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It's worth remembering that one of his conclusions was to end or replace gender-based diversity programs at Google. Given that, it's easy to understand why people would be upset. If gender-based diversity programs are responsible for qualified women getting jobs that they otherwise wouldn't have gotten due to bias, then the lack of that program means those women wouldn't have gotten those jobs.
If the author is wrong, that there definitely isn't some inherit genetic behavioral bias influencing job choice, than the bias is happening before students finish highschool.
I'm a proponent for an "early bias" theory because of far lower female graduation and entry level application rates to CS jobs. If less than 25% of CS graduates are female, which is currently the case, it strongly suggests that attempting to make the engineering team 50% female will result in a lower hiring bar for women. That means that the overall point of the authors manifesto, that programs designed to specifically increase the ratio of female engineers are unfair, is true.
We need to do something about the low number of women going into tech fields in school. Punishing companies for not hiring women when the vast majority of candidates are men is a perverse incentive that is biased against men and doesn't fix the real problem.
It's like punishing someone for taking more yellow onions at the market when there's 3 times as many nice looking ones as white onions. The right way to fix the imbalance is to increase the supply of white onions. In the real world, farmers would begin switching to white onions and the supply would increase. Unfortunately, our supply of women is governed by a mostly government run school system that doesn't exist in a world of supply and demand and likes to shift the blame for their ineptitude.
Fixing this at the education level would mean owning up to a mistake. It's much easier to just fine everyone to make it look like you're fixing a "problem" caused by inadequate regulations.
>it strongly suggests that attempting to make the engineering team 50% female will result in a lower hiring bar for women.
I cannot speak for Google and I haven't been following their recruitment efforts.
However, I will say I'm a little tired of this notion that such companies are aiming for 50%.
I know one company that has really ramped up hiring of minorities (mostly women, though). And everyone is criticizing them for targeting 50% when there is a problem in the supply.
Except they never said they were targeting 50%. Not once. What they did was look at their different grade levels' skills, and compared that to the number of women in the market who should qualify, and compared that to the proportion in the company.
Example: They found that 20% of PhDs in a relevant field that they hired from were women, whereas in the company only 10% of PhDs hired were women. So their recruitment efforts are to hit 20%.
Any time someone says 50%, they are likely invoking a strawman.
If this isn't actually the case, then their PR should make it known, because the implications of the current system do make it seem like minorities may be given precedence at the expense of white or asian men.
>If this isn't actually the case, then their PR should make it known, because the implications of the current system do make it seem like minorities may be given precedence at the expense of white or asian men.
You want them to go out of their way to clarify assumptions you are making about things they never claimed?
If Google doesn't agree, I would like for them to publicly state this.
And even if it is and everybody is looking to hire the top 30% then the poll of the best women candidates quickly dries, and you have a harder time every time to find them. So if your agenda is to have 20% of women, you will probably ultimatly have to adjust your criteria.
gender should not mather, if you hire only the best you should hire them it does not mather if they are women or man.
There are many components to the problem, but one component is institutional bias in the hiring process itself. You assume that all candidates are given a fair shake by an impartial, unbiased set of criteria that should be ferreting out the best talent and making offers to only those people. But those supposedly impartial criteria are executed upon in interviews by fallible human beings with their own personal or institutional biases, not by impartial pattern-matching robots. Consequently, many talented female engineers are passed over for inferior male ones, not the other way around.
I have interviewed literally thousands of candidates in my tech management career, and not once have I seen an inferior female candidate picked over a superior male one because of a diversity initiative. I have, however, had to work with young male interviewers to train them to properly identify their own unconscious biases and to ensure that they are truly being as impartial as possible when interviewing candidates of any gender. And to the degree that that is impossible - well, that is why we still have diversity targets.
> not once have I seen an inferior female candidate picked over a superior male one because of a diversity initiative
What if you have an unconscious bias and didn't notice that inferior female candidates are being hired?
It's unconscious, you might just view men as inferior to women and not even know about it.
That implies that diversity initiatives are going to continue until we have slightly more than 50% representation. Which is not bad in and of itself, but it seems like the initiatives are not allowed to used research or data beyond less than 50% representation. It gets sinister and loaded with unintended consequences when the expected shortcut is just to implement quotas to teach that one metric.
If Google is anything like Redacted, that's the case. Redacted pays monthly bonuses to their international offices for each woman on the office's payroll. I have two friends working at Redacted in a relatively cheap region and they say the bonuses are as high as their junior-level salaries - they can afford to hire a second junior developer for each junior woman they have. Your guess what happens. An upside is that this poses no threat to male developers so they don't complain and just have a chuckle when their mandatory diversity training explains how the company's policy improves performance by "tapping into the pool of female talent formerly overlooked due to systemic discrimination".
You are assuming that women are choosing their college degrees in a vacuum. They don't. They ask: can I see myself doing this job? Is this a worthwhile investment? And when they cannot see themselves working in tech, because they see no-one like themselves in IT, they choose other fields.
> Unfortunately, our supply of women is governed by a mostly government run school system that doesn't exist in a world of supply and demand and likes to shift the blame for their ineptitude.
What specific mistakes can you point to? What particular solutions are within reach of the government? Because right now this just looks like shifting responsibility onto the state.
Like, I didn't choose to go into software development and so learnt to code, I chose to go into software development because I could code.
Maybe it's different for "career programmers," if such a thing even exists.
If you're like me, you probably thought of yourself as smart, and had a short list of "smart things that would be cool when I grow up." Astronaut, doctor, computers, stuff like that.
The movie War Games was honestly important to me and my career. I was small and kind of dorky but pretty smart (at least, that was what all the adults told me, I suspect even that is partly a self-fulfilling prophecy) but Matthew Broderick showed me how cool that could be. I could see myself in him. And, you know, there were TV shows and movies that made me want to be an astronaut too. I'm not saying War Games was some seminal moment in my life. But it was an influence, for sure.
And when I told people I wanted to do that, they never made a face. Or they suggested it on their own "What do you want to be when you grow up? Are you going to be a scientist?" You know what people say to my girl? "Are you going to be a nurse/ballerina/etc when you grow up?" We all pick up on this kind of thing at a young age, and it shapes our perceptions of where we fit.
Women choosing what fields they go into is shaped by their role-models. Do they see female programmers on TV? Do they know any family members that are programmers? That kind of thing. Fixing this has to start somewhere.
The question then becomes why interest isn't shown in the first place.
You could argue, as the "manifesto" writer did, that there's some kind of innate biological explanation. To me, that's a pretty extraordinary claim and requires extraordinary proof. It's true that there are some differences between the sexes. Women do a bit better on some mental tests than men and vice versa. But how much of that is biology and how much is upbringing? For instance, from an early age, studies show parents make girls say "please" more than they do for boys, and emphasize sharing. So do women fair better on some emotional tests because of some innate biology or because we've emphasized that kind of thing literally since they could talk? It's really really hard to tease these things apart. And it's so hard because those differences are tiny. If we assumed those differences really are 100% biological (again, a big assumption), it might explain why Computer Science would be 55% men, and 45% women. It wouldn't explain the huge disparity we see today.
So if the reason women don't show interest isn't biological, what is it? A further complicating factor to the whole discussion is we're talking about why women aren't in computer science now. It hasn't always been this way. Historically, the field of computing had lots of women. A lot of women went from "human computers" who did math by hand to programming the early mainframes (the movie Hidden Figures shows a time at NASA when this was happening). While a gender gap has always existed, it used to be a lot smaller. Women made up about 1/3 of people with CS degrees in the late 70s and early 80s. But as the STEM gender gap has been closing everywhere else, it's actually gotten wider in CS, and only CS. Why? The "it's biology and girl brains are different" argument can't account for that. Biology didn't change.
What did change was society. Movies like Weird Science and War Games (my favorite) came out. The "cool hacker" entered Pop culture, and the stereotype they settled on was a boy. Girls were a lot less likely to have computers in the home as well. This is an interesting article (http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2014/10/21/357629765/when-...) that talks about how early home computers were marketed as a toy to buy for boys.
It's like we as a society decided that computers fell into the "boy stuff" category with GI Joe and baseball, not the "girl stuff" category like Barbie and softball.
I think it all adds up to a pretty convincing argument that biology has nothing (or very, very little) to do with it.
I don't understand why people think this is such an extraordinary claim. It would be extraordinary if the sexes were exactly equal. There are very obvious and enormous differences between men and women in numerous areas. Why would we expect them to come out exactly equal?
But if you want stronger evidence, try this: http://sci-hub.cc/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00320.x
>Results show that gender differences in Big Five personality traits are ‘small’ to ‘moderate,’ with the largest differences occurring for agreeableness and neuroticism (respective ds = 0.40 and 0.34; women higher than men). In contrast, gender differences on the people–things dimension of interests are ‘very large’ (d= 1.18), with women more people-oriented and less thing-oriented than men. Gender differences in personality tend to be larger in gender-egalitarian societies than in gender-inegalitarian societies, a finding that contradicts social role theory but is consistent with evolutionary, attributional, and social comparison theories. In contrast, gender differences in interests appear to be consistent across cultures and over time, a finding that suggests possible biologic influences.
The point about differences in personality was brought up in the Google memo and perhaps explains your "please" thing. But look at the "interest in people vs interest in things" statistic. A d value of 1.18 is enormous. That means 93% of men are more "thing oriented" than the average women. And that's assuming there is no noise in the measurement, likely the true value is even higher!
There's also this later on in the document:
>When Del Giudice computed the Mahalanobis D for gender differences in Big Five traits, based on a published data set, he found that although the mean d for gender differences in individual Big Five traits was 0.27 (conventionally considered to be ‘small’), the Mahalanobis D was in contrast 0.84, suggesting a relatively large mean separation of men and women in the multivariate ‘space’ of personality
To give an example: In the U.S., teaching is consider a woman's profession, because it involves "nurturing." But in India, teaching is a man's profession, because it involves training the next generation workforce to participate in the economy. Even if you suppose women are more "nurturing" innately, that doesn't explain any particular demographic distribution among, say, teachers.
Another example is the fact that 60% of accountants are women. Accounting is not only about "things" rather than people, but it's often about completely abstract "things" (e.g. accrued tax credits). Women also are more "agreeable." But within, for example, the legal profession, the cooperative practice of transactional law has a lower representation of women than the conflict-oriented area of litigation.
Within STEM: over 40% of math majors are women, but only about 20% of CS majors. In other words, "social" and "people-oriented" women evidently prefer a field where people work almost completely alone on completely abstract concepts. Meanwhile, Pinterest's engineering team is almost all men.
The point isn't whether biological differences exist. The point is whether the evidence for biological differences explains what we observe in reality. And it really doesn't (not without egregious handwaving, anyway).
There have been a number of experiments trying to remove all cultural influences from kids and see what toys they prefer. Despite their best efforts, boys still prefer trucks and girls prefer dolls. Why should we expect the differences in interests to disappear with age?
Second, where do you get the statistic that 40% of math majors are women? Just a quick Google search and I found this: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/11/math-wom...
>In mathematics, just 15 percent of tenure-track positions are held by women, one of the lowest percentages among the sciences, along with computer science (18 percent), and engineering (14 percent)
They are even worse than computer science. This is about exactly what I would expect. (The article of course blames sexism. Since they can't consider any other explanation. But they don't present any evidence to support that.)
Even if the differences aren't perfectly predictive of real world outcomes, so what? I'm not claiming they are. All I'm saying is we shouldn't expect the distribution of interest to be a perfect 50:50 split between men and women. If the personality differences between men and women are as significant as these studies show, it would be very surprising if every profession had a perfect gender ratio.
Computer programming in particular is extremely interest driven. Programmers like programming and do it in their free time. Most of them taught themselves to do it before they studied it formally. As opposed to your other examples like accounting. How many people do accounting in their free time just for fun?
And even if there was a gender difference in terms of preferring trucks to dolls, what would that really be measuring? Again, a five month old couldn't possibly have an association between trucks and building things. You could just as easily be measuring the degree to which infants have an affinity for faces. You can't get from that to a preference for/against CS without a whole lot of handwaving. Which is ultimately the big problem. You're pointing to biological differences and saying that must explain observed occupational differences, without providing any theory of causation. It's an argument that doesn't just have little explanatory power, what explanatory power it does have is based on gendered characterizations. (E.g. hypothesizing women prefer teaching because it's a "nurturing" profession, while ignoring societies that don't view it as a nurturing profession at all, where teaching is male dominated).
As to math preferences, you're comparing tenure track professors, while I was referring to undergraduate degree holders (hence "math majors"). Women earn over 40% of math/stat undergraduate degrees: https://www.aps.org/programs/education/statistics/womenmajor....
> (E.g. hypothesizing women prefer teaching because it's a "nurturing" profession, while ignoring societies that don't view it as a nurturing profession at all, where teaching is male dominated).
If women don't go into CS because society as a whole views it as a thing-oriented discipline and women are more people-oriented than thing-oriented, this opens up the possibility of reframing CS to be more people-oriented, changing its perception in society, thus causing more women to become interested in CS.
The memo had this to say on that topic:
We can make software engineering more people-oriented with pair programming
and more collaboration. Unfortunately, there may be limits to how
people-oriented certain roles at Google can be and we shouldn't deceive
ourselves or students into thinking otherwise (some of our programs to get
female students into coding might be doing this).
Which actually sounds pretty reasonable to me.
Might as well just measure what toys they prefer when they come out of the womb. No shit a five month old has no idea what a truck or a doll is. But by the age of four they will definitely prefer trucks as expected.
>You're pointing to biological differences and saying that must explain observed occupational differences, without providing any theory of causation.
I did provide a theory (things vs people), but it's not really necessary. The original comment suggested that there were no personality or behavioral differences between men and women. This is a ridiculous claim. I have showed there are huge differences between the preferences of men and women.
Why would we expect two different groups with (statistically) different personalities and interests to make exactly the same career choices? I can't necessarily predict which factors are the most relevant, or which traits correlate with which careers and how strongly. Those are specifics. But I would be completely shocked if the correlation between mental and personality traits and career choice is absolutely zero. And if they aren't zero, that will necessarily imply a difference between the genders.
