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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Member since:

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:


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:

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

radix Member since:

I'm wondering why are men discriminated in pushups and running ...

Reply Parent Score: 2

looncraz Member since:

I'm an Army spouse - I've witnessed it first hand.

--The loon

Reply Parent Score: 3