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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"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.

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