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Facebook’s diversity efforts show little progress after five years (techcrunch.com)
25 points by AnatMl2 8 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 96 comments





> When the Cambridge Analytica scandal went down, some pointed to Facebook’s overall lack of diversity as part of the problem. That’s because homogenous cultures lead to limited perspectives and potential lack of awareness of things that may be more obvious to diverse groups of people.

If the purpose is to gain greater perspective and awareness through less homogeneous employees, then it would be more effective to hire according to heterogeneous answers to questions about perspective and awareness, rather than by less reliable proxies like gender and ethnicity.


Agreed, genuine diversity of intellectual approach is the gold standard IMHO.

It seems like a completely unattainable standard to me. Can you give me an example of a situation in which "genuine diversity of intellectual approach" has been a net positive for an organization, rather than a divisive detriment to morale?

IMO if your organization has a "genuine diversity of intellectual approach" that is truly genuine, then you will soon no longer have an organization — you will have two different organizations, each ideologically homogenous but definitely "genuinely different in intellectual approach" from one another.


Your response seems to be suggesting that having two different approaches precludes the possibility of two people listening to each other and reaching a sensible agreement?

I do not suggest that, because obviously people can listen to each other and reach sensible agreements. But if that's possible then how "genuine" is their intellectual difference in the first place?

My question is this: what defines an organization other than a shared intellectual approach? Borders? Dare I say... Walls?

I'm just saying that a "shared intellectual approach" is literally the definition of an organization to me, unless you're gonna say that walls/borders/exclusion are what defines an organization. So it makes no sense to insist on NOT sharing an intellectual approach because in that instance you'd quickly have two separate organizations.

What I'm really asking for tho is a single example of "genuine intellectual diversity" being beneficial as opposed to merely being divisive and demoralizing. Can you provide an example?


When I google the definition of 'organization' this is the 1st one that comes up: "an organized group of people with a particular purpose, such as a business or government department." People can have different ways of fulfilling the same purpose.

As for an example: I'm currently developing a fairly large open-source software package for numerical analysis. I do the majority of the coding but every few weeks I discuss the latest developments with a co-worker and my supervisor. They often disagree with the way I have done certain things (intellectual diversity) but after (sometimes lengthy but productive) discussion we almost always end up with greatly improved software design that we are all happy with. Sometimes they compromise or come round to my way of thinking, sometimes its the other way around.


You sound very logical and well-meaning and seem to be a good person in general, so I have to resist my initial urge to turn this comment thread into a flame war, but:

1.) a shared "purpose" to me is literally the same as a "Shared intellectual approach" -- purpose is a synonym of what I was trying to say.

2.) I strongly disagree that "disagreeing with the way you do certain things within the frames/boundaries of pre-agreed purposes and projects" is what anyone is trying to say when they talk about "intellectual diversity." If your definition of intellectual diversity (just inferring here so lmk if I'm wrong) is "disagreeing about how a job should be done," then literally every company on Earth is diverse by that metric, so its not a particularly useful metric IMO.

3.) IMO when people refer to "intellectual diversity" they are referring to having strongly held and opposing viewpoints about issues that are much larger than "how this job should be done." The viewpoints that qualify as "intellectually diverse" in all discussions of the concept I've read are referring to politics and/or religion.

I respect that you have an effective working process with diverse and strong viewpoints about software, but I think that strongly opposing viewpoints about software do not meet the commonly-held criteria for "intellectual diversity." Strongly-held opposing viewpoints about religion and politics do.

Compared to politics and religion, It's easy and fun for you and your coworkers to strongly disagree about software development. When you guys strongly disagree about that topic, the final outcome (as you just described) is positive: Everyone learns new things and your product gets better.

But it's extremely difficult and potentially way less fun for you and your co-workers to strongly disagree about politics and/or religion while still having a positive final outcome for all involved.

My question is this: do you know anyone who can? Because if anyone can provide me with a link to an article/blog post about "intellectual diversity" as it seems to be defined in common parlance -- I.e. "group members holding strongly opposing viewpoints about politics and/or religion" -- let me know because I'd be fascinated to read about it.

