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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Have you ever considered the reason why women don't choose IT careers? You think it might just be that women naturally don't want that sort of job?

I didn't say that. Although I do think that men and women are different (on average), and I'm not convinced that as a group they'd always make the same choices, even if they were treated identically.

My point was that unequal representation in a particular workplace doesn't necessarily mean that there's discrimination in that environment. That seems obvious to me, but a lot of feminists (and other affirmative action proponents) seem to take inequality of outcome as proof of unfair treatment.

Why men tend to choose some fields and women tend to choose others is a different issue. One that the forms of positive discrimination I've encountered (such as gender quotas when hiring employees) don't really take into account.

Ensuring that more women get jobs in IT will demonstrate to young women that IT is a career that they can pursue and enjoy, and will encourage them to pursue it. So yes, affirmative action CAN help create qualified women, but I wouldn't say it's out of thin air.

To significantly increase the percentage of women in their IT department, the company I used to work for would have had to hire women who weren't just unqualified, but were also uninterested in the job.

I'm not sure that hiring blatantly unsuitable female applicants would really do much for women in IT. How much respect would they get if it was known that they were only hired as part of a social engineering project to encourage the next generation?

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