The alternative theory is that "it's all cultural". This theory also makes no specific predictions. No matter what outcome is observed, you can blame it on culture. You can invent a just-so story about how mathematicians are less sexist than programmers or something. It doesn't require or present any evidence. It isn't falsifiable. If one cultural factor is ruled out (e.g. discrimination), you can always make another and shove it in (e.g. "role models".)
If you show evidence that one cultural explanation can't possibly be correct, they just move onto another. E.g. showing that there are the same percentage of female tech workers as female computer science graduates. So they move onto blaming sexism in universities. So you show there are the same percentage of girls interested in computer science in high school. And then the theory moves onto blaming parents for discouraging girls from computers... or something. And I can't think of any possible experiment that could test that and prove it false. So they say "aha, gotcha! It was culture all along!" as if they've proved something.
>E.g. hypothesizing women prefer teaching because it's a "nurturing" profession, while ignoring societies that don't view it as a nurturing profession at all, where teaching is male dominated
The link I posted sort of addressed this. In less egalitarian cultures it's possible differences are more cultural. E.g. Indians straight up discriminate against female teachers and don't even make it an option. Or Indian parents forcing their girls to learn computer science because they see it as a way out of poverty. But as cultures become more egalitarian, gender differences will become more determined by biology. The west generally gives children a lot more freedom to choose their career and doesn't discriminate by sex. So gender preference will become a lot more important in such a society.
Any citation on this? i have seen most teachers being female...
The extraordinary claim here is that there are less women in tech due to sexism from men and we have yet to see the extraordinary evidence.
> So do women fair better on some emotional tests because of some innate biology or because we've emphasized that kind of thing literally since they could talk?
Evolution probably favoured caring mothers, you can observe this in animals as well.
> And it's so hard because those differences are tiny. If we assumed those differences really are 100% biological (again, a big assumption), it might explain why Computer Science would be 55% men, and 45% women. It wouldn't explain the huge disparity we see today.
"Chimps, Humans 96 Percent the Same, Gene Study Finds"
4% doesn't really explain why we are totally different form chimps. Not everything scales linear manner.
> Historically, the field of computing had lots of women.
That's both true and not, computing used to be radically different historically then it is right now.
> Why? The "it's biology and girl brains are different" argument can't account for that. Biology didn't change.
What if CS changed or what you do with your CS degree changed?
> that talks about how early home computers were marketed as a toy to buy for boys.
I can debunk that for you: look at countries where computers weren't marketed and have the still ratios.
> It's like we as a society decided that computers fell into the "boy stuff" category with GI Joe and baseball, not the "girl stuff" category like Barbie and softball.
So all companies ignored half of their potential market? It's possible, however, it's hard to explain though why would every single company would throw away half of their market.
> I think it all adds up to a pretty convincing argument that biology has nothing (or very, very little) to do with it.
I think it was magazines. Which weren't gendered. I don't think I've seen any male programmers on TV, and I don't have family members who were programmers, and I was interested in computers before I knew that programming was a job.
As far as I can tell, computers were just innately interesting.
Some things are explicitly gendered, like GI Joe or Barbie.
Some things are implicitly gendered, like Legos. There's nothing about then that makes them "for boys." But most stores put them in the boys aisle. Lego started making "girl sets" that are all pinky not too long ago just so they could go in the girl section.
As a kid, where were the magazines with computer stuff in the store? Were they next to Tigerbeat? Probably not. It's little stuff like that. That's not the whole story, of course. But what we find interesting is at least partly due to society.
I'm not saying there's not gendered influences, I'm saying my personal life story doesn't have positive-reinforcing gendered elements that I can tell.
I'm already seeing this play out with my daughter. At four, she's highly gender normative, which means she wants to have pink everything and play with girls, not boys. But she also loves puzzles, numbers, legos, and building things. That came to a head recently, because she ended up being the only girl in one of her science camps. At age four, she's already grappling with the tension between her gender identity and what kinds of activities society tells her are associated with her gender.
 One of my grievances about the Google Anti-Diversity Memo is it makes an erroneous assumption that just because children show some gendered preferences at a young age (e.g. trucks versus dolls), that somehow explains a gendered preference for/against programming as a career choice.
Diversity programs from big businesses have always seemed sick to me. Why does Google want more diversity? Ultimately, because they want to double the supply of engineers and reduce their hiring costs. The idea that I should subvert my daughter's innate interests, and encourage her to follow pursuits that are foreign to her, just so that Google can save money on employee salaries is perverse.
In my view, true diversity is valuing what makes people different. School teachers tend to be female and software developers tend to be male. "Diversity" shouldn't be taken to mean that 50% of developers should be female and 50% of school teachers male. That's not diverse, it's uniform. Instead, diversity should be recognizing that a school teacher isn't inferior to a software developer.
The categorical error you make, like the author of the anti-diversity memo, is conflating gender identity with a specific set of "boy" versus "girl" activities. Just because children have strong gender identity does not mean that you can categorize any given activity as "girl-like" versus "boy-like." I.e. there is nothing to show that liking pink unicorns causes someone to have a preference against computer science.
As to our own daughter, I don't want her to be an engineer or a scientist. I want her to be a lawyer, like her mom and myself. I also hated school and don't place much emphasis on education. She's the one who wants to do puzzles and math worksheets and build legos.
Of course, that's anecdotal and doesn't prove anything. The real evidence, to me, is that this association between math/science and men differs dramatically between countries. In Bangladesh, more than 80% of teachers are men (overrepresented compared to the total labor force). And in India, half of science undergraduates are women: http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-sciences. It's really a different societal mindset about what professions are appropriate for women versus men. For example, I grew up hearing my Bangladeshi mother complain about how the teachers in U.S. schools are women, when men make better teachers.
> Like, I didn't choose to go into software development and so learnt to code, I chose to go into software development because I could code.
I have a hunch you graduated a relatively long time ago and do not socialize with people who are currently in school. People do not have to declare major for two first years in school. Outside those doing pre-med or pharmacy students do not need to take any hard science/math/cs classes ( the later in a lot of schools taught in math departments ) for years. Early juniors are the first ones who need to decide on a major and boy is CS low on that list ( why would one want to spend next two years cramming math, CS, and physics into the schedule class after class when one can take a few creative courses and graduate with liberal arts degree? ).
> What specific mistakes can you point to? What particular solutions are within reach of the government? Because right now it just looks like you're shifting responsibility onto the state.
Allowing Jack and Suzy to take $100k loans to for a degree in operating a coffee machine.
Within a group of fields, you are correct. In the business school, the first two years were all the same. In engineering, though, CS classes started first semester freshman year. In the first two years of undergrad, the typical CS degree program had at least 6 courses: 2x intro, Discrete Math, Algo, Automata, and something else.
So perhaps if one had gone EE and decided they wanted CS, they would 'only' be a year back. Going from one college to another within Uni more than a year in, is almost starting over.
This is very dependent on your school and program. At my school, the engineers selected their specialty at the end of, I believe, freshman year. My program was so rigorous with specific requirements that if I didn't start them during freshman year, I could not have graduated in 4 years. As it stood, I missed a semester due to illness and was set back an entire year because of it.
This right here is the problem fundamentally. The good thing is google seems to at least pretend to have an interest in changing things. They've tried running their own coding bootcamps for minorities and women.
If we really want to fix the problem of diversity in tech then what we really need is a systemic change in how learning as an adult is handled and viewed. I feel like most of my peers did not learn to program while they where at university but learned it while they where younger through google. Perhaps if we could find a way to provide the same socialization and critical thinking exercises that universities provide without the incredible administrative overhead we could make it easy for people to transition into difficult STEM fields. This would be a win for pretty much everyone except the bankers and school administrators.
This was not the case at my university at all.
It will be worse: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14965074
We are already starting to drop the admission standards to achieve equality of outcomes.
If anyone, man or woman, decides to pursuit a given career because they can see others like them in the field, then really, I am grateful they don't. I want to work with people who deeply care about their choices. Who are dreamers. Who are willing to give a lot to fulfill their drive for knowledge. Who learns out of sheer curiosity of the world around them. Who can ask a meaningful questions. Who believe in what they do. Not with a sheep who chooses to follow other sheep.
If people want diversity at work, they should start with elementary school first. Do not assume any biological equality or lack of it up front but also do not ENFORCE any. Just give people equal rights to study and to make their own choices.
The push to 50/50 would cause me great concern as I would lose my advantage. Do any women feel the same way with the situation now?
I've countless interviews with vets. When a person becomes a vet they do it because they want to help animals or want money and to help but rarely because someone else did it before them who looks like them.
I disagree with the above sentiments, despite those being excellent reasons or attitudes to choose a field/calling/career. It is not necessary for others to arrive at a path in the same way that other people do. It is entirely possible that the burning desire, inclination, and careful choice occur after being accepted into a program or after more exposure into a coding environment. It is also very likely that such desire, inclination, and choice are discouraged by not having relatable peers or role models. I would find it much harder to fit and grow into a role if from the very beginning I was expected to already have inclinations and reasons that are similar to my coworkers.
Asking because I (female) ended up being one without any desire and I am now working my way into CS.
If so, the existence of a problem at one stage in the pipeline is a poor excuse for failing to address a bottleneck at a later stage. Particularly when the actor in question is mostly involved in the later stages.
I think you've got it backwards. In the real world, supply is increased to meet demand. Farmers aren't going to grow more white onions just to see what happens. They've got to believe it's going to be a more profitable crop because it is in demand.
To extend your food analogy, it's like when Paul Prudhomme introduced blackened redfish at fine dining establishment Commander's Palace in the 1980's. Redfish went from being a "trash" fish to a species overfished to the point of near extinction. Importantly, nothing changed about the redfish itself. What changed was a new emphasis on using it in a dish.
Similarly, lobster went from being a peasant or prisoner food to a delicacy when railways and canning helped extend the demand beyond the northeast US.
What if a big part of solving the pipeline problem is simply for companies to demand more diverse candidates because leadership finally start to recognize the research that suggests that diverse teams outperform homogeneous teams on many metrics? I think this has to be the case because no one is getting into an employment pipeline that ends with what is perceived to be a hostile working environment.
Last I read, the Economist said there is an advantage to diversity when attempting to be creative, but in other scenarios the advantage goes to the homogeneous team.
I think it was that article I read, can't tell because I'm over my article limit.
To make up numbers, if a student has 3 times a high risk of switching a program after a failed exam, the chance that they will graduates will be significant lower. Having a gender segregated education fixes this, but as soon the graduate enters the work market the same phenomenon happen after a failed interview unless they only seek work which is also gender segregated.
Also worth remembering that women CS grads entering the field used to be climbing at the same rate as lawyers and other similar fields, then something changed in the mid-1980s and while the other fields progressed ever-nearer 50%, CS numbers took a nosedive. I don't have good research into exactly why that happened, but I'm guessing women didn't say "oh we're doing 32bit computers now? Nah you keep this one bros" ;)
How do we fix this? I don't think the silicon valley startup will ever appeal to women. Live in a closet for three years for a 10% chance to make a million dollars. Those odds only attract people with an appetite for risk. Mostly, unsurprisingly, young men. The problem with that is that silicon valley represents the field.
To get more women we need to change the image of the profession. I'm of the opinion that females just don't want to do software development and that decision is made really young.
Anecdotal, but I know plenty of guys that tinkered with PC's as young as 10 years old, and zero women that did so. It's seen as a boy thing, like cars.
That's my memory of it anyway, boys got pushed to go into STEM the second they showed any aptitude, girls were just sort of expected to keep it up.
My wife is more educated than I, with a masters degree. But she wanted to stay home, work part time, and not have our kids raised by a third party.
The traditional family structure for Homo sapiens has strong biological and environmental roots, which in turn caused "societal traditions". Changing that in a few generations seems quite unlikely.
I think the change we need to make is less about the profession and more about the people in the profession. We need to make it a field that seems open to women. Currently it isn't. I don't have a daughter, but I'd be very hesitant to suggest to her to go into the SW field.
BTW, my sister tinkered with PCs as a kid. It is interesting that she went on to get a degree in statistics and me in computer science. She works in policy now, and me in CS -- despite the fact that both of us had very similar achievement paths through HS. To this day she is better at most maths than I am, but most people seem to assume I'm better (at least when it comes up).
If we're serious about fixing the ratio it needs to be done with policy and young, well before students graduate highschool.
One of the examples in the podcast expands on the viewpoint that computers are for men and that idea is ingrained even to the level of the family, so computers are kept in the sons bedroom so incidentally the daughter had less access to it.
Its not suggested by guidance counselors to females when looking to select electives in junior high school.
So if they are seen as a male hobby or interest, at a time when what your peers think is so important, girls are less likely to want to venture into that area and be outside the norm.
What happened in the 80s was likely because computers went from being for business to being a hobby with the home computer . I would imagine that because men dominated technical professions at the time most computers were bought by men, which then shared their interests with their sons . Programmers like John Carmack and Linus Torvalds is born around 1970 and would be teenagers when home computers became available . Games went from adventure quests and puzzles to shooters like quake and duke nukem. Social settings like mailing lists became more important to learn programming through open source. So the cycle continues.
Of course just like girl, boys probably didn't know what the profession actually meant. They wanted to be programmers because of things like video games, but ended up making business systems.
How do you fix it? Many CS programs are antiquated and changing the curriculum to software engineering doesn't seem to help much to attract a broader group of people. If the large companies are serious about this, they should do what the banks did and train smart people with more generic backgrounds.
1977 Atari 2600
1977 Apple II
1981 Sinclair ZX81
1981 BBC Micro
1982 Commodore 64
1983 WarGames (movie)
1983 Nintendo Entertainment System
"When I was 5 or 6, my parents got me a Commodore 64."
"My dad left his old Atari (2600 Junior, I think) in my room and I found basic on there towards the end of grade school."
"1982-83 (grammar to high school age): My parents bought a word processor in the 80's that you could also program."
"In 1982 my Dad brought home a Sirius microcomputer for his work."
"My dad brought home a 386 IBM-PC so he could learn AutoCAD."