My curiousity is this: I wonder if intellectually diverse organizations share characteristics and if there was a way to map all organizations and find out which ones are "intellectually diverse" and what commonalities they share. Some part of me wonders if CrossFit and yoga would be the most intellectually diverse but the other part thinks maybe they're self-selecting for some tribal/religious/political qualities that I'm not even aware of. Would be cool to find out :)


This is one of the comments on that article:

------- > The upside to this is that white people no longer make up the majority at Facebook.

Why is that an upside? It seems utterly racist to me. Let’s try to substitute “white” with, say, Asian.

“The upside to this is that Asian people no longer make up the majority at Facebook.”

Or how about the color black?

“The upside to this is that black people no longer make up the majority at Facebook.”

I wonder how that would go down? -------

I echo this sentiment completely. Why is anti-white racism being encouraged?


Because historically many American companies were 100% white and controlled all the financial and political power. We never had a homogenous Asian or black majority in our society, so there is an attempt here to make up for hundreds of years of segregation where black people were not allowed in the office, the church, the restaurant etc, simply because they were black.

Well, diversity efforts at Microsoft China were trying to move away from the 100% Chinese office. Of course, that being China meant a few foreigners here and there. Some effort really pays off in a very homogeneous environment.

> "The upside to this is that white people no longer make up the majority at Facebook."

I am all for diversity, but this sentence upsets me. Decreasing one population in the place should not be the goal.


But percentages are zero sum. You can't increase diversity without decreasing homogeneity.

Increasing a minority will require decreasing the share of the majority. Either you're okay with that or you're not.

I'm not sure I follow. If a company has 75% from group A and 25% from group B while these groups make up 66% and 33% of the population respectively then it makes sense to address the underrepresentation of group B. But why would we applaud a 50/50 ratio? Isn't that just an underrepresentation if group A? A majority is not necessarily an overrepresentation.

This line if thing seems liable to give credence to the notion that "diversity" is a dog whistle for achieving an underrepresentation of undesirable groups (men, Whites, and increasingly Asians).


Then by definition you are not "all for diversity".

Depends. In my view you can be all for diversity but at the same time not deliberately attempt to achieve an underrepresentation of a particular group.

It reminds me of mercantilism.

Techs diversity problems start early in school before college. Facebook are just the last mile.

The sex based targeting of childrens toys would be a good place to start , but you won't see results for 20 years.


I see this a lot and I just don't understand it. Everyone in this problem seems desperate to point the finger to someone else. And it's not just sex, it's race too.

Having problems hiring black tech workers? It's the college's fault.

Having problems graduating black students with BSs in STEM? It's the high school's fault.

Having problems graduating black students from high school? Really it's the fault of the community or family that raised them.

Having problems fixing the community's culture? Really it's the fault of poverty.

Having problems fixing poverty? Really it's the fact that no good jobs will hire us.

This isn't a pipe that just spits kids out when they're about to be hired, every single person in that pipeline is desperate to pretend that it's someone further down the line's problem, except once you go far enough down the pipe you end up back where you started. It's not a linear pipe spitting individual kids out that we just can't do anything about. It's a cycle and wherever it is that we exist in that cycle, be it elementary education or hiring Senior Devs at a FAANG, we have a responsibility to step in and do something about it. Enough passing the buck.


It’s just a regressive position on diversity masquerading as being a reasonable progressive one. Take something that’s easier to fix from a centralized location, and instead argue for individual responsibility. Like how instead of complaining about oil companies destroying the environment and corrupting our political system, we should all just recycle and buy Teslas, like a buncha radicals or something :)

I think sure, do what you can at an individual level if you want but that’s so much less important. You’re not gonna change the household conversations happening in millions of houses, and telegraphing what YOU are doing for your daughters in Silicon Valley is more narcissistic than political.


It is the supply pipeline. It takes 20+ years for the easy path to grow a competent software developer. If the supply stalls in primary school, you don’t recover from that. Looking at the end of the pipe isn’t that useful.

Even the hard path (someone going into it starting at college) takes 4+ years.

All FAANG is doing right now is concentrating a limited supply, making diversity worse in the rest of the industry. They aren’t magically creating new supply via aggressive hiring practices.


[flagged]


We've asked you several times to stop using Hacker News for ideological purposes and you haven't, so we've banned the account. We're happy to unban accounts if you email us at hn@ycombinator.com and we believe you'll post according to the guidelines.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


The Success Sequence is bunk, here's some reading on it[1] but the basic idea is that in those three points you laid out number 3 does basically all the explanatory work, number one does a little work and number 2 does almost nothing.

