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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RE: Indeed
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 28th May 2012 20:28 UTC in reply to "Indeed"
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

as a male non-IT worker you're clearly qualified to voice your opinion, purely based on your perception as a 3rd party, on what female IT workers need, feel, and how they should be treated like.

I mean, sure journalistic integrity would dictate that you should have taken at least 5 minutes to talk to women who work on IT and gather their opinion on the matter, since they are the ones affected. But who wants to do that when there is a false equivalence handy, right?


Such anecdotal stories will only serve to detract from the point being made. I'm not saying that it's easy for women in a men-dominated field (or vice versa, for that matter) - I'm arguing that the proposed solutions are not grounded in reality.

The fact that I'm a man has no bearing on whether or not my points are valid. If you think it does, then I think you just unknowingly illustrated my point better than I did.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Indeed
by Moredhas on Mon 28th May 2012 20:37 in reply to "RE: Indeed"
Moredhas Member since:
2008-04-10

To reinforce Thom's point, what if this were about race or religion? "I got this contract because I'm black", or "I got this contract because I'm Christian". Discrimination, no matter how well intentioned, is still discrimination.

Reply Parent Score: 11

RE[3]: Indeed
by Kivada on Tue 29th May 2012 15:41 in reply to "RE[2]: Indeed"
Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

To reinforce Thom's point, what if this were about race or religion? "I got this contract because I'm black", or "I got this contract because I'm Christian". Discrimination, no matter how well intentioned, is still discrimination.


Being from the US and hispanic I know a few things about discrimination, for racial discrimination there is the problem of ethnic peoples being 300 years behind in terms of economic and social status, there are no black or hispanic family dynasties in the US like there is with caucasian families, some of which can trace their family fortunes to land stolen from the native americans. Lets not forget about segregation, slavery, being counted as 3/5ths of a person, separate but equal, Jim Crow etc.


The reasons for these discrepancies, upbringing, education, integration or lack there of, even how education is funded here in the US all play a role. In a poor area the schools are heavily underfunded and under staffed because the schools are paid for via property taxes and certain political factions want noting more then to slash tax collections to cut school funding indirectly as well as cut education funding directly by putting in place a testing structure that causes the school to lose even more funding depending on the pass rate of their students, creating a cycle destined to fail.

Affirmative action like this is based on two false premises. First, the insipid one, the one that actually infuriates me to no end: affirmative action assumes that (in this case) women are less capable than men, and that they need special help, incentives, money, and regulations to achieve parity with their male counterparts. In other words, these laws actually advocate the very same idea they are trying to combat; namely, that women are less capable than men.


As to women, they still on average make only $0.77 on the dollar a man makes for the same amount of work, seniority, education etc. Upbrining also plays a large role here, we don't expect girls to be good at math and science. You see it in the toys and games designed for boys and girls, girls toys are baby dolls, barbies and tea sets, while toys for boys are much more engaging like Legos, weapons/G.I. Joes, and sporting goods. For games, girls get stuff like Nintendogs and barbie in princessland dressup while every other genera of game is targeted towards males.

We're expected to compete and problems solve, girls seem to be expected to be nothing more then cute.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Indeed
by phoehne on Wed 30th May 2012 02:42 in reply to "RE[2]: Indeed"
phoehne Member since:
2006-08-26

Implicit in that statement is that there is a meritocracy when it comes to getting the contract and there is no discrimination. That's wishful thinking. Personal relationships matter, especially in areas where it's hard to judge the output of the product. Is the software buggy because the contractor did a bad job, or is this a really hard problem with lots of last minute changes by the client? The personal relationships are so important that many contractors happily hire former senior people in those agencies only in part because they have 'business knowledge,' but even more importantly, they have those connections. Even if they have to spend 1 year at some other client because of ethics rules (and they don't get a waiver), the connections are still valid. So discrimination is inherent in the process. The same can be said for the relationship between the prime contractor and the subs, where they've worked with each other and for each other for several years.

Now add to that the fact that these guys started working in the late 70's and 80's, when things were not politically correct. They are the by product of going to male-only country clubs (Augusta is one of the last ones but they were more common in the 80's and 70's), strip clubs after work (even in the 90's this was a common enough practice that one of my co-workers 'sucked it up' and went anyway because the rest of her team was going), and (in the case of the military) explicit prohibitions against women serving in certain roles.

So, I agree with you discrimination is completely unfair. However, discrimination is inherent in the existing system. Because of discrimination, these networks were formed between people which are now used to secure business relationships. I agree that there *should* be no discrimination, but in point of fact there is. Women were excluded from these networks (in some cases very intentionally) when these networks were formed. To say that women are being coddled is stupid. It shows that 1) you haven't been around for very long, and 2) you have done little or no thinking about this issue.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Indeed
by mjg59 on Tue 29th May 2012 02:52 in reply to "RE: Indeed"
mjg59 Member since:
2005-10-17

I'm arguing that the proposed solutions are not grounded in reality.


Citation needed.

The fact that I'm a man has no bearing on whether or not my points are valid. If you think it does, then I think you just unknowingly illustrated my point better than I did.


You wouldn't ask a farmer for a description of the effects of microgravity on human physiology, because in all probability they have neither the training nor the experience to give you a useful answer. Most men in the computing industry don't have direct experience of discrimination, whereas most women do. So, in the absence of independent research, women are going to provide more insight into the matter than men. You could compensate for that by actually doing some research, but you show absolutely no signs of having done so. Do your reading and then come back with a summary of the other side and well-reasoned counterarguments and there'd be a reason to take you seriously, but right now there really isn't.

Reply Parent Score: -1