"I got started with BASICA on a Tandy 1000. My dad had a newer computer at the time but he certainly wouldn't let me use it."
"I'm not sure if this counts; the birth of my hacking started on my dad's lap, doing amateur radio."
"It was his maternal grandfather, Leo Toerngvist, a professor of statistics at the University of Helsinki, who had the greatest influence on the young Linus. In the mid-1970s, Toerngvist bought one of the first personal computers, a Commodore Vic 20."
We would have loved it if anyone did, alas that wasn't the case. I'm glad things have changed and you're no longer an outcast if you're a geeky kid; I feel that I paid a big personal price for being that way inclined, but later on there was a payoff in that it was easy to get into programming as a career, when the Internet started happening in the mid late 90s.
If my next kid is a girl, she'll have no shortage of computer science ahead of her. My son's already way deep. :)
The interesting thing, to me, is that you can't look at those 10-year-olds in isolation. My experience mirrors yours and, yet, if you look back further, I'll bet you find that those 10-year-old tinkerers almost all have some history with Legos or other such construction toy that, very early, started building the guess-fail-iterate problem solving model that I believe is so important to computer aptitude.
One of the side effects to being "good with computers" is that you end up getting asked to do a lot of tech support. Over the years, I've seen so many people who are so afraid of doing something wrong that they can't figure out how to do what they want despite being otherwise intelligent enough. They don't realize what's perfectly summed up here: https://xkcd.com/627/
Some of the most important and least controversial efforts to address gender diversity in tech are the people trying to make better toys for young girls. As I've heard it stated, we have a shortage of engineers, not a shortage of princesses and our toy aisles should reflect that.
This SMBC comic sums up the issue perfectly: https://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=1883
On a side note, I've also noticed that the bulk of my female classmates in college and the bulk of my female coworkers since then have been either Indian or Chinese. It might be worth exploring why Indian and Chinese women are more willing to work in tech than western women.
Still, it proves that a better gender ratio is definitely possible in the US as well
I don't know that you can say that financial success is more important in those countries, but I think you can say that tech is a more viable path to that financial success in those countries since careers like finance, law and medicine (the stereotypical high-paid professions in the US) mean working in their own country rather than coming to the US. If you're primarily motivated by money, as an American, there are surer paths to getting it than writing code. But as a foreigner that wants to work in the US (and therefore make more money), writing code is one of the best ways to do that.
If you dont believe me ask them yourself, but make a clear distinction between immigrant and first gen.
The arguments that there are fundamental differences between men and women doesn't seem to prevent much higher proportions of female programmers in India, or Romania, or China.
As Adam Grant says, while there are some (small) differences between men and women, they're "not biologically determined"
Suppose that the much higher proportions of female programmers in poorer countries might be because their choice is more limited; there is way more incentive in a poor country to want to land a fairly secure and well paid job, because you risk starving if you don't.
Going for a liberal arts degree (or similar) in India, Romania or China would then be discouraged.
Conversely, in the West, people are more free to pursue whatever profession they may like, because they most likely won't starve if they do.
I'm not saying that this would be the only explanation for the gender gap, but I do think the explanation involves many more factors than 'computer games in the 80s'.
I personally think it's naïve to dismiss inherent biological preferences entirely, especially since there are many studies that corroborate that they _do exist_.
> I personally think it's naïve to dismiss inherent biological preferences entirely...
So, Adam Grant is one of the world's foremost experts in this area. Did you read his fully-sourced article, linked from my parent post, that refutes this exact "biological" point?
The problem is that many people seem to forget that the difference applies to averages, and therefore mean very little on an individual level.
In other words, it's not far fetched to assume that a part of the gender gap in STEM/CS is because of biology, since an average trend would influence said gap. Conversely, it's incorrect to claim that a specific woman is more ill-suited doing STEM/CS than a man, just because she's a woman.
Also, I didn't go through all the references, but Adam Grant (at least indirectly) cites the 1995 study by Steele & Aronson which has been proved to be of shoddy quality. Like everyone else who denies any possibility of biology influencing how people think, he seems to have a political axe to grind. I therefore consider his opinions somewhat unreliable.
Regarding the quality and replicability of stereotype threat studies, that came in vogue after the seminal Steele & Aronson 1995 paper:
I think Scott Alexander makes one rather poor argument towards the end of his debate with Grant.
> I agree this is surprising. But let’s also not claim it supports the sexism theory, unless you think people in computer science became more sexist between 1980 and today for some reason.
Attitudes change precisely that quickly. Look at the massive change in attitudes towards homosexuality.
Then look at the way computers were marketed directly at boys in exactly that period https://qz.com/911737/silicon-valleys-gender-gap-is-the-resu...
The way I read it, Grant claims that the decline can't have a biological explanation, Scott agrees but counter-claims that it does not necessarily follow the reason must be sexism then, and then goes on to provide a plausible non-sexism explanation. Are you reading it differently?
Regarding the article you referenced, I'm not sure I understand how it supports the sexism theory either. Up to about '83 women CS share rapidly and steadily increased (indicating decreasing sexism, I presume?), then Apple started marketing to boys, video games producers started marketing to boys, and because of that sexism within the industry immediately and dramatically increased? Or is it "sexism increased, and that caused Apple and video game producers to market to boys"? What's the narrative here?
More object-level, or nitpicking, if you will - the Apple ad they referenced didn't actually market "to boys" - nobody would buy an Apple II for a boy in 1985, it was too expensive, around $5K in today's money. The ad merely used a boy as the lead character, and no, mischievously pressing a button on the girl's keyboard does not constitute "teasing girls' computer skills".
Alas, I knew no girls who were into this even the slightest.
Or it implies that the bias has a more profound origin than simply hiring practices
(the funnel tapers earlier in the process)
Isn't that kind of the definition of the gender discrimination most companies are trying to avoid?
Is it additional burden on the companies? Sure. But we are fine with taxing companies and placing on them the burden of workers protections and environmental protection. This is just another protection. Protection against reinforcing inequality. I'm not saying it's good but additional education for less educated and more equality in society doesn't seem bad if the only cost is money from the richest corporations especially the ones that get most of their money from advertising which nowaydays is less about informing customer about your product existance and all about everything else.
Or maybe women just enjoy doing different kind of things than men.
Please stop blaming the school system and our government. Our society puts so much emphasis on women looking a certain way; the way they should socialize; they need to be pretty, cheerleaders and subordinate ... Little girls aren't supposed to be nerdy and engineers. That's what society tells them in the movies they watch, the songs they hear and reinforced at home ... Let's get Jane some dolls. We'll give John a lego set. That's the "problem"
b) your argument is that 50% is currently not possible
most companies are <20% in tech positions and <20-30% for management
a few years ago even <10% 
I don't think the percentages in management really matter because you tend to get promoted from lower rungs. Management % probably reflects the programmer hires 5-10 years ago.
We really need to look at the percentage of female applicants. In the ~1000 applications I've seen directly from indeed etc, less than 20% we're female. I didn't count, but it seemed closer to 10%. It's so bad that for some job listings I remember not receiving a single female application for 20+ males.
So choices in life means much more than we want to admit.
Of course women are being affected early on just as men but then the discussion should be about that rather than putting the guilt on companies who are just trying to make a business.
I agree with your point but economist will say that increasing the demand will be a better technique. Supply side will take care of itself. Affirmative actions are usually intended to create an artificial spike in demand for the purpose of greater good. How effective they are is a different matter altogether.
This is a double sword thing. With the program you might hire more qualified women, but also more less qualified women and you might prevent of hiring more qualified men. Because you have to hire women as the diversity program says.
If I were I woman (or belong to minority) I would prefer to be being hired without any diversity program. Imagine being a woman and being hired with this program, does it mean they hired me because I am a woman or because I am the best candidate for the position? (I said woman but applies to any minority group)
Regarding your employer being able to potentially firing you, the point isn't that they can fire you but that hiring you based on a diversity program for women could have excluded a more qualified man (not saying that you could not be the most qualified candidate). Firing you later doesn't fix the missed opportunity for that man or the employer.
ALL the people interviewed are qualified, they can ALL do the job
In the case of my employer, all the qualified men who might want the job have already applied for it. The diversity program came about because they are actually struggling to find enough qualified candidates, even with generous pay and benefits. The company. No one has missed an opportunity because of me. The company was majority white and male, and they didn't have enough people, so they decided to tap into the vast universe of people who aren't white or male. In my opinion, that's the best possible reason for having a diversity program.
Of course, you can have hypothetical scenarios e.g. you have two candidates who are equally qualified and practically match neck to neck and you can only hire one and you have a lack of diversity in your company, sure, you can hire the person who brings more diversity.
However, if you have, say, white male person who is more qualified than, say a non-white female person, and those are your top two picks, then you should choose the former because it is about being most qualified for the role. If the non-white female is most qualified, than she should be chosen. I'm simply advocating meritocracy.
You mentioned that "The diversity program came about because they are actually struggling to find enough qualified candidates" and "he company was majority white and male, and they didn't have enough people, so they decided to tap into the vast universe of people who aren't white or male". I don't understand the first part - were they excluding non-white/non-male people from applying initially? Isn't that unlawful? Why didn't the "vast universe of people who aren't white or male" didn't apply initially and had to be brought in via diversity program?
They weren't excluding women or minorities, they just weren't finding any qualified ones. Now they are running short of people who are qualified of any color and gender. White men have already had lots of opportunities to get experience, so now they are giving those opportunities to women and minorities explicitly. At some point in the future they'll be able to reap the results of having more experienced people available of whatever gender or color.
Many companies think that it's not their responsibility to train, that the world is full of qualified people who are ready to step in and do whatever job whenever they're needed. It's not working out in the technology sector though. Some companies are getting the message that they have to take people who don't have experience, and give it to them until they are as qualified as they need to be.
In the past it was simply easier for white, male people to get experience, and that's why many companies now find that it's easier to find qualified, experienced white men to fill jobs. Except when it's not. Then they start diversity programs.
Based on you wrote now, I found the piece I was unable to understand. What you are saying is that: they were not able to get anybody (white males or otherwise) so they invested in a diversity programme which results in more non-white/non-male candidates getting experience and skills and increased the overall job pool of available candidates. If that understanding is correct and the goal is to increase the overall pool of qualified candidates, then why a diversity programme? Why not a general internship programme where the most bright of _inexperienced_ candidates are chosen irrespective of their color/gender? Note the stress on inexperience since your argument is based on lack of experience for non-white/non-male population. That takes care of:
1. Companies' responsibility to train
2. Increases the overall pool of candidates
3. Ensures that the brightest are getting into the pool i.e. merit rules instead of skin color/gender (which means that if a non-white/non-male person is the brightest, they get the experience and join the pool)
They have such a program as well, which has been in place much longer than the diversity program. With no specific requirements to pick people who aren't white and male, they ended up getting mostly white males.
It depends on the disability, but still disable people can do things that normal people cannot do. Everybody has skills companies can use, regardless their disability or race or gender.
A blind person wont seem like a good fit for a programming position, but if they prove they can program (as experience in their CV or having passed a test like the rest of candidates) they should be consider as the rest of candidates without any prejudice. And I am sure that blind person has put more effort to achieve the same goals as a non disable candidate and it might be a positive point to hire him as that blind person is showing one more skill than others.
But we shouldn't hire him because he/she is blind but because of his/her skills.
I find that if a decision on morality is made into a general rule, they are much easier to assert if they are good or bad. A gender neutral diversity program on a national level would radically change the discussion, and it would be interesting to see if the proponents of diversity programs would still support it.
1) what happen if less than 40% want to be in the profession? Are you going to force them to join non-desire careers?
2) does it apply also to bad things? like for example the ratio of men in jail is higher, does it mean we are putting in jail wrong people and leaving women out that should be in jail?
3) will it apply to different minorities? like for example would short people be more selected to play basketball?
2) & 3), when making law, rules tries to become more general but only to a point. Where that point is is naturally up to debate, but should match the intention of the rule maker. If we want to eliminate gender segregation in the work place, then it naturally ends with gender. If the idea is to eliminate segregation in general then more classification of groups would have to be included.
But the big question I wanted to ask is if we take gender based affirmative action, would that explicit form of action be consider moral when made into a general rule rather than applied locally by specific companies. If it is not, then why is it moral when done in smaller scale.
I see your point now. That is such a good question. But I think in US as in other countries there are laws for gender diversity, like you have to pay more taxes if you don't have gender diversity. And some countries have positive discrimination policies that give money to company who hire minorities.
"Nah, we all know CS is the best, and the only logical possibility is that women are being discouraged to do it, because if I chose an IT career, it's obviously the correct choice of profession."
-- Lots of people here.
The diversity program is an invitation for women, minorities, and disabled people to do an internship. The goal of the internship is to learn, not necessarily to demonstrate ability to do the job. It is paid. It lasts 4-6 months. Interns are invited to go through the normal hiring process afterwards, with the benefit of some experience on the job. There are no full time jobs reserved for any particular type of person. If they choose not to stay with the company, they still get a genuinely useful resume item out of it, moreso than they'd get from a 2 week trial. It can also be used for school credit. Some people might come back and apply again after they finish school.
Around a hundred people go through the normal trial process each year, and it's currently not enough. That's why the diversity program was launched, just to get more people into the pipeline. Only about 8 interns go through the program each year, because so far it's a small experiment, but it's working out so far. A few interns have been hired full time, and a couple of people who couldn't hack it got to at least have a taste of what it's like.
This applies to the majority of protected categories one way or another, but people forget it's not "just because people are biased" - while many sadly are, at an explicit or implicit level, even if they weren't there are good reason to keep certain quotas around.
Edit: enlighten me naysayers, why protecting special categories with objective limitations a priory even in absence of cultural bias would be so bad?
"Still getting asked if I can handle being in a mostly male work environment in interviews in 2009 - I’ve been an engineer for 9 years, obviously I can. I know when I’m asked that question, I HAVE NO CHANCE AT THE JOB. It is nice they brought me in for equal opportunity survey points but don’t waste my time if you don’t take females seriously.”