>This is a problem of culture and a lack of personal responsibility.

Okay then where does that culture problem come from? Does it just emerge from the ether to grab black people and wipe away their "personal responsibility"? No, that culture emerges from the same society you're desperate to exonerate. There are many factors that influence that culture and systemic poverty is a huge one. You want to fix poverty in black America? Great, then hire them.

[1] http://www.demos.org/blog/8/5/15/economic-institutions-shoul...

http://www.demos.org/blog/8/13/15/success-sequence-extremely...

http://mattbruenig.com/2017/07/31/the-success-sequence-is-ab...


So the conclusion here is that failing to graduate high school and becoming a teen parent has little impact on life outcomes? I'm sure Bruenig is right when when he says that the ability to stay out of poverty is mostly determined by the ability to hold a job. But thats basically a tautology.

Did AEI shoe-horn in their pet theories into the analysis? Sure. On the other hand, does Bruenig (or anyone) believe that holding a job is casually independent from the sets of behavioral traits that lead people into failing high school and becoming teen parents?

> that culture emerges from the same society you're desperate to exonerate

Accusations of motivated reasoning cut both ways. He could say that you seem just as desperate to implicate society as he is to exonerate it.


>So the conclusion here is that failing to graduate high school and becoming a teen parent has little impact on life outcomes?

The conclusion is that it has little impact on your ability to not be "permanently poor" as the prior commenter stated.

>On the other hand, does Bruenig (or anyone) believe that holding a job is casually independent from the sets of behavioral traits that lead people into failing high school and becoming teen parents?

Saying "these things aren't independent" and saying "these things have a strong causal connection and here's the direction" are worlds apart so let's not treat the former as our motte and the latter as our bailey.

>Accusations of motivated reasoning cut both ways. He could say that you seem just as desperate to implicate society as he is to exonerate it.

Motivated reasoning requires a motivation, eg motivated reasoning would be '... that you're desperate to exonerate because you're racist.' But I never did that. And I don't mind the accusation that I'm implicating society here, I am.


The steelman of the Success Sequence (i.e. ignoring the shoe-horning that Bruenig pointed out) is that there are cultural/normative/behavioral tendencies that come prior to systemic oppression or poverty. These tendencies have a "strong casual relationship" with life outcomes like teen pregnancy, successfully holding jobs, etc.

Is there any conceivable evidence for this view that would be compelling to you? Is there a possible state of life outcomes that cannot be explained by pointing at "the system"?

> Motivated reasoning requires a motivation

Suppose X says to Y, "you are desperate for claim Z to be true." I think a strait-forward reading implies that X has some motivation to believe in Z independent of Z's truth value. No claim regarding the nature of the motive is necessary.


>The steelman of the Success Sequence

Well now I'm interested, what do you take to be the steelman of Bruenig's/my position?

>Is there any conceivable evidence for this view that would be compelling to you?

Well for one I'm not talking about behavioral tendencies writ large, I'm specifically talking about cultural and normative tendencies. Two you haven't posted any evidence that those come prior to systemic oppression.

>Is there a possible state of life outcomes that cannot be explained by pointing at "the system"?

Let's think about fish in an aquarium. Is there a possible state of the life outcome of a fish that isn't actually explained by pointing at the conditions of the tank? (I'm actually interested in your answer)


[flagged]


Whoa whoa whoa back up.

>the most assisted demographic in America has been black

source?

>and they've shown little to no progress

source?

>whereas Asians have been the most prejudiced against

source?

>and they've shown the most

source?

And that doesn't even begin to address the issue of comparing Asians, who had the resources to immigrate here, with black Americans, who were brought here as slaves and had restricted civil rights until 1964.


Sex targeted toys sell. Most parents want that for their kids. It's not a conspiracy by the toy companies.

I wouldn’t say, “most parents want [sex targeted toys]”. Rather parents give the toys their kids want. Kids want what they see, and the see gender specific toys.

>I wouldn’t say, “most parents want [sex targeted toys]”. Rather parents give the toys their kids want. Kids want what they see, and the see gender specific toys.

I don't know. The pink bicycles vs non-pink bicycles thing applies to adults too. See 'pink tax'.


