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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... 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

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