The point is when you have a male dominated "bro"/"frat" culture, diversity programs are indeed just to meet labor standards - but they don't actually hold water. Which is why women end up leaving these places because people can't treat women like human beings. A diversity program becomes virtually useless if you can't keep people from leaving short of incentivizing them to deal with a company's toxic culture.
I think saying 'can you HANDLE being in a mostly male work environment' is not the right wording. But the decision I took to let a potential candidate know they would be working in an otherwise male only office, I would take again in the same circumstance - it WAS something she was interested to know and WAS something that also came up when she started the job.
I can't speak on behalf of any other women, or scenario in the world, the above is the account of what happened to us. We typically get at least 10X more male candidates to female, and we employ and the same ratio. For about half of the jobs we recruit for, the personal doing the interviewing is female.
I perfectly understand the innocence of the question and can empathize with both scenarios: one where the candidate is frustrated by seemingly not being taken seriously, and one where the candidate is genuinely interested in knowing and hoping she can find someone to relate to.
Finding out if you fit into the social norms and groups is really really hard when you're an adult.
As a male I was told something similar in an interview at Google: if I would mind to work in a company where most people are men? And as the girl you cite I found the question stupid. I have worked in tech I already know how is this.
Instead of diversity program to hire women we should create tolerance programs for everybody.
Women started finding it harder to get into CS in the 80s. Until then, the historical record is that diversity was better than it is now.
But generally hiring-process solutions to this problem are hopeless. You either have a diverse culture, in which case markers for age, gender, attractiveness, charm, ethnicity, extraversion, and so on, are irrelevant... or you don't.
Tech generally doesn't - and that starts at school, not during hiring.
Adding a few extra women won't change that. It's a small improvement at best, not a revolution in accessibility.
Because the reality is that even with a 50:50 gender split startup culture would still be primarily white-or-asian, young, attractive, middle class, and motivated by a very small selection of possible ethical positions - and a lot of possible talent would still be excluded.
Age, race, and class discrimination is far more obvious to outsiders than gender discrimination.
You could make the "Well it's still an improvement" argument, and that's true - up to a point. There's still a bigger conversation to be had about inequality in general, and I'm not sure how many people in tech of any gender are interested in having it.
Tech is a very fast moving space with a lot of premium attached to entrepreneurship, moving fast enough, failing often etc.
This sort of an environment is very hard for almost everybody to survive through.
There was a strong bias for older workers. Eventually people said "fuck it", made their own startups, hired their newly graduate colleagues, and started making a big push about why younger tech workers were better.
Since the pipeline is growing (more and more people are going in tech), new grads around that time easily outnumbered the older ones, and thus the situation we're in now. It's almost a backlash to what happened back then.
My grandfather always shares his stories about leading the development team at Lewis (an old English insurance corporation) and British Gas.
In his view, they were slothenly, unkempt, often unwashed and unsuited nerds. They were allowed to be because they did a job nobody else at the time could do- and while the rest of the office was suite/tie/polished shoes- they showed a flagrant and blatant disregard for that. Because they knew that they could get away with it because they were "needed".
This is why he has a respect for me being clean/polite/respectful while "having the same skills" in his mind.
So I don't fully buy that tech was previously more professional; it might be a different culture in SV, but generally tech is as professional as anything outside of finance in the cities I've worked (in europe)
Why does it matter what the employee dresses or looks like, if they produce the same results?
I have never understood the reason for people forcing their views of how people should dress onto others. It is absurd.
Granted, there are levels of what is 'appropriate' for the workplace, but I think generally having a flexible dress code is important for employee morale.
Because only biiig and serious corps had the dough to play with mainframes. IBM, AT&T, Nokia, Alcatel, Ericsson are still very corporate. The world has changed a bit since then. (The Cold War changed how people view openness and sharing, the Vietnam Wwar (and recently Iraq) changed how people related to the Establishment (and the "military-industrial complex"), and big corporations. Openness became important and "cool" again.)
And CS is small even today, but it was much smaller. Only the very determined, rather serious people were doing software development. And the projects were much more "serious" back then. Waterfall development model, etc.
Diversity was better, about 36% of CS grads were women. Still long before the big Information Age explosion (.com boom, and so on).
And nowadays when you need a gadget or a website you don't need a professional big corporate project, you need just a few guys-gals.
> But generally hiring-process solutions to this problem are hopeless. You either have a diverse culture, in which case markers for age, gender, attractiveness, charm, ethnicity, extraversion, and so on, are irrelevant... or you don't.
Agreed. But if you want to ensure a transition from bad culture to good culture, you might need to start brute force hiring for it. But usually companies that lack good culture are allowed to rot because someone at the top doesn't care.
> There's still a bigger conversation to be had about inequality in general, and I'm not sure how many people in tech of any gender are interested in having it.
People much better off than the average "for some reason" find it "not their problem". Of course, some do, and try to maximize their impact (see effective altruism).
The problem they're solving shouldn't be "we need more women in tech, so let's lower the bar for them".
The problem they should be solving is "There are two candidates for this leadership position. One tends to use assertiveness and authority to get the job done. The other uses encouragement and persuasion. Who do you hire?". The default response is often to choose the person with the leadership style you've seen many times before, and thus the person who uses unfamiliar, equally effective techniques doesn't get a shot.
You sure as hell shouldn't hire me because I'm female. You should hire me because the set of techniques I employ to do my job are effective, even though they might be less familiar to you. Every tech lead has a different style, and that style has been tailored to that individual. Measure the outcome, not arbitrary characteristics that contribute to the outcome.
I couldn't agree more with it. And I think it is one of the points of the infamous memorandum. We should change how the companies works internally so we can use other skills in our benefit. I am not sure the diversity programs work like this, because if they worked like this the focus should be more inside the internal culture than in the hiring process. They would say something like we need to teach people in the company to increase the tolerance and assess diversity skill instead of increasing the diversity. Increasing diversity should be an emerge feature not a goal.
One of the smartest people I know belongs to one of these castes. She is brilliant at her job but constantly worries whether she got in because of her brains or because of the reservations.
There is STILL a serious need for reservations and affirmative action in my country, but man does it screw with people.
I come from the same country.
Reservation policy has denied hordes and hordes of exceptionally smart, hardworking and merit people their rightful chance of doing good in life. It continues to. This has been one of the key reasons for mass exodus of these people to foreign lands. The damage is irreversible. Those people are lost for ever. And worst, they do so well outside India that more and more smart people are incentivized to leave the country for the better.
The damage to the Indian economy and the STEM ecosystem in India in general is incalculable.
Also by and large, at least from the past few decades(of economic boom and social progress) these reservation policies have no meaning at all.
Your "hordes and hordes" who have been denied their "rightful chance of doing good in life" seems more than a little overblown when you compare that to millions of people who were denied the same chance for centuries due to where their families fell in the social chain at one point.
Affirmative action policies often seem unfair to the majority, but it's often extremely difficult for that majority to consider just what the minority went through, and how much longer it will take - if it can ever happen - for them to reach parity without policies that recognize that they've been forcefully held back for their entire life, their parents' lives, and so on.
The modern day hard working people affiliated to a particular caste be punished generation after generation for a mistake some ancestor of theirs made some 5000 years back?
>>Even today people get ostracized because of their supposed caste, even though the system has been illegal for many years.
Strictly speaking caste affiliations today are entirely voluntary. You can by all means absolve yourself of any caste/religion. People stick to a particular caste/religion for various reasons many of which are cultural and not because they forced to. Also note caste isn't a binary classification. There are castes that go as deep as farmer, shepherd, cow herder, black smith, cotton weaver, weapon maker etc etc.
Some of them do it because of the explicit benefits like reservations that come along with it.
>>Your "hordes and hordes" who have been denied their "rightful chance of doing good in life" seems more than a little overblown when you compare that to millions of people who were denied the same chance for centuries due to where their families fell in the social chain at one point.
This my experience being born and living in this country for 3 decades of my biological life. The default condition for any body smart and hard working here is 'immigration abroad'.
Take any steps from your childhood. Attend any exams(which by the way decide your entire life direction), appear for any government job interview, parliaments seats etc etc. Reservations exist which will ensure many hard working people ever succeed.
The system actively brutally punishes smart, hard working merit people to a point most people are driven to migrate foreign lands to get due returns for their work.
They are theoretically voluntary. Practical reality, however, is very different: http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/08/13/48988349...
And the previous interview that I had linked to noted how often even in the US, people get asked what caste they're in.
Deeply rooted discrimination doesn't go away just because it is officially outlawed, and the effects of that discrimination don't go away just through hard work. There are plenty of smart African Americans and women in the US who can attest to still getting paid less than white males even if they did get good jobs.
Caste is similar, if you throw away your caste and then go for marriage, a strong caste affiliate who doesn't subscribe to your world view may reject your proposal. This isn't discrimination, everybody has a right to marry somebody whom they feel they can be comfortable with.
You will be surprised how much 'pride' people take in their caste here in India. There are many caste specific festivals and traditions people observe. Almost all caste affiliates in India are willing participants.
However, you do raise a good point. Reservation policy should not extend into the work force. I am more in favor of literal handouts of cash rather than forced diversity in the workplace. Come to think of it, basic income can't come soon enough. I don't mean we need to end diversity programs in the workplace but the way it was explained to me was these were recruitment programs and not hiring programs. Considering gender or caste or color of skin as one of the conditions for employment should be illegal in all nations.
This was the original vision of the people who designed the reservation system in India. Their idea was some people where so behind in the social strata that merely expecting them to make up on hard work would take it forever to work. But this policy should have some expiry conditions. Else it leads to absurd conditions like it does in India.
There are cases where the father is a well earning rich doctor, and the kids still get reservations. There is a guy who has just done his MBBS, and yet he qualifies for reservation for a MD seat. Entry and qualifying marks/percentages are lower for reservation seats, so you have a condition where exceptionally good performers and bad performers are both in the same peer group in a class, and then the bad performing group routinely does bad and loses out.
>>Reservation policy should not extend into the work force.
Once you create a entitled group of people, you can't succeed them in stopping them from asking special privileges in other places.
Given research showing that the most diverse teams are, on average, more successful than less diverse teams , should gender or caste or color still never be considered?
People bring more to their workplaces than algorithms and programming languages, their life experiences and worldview can positively influence the whole company.
The employer should encourage new ideas, create an environment where everyone feels empowered to contribute, and facilitate education and improvement for all employees.
Algorithms, programming languages, technology stacks, etc. can all be taught. The perspective an employee brings to the company can not be taught.
I think we would agree that gender, race, and ethnicity are crude proxies for a "unique worldview". There are so many metrics that could be considered: education, location history, age, previous work, hobbies, etc. Even more can be gleaned from a conversation.
A good hiring manager should know that too, and should select candidates who truly complement the team, not just check the boxes for race and gender.
This is true for some countries and the problems and solutions are still the same.
We are talking of problems General Merit people face here.
Secondly, you are making the same mistake, we generally do in India while comparing these things. Comparing human ingenuity one-one. A good merit performer can contribute way more disproportionately compared to a bad performer.
Lastly you don't mention the problem of filling up mandatory quotas. Where you can't allocate seats to general merit folks until all reservation quotas are exhausted. In Karnataka this problem was so serious back in the day, the general merit seat counseling used to happen at very last after each reserved category exhausted their picks.
The resultant situation was so bizarre. It was literally the best students in the entire state had to pick up leftovers, while people who had performed way worse took plum picks.
I remember during our first Math lecture in the first semester, some of us used to solve problems way ahead of the remaining class. Our professor used to remark the general merit candidates in the class were basically the top ranking students who had missed out on top colleges and the performance difference in the peer group was already showing, and will continue to show in the future.
The very fact that you ask for proof means you are completely disconnected from the everyday reality of life middle class hard working students face in India every single academic year.
Even today I meet freshers at IT companies who have stories of having scored in upwards of 95% aggregate marks, and best rank in competitive exams(JEE, NEET, NATA, CET etc) and lose out an engineering seat to some one who had 35-45% marks.
He asked for proof. The person responded with anecdotes. That kind of reasoning will just result in another person giving his/her anecdotes stating the opposite. Neither is proof.
In India the reservation debate has reached a point where things like 'citation needed' and 'provide proof' are now largely excuses to cover for pointless spending towards socialist 'rob peter to pay paul' schemes. Some people find reservation apologists so absurd that a debate isn't relevant any more. The problem and pains faced by hardworking kids from middle class families are now beyond complaints. Most people know by now, nobody cares for them and they have to work far more harder than kids who get reservations.
The net result is general merit kids are far more competitive and do well on the longer run.
Either way I know nothing will change on the ground, because this is large a political issue. And politicians let the system continue because they get votes in return.
For merit people the path is very simple, move out as the system doesn't reward you. There are better places on earth to contribute and build your career.
We're not in India and this is an international forum.
>I won't debate this further with you
Your opinion is formed so strongly that you never even debated in this thread. You're repeating the same sentiments and ignoring what the other person is saying.
The person is not even claiming what you are saying is false. He is only asking you to support what you're saying. And you've already attributed qualities to his personality.
No studies are conducted in India on this because this is a political issue. People vote in blocks(vote banks). Any hint of a detailed study will expose these people and they threaten to vote against the politicians as a block.
This is the equivalent of stealing bulk of the cheddar, when accused prevent CCTV monitoring from being installed, continue stealing and claim no proof exist for the crime.
The common theme in this thread is:
You make claims.
You refuse to back them up.
Take this example. I could easily make the argument:
"No studies are conducted in India on this because this is not a political issue."
It would help if you provide evidence that something bad happens to those who attempt such research.
Don't get me wrong - what you say is very believable to me. However, your comments are at the same level of conspiracy theorists in the US. When asked for proof, they respond with similar statements "What I'm speaking is the truth. The government/media/whoever represses this knowledge". Whether it's from climate denialists or young Earth believers.
I find it sad that you are responding at the same level as those people.
If a problem is political providing proof might be very difficult, since those in power will claim that there is no proof of a problem existing, and hence there is no need to investigate the problem further. This circular logic prevents any kind of proof from ever being produced.
I've seen this happen many times myself.