Sure its not the parents. Kids 'want' what they see on tv, see their friends have, see who the toy's aimed at etc. Its cultural. Which means, learned.

Can someone tell me why these tech companies even publish these numbers?

It seems like they always end up with egg on their face. And they have no obligation to be transparent as private (or public) entities.

But now they all have to have chief diversity officers and diversity councils and PR/recruiting teams for diversity - all of which cost money and hasn't seemed to move the needle very much.

And which as another poster pointed out, doesn't fundamentally change the underlying issue about who applies to these jobs, who goes to school for computer science, etc.


Because they care?

I know it's a shocking concept, but people actually care. "Big corporations" aren't some amorphous number crunching machine. They're staffed by people, and those people have concerns, and priorities, and principles. When you specifically hire for people who share those principles, and announce them loudly as part of your culture, people actually can, and do, get upset, and demand change when you don't act accordingly — and change can and does happen.


> Can someone tell me why these tech companies even publish these numbers?

PR.


When they get sued, they bring these up and say, we tried.

> Can someone tell me why these tech companies even publish these numbers?

Because if you don't, it looks even worse. So my guess is publicity and PR.


And yet there doesn't seem to be much concern that only 4% of Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations workers are female or only 25% of Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations workders are men.

https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm


This is slightly off topic, but are their any numbers on what percentage of [women, black, hispanic, white, men etc] WANT to sit in front of a computer and program all day? I think we need those numbers in order truly measure diversity progress. [1]

If only 10% (made up number) of women are interested in software development, and 95% of that 10% are working in software, that's good! Looking at all women and saying only 9.5% of women are working in software misrepresents all the progress has been made.

[1] Why these numbers would be different for each class of people is a whole different conversation involving nature/nurture/culture/etc.


https://www.usnews.com/news/data-mine/articles/2016-10-20/st...

"In 1984, 37 percent of computer science majors were women, but by 2014 that number had dropped to 18 percent"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_Unit...

"The White, non-Hispanic or Latino population make up 61.3% of the nation's total, with the total White population (including White Hispanics and Latinos) being 76.9%"


Looking at the graph, they seem to have the Harvard Asian problem.

Maybe they can solve it the same way, by hiring based on "full personality assessments".


The fact is that diversity doesn't start at companies. It needs to be part of parenting (encouraging daughters to explore STEM). Needs to be part of early education in schools, and also colleges. Until the diversity spectrum in college admissions and graduates improves, companies are going to find it hard to meet their diversity requirements if there aren't enough diversity in skilled workers out in the market.

This Techcrunch write has a long storied history of playing identity politics some would even argue with racist undertones.

I recently saw a new "the more you know ad" on YouTubeTV and was really impressed with the message. Instead of playing identity politics and blaming "patriarchal white men" it encouraged women to join the engineering and science movement and become more active in technology. That's the message we should be sending.


The serious way to boost diversity: go to poor/minority communities in west and then developing countries in general and give young children the Raven's Progressive Matrices test and recruit the best scorers into specialized academies.

Maybe because I'm a white dude, perhaps that means I'm not allowed to be a part of these conversations. I fail to understand what the goal of these efforts is. Why did we decide race, and sex are the important immutable factors that we're going to measure?

I grew up in what is today Trump Country. My high school prepared me to work in a factory. Then the factory moved to China, and now the only jobs left in the area are retail and healthcare. I managed to move out, but the vast majority of people I went to high school with are stuck.

Why is economic background not a class we care about too? Shouldn't economic mobility be a part of social justice as well?


I don't know why this is getting downvoted; he has a very valid point. Economic class/background is as important when it comes to diversity.

I feel like there's little conversation about it because it's an even harder problem to tackle and a less obvious one to see. I will say though, to a large extent economic class and race still remain tied in the US.


They're getting downvoted because the people who do care about racial and gender equality very much do care about class mobilization and to premise the question with the idea that they don't care means at best, OP doesn't know what they're talking about and at worst, OP is using class issues in bad faith to bludgeon away any attempts at talking about the former.

> They're getting downvoted because the people who do care about racial and gender equality very much do care about class mobilization

I think this is an overgeneralization. I don't doubt this is mostly the case but I don't think it's conclusive that it is always the case, especially when you look into the activism within and by wealthier classes and corporations.

