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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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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 2

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 Parent Score: 5