Kamaal made a claim that "stories of having scored in upwards of 95% aggregate marks, and best rank in competitive exams(JEE, NEET, NATA, CET etc) and lose out an engineering seat to some one who had 35-45% marks."
This is what I have seen too. And yet, I cannot provide any citations because the agencies and the institutions do not publish figures. Saimiam knows this, and himself cannot produce figures of any sort in this field. Our governmental agencies make policies not based on research and citations, but based on what gets them most votes. The govermnent has no incentive to fund research in the field.
This gives a nice cover for people to hide behind, and say, "No proof. Ha ha."
This topic is very measurable, regardless of the government's stance. The government cannot prevent proof of this. At most they can just not fund it.
Providing proof may then become prohibitively expensive, and sometimes impossible.
Even in the US, a lot of data is not released on the grounds of confidentiality. That doesn't block doing research on the topic.
for someone with a PhD in biological systems, you'd expect a person to be a little more developed in their thinking...
These differences can be in factors that impact ones desire or ability to perform certain roles. Is this wrong?
This individual person, because they are a man/woman, is unfit for the role. This IS wrong.
Is it wrong to say there are differences that make women, on average, worse football players? Is that inherently bad, perhaps even blasphemous, thing to say? I don't think so.
So why can't one discuss this about other jobs? Perhaps they are wrong, Perhaps which ever group isn't worse on average. But even if they are wrong, then the way to respond is to say that their information is wrong, not that they are wrong for saying it.
We are treating the conversation itself like it is a blasphemy that shall not be uttered aloud. Instead, we should be asking 'is this information factual or not'. And we should be taking safe guards that averages aren't assigned to individuals.
This is what bothered me the most about Google's response. They have the data to prove that the stereotypes about women were wrong. Instead of doing that, they focused on the idea that articulating the stereotypes was wrong. Some stereotypes actually have a basis in facts. The best way to deal with ones that aren't is to use the facts. Google failed at doing this.
Implying they cared about false stereotypes. They only failed if they actually wanted to do that.
My bet is this gives them negative PR to their target market, end of story.
Did you actually read the paper or just one of the many summaries? Because he didn't say that, and your use of quotes is inappropriate here. Also, he didn't question anyone's humanity.
While I don't agree with some of the points he made and I'm for Diversity programs in general, I find these misrepresentations and personal attacks on him quite disturbing. What we need is more civilized discussion, not name-calling.
there's nothing to discuss. women have just as much right as men to be programmers or any other "computer science" or "tech" job and they reason there AREN'T that many of them is preicsely because of the pseudo-science bona fide bullshit written in his "Manifesto".
it only takes one asshole to drive away everyone else.
At no point did it even insinuate that women were less capable than men, what it seemed to be trying to do is note marginal statistical differences in choices by men and women and what we could do as an industry to be more accommodating to women without resorting to hiring quotas- which, he claims, may actually cause greater levels of imposter syndrome and tension amongst genders.
There was no part of the document that came close to refuting that women have a right to be in the industry. In fact. The document was the opposite, "how do we get women in tech in a non-discriminatory way?"
It's the idea that it would be unfair that on average women cannot do as well in things men do, ignoring basic biology that genders are different and that there are things that absolutely no man can do, that women can. Even sometimes those areas which privilege females are seen as they were basically cornered into doing, and have no bearing into the fact that while there is some chauvinism, that possibly on average the desires, needs and skills may be not better or worse but different. And the women that embrace those things are positive are seen as being dominated against their will, or brainwashed into hating themselves.
In short, if a women does something that historically men used to do, then it's good. Else, and even more if it is something that historically women used to do, they are being subject to sexism.
The PhD guy should know better, perhaps too much specialization in his field made his brain go fritz.
So what you are really saying is there's a problem with affirmative action for lower castes, because large numbers of people assume that they are inferior. That's the problem your friend has. That's she's brilliant, and lots of people assume she isn't because of some arbitrary prejudice. This is the same arbitrary prejudice that the affirmative action seeks to remedy, and so these attitudes to affirmative action, in themselves, prove the need for affirmative action.
You're taking this the wrong way. It's not that they think that people who came in through reservations are inferior. It's that they don't have to work nearly as hard.
In an exam where an upper caste person might have to score 100 to get in, the reserved caste person would have to score 70.
It's about the unfairness of this system.
Which is strange because the caste system before this was wildly unfair itself.
To mitigate the damage of one unfair system, we've set up another one.
And we all know that the way to treat people with respect is to deal with them as if they were handicapped.
If they're not, then why does it matter?
If they are, then is it a) a tragedy that should be remedied by providing better nutrition, education, opportunities, or b) are they a lower level of sub-human who we just have to put up with in menial roles?
I'll note that if you do a) then the problem of them getting in on lower grades solves itself, as they compete for the limited slots available to them. And at that point you can remove the system entirely.
Are there less people in the "lower" caste? I would assume there would be more and severe competition.
The remainder bulk of the people who don't get reservations fall into this category called 'General Merit'.
Now the system fills up the reservation quotas first, leaving leftovers to general merit. General merit has way more candidates and a larger section of people who score above reservation people. The net result is you end up denying top performers seats, so that you can fill reservation quotas.
So let's create tolerance programs for the people who has this prejudices. This will solve the problem, lower the bar for minorities it is only a treatment of the problem which won't do anything in the long term. Because if they hire you and then the cultural corporation is broken you are going to be very unhappy and probably leave the career (his actually happens)
Anyway see countries like Norway consider one of the most equality countries, and also one with the more gender inbalance in careers like tech. We should consider that some people don't like a professional and also work in way to make this profession more appealing if it is possible. But if it not possible just understand that the imbalance is natural. we
We're treating highly educated specialists tasked with delivering highly complex, variable and nuanced output like 19th century factory workers. How many hundreds of books have been published on just the question of measuring employee productivity, yet for the sake of this conversation we toss terms like "more qualified" around like they are law.
(Ok yes, people see a woman to hire and say +1 point because you a woman and will us pay less taxes because of the diversity balance. This shit happens too)
You talk like you have written those books, enlighten me.
That's not what the OP is saying though, he's saying "qualified" as seen in demonstrated performance after the hiring. It would've been clearer had he said "better at the job" (as in, leading to a greater total company value) than "qualified".
I prefer to work for a company that was able to see my skills than other that hire me because other reasons. I think I would be happier and achieve more things this way. (Again, this is a personal opinion)
Are you discriminating me to give an opinion because I am a male? I don't think it is fair. I could also say that you shouldn't talk about gender equality if you don't live in a country with high gender equality and so you argument doesn't add any value with the discussion.
And I suspect that yes, they were suggesting that giving an opinion as a hypothetical female, given that you are male, is of limited value. I think people of both genders make real-world decisions very differently to hypothetical decisions. When there are bills to be paid, and potential bias is mixed in amongst countless other factors, I can say I wouldn't ditch a career as a chemistry teacher to start producing drugs, but who knows what pressures there are influencing that decision slowly at the time, and in the years leading up.
> I think people of both genders make real-world decisions very differently to hypothetical decisions
based on your reasoning you cannot say that because you cannot have an opinion about what the other gender would do.
The fact is that a lot of women reply to my comment saying that they would do the same I said I would do.
I agree with you; and I think everyone else does, that they'd rather work for a company that was able to see their skills.
But, what if you knew there was bias that would keep them from seeing your skills, and would keep you from being hired because of it? What if your only choices were to be hired through a diversity program, or not be hired at all?
Why are you so sure the bias is there? Countries like Norway are one of the most equality countries but they have the higher ratios, which doesn't make sense because they have the less bias.
This sentence is a little garbled so not quite sure what you're going for, but I like to point people to the example of the Danish parliament. A gender quota was established some decades ago to ensure that female members could get the job, because obviously half the population is female and so they need to be represented. Now that they have an equal number of men and women, they're getting ready to remove the quota because it served its purpose, and it's not needed anymore. There are enough qualified and experienced women with strong reputations available that they don't need the help anymore.
In India, affirmative action has basically served to deepen the lines between castes/religions etc. More and more sections of society demand that they be included in quotas. The people who do get in using such programs rarely succeed in suppressing the nagging question of whether they earned it (and that questioning stays with you all your life). Meanwhile, people forge identity documents to make it through such programmes, and the abuse of the system means that no one trusts that it is doing any good overall. In fact, by now, it has become a tool for politicians to appease fractious sections of society.
Exactly! If you want to remove gender, race or some other aspect from the decision making process you have to actually remove it. You can't just try to fix discrimination one direction by creating discrimination in a different direction.
You start with an "end date" (say two decades). And you make that date difficult to change, so that the "let's kick the can down the road" option is not easy.
And not to forget there will be enough politicians to fight for them as long as they vote for them.
These sort of things are pretty much one direction. Once done are irreversible. Its impossible to roll back what people think is a right they were born with.
Are you saying there are no situations in which applying a systematic adjustment as a function of gender to interview scores could result in a predictable net-fitness-increase in the resulting skill distribution of hired people?
> If I were I woman (or belong to minority) I would prefer to be being hired without any diversity program. Imagine being a woman and being hired with this program, does it mean they hired me because I am a woman or because I am the best candidate for the position? (I said woman but applies to any minority group)
That's not really the important question though. Would you prefer being not being hired due to bias even though you are qualified, or being hired despite bias, even though you know it will make some people think you weren't really qualified?
Your have around 20% females. If any company has 30%, this means a lot of other companies will have to fight to get women there.
So they have to pay a lot more for the qualified ones or accept to get token women for the sake of PR.
The problem starts before the workplace: in homes and at school. Start educating minorities and women on the job opportunities in tech. Make them discover the joy of tinkering. It's not for everyone but as someone from a lower socio-economic world I experienced how you can not know what is available to you. That's a huge failing of the school system and especially guidance counselor who usually don't know shit about nothing.
It depends on if that bias existed or not. If the bias exists then of course, I would want to have that bias compensated for. The question is still: is there a bias? Many people say the disparity alone is evidence of a bias because a completely unbiased system would result in a 50/50 split which we obviously don't have. The author of the manifesto is saying that a bias doesn't exist because the disparity has another explanation with some scientific support.
You might disagree or think that the science which supports this idea is faulty in some way. But come on, the reaction has been outrageous and scary.
Sexims might exist and have and effect in hiring but for him the effect of the diversity program was bigger, and a result it could lead to hire less qualified individuals. He said that the company should hire based on skills and not in gender or other bias. And also it should change how it works internally to create a better environment for women where they can explode their skills, those one the men doesn't have.
There are no biological "skills" that men might possess innately that should make them a first-choice by default, nor is there any reason to ever pick a candidate over another because of some biological "fact". At the end of the day, you judge a candidate by their output (performance, displayed intellect), not their input (nature OR nurture).
This is the whole point of Google's unconscious bias training: humans create incorrect correlations between input (nature|nutrue) and output (perf, intellect) in the form of biases-- i.e., "if you're too emotional you can't think as rationally as someone who is less emotional, therefore you cannot perform at the same level as a less emotional thinker". The problem here is that the correlation doesn't hold; it's a bias, not a fact.
Here's the point: your "biological facts" are biases, evidenced by the fact that you think you need to be tall to play basketball or biologically female to be a bikini model, and neither of these things are actually true.
The implicit bias testing has serious issues: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2017/01/psychologys-racism-meas...
Take a look here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22496180
3- to 4-months old is quite a bit younger than 4 to 7 years. I doubt that any kind of group membership awareness can affect the things a baby looks at, especially when the task is so abstract. (Do you think anyone is ever indoctrinated to think that "boys do not look at rotated objects" or some such?)
The study you cite has no bearing on the effect you seem to dispute.
Edit: If it makes you feel better, the Wikipedia page on mental rotation also mentions a different experiment, where they measured reaction times of adults: "Also it was found that the male athletes in the experiment were faster than females, but male and female musicians showed no significant difference in reaction time." So apparently the right kind of training can eliminate the difference.
The study I linked is one that seems more relevant to the topic at hand - certainly more relevant to the point I was trying to make originally.
About your edit: there is no need to try to make me feel better. Assuming you understand what makes me tick well enough to be able to do so is a common mistake (not with me specifically, but in general) that leads to the kind of cross-talk we're seeing here.
As for disputing the relevance of the effect, that wasn't really clear from your brief comment. I'd say that a test of a mental capacity that shows natural gender differences before nurture had a chance to kick in does invalidate HelloWorldInWS's argument that there can't possibly be a biological effect that makes men (or women) better at any particular mental task.
Your comment "Weird that a group of people who spend their youth being told that they're naturally bad at math and critical reasoning have hangups when given these tests. Only explanation is that their doubters were right." is also not terribly relevant, because
- mental rotation ability differs even for babies
- IQ tests are calibrated so that the average is 100, regardless of gender. So women can't actually perform worse than men. It's just that the variance is higher, which means that men are more likely to be very smart or very dumb, while women are more likely to be of average intelligence. (The explanation I've heard is that having only one X chromosome gives genes there outsized influence in men.)
- the abstract of the linked study on the Cognitive Reflection Test mentions that both genders expected their performance to be better than it actually was, so lack of self-confidence was probably not an issue.
I'm sorry how my edit came across to you, I actually just wanted to mention it because it seems important to know that even if there is some mental difference contributing to the current gender distribution in tech, it might still be possible to even it out by practicing the relevant skill.
I apologize! :)
And yes, I have a tendancy to be brief and sarcastic rather than clear, to the detriment of my discussions.
I will not argue that there are no measurable cognitive differences between any given classifiable group of people. I will argue that there is nothing shown that can account for the 80/20 gender split we see today in tech.
However, I do believe that societal and cultural pressures, in the form of stereotyping and prejudice, can cause that split. This argument is what I was alluding to, and what I was attempting to support with my link.
It seems like a really hard thing to determine because we don't have a "control society" with no sexism we could use to compare.
Look what the experts say: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVaTc15plVs&feature=youtu.be...
If you see the whole video you hear different opinions
> you don't have to be tall to [play basketball]
Look at the height distributions of the global population and the basketball players and think twice of what you said.