> to premise the question with the idea that they don't care means at best, OP doesn't know what they're talking about

The way I understood the comment is in reference to Facebook/tech, in which case it's very true: Facebook seems to survey gender and race but there's no mention in their diversity efforts about social/economic background. For all we know, all those great paying jobs could be going to well-off people. 4.9% hispanics of 25000 employees is 1,225 people: Are they first-generation college students born in the US to immigrant parents, middle-class graduates from Mexico's engineering schools or well-off kids from Latin America whose parents could afford them a Harvard education? For the record I know people who would fall under each of these three buckets and I think the idea of classifying them under the same category in diversity efforts is very short-sighted.

> at worst, OP is using class issues in bad faith to bludgeon away any attempts at talking about the former.

I don't know in what faith OP posted, but from his last sentence I gather he is vouching to include economic status as part of "social justice as well", not instead-of.


I think the reason is that historically black people and women were intentionally discriminated against and prevented from entering school and the workplace, so there's an attempt to actively make amends for that. So politically that's why the focus is on race and gender.

I also think that people who champion social justice are also very much in favor of investment in education and public resources like public libraries to help with economic mobility. So I don't think that isn't a focus on economic mobility, it's more that we expect the federal and local governments to flex their muscle to ease problems with social mobility while companies themselves are supposed to make themselves more welcome to diverse candidates.


It looks like a measurement issue.

The problem we want to eliminate is sexism and racism. Counting the number of times people are actually affected by a negative -ism is difficult. We don't know what people are thinking unless they tell us. Bigots have an incentive to lie about their reasons and non-bigots can be subject to unconscious biases.

On the other hand categorizing people by race/gender is easy. There is always some wiggle room, but there is a lot less ambiguity when answering "is this employee a black woman" compared to "was this employee hired because she is black".

Once you have a set of (mostly) reliable statistics then you can start looking at trends over time, patterns by industry, etc. These numbers can't tell you anything about racism/sexism on their own, but they can help show the general direction the population studied is going and if there are any outliers who might deserve more attention.


Economic mobility is definitely a part of social justice. But let's note that those groups that most suffer from a lack of economic mobility are Black and Latinx groups. Even among whites, white men tend have better economic mobility than white women. See for example the data at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/27/upshot/make-y....

So, race and sex are directly tied to economic mobility, which is why they are the important factors that are being measured.



[flagged]


If you keep doing this we'll ban the main account as well. This site is not for ideological battle.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


> Why is economic background not a class we care about too? Shouldn't economic mobility be a part of social justice as well?

It is, but those people are called socialists and/or communists. If you look, you'd find groups that try to synthesize a unified picture of our common struggles.


I also think it's discrimination against the tech industry to pressure them for equality more than other biased fields: hairdressers, wedding planners, childcare workers, sanitation workers, firefighters. All these occupations have severe biases that go ignored by the people who continually roll FANG through the ringer because they aren't "diverse".

"In the U.S., Facebook is 3.5 percent black, compared to just 2 percent in 2014, and 4.9 percent Latinx compared to 4 percent in 2014. White people, unsurprisingly, still makes up the single largest population of employees (46.4 percent today versus 57 percent in 2014). The upside to this is that white people no longer make up the majority at Facebook."

No mention is made of the fraction of Asians, because their over-representation would undermine the narrative of whites discriminating against minorities. This intellectual dishonesty irks me.

There are industries such as education where the vast majority of workers are female. If men and women are in the workforce at about even levels, there must be some industries where men predominate.


>"In the U.S., Facebook is 3.5 percent black, compared to just 2 percent in 2014, and 4.9 percent Latinx compared to 4 percent in 2014. White people, unsurprisingly, still makes up the single largest population of employees (46.4 percent today versus 57 percent in 2014). The upside to this is that white people no longer make up the majority at Facebook."

So they're actually MORE diverse than the country racially.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_Unit...

"The White, non-Hispanic or Latino population make up 61.3% of the nation's total, with the total White population (including White Hispanics and Latinos) being 76.9%"


I don't see much noise about bringing men into female dominated industries either.

There are groups working on bringing men into nursing and teaching. You can find out more about these with a few google searches.

> the narrative of whites discriminating against minorities

You made up that narrative. The narrative presented in the article is

> Williams noted that, "diversity is critical to our success as a company"

Achieving "diversity" is not the same as mirroring the demographics of a company's home country and "over-representation" is not directly related to lack of diversity.


