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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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.

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