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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Dave_K
Member since:
2005-11-16

I don't know about you, but I don't feel threatened by correcting for precognitive bias against women.


I'd question whether that's all affirmative action is designed to do. Its proponents often go much further than that, for example pushing for quota systems intended to manufacture equality of outcome.

In addition, I think that crudely attempting to balance things by providing advantages to women could reinforce any biases. You can say that it's just making things fairer, but it certainly makes it look like women can't succeed without special treatment. When women are employed in preference to more experienced and qualified men it's bound to create resentment too.

Reply Parent Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"I don't know about you, but I don't feel threatened by correcting for precognitive bias against women.


I'd question whether that's all affirmative action is designed to do. Its proponents often go much further than that, for example pushing for quota systems intended to manufacture equality of outcome.
"

Sure. But affirmative action opponents are in dangerous territory when they implicitly assert there isn't even any precognitive bias, or even postcognitive bias, as a reason to get rid of it. Improve it by all means, but to even reject it I think is crazy.

In addition, I think that crudely attempting to balance things by providing advantages to women could reinforce any biases. You can say that it's just making things fairer, but it certainly makes it look like women can't succeed without special treatment. When women are employed in preference to more experienced and qualified men it's bound to create resentment too.


In my experience reading these kinds of discussions here, on Slashdot, on entertainment "news" and such-like, the only people to whom it would seem that affirmative action equates to women (or blacks or gays) not being able to succeed without special treatment are those who ignore the facts and have some bias against women (or blacks or gays) in the first place.

Hey, a great number of men get hired over more experienced or qualified men too. We should address the problems of nepotism and favouritism, but they are orthogonal to gender affirmative action.

And if someone resents another person being hired or promoted above them and jumps to the conclusion that it's "reverse sexism", I question their ability to think logically. A lot of male techies like to think they're logical and factual, but they often end up using their own very narrow view of the world as though it were representative of everywhere.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

Hey, a great number of men get hired over more experienced or qualified men too. We should address the problems of nepotism and favouritism, but they are orthogonal to gender affirmative action.


Two wrongs don't make a right. When there's a clear case of nepotism, such as a director's unqualified nephew being given a top job, there'll be a lot of resentment towards them from other members of staff. They'd better be great at their job if they want that initial unfair advantage to ever be forgotten.

Affirmative action creating preferential hiring/promotion for particular groups is effectively favouritism as official policy. The risk is that every member of the group it's designed to help (including those who've succeeded purely through merit) might be seen in the same light as a beneficiary of nepotism.

And if someone resents another person being hired or promoted above them and jumps to the conclusion that it's "reverse sexism", I question their ability to think logically.


If there's an affirmative action policy in place designed to give women preferential treatment then they're hardly jumping to an illogical conclusion.

I've sat through a meeting where the need for more women was discussed, with it agreed that relative qualifications would be ignored, and any woman meeting the basic requirements for the post would be hired. I don't think it's a massive leap see "reverse sexism" in that.

I'd say there was some regular sexism there too, as to me it seemed rather patronising to women. After all, despite any biases and discrimination that may exist, there are still plenty of women who've succeeded in IT without that kind of affirmative action.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,


"And if someone resents another person being hired or promoted above them and jumps to the conclusion that it's 'reverse sexism'"

I get your point. However considering how few females there are in the field, I find it almost humorous to think anyone holds much resentment towards them for taking away their carrier opportunities as a male. If every qualified female who wanted an IT job was given one, I doubt it'd make much of a dent in available jobs. (Maybe things are changing, but it was rare to have more than 2 females in any of my CS classes. Some CS classes had none at all.)


"Hey, a great number of men get hired over more experienced or qualified men too. We should address the problems of nepotism and favouritism"

I've witnessed alot of this. More often than not the person with connections will automatically win out over others just because of the connections. Occasionally I've even been the benefactor of this policy (even if only for small clients).

Reply Parent Score: 2

Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07


I'd question whether that's all affirmative action is designed to do. Its proponents often go much further than that, for example pushing for quota systems intended to manufacture equality of outcome.

The quotas are in place because of the basics of human psychology, nobody wants to be the only one at the party, it's like calling up someone and saying "Hey, we're having a party, but not allot of people are showing up, wanna come?"

If you say there are no women in IT, then no girls will want to go into IT.

It's sad to see that something so basic as this even has to be discussed in a profession with such a high education level, as you wold believe people with this level of intellect would be able to see this plain as day.

Reply Parent Score: 2