> There are no biological "skills" that men might possess innately that should make them a first-choice by default
Exactly because those skill can also be in women, but some are more likely to be in men as some are more likely to be in women. I don't see anything wrong with it.
Yes if you don't try to match the distribution of the pool of candidates. if the pool of candidates ratio is 10/90 and your goal in the company is 10/90, I am ok with anything that helps you to get close to the 10/90. (When both distributions are normal gaussian with similar mean and average. I don't see basketball teams hiring short people to fit the ratio or the pool of candidates)
> That's not really the important question though. Would you prefer being not being hired due to bias even though you are qualified, or being hired despite bias, even though you know it will make some people think you weren't really qualified?
I prefer being hired because they saw my skills. I think is better in the long term. If I am qualified for a job I will find it, it could take me more time but at some point I will find it and I will be happier than in a job where they saw me hired by a diversity program. Of course if I need the job to survive wouldn't care, but I think this is not the common case (or I might be wrong but as I said in another comment this is my personal opinion, other will think differently)
Dumb frat bros writing 10 page screeds about how they're not fit for the job because they're biologically conditioned to work with people and not machines -might- have something to do with it.
And, as a historical point, until the late 60s, software development was seen as "women's work". Which somewhat destroys any "biological component" nonsense.
Interestingly, "dumb frat bros" are somehow not affected by people calling them that and manage to fight through the emotional pain and still achieve their dreams of being in tech. I've noted a very large group of people react negatively to the person who wrote the memo, writing insults(like "dumb frat bro"), demanding he be fired, threatening him with violence, the whole shebang. Unless I'm missing something, you seem to be implying that women are inferior to "dumb frat bros" because the "dumb frat bros" seem to be better at handling other people trying to bring them down.
Yes, almost as if the entire system was heavily weighted in their favour!
> Unless I'm missing something, you seem to be implying [something I wasn't even vaguely implying but makes a good false point to try and hang a specious argument on]
Does that tactic ever work for you in arguments?
> demanding he be fired
He demonstrated -in spades- that he wasn't capable of being a professional team player within that environment.
> threatening him with violence
That is too far and wholly wrong to do.
That's a very subjective judgement on your part.
If you scan this discussion here on HN, I think you will find that almost half the posts are in stark disagreement with your position.
Honestly, if you find an email like this triggering to the point that you're calling for others to be fired and keep on insisting that something is "toxic", I'd rather single out you as the problem, not the original person sending the email.
You live in a democracy. People are entitled to different opinions. For your own sake, I say you better get used to it.
Of course but that's the nature of judgements.
> I think you will find that almost half the posts are in stark disagreement with your position
Indeed, I have read most of them and I would put money on them being from libertarian / alt-right dudes who would take up any cause, no matter how reprehensible, if it gave rise to "liberal tears". Given I've seen people defending Charles Murray in these threads, I'm 100% A-OK being on the other side.
> You live in a democracy. People are entitled to different opinions.
You're missing the important bit - "People are entitled to different opinions but they are not entitled to a consequence free expression of those opinions ."
 Except in very limited circumstances in the US.
"The entire system"? Is this system like the Matrix, or is it governed by people? How did a "dumb frat bro" ever manage to get into Google in the first place when Google's system seems so actively hostile to them?
> Does that tactic ever work for you in arguments?
I didn't anticipate that you would argue "the system" was supporting "dumb frat bros", when quite clearly he was not receiving any support from Google, yet somehow managed to join them and work there.
The system, on context, clearly refers to the world of education and technology as a whole.
In fact, there doesn't need to be an explicit bad actor to have detrimental systemic effects. Just a long slow build up of bias. Like the idea, worked into our heads from a young age, that boys are better at science.
The key word here is "seems" and it only "seems so actively hostile" -to them- themselves. I don't think any impartial outside observer would say your average privileged white dude had an "actively hostile" environment at Google (or, indeed, almost anywhere else.)
For example, for verbal abilities the female bell curve is a little to the right of the male bell curve. For spatial abilities, it is the other way around. Does this mean men cannot be excellent writers, and women cannot be excellent mechanical engineers?
It just means that if all else were equal, we would expect writing and mechanical engineering to have gender distributions that don't match the general population.
However, there are measurable psychological differences when it comes to preference of the role you want to take, how much risk you are willing to take, and what your priorities regarding status and family are, and we do have evidence that some of it is, at least partially, biological.
How do you explain that infants without being corrupted by the popular culture still chose differently based on gender?
Personally I suspect that there's a mix of both cultural (girls play with dolls traditionally) and biological (boys tend to be more attracted to tinkering and building from even before they learn to speak) reasons for the ratio in people studying IT-related fields but I just don't see how making hiring practices biased in any direction will help with that.
Only someone who is not a woman or not from a minority could say this. People tend to dismiss other peoples problem or minimize them, even when those people are telling they are hurting.
This is a little presumptuous. I am a woman and I too would prefer to be hired without any diversity program. I am not inherently against them and think that striving for diversity is overall a positive thing, but when I compare the thought of being hired as part of some target female quota or active diversity push vs being hired as a "regular" candidate I prefer the latter.
Diversity programs I appreciate more are those less involved in the actual hiring phase and more in the teaching girls to code and getting them interested in the subject phase. Of course I'm privileged and lucky in other ways and understand that plenty of other women feel differently.
But being treated as less capable thus requiring lower barrier of entry to women is just plain old sexism.
I somewhat agree with the other comment here that "you wouldn't need a diversity program, sensitivity training, or unconscious bias training if you stopped hiring frat boys with no life experience straight out of college." I would just add to that that the issue isn't just the frat boys hired straight out of college, but also some experienced devs who were allowed to simply remain in the frat boy mindset as they aged in the industry.
They have done this to themselves and now have to force policies to make it seem like good PR. It wasn't even until a few months ago they even changed their pay structure because of "extreme" gender gaps.
Do I qualify as belonging to a minority according to your definition of "the oppressed", or will you "dismiss or minimize" my opinion because it doesn't align with yours?
I'm trying to approach this respectfully by acknowledging that I know it's only your opinion, but I rarely get the opportunity to ask something like this, so please forgive me if my curiosity seems out of line - I genuinely want to understand better and no offensive is intended.
As for your question, I live neither in the US nor in Canada, and where I live "diversity hire" programs don't even exist. I'm also a contractor, so it doesn't apply to me anyways.
Finally, I don't really have well-reasoned arguments against affirmative action. All I have is literally the thought that "F* anyone who tries to take my agency away by calling me a victim."
"When you do a fault analysis, there's no point in assigning fault to a part of the system you can't change afterward, it's like stepping off a cliff and blaming gravity. Gravity isn't going to change next time. There's no point in trying to allocate responsibility to people who aren't going to alter their actions. Once you look at it from that perspective, you realize that allocating blame never helps anything unless you blame yourself, because you're the only one whose actions you can change by putting blame there." -- HP:MOR
If I fail, I fail because I wasn't good enough. I am in control of my life. Perhaps the bar for me is higher than for a random white person, but so what? If I work hard and reach the bar set for me, I will have surpassed the vast majority of white people in the process, and even if I fail at reaching the bar, I will still be in an excellent position to monetize the acquired lead. So win or fail, I always come out ahead.
Please don't presume to speak for all minorities and even worse, dismiss other people's opinions just because they belong to certain groups like you just did.
How could you possibly know that?
This statement is just way out there. I almost want to say the opposite to you.
I've known an African American PhD who says this. After his defense he had trouble finding a job. My company was ramping up hiring of minorities. He sent me his resume, and I asked him if I should enter his minority status in the system as it would prioritize his application. He said "No way."
He didn't get a decent job for a whole year after that. He doesn't regret it at all.
edit: not sure why downvotes, I'm being sincere. :S
Only someone who is a woman or from a minority with liberal views could say this. How can you speak for 70% of people? How are you hurting from being treated equally to the 30%?
Meanwhile normal people deal with more practical problems like yours.
It's ridiculous how many times I see this dropped out of nowhere in this thread without any sources or proof.
This is a very contentious statement on a two sided issue.
It is similar to proclaiming that minimum wage increases will always lower job opportunities without any proof.
At the current rate of $X / hour, there are a number of economically viable jobs (jobs where the employer considers it valuable to hire someone instead of doing the job themselves or doing without, because they are worth at least $Y / hour to the employer, with Y > X).
At an increased rate of $Z / hour, Z > X, some of those jobs are no longer economically viable - they only generate $Y / hour, with Z > Y > X; while they were viable at $X / hour, they are no longer viable at $Z / hour so they disappear. For an obvious example, making the minimum wage $1000 / hour would destroy the viability of most jobs.
This proof assumes, of course, that nothing else changes - the government simply mandates "the minimum wage will change from $X / hour to $Z / hour" and doesn't add other changes like "all taxes are halved" or "all employers get free Bahamas holidays". With that caveat, also known as "ceteris paribus", the proof is (as I said) obvious.
That's a funny term for merit-based.
It's nice to say "I'd prefer to be hired at Google on my merits", but few individuals from disadvantaged groups go into job seeking expecting that ideal situation to occur, and they're forced to make suboptimal tradeoffs just because they're disadvantaged.
I once left a company because of the internal culture, they were not listening to the people from other countries. I didn't agree with the culture and left telling them the reason. After me more people followed. I have also left other things for similar reasons, even when everybody were telling i was doing a mistake. I just prefer to be somewhere I am happy even if it involves less money or status.
1. http://www.uh.edu/~adkugler/Bertrand&Mullainathan.pdf This study was primarily aimed at identifying the impact of race, but incidentally showed that resumes with females names received a lower number of callbacks, in addition to the race based effect.
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3970474/ "Without provision of information about candidates other than their appearance, men are twice more likely to be hired for a mathematical task than women."
3. http://www.pnas.org/content/109/41/16474.abstract "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."
4. http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/ilrreview/vol65/iss1/5... "the authors show that [anonymous application procedure] increased the chances of both women and individuals of non-Western origin of advancing to the interview stage."
5. http://www.nber.org/papers/w5903 Anonymization in orchestra additions (blind screening) led to women advancing out of preliminary rounds 50% more often.
I can easily dig up studies showing opposite results:
"Contrary to prevailing assumptions, men and women faculty members from all four fields preferred female applicants 2:1 over identically qualified males with matching lifestyles (single, married, divorced), with the exception of male economists, who showed no gender preference. " http://www.pnas.org/content/112/17/5360.abstract
"We found that the public servants engaged in positive (not negative) discrimination towards female and minority
• Participants were 2.9% more likely to shortlist female candidates and 3.2% less likely to shortlist male applicants
when they were identifiable, compared with when they were de-identified."
"Teaching accreditation exams reveal grading biases favor women in male-dominated disciplines in France" http://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6298/474
"Comparisons of oral non–gender-blind tests with written gender-blind tests for about 100,000 individuals "
"Over 2,100 public servants"
"validation studies were conducted on 873 tenure-track faculty"
I personally would like to have more women in tech, but it seems implausible that the current dearth is because of any systemic discrimination against women.
I wonder why people are claiming that this is a reason for the problem?
I'm glad at least that some IT employers care less about education and look more at potential and whatnot.
The hiring process is subjective, not fair. There is extensive evidence that just having a name that is assumed to be female makes a candidate less likely to get hired. Without diversity programs, less qualified men are hired over more qualified women, producing the skewed results we observe.
Women are on average more qualified than the men in the same jobs they hold because of these social forces, so your assumptions make you particularly systematically wrong.
This is like saying "I'd enjoy my success more without the Mortgage Interest Deduction unfairly advantaging me financially". Theoretically feasible, but in practical reality, uh no. If you're hacking it in a competitive environment and you have a life, you most assuredly have 1,000 more important/interesting things on your mind.
Do I want a better salary? a better job? yes. But I want a quality of life, I don't want to work long hours. So I wont have something better because I have other preferences in life. And I am ok with it.
A more relevant one would be whether brokers are now showing houses or discussing financing options differently to people based a perception of the person's identity group.
I've often thought about how I feel knowing something as simple as the postcode I grew up in affected how I got somewhere, but always arrive at it being a net positive.
There are pros and cons to it all of course, and it doesn't take away from the fear that you don't deserve it. But, society needs to kickstart the fortuitous cycle of opportunity, direction and inspiration somehow. When a group of people have no role models, nobody empathetic of their route or life chances or aware of any other skills they can bring, we can't progress.
When we're talking about whether someone is more or less qualified, it's not like it's a AAA+ grade male vs a CCD- female. It's (in almost all cases), very small variations of tangential achievements, most of which can be outweighed with a minority group bringing a different group of life experiences to the table.
Actually, diversity initiatives can decrease cultural diversity in tech. Many diversity initiatives leave immigrants behind and mainly benefit Americans.
It can be said that foreigners are considered more "culturally diverse" than Americans in USA based workplaces. Diversity programs might increase gender and racial diversity, but also decrease foreign representation as a result and make a company less culturally diverse.
> Have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of our diversity programs.
I understand that discussions within a business are different than talking with friends around the kitchen table, but I still think that you should go as far as you possibly can to have open discussions about sensitive topics like this. Of course you aren't going to open a dialogue about the benefits of white power, but there is still a lot of ground to cover between that and what people are doing this weekend. I think that the original article fits into that realm of what is acceptable to at least talk about, regardless of whether you disagree or not.
To which the diversity proponents are quick to rally a mob and get the guy fired. Open and honest discussion indeed.
If you are so insecure in your ideological position that you can't even have a discussion about it without calling foul, I'd consider that the best possible sign that you actually need to have that discussion.
It's the only way to make sure that it's properly rooted and based on fact, and to legitimize it, and by proxy, the means you use to further it.
Sticking your head in the sand to avoid criticism will probably do the exact opposite, and sure as hell wont further your cause.
It's been accepted for a long time that the place for arguments against racial, religious, or gender programs is not the workplace. I'm a man and I find his manifesto an issue, he said things about men that are blatantly untrue, and frankly unhealthy as well, and I wouldn't want to work with him.
People's opinion on their coworkers is for private discussions with their manager and HR, and don't get precedence over their colleagues comfort and security at work. It's been that way since black people got rights and women got the vote.
