It is not -ist if a disadvantaged group does something to counteract its disadvantage without considering the privileged group. If women are disadvantaged, it is reasonable to do something to fix their disadvantage without having to interject "but what about men!?"
So, for example, Ubuntu/Debian/Arch Women groups are not sexist and we don't need an Ubuntu/Debian/Arch Men group because... well, because that's just what normal Ubuntu/Debian/Arch is, mostly men.
The situation for men and women in tech is not symmetrical, so the approaches to handle the problems need not be symmetrical either.
Except they're not. In fact, in tech, they're advantaged. Female names on resumes get more callback than male names. This has been studied.
The reason there are fewer of them is because fewer of them are interested.
Quoting from the abstract:
"In a randomized double-blind study (n = 127), science faculty from research-intensive universities rated the application materials of a student—who was randomly assigned either a male or female name—for a laboratory manager position. Faculty participants rated the male applicant as significantly more competent and hireable than the (identical) female applicant. These participants also selected a higher starting salary and offered more career mentoring to the male applicant. ... Mediation analyses indicated that the female student was less likely to be hired because she was viewed as less competent."
I find the IAT somewhat ridiculous. For example, it asked whether I associate black with "sports". Well, I do, but there is nothing "implicit" or "biased" about it. It is my lived experience as a high-school sprinter.
In addition, stereotype accuracy is one of the largest and most replicable effects in all of social psychology. It's not "wrong". What would be wrong is not adjusting for the individual once you get to know them, but AFAIK that same research also shows that most people drop the stereotypes quickly once they actually get to know an individual.
And yes, there are people who don't. In other news, stupid people exist and earth still round.
But now that they are generally "equal", it's detrimental
to them. I.e. It's entirely plausible that society is self-
correcting against the unfairly-claimed bias by...being
I think "overcorrection" is a valid concern (if people begin devaluing women's opinions thinking they're diversity hires or somehow hired at a lower bar), but I for one haven't observed us being there yet. There's still this yawning divide between being a man vs a woman in both society and in the smaller sphere of tech. There are many things we take for granted as men: e.g people don't assume I, a man, work in marketing despite sitting with other engineers -- these sorts of things negatively affect women who are otherwise fully / more than qualified to do their jobs.
Anecdotally, a number of women in my life who worked in tech have since left the industry citing aggressions of varying levels. This is concerning :(
While I absolutely wish that any person felt welcome in tech regardless of race, gender or other choices like orientation, I'm not convinced this is a good approach. It's an explicit statement that they are desperate for diversity, and as a result it calls in to question the justification for those hires. How much did the candidates diversity factor in vs. their competence?
They claim that non-minorities won't be disadvantaged by them and I believe they are being honest here, but it still sends a very mixed message.
Here's why I believe that women are disadvantaged in tech: Women in tech are part of an out-group, just by being in the minority. This necessarily puts them at a disadvantage. We know that women make less than men in most environments. Acquiring a job more easily is one thing - sure, if I assume you're telling the truth, women get more callbacks. But consider the prospects after initial employment. It is not as simple as "women are more employable in the tech industry" - it needs to also be the case that women are making equal pay, given equal opportunity to advance their careers, and are expected to do equal work.
I guess what I mean to say is that it feels like you're doing exactly what we should not do with complex social issues: oversimplifying.
A key insight I also saw in a study about gender equality in the teaching profession (done by the Swedish institute for higher education). If you are a male student entering a profession with 80% women, you are naturally going to doubt and question that decision. If you pass that first wave of doubt, you get hit by a second wave as soon the first road bump hits (like a failed exam). Male students (studying to be a teacher) are much more likely to ask: "Should I be doing this?" compared to female students in the same class. Then third wave hits when the person is entering the working profession and has to work in a culture that has integrated gender identity.
The big question should be how we can fix this problem in a general way. Based on Swedish statistics, only about 10% of women and men work in a profession with equal gender distribution, and about similar number for people who work in a profession with a dominated gender of opposite gender. About 80% of the work force, both women and men, work in a profession where their gender is the dominating gender. The trend from the last 30 years has been steadily in the wrong direction, with more gender separation in the work force.
Interestingly this has been a trend most strongly observed in the most free, socially egalitarian and rich countries. In other words when men are women are most free to pick a career path they naturally self segregate. In countries that are less free and have more pressure to pick economically efficient career paths (i.e. social/financial risk of career failure is severe) there is a more even spread of genders. So I'm not sure that increased gender separation can be easily characterised as the "wrong" direction...
