How do you even argue with some who dismisses you like that?
They were basically approaching her to give a talk at an event here known for advanced technical topics even though she was at hello world level ability with React, and she felt very uncomfortable how persistent they were and it was obviously straight pussy pass.
They always seem to have a high representation among authority figures at conferences for some reason.
May be they are afraid of the alternative - being branded as non-inclusive, male-chauvinistic, etc. if they don't bring enough women to make the quota sufficient enough to avoid the branding (as we've seen such branding is no joke in the modern environment and can be painfully damaging when it comes to real things like employment/etc).
This kind of statistics driven approach to gender equality seems to be spreading around here.
You won't magically increase the number of women in tech by opening conference spots. Conference spots are open to at least somewhat-experienced people who already are committed to the industry, and no one joins to speak at a conference.
All this does is kill any event that isn't run by them and negatively effects freedom in the industry.
This is about advisories given to 16 to 18 year old boys and girls.
Does it seem possible that the advisors took the track record of the person they advise into account. Like for example their choices of subjects at school, their grades in Math, those sorts of things? And perhaps those aspects were more important in advising for or against STEM than the person's gender?
To me, that seems rather likely. But creative feminist statistics make it seem as if gender was the only determining factor, PROVING discrimination.
It's actually a pretty nice example of how typical feminist propaganda works.
How/what do you know about the situation in America? Tbh it seems more likely to me that US studies made the same "mistake". European feminists also like to copy methodology from US feminists.
However, if you have an article regarding the US, I will take a look.
First of all, there is simple supply and demand. More candidates wanting to do a specific job means lower pay.
Secondly, you should ask WHY women suddenly want to enter some field. Very likely, circumstances have changed for that job. Maybe it now allows for flex time, or new machinery makes it safer, or whatever. I don't have a good example at hand. But I would look at that - very likely it is that thing that makes it cheaper (because it is more attractive), not the women entering it.
Another possibility could be a job starts paying less, so the men leave and the women come in (since they are less dependent on high income).
Edit: I just saw example of physicians on the net, which reminds me that women also tend to work fewer ours. Apparently physicians is one of those example where women have taken over and rates seem to have dropped. However, I know that female physicians work far fewer hours than male physicians (averages), which could presumably explain the drop. (example from Germany, don't know about physicians world wide).
I learned how to program at an early age, despite discouragement because I wanted to make video games.
That's quite a bold claim. Can you delineate this "structure", since you seem confident that the organizers are making use of it to be certain that women won't be able to participate?
But there are actually qualified women. Putting up unqualified candidates to meet some notional quota is the best possible way of enforcing the status quo.
A weird but predictable side effect of using affirmative action to promote women is that statistically attendees will see female presenters as worse. (Availably heuristic / selection criteria bias).
Good thing that's not why they are withdrawing from the conference. Specifically, they are pulling out because the conference wasn't even wiling to work with them to find a more diverse speaker lineup. If nothing came out of that, then they would have gone. But the conference didn't even do that.
> Why should anyone care about anything other than php in a php conference?
Then PHPCE wouldn't have been for you, along with all the other tech conferences I've attended, as they generally had talks that weren't strictly PHP.
I couldn't find the (now cancelled) schedule for 2019, but to be fair it looks like PHPCE was a very focused conference: https://2018.phpce.eu/de/#agenda
Compare that with the holistic schedule of RubyConf, for example: http://rubyconf.org/schedule
^^ From the second link, blog post about a guy dropping out.
I'm so lost. So this guy drops out because the organizers won't go to great lengths to find women, and then admits that in his own experience it is sometimes completely impossible to find women speakers.
I think we're missing the forest for the trees here.
> If they had tried and were unsuccessful I'd be more forgiving, but you need to at least try. And when multiple speakers offer to work with you to reduce costs so that you can at least try, that should be taken seriously.
It sounds like he took issue with what he took as a complete lack of effort in trying to solicit submissions from women.
I think that is quite reasonable, especially since he went out of his way to frame this as a "way to improve" rather than a "reason to hate"
If you belong to a group, especially one that hosts events at least once a year, and you feel like it's run "adequately well", it's probably run better than 95% of the organizations out there. Head and shoulders above. You should take the time to thank the organizers for doing as well as they do. It's like being a member of the City Council, only you get paid even less (dollars or influence).
What I have is sympathy for people who discover at the "last minute" that they have fucked up. It's never a situation I like being in, and it brings out better things in some people and worse things in others.
Uncle Bob started one of his presentations with a call out to notice the shortage of women in the room and an ask that people try to think about fixing that. I think a more productive approach for these presenters would be to say, "Look, I'm gonna present this year, but I'm gonna mention this in my presentation, and I'd like to help you figure this out for next year or this is the last time I'll be presenting with you." Nobody is on the spot, you have time to reason with people and appeal to their values instead of threatening them and their conference.