1. It wasn't published anonymously
2. What he's saying is not even close to promoting slavery or legally allowing religious discrimination
3. The entire point of the screed was that the diversity issue isn't talked about openly but should be. The response by Google's diversity chief literally says:
> Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions.
So your assumption that these things should not be discussed at Google is wrong, at least in the eyes of their Diversity chief, who's opinion I would think is highly relevant in this case
Finally, like many others in this thread deride what's said in this article as untrue and unhealthy without ever backing it up. Obviously I'm not saying the article is 100% right, but most the claims he makes about men and women have scientific backing, they are just not regularly discussed. As others have noted his premises about men and women being biologically different are basically a summary of this study:
And that's the problem. In a truly open forum for ideas and discussion I would expect ideas about, like your example cites, the benefits of slavery to be actually freely discussed without negative consequence to the people involved. We don't get better as a society by not examining ideas in detail frequently.
>People's opinion on their coworkers is for private discussions with their manager and HR, and don't get precedence over their colleagues comfort and security at work.
Stated differently: Someone has an opinion that the system currently in place doesn't fully work and wants to discuss change.
If we're not allowed to invite to a discussion, how else do you suggest we facilitate change, or investigate the need for such change?
You don't seriously imply that there's never a need to review the basis for existing programs? Or are you just ignoring the general principle of things "because diversity"?
That's not how I read it.
I read it as trying as carefully as possible to start a discussion about having a discussion about a topic by many deemed to be sensitive. And change doesn't have to merely be cutting something, as you suggest. It can be replacing something ineffective/unfair with something more effective or less unfair.
There's literally nothing in that sentence which says "we need to remove/cut down on all programs related to subject $x". I'm not sure where you're getting that from. To me, your response to this fairly harmless email seems overly defensive. Are you acting rationally based on what has been said, or are overreacting based on things you assume to be said?
Maybe this would be a good time to (re?)-read the original email?
"We need to have an honest discussion" or the dreaded word "review" always prefaces dicing up some policy, usually without an adequate replacement.
Encouraging immediate, unthinking, righteous and moralistic condemnation over rational discourse on issues close to the friction points of various cultural/ideological conflicts, is quite a dangerous thing to do, even if its satisfying and cathartic (that's precisely why its so damn dangerous).
Having an open discussion means you accept that other participants may have very different opinions, and agree that honest fact-based discussion is the correct solution.
In any case, screaming "WE'RE NOT EVEN DISCUSSING THAT!" and calling for getting the person fired is hardly a proper response. What I'd like to see is a fact-based response to the memo, showing numbers/reasoning for the individual policies, etc.
My main take away is you really can't openly discuss this topic (not just in Google), which was one of the points. Ironic.
No, the use of English in politics (which this is) is pretty consistent, actually, in my experience. If he wanted to have a discussion, point at a policy and suggest an alternative rather than falling back on "merit is good, women are terrible engineers".
Replacing discriminatory hiring with paid apprenticeships and other education for groups the organisation is lacking in, would be a great example. Men can still get into Google because there's more of them in the pool. They're never discriminated against for a job, since the apprenticeship pool is separate from the job pool. Google gets a more-qualified, more-diverse workplace with more control over its training program. A win for everybody.
Secondly, I find it perfectly valid to discuss the very foundation of the policies (instead of discussing individual policies).
FWIW this does not mean I agree with the memo. But I think the immediate calls for getting the guy fired (and firing him) are damaging for the discussion.
I hope you'll forgive me for saying it but that is my definition of the "burying your head in the sand" expression.
edit: furthermore, what if he's in fact saying that he wants them to be cut down? Why isn't that a reasonable motive to want something to be more closely examined?
If people would like to discuss this, they can at least discuss it for what it is - an attack on the program. Treat it as such. Don't hide behind "he just wants to talk".
There are, no doubt, many people who discuss Google's diversity programs every day on a good-faith basis. They don't need a manifesto in order to do so.
What's the problem of wanting some light shed on a program because someone openly believes it should be shut down? They're not doing an executive decision to shut it down without allowing for discussion, which is exactly what Google management is doing. He posted an opinion, partially based on facts and partially based on conjecture to bring attention to it.
In short: there's nothing wrong with wanting a program to be shut down and using that as motivation to put it in the spotlight. I don't see how motivations should get in the way of discussion and examination of existing systems; a system that is beneficial to it's environment should be able to stand on its own merits.
ugh, my "in short" is as long as its preceding paragraph :(
Phrasing it more honestly and straightforward would be heresy in a corporate environment.
Is this really an honest assessment? I haven't yet seen a single reply to the manifesto that addresses its points and counters the supposedly "lousy arguments" in a neutral tone and objective manner. Please point me to one if you have...
I found this post to be the only one I saw that actually managed to rebut some of the memo author's conclusions. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/differences-between-men-women...
if anyone wishes to provide details as to how nearly every statement about gender in that entire document is actively incorrect,¹ and flies directly in the face of all research done in the field for decades, they should go for it. But I am neither a biologist, a psychologist, nor a sociologist, so I’ll leave that to someone else.
This article specifically avoids countering the original article point-by-point. I would love to see an article or comment that does that.
This is not exactly a strong counter-argument.
Nothing empirical in that sentence just assumption. And even if we assume that statement is true, on the other side of same coin are qualified men that didn't get job solely because of their genitalia.
These programs are most likely not responsible for qualified women getting jobs and even if they are they are also responsible for qualified men not getting the jobs so nothing is really gained.
The idea of qualification is something that is misunderstood far into academia as it assumes some sort of quantitative measurement is possible.
The reality is that short of what you have paper on (she's a bachelor he's a bachelor) qualifications really isn't about skills but about personality and I would challenge anyone to find even close to a way of measuring how a person fits into a company short of asking the people who work there whether they think person X fits or not.
Furthermore the idea that diversity is better for companies really need to die. Diversity is good in many cases but you can easily have one company filled with women and one company filled with men and having the group of women being of very diverse backgrounds and the group of men being of very diverse backgrounds. You still have diversity. Hell you can even have a group of women being of exactly the same background and a group of men being of exactly the same background and do really really well.
The idea the women brings something to the table simply by being women or that men does simply by being men is what is so wrong with this whole conversation. The individual brings something to the table but the individual needs to fit into a culture not being force fed into it.
Having hired and interviewed a great deal of people in my life in the tech industry I think it's fair to say that most companies will look for ANY talent they can get to. Talent is extremely hard to find and being a woman or being a man is not enough.
More women will hopefully start companies and I hope some of them will hire only women if they feel it's better for their culture. But until they start doing that to the same extent that men does and until they start to the same extent having interest in technology early on, gender based anything will always be hurting more than it will help because just having gender diversity isn't going to make your company better off there simply aren't anything proving that.
And just to be clear. I have worked with women and men far better than me. When it comes to the best there really isn't any difference. I have worked for plenty of female bosses and they are as good as the men I have worked with.
The simple counter argument to this, and what changed my mind utterly, was that the number of woman on boards never changed. "Women will setup companies" was what they said in the 70s, 50 years ago.
It never worked until we started forcing it. There's still a ridiculously small percentage of female chairs. There's still a ridiculously small percentage of female board members.
If they're just as good, as you say, and I also believe, why didn't it change? Because gender discrimination is rife.
Without positive discrimination, the status quo did not change, will not change.
Doesn't matter anything you said above, it's all noise. It doesn't correct itself like you say it will.
The reason why people get board seats is again one of those misunderstood discussions. It has absolutely nothing to do with qualification as in non-at-all. What it has to do with is the board members access to network, political power, special experience etc.
So as long as you and other keep insisting qualification is somehow important in this discussion, you are actually the ones making the noise.
Qualification has nothing to do with this.
If you're having a problem getting a job 'cause you're old in SV, I'm sorry. I have no such age discrimination problem in the UK, loads of jobs here but not any where as well paid as the US. I might point out that you had 20 years to make a ton of bank. If you want to fix age discrimination, campaign for it, but leave it out of this thread.
As for companies being boys clubs, to me that's clearly unacceptable, it's simply wrong to say that a "company culture" can be male only as that's clear discrimination.
If you think that discrimination's ok, it feels as if you want to take it out on women because you want to go back to living in a man-cave, replete with pizzas and then a late night coding sessions followed by a game of Quake, where women don't fit because they spurned us at high school. And if they want to join in, they better start their own company.
Do that with your mates, that view doesn't belong in a company, shouldn't belong in a company. It's not a male-only social club.
But if you agree that's wrong, you and I caused this problem, and we're the ones who have to fix it, have the opportunity to fix it. Perhaps our Dads and Grandads told us computers are for men only, but they aren't and we don't have to wait until your kids are growing up to fix this. We can fix this now, and positive discrimination is a way that works.
Tech is growing up and we need to fix the gender imbalance we helped cause.
But it's now clear that without strawmen you have no arguments just insults and claims about my person you can't back up. But I guess that's kind of symptomatic for this discussion isn't it?
Old white male coders in SV, which it now turns out you have no personal experience of and just making stuff up about:
Try being +40 in Silicon Valley
Try and get a job in SV after you turn 45.
Examples of you saying women can't be part of our club, because they didn't play with the right toys when they were 12:
Women aren't tech nerds as much as men are we know that for a fact
men also takes the most high paying jobs because more of them were interested in technology early on and are better at selling themselves
is that less women start companies or get into tech early on
Examples of you saying women can't be a part of existing tech companies, they should form their own:
get more women to start a tech company
More women will hopefully start companies and I hope some of them will hire only women
Push your girls to start their own companies to build their own networks
In Norway where they have quotas all that happened is that now there is just also an old ladies network with the same women sitting on many of the boards
Those are not arguments they are facts you can educate yourself about them which is obviously not in your interest.
Furthermore I would suggest you learn the language of the country you live in. None of those quotes mean what you claim they mean.
You've just cited an anecdote to try and counter mountains of scientific research.
There could be all sorts of nefarious stuff going on.
Could he have been refused a promotion and now blames women? What's the back story? Has he gone on record? Is there a real problem or is a misogynistic manager using it as an excuse to him to cover his own incompetence?
And yes it is an anecdote, so no there's no citations, but most posts in this discussion don't cite citations either.
What if women are just not as intelligent? What if they could be as intelligent, but are lazy?
I appreciate you think you're being rational and reasonable. You're not.
Women do make different choices we know that for a fact. Women aren't tech nerds as much as men are we know that for a fact. Women start far fewer companies than men we know that for a fact.
We also know that women score way higher grades in school which we also know for a fact doesn't matter in real life.
So maybe women (in general) are just prioritizing life differently. That doesn't mean they aren't as intelligent, smart etc.
If you can't make your argument without pushing for strawmen then you don't have one yourself.
It's just trying being polite about it. It's still an irrational bias, no matter how you dress it up.
Also, can you clarify what you mean when you state that pediatrics is "an example that's a biological function primarily to do with women." Are you stating that women are innately (in other words, due to their gender) better suited to administering healthcare to minors as compared to men?
64% of practicing gynecologists are men, but only women have vaginas.
You don't have to give birth to children to be a pediatrician or a gynecologist.
There is a world of difference between someone having spent their entire life coding and someone only starting at university. Or someone having learned to draw from the age of 5 and someone who starts way later in life. That applies to men as to women.
Being not as good is about experience and knowledge having put in the hours. It is not about intelligence.
The only way to reach truth is to be willing to look for it.
You're just "ask"-ing if women are as "not good/stupid", or that perhaps they "aren't interested/are lazy".
It's just a gender stereotype dressed up as a question. It's an insult dressed in an insinuation.
Please stop making these unqualified statements on very touchy subjects
This is hardly the only study. There are many more.
My favorite was the law students from second tier schools where males who signaled coming from middle class backgrounds had a huge statistically disadvantage from males signalling wealth.
The kicker? Wealth killed opportunities for women.
Bias and prejudice are real and evaluating people is hard. To make things worse, your brain likes to save energy by substitution rigorous evaluation with heuristic evaluation and then convince itself it did the rigorous work.
The problem isn't gender discrimination is rife, it's that thousands of forms of discrimination is rife because heuristic-based discrimination is what we excel at, not rigorous evaluation.
I hope that didn't make it more touchy.
Yeah because lower class women do much better compared to lower class men. The study is flawed. It used male hobbies for both males and females. Rich females don't generally sail. I think their stereotypical activity would be humanitarian efforts.
And if it wasn't flawed, what conclusions do you draw from the study? Lower class women did 5 times better than lower class men. The lower class is many times larger than the upper class, so only a tiny percent of men enjoy the the upper class privilege while most men are doing terribly.
Looking at the big picture by aggregating the lower and upper class, women do better than men.
I'll give this some legitimacy but it's one study and not completely convincing. It can't be generalized outside of science research positions.
One bias that I'm concerned about is that most gendered social experiments are hoping to find bias against females. It's a big echo chamber as the manifesto guy would say.
On the disparate power dynamic, I doubt the males with power care about the wellbeing of the other 99.99% of males. They will look out for the interests of super high class males which may not overlap with the interests of lower class males.
I think that non high class females benefit much more than non high class males from the power of super high class males. The super high class males will spend time around females and make transfer payments in the services industry. Sugar babes, prostitutes, strippers, webcaming, regular waitresses, etc. They are more likely to enjoy the wealth of high power males and have a much easier time forming a relationship (romantic or platonic) with a super high class male.
Most structural issues are gone today and those that are left benefit women as much as men. In Norway where they have quotas all that happened is that now there is just also an old ladies network with the same women sitting on many of the boards.
Are you saying the study is flawed because women got more hires in this context and that doesn't reflect the larger aggregate trends? You realize this study doesn't reflect society as a whole, right? It reflects the resume screening habits of a sample of people from a cross section of law firms.
Rather than dismissing a study because it doesn't yield results that fit your worldview, how about you try understanding the context is was done in and reflecting on the culture where it happened? Don't give it a fleeting thought. Really consider the many possible stories it could be telling you, but don't settle on a favorite. Hold the many possible stories in your head instead, ask questions and try different stories.
