets it because of Affirmative action, that was designed to 'fight' a discrimination that for the majority doesn't exist to begin with, its quite frustrating.

Edited 2012-05-31 11:48 UTC

Reply Score: 1