As with most things, it is not as simple as "this is wrong." There's a lot to consider, and to me, it isn't the self-segregation that we should fight, but rather, it might be the case that we should fight the root cause of the desire to self-segregate.
So why has this happened in the veterinary sciences, but not tech? One answer could be that somehow male computer scientists turn out to be horribly sexist compared to male vets. A more plausible explanation could be that with meaningful swathes of societal gender discrimination against women removed they are perfectly capable of moving into and dominating a technical field when that chimes with some aspect of female nature. In the case of veterinary science that synergy would come from the female predilection towards caring and nurturing. I'm not saying every woman cares about things like that, but on average more do than men. The male predilection towards abstract and systematic thinking could in my opinion go a long way to explain their over-representation in the tech industry. I think those are uncontroversial statements, although sadly after 30 years of sub-standard echo chamber research in the social sciences that may not be a popularly held opinion.
The benefit of this way of looking at things is that it doesn't paint women as somehow deficient and needing of special treatment. Rather than bombarding them with negative messaging it recognises that women are perfectly capable of reaching out and taking what they want from society. A more empowering feminist message, no? And indeed neither does it paint an entire industry as systematically sexist - which sounds to me like the sort of oversimplification you take objection to? But there's big social media capital and real world rewards propagating sexism in tech memes.
> We know that women make less than men in most environments ...
> ... it needs to also be the case that women are making equal pay
I'm not sure it's fair to start these sorts of statements with "We know that..." - the most charitable depiction would be to characterise such statements as debatable. In the UK women under 30 now earn more than similarly aged men, in other words they have reversed the pay gap for that age group . Again this suggests to me that until biological imperatives take hold women are more than capable of competing with men in the workplace. What happens post 30 is down to life choices. As a whole women are more likely to value family life and make life choices based on that, whereas men are more likely to devote their energies to their careers. It's not a zero sum game, there are sacrifices on both sides there. And again, that doesn't hold true for every woman and every man, but to claim entrenched massive systematic discrimination seems to me at best tenuous.
It doesn't have to be female nature. It could just as easily be culturally encouraged nature, or a combination of the two (a culturally encouraged aspect that was originally developed from human nature, in a self reinforcing loop).
> The male predilection towards abstract and systematic thinking could in my opinion go a long way to explain their over-representation in the tech industry. I think those are uncontroversial statements...
They should be uncontroversial. It's obvious there are actual differences between male and female minds, and plenty of studies have shown physiological differences. Unfortunately, bringing science of this nature into a discussion about equality is often immediately vilified. On the other hand, this information can be used for the basis of some fairly horrendous reasoning, so it's easy to see why people are quick to discount it.
Since all people aren't created equal, we shouldn't strive for equality, since some people are clearly better than others, so let's embrace that.
Since we aren't all physically or mentally equal, and some people are clearly "better" with respect to some aspect X that we/I/some group I'm part of has classified as important, those people are more worthy than others.
There are arguments that can be logically made for a society based on those, but not if you want a society like we enjoy and promote in western civilization (not no imply a specific difference in other cultures, I'm just not qualified to comment on them). I think the world is a better place in many, many ways because we've promoted values of inclusion, equality, happiness and life. I'm happy to discuss alternate societies with different values and how what that might be like as a thought experiment (some of the best science fiction is in thus vein), but I'm not really interested in that when discussing problems our society currently faces. We should be able to agree on those core values I mentioned earlier, and taking time in each discussion to reassert and prove that those are important to everyone involved just detracts from useful conversation.
In other words, it's entirely possible that in some instances negative steroetyping based on race, sex, nationality or any number of other attributes is actually somewhat accurate, but we've decided as culture that the downsides are fairly bad, so for the most part we shouldn't do that. I agree with this.
It commonly takes the even more pernicious form of going from "X and Y are different on average" to "any given X is better than any given Y". If you're lucky, this last statement at least has a "until proved otherwise" caveat.
Unfortunately, history is rife with this sort of reasoning. People slip into it _really_ easily. It doesn't help that there is a natural tendency to perceive your in-group as better than out-groups, so to the extent that X above ends up feeling like someone's in-group and Y ends up feeling like an out-group, the "X is better than Y" conclusion is very hard to avoid.
I think that's BS. From what I've seen throughout my life, women are much more likely to be cold, uncaring parents than men. Notice how you always hear horror stories about mothers-in-law, but you almost never hear anything bad about fathers-in-law. I think we as a society have somehow gotten the idea that women are nurturing and caring, because we want them to be, but it's entirely wrong for the most part.