People have all sorts of biases. I've known my share of bros who only hire pretty girls and other bros with common interests, taste and upbringing. If they were being studied, their numbers would probably yield similar results. Some of the bros I know would call in like-minded bros and then they'll call in the women for an interview to see if they're hot. If they were part of a similar study, their screening habits would definitely skew the numbers toward this trend. If it was up to me, I'd be counting how many of the pretty ones made into round two. (Let's just say they excel at recruiting and only hiring pretty girls.)
This is one small study that reflects an aggregate of biases of a sample of participants in one industry. It does not reflect the world. It doesn't reflect their industry. It doesn't reflect one bias. It is literally a snapshot in time of a sample of a cross section of society. We don't know how if those biases (there are many) were well-distributed or concentrated. Repeating the experiment may even yield very different results.
All that doesn't matter in the bigger picture, because for that slice of time & sample, we have enough evidence to suggest gross discrimination for that sample and time.
It's a reminder that the world is a complicated place and that there are all sorts of ways people discriminate against each other. What it reinforces is that superficial discrimination happens for all sorts of complex reasons, rather than simply saying everyone is guilty of one form of discrimination.
> One bias that I'm concerned about is that most gendered social experiments are hoping to find bias against females. It's a big echo chamber as the manifesto guy would say.
Let's not be obtuse about accepting or dismissing these studies. People have a tendency to either overstate or discount their results when it serves their purpose. I gave you a very small sample and merely suggested that discrimination happens in the world and that discrimination can be complex and nonlinear. Take it with a grain of salt.
Yes we have biases all of us but they are certainly not by any metrics confined to only women. Try being +40 in Silicon Valley, try being black or latino male on WallStreet, try making it as a hip-hop artist as a black guy. Try being fat in the fashion industry, try being a nerd in high-school.
The world is rife with bias and prejudice against all sorts of "these are not like me" but the solution is not and have never been to force quotas through whether in board rooms or on the job market.
If you want to change things changes them at their root cause. Push your girls to start their own companies to build their own networks so that they are less depending on existing ones. Teach them not to excel at school as that doesn't really matter but to learn how to sell themselves. Teach them that if a job posting names 10 skills and they have all but two it's still a job for them.
These are the real barriers to entry not modern day companies light biases.
It's like claiming climate change isn't real.
Or how exactly what are you arguing?
Because some men do more dangerous jobs, totally different men should get all the high paying ones? Perhaps for each man in coal mining, oil rigs, the army or deep sea fishing, we get a plushy finance or tech job exclusively for men?
Or tech workers should be paid less than coal miners?
I don't follow you?
And if you define corporate responsibility as doing only what is needed to put effective people in chairs, then there is no need for diversity programs to meet corporate responsibility (at least, assuming sufficient talent).
But your entire comment misses the phenomenon of biases having affected women their entire lives, from what hobbies they were steered towards, to their experiences during education, to their interviewing process, to their working environments after having jobs. These are all part of what gender diversity programs are trying to combat.
And honestly, I'd say that this statement right here:
> These programs are most likely not responsible for qualified women getting jobs and even if they are they are also responsible for qualified men not getting the jobs so nothing is really gained.
is more of a really effective example of the actual problem, and an illustration of why gender diversity programs are needed, than an effective counterpoint against them.
"from what hobbies they were steered towards"
Ok, but the thing I don't quite understand here is that it's not like men are "steered" towards tech that strongly either. At least when I was young it was not "cool" to be some geek who sat infront of the computer all day, in fact quite the opposite.
"to their experiences during education"
I'm in Europe and I have no clue how a woman can have a worse experience in the educational system over here. Women tend to perform better in school and I'd to so far as to say that things are probably the other way around. Based on anecdata more "traditional" boys/men are probably very poorly served by the current educational system and there could be much done here.
"to their interviewing process, to their working environments after having jobs"
Again, I'm rather confused here. Is this some reference to startups? This whole debacle seems to show that women, at least at the larger corporations, has some clear benefits. As anecdata I can add that I've had women tell me "getting an internship at Corp XYZ was very easy, they kept telling me they were looking to hire more women". I've heard a professor comment on hiring new faculty by saying "If we don't hire a woman we have failed", etc.
Are there boxes with pictures of boys on containing toy guns, cars, trucks, diggers, cranes, computers, science kits?
Is there a section for girls' toys and boys' toys?
That's your cultural steering of gender roles, right there.
Ever seen someone think a particular book isn't "appropriate" for a girl to read? Or another book isn't "something boys will be interested in"?
Did the girls grow up seeing women on TV programmes who were scientists, executives, lawyers? Or were those people almost all men? What does that tell them about the world as they watch?
Okay so you can argue television should reflect the real world, but in doing so and simultaneously acting as part of a child's education in how the world should be (which you are, whether intentionally or not), your TV programme also acts to perpetuate the status quo.
I really don't feel there are any mysteries why we see so much gender segregation in career paths.
Similarly: how many people do you know who seriously consider nursing as a viable profession for a man to pursue? What about preschool childcare? Kindergarten teacher? Who cleans your offices? Are they female? All the cleaners in my current office are female.
It is not hard to see the cultural pressure on both boys and girls to go in certain directions.
Try some science.
Sure there may be some bias in early childhood between the sexes, but honestly, I have a somewhat hard time seeing this having a serious effect on someone's career decision much later.
Firstly, this whole argument just seems like it could just as well be some urban legend. What possible proof is there that this actually has any effect? I'm not even sure how one would go about investigating this. I feel throwing around some argument which seem plausable (to some people) but in fact have basically no solid support and then treating it as if it were an established fact is, well, maybe not so good. It seems more like something the president would do. 
Secondly, and more importantly, there is a very significant number of both men and women who during high school will receive a fairly through introduction to the natural sciences and to me this would seem a much more significant than some trucks and dolls one played with when one were 5 years old. To provide a more precise counterargument, many boys wants to become firefighters or police officers, yet when they grow up, many abandons these career plans.
I admit I may be extremely naive, but the argument about people on TV has always struck me as somewhat odd. It seems to rest on the assumption that most people (well, at least women/girls) in fact think men and women are different, otherwise, why would it matter what gender the people involved have?
Finally regarding the last point about career paths, well, the problem with all the examples is that there are jobs with similar pay where almost all employees are men, compare say kindergarten teacher with being a construction worker. Sure, I can admit that there is some pressure here and it being (significantly) easier for a man to become a construction worker and a woman becoming a kindergarten teacher. But if there was a wage gap between these two professions it is not as clear to me.
I would also like to point out that one can discuss things in different context, if these arguments were just made in general about how (some) women feel and how things have affected them and whatnot, that is one thing. But we are not just discussing things in general, instead there are some (at least to me) very serious accusations of of discrimination, and then we have as a society enacted and allowed a large scale discrimination of men in order to offset this. And now we have a man being fired for daring to even question these accusations that have been made against him.
: If there is some solid support for this view I will happily admit I am wrong.
Biases are affecting men, women, red haired, young people, old people, gays, lesbians, fat people, short people, people with too much education, people with almost none etc their whole life.
Singling out gender is exactly what's so wrong with this whole discussion.
The actual problem if you really want to focus on something that would naturally bring more women into the industry, is that less women start companies or get into tech early on.
If you for some reason want to solve the problem of gender diversity, get more women to start a tech company.
It's really that simple.
I would have sworn that this would be "Not being sexist 101", but apparently words do not mean what I think they should…
Try asking people to link to the specific section in http://diversitymemo.com where the author supposedly said what they claim he said, and surprisingly often they're unable to do it.
At some point, lossy compression crosses over into mendacity. Shame on Gizmodo for initially reporting this as an "anti-diversity" memo. If you're a journalist, you know that is not an adequately high-resolution description of a complex body of text. But it's good for page views, so they do it. And the other publications follow suit.
They seem to be used by companies as a "shield" when sued for discrimination.  The so-called “diversity defense”. It worked for WalMart.
It's a shame that the administrators of this site feel the need to shut down discussion on important issues like this.
Pro tip: use https://news.ycombinator.com/best
As such, I've personally benefited numerous times from diversity hiring programs.
If someone at any of my previous employers had written an internal memo criticizing the respective company's diversity program (ie the funnel through which I was hired), I can't imagine calling for their job, even if the way in which they stated that opinion was offensive to me.
I say this with the understanding that there's an obvious difference between choosing to join the military and being born as a woman or person of color.
Well put. Regardless of what side you take, I'm sure everybody understands that this is a controversial, emotionally-charged topic that must be approached with extreme care. This fellow did not do so, and created a firestorm in his wake. That alone seems like sufficient reason to fire him.
It's sort of the verbal equivalent to lighting a match to illuminate a darkened oil rig. Maybe you just wanted to illuminate things, but there are better ways to do it.
Wouldn't the same be true about any non-optimal hiring practices and procedures though?
Google is pretty famous for constantly evaluating and tuning their hiring processes, because presumably - they sometimes fail to hire qualified people, and sometimes hire unqualified people. They want to tune their process so they are as close to 0 as humanly possible for each of those cases.
Maybe the guy is a sexist and racist asshole, I don't know him - but if I give him the benefit of the doubt and read him charitably, I take it to mean he's saying gender-based diversity programs might produce worse ratios of qualified/unqualified hires, and unqualified/qualified passes than some of his other proposals. In other words, tune the hiring process, as it relates specifically to diversity hires, to improve the ratio of qualified/unqualified workers.
I have no idea if that idea is crazy or sensible, but it doesn't strike me as being obviously one way or the other. I'm sure with all the attention this is getting somebody, somewhere, who may be experts in these things could offer their take on it.
Here's the problem: "Start with some selection of people chosen optimally for job performance...." That's the hiring equivalent of "assume a spherical cow." Sure, if your existing process optimally chooses people for job performance, then any move toward diversity will reduce quality. Likewise, if you have a spherical, frictionless cow, then its speed after descending a slope with a height of 100 meters will be 44.3m/s. Both statements are correct and equally applicable to the real world.
With regards to your second point, this kind of analysis does not require that the employees selected are in fact optimal. It only requires that they're the company's best guess given the inferences from the limited evidence available. Any move away from picking the best guesses will yield choices that are not the best guesses.
To get back to the example of purple people, you wouldn't see a company today which only accepts purple people. However, it's highly likely that people involved in hiring decisions have opinions of purple people, possibly subconsciously, which influences their evaluation of purple and non-purple candidates. If this skews their evaluation toward purple candidates, then pushing things back toward non-purple candidates will give you better results.
You're right, hiring in tech has gender bias, but right now that bias leans in women's favor at every step. Other commenters have posted research on this point, but I'll add my anonymous, unverifiable anecdotes to the pile. When I was on hiring committees at my old company, I watched us hire women who performed less well on our technical interviews than men we rejected, for the explicit reason of hiring more women. But I'm savvier than Damore, so I knew when to keep my opinions to myself about it.
And still there's fewer women in tech. There has to be other explanations.
> And like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I'm not going to link to it here as it's not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.
> Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.
Yay we believe in "a culture in which those with alternative views [...] feel safe sharing their opinions" (except when they diverge from our view). We want them to feel safe sharing them and we show this through firing people who ask for an open discussion. Bravo google. And linking to the manifesto or at least quoting an example of what is wrong is bad, because ....?
(Yes a shitstorm is brewing and there now is a hot headed "discussion", but the main problem is that nobody actually references or talks about the actual manifesto. People talk _about it_, but quotes are sparse and the critics never point out any (logical) fallacies. It's a much to emotional "debate".)
Anyway thanks to the full text I now actually could revise my opinion on the whole matter (I actually have yet to follow all the references/sources), but am disgusted at googles reaction to fire someone because their opinion created a toxic reaction. If such a reaction spawns, maybe there is room for an open discussion and maybe we can find a solution everybody is happy with. Killing off unwelcome voices doesn't sound like a welcoming environment to me and unethically at best.
Let me close with a quote from the manifesto in relation to the response from the VP of Diversity
> My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology.
He now seems kind of right at least in that regard.
Secondly, you really believe that even if had all the references in the world that it would make a difference?
This topic is way past "references". People believe what they want to believe. In the end, reality wins.
But is the bias substantiated so that diversity hiring tracks it? Do the men who lose out to diversity candidates, the same that are benefiting from bias (as individuals, not "men, as a group")?
Isn't this like saying "Jailing innocent men is a fair price to ensure the guilty don't get away"
This is why there is such intense reactions against correcting for bias: men with imposter syndrome or who are actually incompetent are afraid that they wouldn't be able to compete if the system wasn't so heavily skewed in their favor.
I haven't read the study in your link, and might not even be qualified to interpret it, but two things stand out to me:
1) The study appears to focus on a single "event" or "snapshot" - not an ongoing, corrected process:
> Our research asks what happened when the central party organisation of the Social Democratic party imposed the quota on 285 local (municipal) political parties from the 1994 election and forward.
As such, it might be that the "mediocre reducing" nature of the results only apply to one-off applications of gender quotas where there previously were none. In fact, if one of the concerns is "cronyism" (or "insider bias"), then any quota requiring employment of outsiders might just be as effective at ousting the mediocre.
This has nothing really to do with my question, of whether such policies actually "track" bias, because it doesn't seem this example does.
2) They use a problematic/controversial definition of "merit":
> A competent politician, we argue, is a person who makes more than the median amongst politicians with similar characteristics.
They directly equate personal income with competence/mediocrity, which invites all kinds of questions...
Also, politics is a little different - there is a sense that politicians "represent" their populace, so the race/sex of politicians should also be more representative. Plus, politics is more "restricted" in the sense that only a certain population (size) of politicians need serve a certain national population (size) - but the restrictions (market size) in the corporate world might not be so distinct; There is plenty room for more qualified software developers.
As this thread shows, if he'd just kept his whiny assumptions about women's innate incompetence as engineers to himself he would have been able to remain happily employed in a cushy job.
This is an internal matter, and the intended audience is Google employees, so to prevent attracting attention from the wrong audience and maximize attention from Googlers, I'll post it in the internal board...
It doesn't help that Google apparently encouraged employees expressing their thoughts.