If "diverse" != mirroring the demographics of one's home country, then what does diverse even mean? What could possibly be a better metric than that? Mirroring the demographics of the world at large? If so, why would that be better?

> There are industries such as education where the vast majority of workers are female.

Yes, and they've tended to be the lower-paid professions. Nurses instead of doctors, teachers instead of principals, etc.

This argument is a little like citing "black people have water fountains, too" to defend the segregated South. It misses the point.


Female dominated professions, on average, have more time off, more flexible hours, significant social components, less physically dangerous, etc. Maybe these things matter, on average, more to women than men. Why should we expect women to have the exact same distribution of preferences as men? Why are we accepting the frame that the only thing that matters is salary?

If women choose their profession based on factors other than salary, it is a little strange to analogize them to black people under segregation. Just because someone has different values doesn't mean that they have false consciousness or are acting under duress.


I completely agree and I'm not sure why over-representation isn't a larger issue.

Honest question: Is your concern about over-representation limited to Asian people, or do you have similar concerns about white male over-representation in tech and elsewhere?

At some point it boils down to who applies.

Example: Women are GENERALLY more petite, they struggle carrying firefighter gear (45-75lbs depending on your load out) and aren't interested or can't pass the necessary requirements to ensure their safety, they get fewer female applicants and thus more men are firefighters type of thing.

I imagine there are still fewer qualified female applicants than male. I imagine there are far fewer female applicants for entry-level construction jobs than male applicants too, doesn't mean a construction company is dropping the ball or being discriminatory by default.


What does this have to do with software development? Are you actually suggesting women have some physical attribute that makes them less applicable for programming, mathematics, or computer science jobs?

This reasoning is part of the problem. It's not rigorously inspected or accepted, because it's circular logic that can be self proving given one dominant party enforcing such a reasoning structure as 'the rules'.


I think it's an analogy. The point is that there are deep social and cultural factors at play that bias women against software, so the applicant pool is small, and it can't be fixed by some localized corporate initiative.

Indeed. I should have just said this

---

In 1984, 37 percent of computer science majors were women, but by 2014 that number had dropped to 18 percent.

As of July 2016, White Americans are the racial majority with the White population being 76.9% of the country.

Statistically, an applicant with a computer science degree is likely to be a white male so logically a company that employees mostly CS types would be heavy on white males and white on women and other races.

---


*light on women and other races.

The 'analogy' can be taken either way allowing people who benefit from the issue to continue avoiding confronting the problem head on, directly, clearly, logically, in a straight forward manner - where both sides of the argument can be cleanly inspected and analyzed.

If a company is hiring at or above the rate of women coming out of college and applying to jobs, what exactly are they avoiding to confront?

If a comment on the internet uses physical strength and stature as an analogy for why there are less women applying to programming jobs, what exactly are they trying to say?

Please don't treat me like an idiot because ambiguity is convenient.


I agree it was a poor analogy, but I am giving the commenter the benefit of the doubt and assuming that some idea of inferiority (that you seem to be implying) is not the intent of their comment. Women and men have traditionally had very different roles and expectations in society, and significant physical differences as well, and to think that these differences don't have an effect on preferences and motivations, and that the situation is easily changeable, is naive.

We are here conversing on hacker news. We are not in some fashion show or construction working environment. There are women on hacker news, and there are women all over the tech sphere. And often times, comments like this make the difference between choosing to pretend to be male to blend in so we can simply continue conversing like the technical people we are. Likewise, comments like this piss some women off, because we work very hard to be factual, logical, precise, and technically adept - and to have all of that dumbed down a point that basically amounts to 'men have more muscle, brains must work the same' is quite frankly at the very least, an extremely weak, limited argument. At worst, it's patronizing, offensive, it enforces a particular perspective, it silences other perspectives, it enforces a particular set of expectations, and it's simply, unscientific, rude, and exceptionally passive in it's implications.

There's the expectation that people will just fill in the gaps because that's how we think when we code large projects. But here, I must say no. I will not fill in these gaps for you. I work hard to be good at what I do and if it continues to be insisted that sex differences serve as a concrete foundation for technical, mathematical skill, that simply isn't true. My life is proof enough to me. It may not be proof to you, but that's what I get to live with, because of lazy thought patterns like this. The near constant need to prove myself to people who are privileged enough to not have to go to such extremes.