From what I've gathered from being around different women and talking to them, I think all this talk about being "disadvantaged" is missing the real root causes. They actually are disadvantaged, but the problem isn't the workforce, fellow college students, etc., nearly as much as it is their own upbringing, and their very own parents.
If you really want to fix the problem with women in tech, you need to take all female children away from their parents and raise them in state-run facilities where they're taught that they actually can do math and play with toys that aren't dolls and pursue careers in these fields. Somehow, I doubt this suggestion will be seriously considered....
In short, our very own culture is to blame here. That's not something that's easy to change, because now you're advocating having the state usurp the power of the parents to parent their children.
Been tried throughout history. It almost never works and is as horrific as it sounds humanitarian wise.
Also, it doesn't help that most of our kids seem to be raised by people who are either uneducated and poor (and thus don't pass on to girls the idea that they can get an education too and be good at math), or by people who are conservative and/or religious (and who actively discourage girls from doing well in math and science because of their traditional sexist values). The people who do have liberal values about this stuff aren't having kids (or not very many), so we just have this almost religious belief that our liberal values will somehow pass to these kids through societal conditioning (which they do to a certain extent thanks to the media and internet).
That's a disadvantage, especially because tech careers are luxury careers these days.
This concern didn't last too long & I got plenty of eventual encouragement on the STEM side, but my mom was worried I was abnormal and would never have a happy, successful female life because I was playing with computers instead of people. Women are supposed to socialize and be caring and nurturing.
So where were the girls like you? Hiding from their parents.
We were around. I spent my teenage years hunched over computers in my garage too (TRS-80 and IBM XT for me). As it happens, I didn't get into the BBS scene -- my parents wouldn't have looked kindly on tying up the phone -- and knowing how girls get treated in chatrooms, it's a good thing for my career that I didn't.
Why do you feel the need to rationalize away the fact that getting involved in tech is something that was easier for you because you're a dude? It seems like there's this sense in which people like you believe that by admitting to being privileged will somehow diminish your accomplishments. I've got news for ya: it won't. You seem to feel as though there's a zero sum game, where raising the accessibility of what we've achieved to people who aren't like us will somehow harm you. Again, it won't. Where does this fear come from? Why not love?
I too spent a lot of time learning to code alone with my Macintosh Classic. However, nobody ever told me this was something boys didn't do. I had a bunch of (male) nerd friends who thought it was pretty cool. Rather importantly I didn't have a bunch of ugly, creepy girls slobbering over "that cuyuute nerd boy". When I took a (worthless) programming class in high school, everyone in the room was the same gender as me. When I took CS classes in college, almost everyone in the room was the same gender as me. It was a perfectly normal thing for a dude like me to be into. In the workplace, nobody remarks on my gender. I'm not a "diversity hire". I don't have anything to prove.
But my reaction to realizing this is that I fucking love my career, I love hacking, and I want to share what I love with everyone, to make it as easily available as it was to me. Why would anyone not want this?
In part I don't think we should encourage anyone to write software because it's damn near impossible to do well. The industry's salaries are already luring in entirely too many sloppy blub programmers who don't care about or even understand quality work. I would much prefer to only work with the minority who have always known this is what they have to do and could never have been deterred. Even if the industry were completely inhospitable for some reason, I would still be writing code as a hobby, and I see very little use for anyone who does not.
This is preposterous. The field of law was exclusively male not long ago, and is around parity now. Same with medicine. You think the first women in law school and med school were welcomed and supported? Do you think female doctors and lawyers a generation ago encountered less sexism than women in tech today?
I think in the next decade or two I think we will see women achieving the same kind of representation in tech that they have in law and medicine. And as this process takes place, haters will hate, pretend there isn't a problem, and spew various kinds of sexist nonsense, just like they did when women were entering the fields of law and medicine. Meanwhile, the rest of us will be doing the actual work to make it happen.
* edit: made it nicer.
I didn't say there was no problem; I said you were wrong about its cause. From that you conclude that I'm a sexist who is actively trying to keep women out of tech?
Jesus man, I know this is a contentious issue, but get a hold on yourself. I've hired and promoted female software engineers. When I left my last job, I spent nine months grooming a woman on my team to take over my job (not because she was a woman, or even because she was clearly the most qualified, but because she was the one who expressed interest in it and busted ass to learn it and took classes to improve in areas she was weak in.) I may be a sexist or I may not be, but you're not in a position to judge based on a comment in a forum you didn't like. Maybe take a breath and remember that there are real people behind these handles, eh?
Which is at least somewhat due to societal pressures though.
Are men going into these roles because they all have a death wish, or is it maybe some sort of cultural push to be "manly" and a "provider"?