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.

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.

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