Expectations and roles, yes, I've heard all these arguments before. How does stuff like that change? Surely, you must be aware that repeating the same points will only serve to reinforce such a perspective?


You are reading things that I never said. I just said that I agreed that the analogy of "men have more muscle, brains must work the same" is bad.

Let me fill in the gaps for you. I never once said or implied that women are inferior in any way and unable to do what men do in software. Read my comment again. I'm saying that women THEMSELVES do not prefer to do the work, regardless of ability, due to societal conditioning. I'm not talking about all women either, just on average. And I'm talking about gender here, not sex. You seem to have some old ideas about gender. I would suspect that a trans individual might have some of the same biases and cis-women, as many trans-women pick up a lot of the social and cultural behaviors and preferences of cis-women, so hopefully that makes it clear to you that I'm not talking about fundamental physical differences.

Also, let me make clear that I agree with the goal of a blended, equal workplace. I'm only discussing the effectiveness about how and where we go about doing it, not whether we should do it at all. Don't misplace your anger toward me.


I'm not angry. It's really easy to make a comment and run alongside one perspective of many thought paths. I'm entertaining my own here, just as you are doing. It's varied and diverse. Just because you don't understand my perspective doesn't mean it lacks value.

>What does this have to do with software development?

Everything. If people aren't applying to the jobs, they can't be hired.

Then of course even if the minority/gender a company is lacking on applies for a job, if they aren't the most qualified candidate a company shouldn't be expected to hire them.

>Are you actually suggesting women have some physical attribute that makes them less applicable for programming, mathematics, or computer science jobs?

No, clean your display off, I said "Example: Women are GENERALLY more petite, they struggle carrying firefighter gear".

It's an example, an analogy. Firefighters often have the exact same diversity issues, fact is more Caucasian men apply than other races and genders. In the case of a firefighter a man selected at random is more likely to be more physically cable to do the job than a woman, with firefighting strength comes first then firefighting theory.

With computer sciences, you have a far larger pool of men to draw on than women. n 1984, 37 percent of computer science majors were women, but by 2014 that number had dropped to 18 percent (https://www.usnews.com/news/data-mine/articles/2016-10-20/st...).

That means out of a pool of applicants, roughly 1 out of every 5 (with a degree in the field) will be female. Add to that the fact that white Americans make up the racial majority of the country and what happens? Your pool of applicants is far more likely to be male and white than female and any other race.

Someone with a computer science degree in the U.S. is statistically likely to be a white male. That's not racism, that's not sexism, that's reality.


Okay, I understand the 'reality' that you don't want to listen to the experience of a woman who has been programming since she was 9, with a background in computer engineering and an MSc in computer science from a top engineering college that was all male until the 1970s, and 12% female at the time of graduation, a TA and graduate researcher, as well as being singularly awarded 'most outstanding student in computer science' with a cumulative gpa of 3.98 and a years experience working on a PhD in information flow control, before choosing multiple different directions. As well as pretty much doing nothing with my life besides studying, programming and mathematically philosphizing with the best of them since then. That's fine!

The world changes, I'm assuming you know that. That's reality too.


>Okay, I understand the 'reality' that you don't want to listen to the experience of a woman who has been programming since she was 9,

I am not in CS, I do not know what companies look for in CS. I however do not have a college degree and this week alone have been rejected for 3 jobs I applied to, despite having 12 years of experience doing 1, because "there is a minimum requirement of a Bachelor's".

In my experience, outside of early-stage startups, companies want a degree not hobbyist experience. In the case of the job in my field where I have more years of experience than the company has in existence, they wanted a degree over experience.

"Ryan! I wanted to extend a virtual wave and thank you for your interest in joining our team. You obviously have many of the skills we're looking for. However, for the Customs Brokerage role we require a BA/BS degree as well as previous experience". I literally have over 12 years of experience doing the exact job, at a company that is 105 years old vs the company that is 5 years old, and I was rejected before even getting an interview because I lacked a 4-year degree (in any field).


We all have our struggles. There's no need to put out information that oversimplifies the problem women have in technology and reduces it down to an analogy that retains biased sentiment.

I personally don't think I'd do well walking into an interview for a startup, even though that's something I might have wanted to do when I was younger. We all have regrets and struggles we live with and have to work with, no matter how many pieces of paper are attached to us.


>There's no need to put out information that oversimplifies the problem women have in technology and reduces it down to an analogy

There's literally less qualified women than there are men. Fact. Period. End of story.

That means fewer applicants.

That means fewer hires.

Should Facebook go hire unqualified people then spend considerable amounts of times training them like some military occupational training where you're i class all day every day getting paid for 3-18 months while you learn what is necessary to do the job?

They could do that, you'd have to sign a contract though guaranteeing so many years of service or repay the money if you self-terminate.

When 20% of the people pursing the degrees are women, you can't expect 50% of the new-hires to be female.


You are throwing out figures you don't have access to.

The article's figures come in the form of a metric of change, a delta value indicating the passage of time. That is the foundation to reason and measure with. That is where there is complaint and room for improvement because that measurement is a useful measurement to the whole system as a dynamic system.


>You are throwing out figures you don't have access to.

Erm. I linked where the figures came from. There are considerably more white people in the U.S. than any other race, fact. Numbers of women majoring in CS degrees has fallen considerably, fact.

Less than 20% of CS degrees are being pursued by women per the source I cited. Women would be a minority at anything less than 50%.

You can't expect 20% of the degree holders to fill 50% of the jobs.


Yay, so neither of us want to read what the other wants to say! That's surely going to fix the problem!

From the linked article:

'Unless companies fire everyone and start over, we’re not going to see drastic improvements anytime soon.'

People who are saying 'there is a problem' are well aware this isn't something you can just measure today and fix with just the information that exists as it exists presently.

Why do I care? Because, I was once a little girl reading hacker stuff on the internet. It is part of the problem. If you can't admit to the subtext implied by your original post, or even get a sense that maybe it's not the right kind of analogy to use, I don't have anything left to say.

I'd be lying if I have to say I'm happy to infer that your point here is to discredit and silence the perspective of the article, but that's how all of this is coming across. Also a point from the article:

'That’s because homogenous cultures lead to limited perspectives and potential lack of awareness of things that may be more obvious to diverse groups of people.'

But perhaps all of this is pointless.


Don't put words in their mouth..

They can argue back with me if they feel so strongly about it.

I am tired of playing nice and assuming everyone has good intentions when this sexist passive BS crops up. This is not a good argument. 'Who applies' is a perspective offered very clearly from only one side of the application pool - and it's severely limited because the only people that get listened to about the problem are the ones that retain authority over the business dynamic.

It is incomplete information. I don't know how to make this more clear or obvious, but if people who value reason and logic and hard facts so intimately want to shoot themselves in the foot, well, cest la vie


I don't think your example applies in the context of a tech company, so I'm going to comment ignoring it.

If it boils down to who applies, then we need to make sure that we're reaching out to communities that are not well represented in our field. It's not about waiting for them to come to us.


I think his point may have been that "who applies" is the END of the funnel.

If there are issues earlier in the pipeline then we can't just focus on the end of it at the "who's applying" stage.

If we want more representation, are women more represented in comp sci programs? Are they going into related engineering fields? Do they go to meet up groups or construct new ones if they don't want to go to existing ones?


>I don't think your example applies in the context of a tech company, so I'm going to comment ignoring it.

18% of CS majors are women. 76.9% of the U.S. is white. Statistically someone in the work force with a CS degree is a white male.

That absolutely applies in the context of a tech company, unless you want them to hire unqualified applicants and spend months or years training them before they return profit.

The problem isn't with who a company is hiring, the problem is women aren't seeking out the training and non-Whites are a literal minority of the population.

Until more women pursue degrees/training in the field, and everyone starts partnering off with someone of a different race to make melting-pot babies, then it's just going to be this way purely due to statistics.


Why respond at all if you aren't addressing the comment?

I’m addressing the part of the comment that holds merit to me, specifically the part about diversity problems and a lack of applicants from underrepresented groups.

I don’t believe that people in tech aren’t represented because of some biological difference. That might not be what the commenter was implying, but that’s how I read it.


[flagged]


If you keep posting unsubstantive inflammatory comments we'll ban the account.

"Anyway, worldwide, Facebook is 36 percent female, up from 31 percent in 2014."

This article isn't written professionally.


It says "techcrunch.com" right by the link.

Burn.



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