Daryl Davis doesn't get people to leave the KKK by issuing ultimatums. If a black blues musician can have a productive conversation with a Klan member we can have an adult conversation about representation in volunteer run tech conferences.
What kind of pisses me off about this SJW thing is that it's a lot of people who have only recently discovered that their world view is wrong and they are in what someone brilliantly called 'the asshole phase' of new understanding. Now they're punishing people for being a couple years behind them on the clue train.
My classmates decades ago were pointing out and volunteering to address these sorts of inequalities. One in the general case, the other in the specific case of CS degrees. None of this is even a little new and I have some pretty bad whiplash from the sudden uptick in activity and anger.
I love safe spaces. Some of the best, most at-ease times of my life have happened in someone else's safe space. I may not know everything about how they get built, but I know this for sure: You can't create them by threatening people.
The presenters who canceled their presentation didn't go out and say "nobody should go", they didn't accuse anyone of being sexist. They saw an issue and reached out privately first to address it. There organizers were unable to address it this year have said they would open a dialogue to address it.
Their response has been pretty darn level headed and non-acrimonious. What I don't understand is what they deserve the bilious language you are directing at them? It seems to me like you are having the exact type of knee-jerk reaction that you are accusing other people of.
> “Everyone has the same chances” is the exact problem. What are you doing to elevate women and POC? How are you showing your support as an ally and actively encouraging access to these “equal chances”?!
These people have gone off the deep end. If you aren't actively following their political playbook you're to be shouted down. You can't even just opt out of participation in their crusade, if you're not elevating their chosen classes you're as good as the Klan.
This is a tech event, not a political rally.
It's a shame though because these groups do face actual hardships but I don't get the impression that the Twitter warriors are actually interested in how they fare, outside of scoring virtue points by being up to date on all these privilege topics. In my experience those who do real work for underrepresented groups are usually pleasant people tolerating opposing views and they don't search for the least charitable interpretation to get offended by, unlike how it looks on Twitter and Reddit.
As long as there are no good alternatives that fit their perfectionist ideological worldview then no one can have fun or live their life without constant disruption.
I used to be involved in access work for those from underprivileged backgrounds.
It's very difficult to get poor kids to apply to University even if they have the grades, for reasons I expect are pretty similar (social environment, not 'fitting in', having few role models, etc).
Going back further - tons of them simply don't have the grades or skills, because they weren't interested early on, or weren't supported, or whatever else.
They fall behind at an early age. They're stuck in an environment that doesn't support them.
Changing the statistical makeup of people at that sort of level - at the end of the funnel, after all of the filtering - is really difficult. You need good reason to do so. It's still not clear to me that it actually makes sense - is the world actually better off if half the Ivies are made of poor kids, or have you just shuffled around status (is it zero sum)? Do you get better results - what are the better results you're looking for?
This stuff is difficult.
That said, what is the focus on individual diversity good for? It's the system that holds people back, and as the parent poster says, no amount of individual effort at the end of the funnel is going to make any difference.
I'll believe that when I see recruiters from high end universities out on the reservations in the US, but I guess imposters are easier.
I do not know how school outreach works, but she said they do manage to enculturate people quickly once they are on campus, and the summer programs are grueling for the participants. They include the social parts about fitting in.
I don't have strong opinions on "how to fix the world", because I don't think there actually are solutions that scale beyond small tweaks; most of the time, people define a problem first, and then go after solutions, without really articulating why it's a problem, or whether the solutions will create a world that's better.
i don’t think it’s that difficult. the government finds a way to spends billions and trillions of dollars on tons of stuff that has no meaningful impact. if the government cared, they would increase the budgets of schools to fund good teachers’ salaries. if i could pull a six figure salary teaching, i would do it in a heartbeat. but there’s no way i would teach in this current educational environment. hyper focus on standardized testing and curriculum, which also needs to be changed, seems suffocating.
Suggesting that simple, direct, change of the variable that has direct linkage to pretty much all other parts of the system, will achieve some specific result, is almost certainly wrong.
In fact, pretty much every mechanism taught of how to effect change in large scale systems says not to do that.
In this case, this is pretty easy to see -
As an example - If you could pull six figures teaching, everyone would want to teach, regardless of whether they should or not.
Solutions to this have obvious affects on other things
(IE increasing credential requirements, or performance reviews ...).
These in turn have effects on other parts of the system, ...
If you really think this is just simple, i'd suggest looking at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_system#Complexity_mana... and going from there.
With a pension, lots of vacation.
Increasing the salary for teachers would mainly result in having better teachers, and a slightly higher tax bill.
It's not incorrect to say that there can be unintended consequences. It has been argued that one of the side effects of emancipating women, has been a decline in teaching standards, since the days when that was one of the few jobs women were allowed to do.
I’m moderate and think that anyone who wants to should program for a living should but stuff like this hurts my head enough I don’t engage with them on Twitter as it results in a mud slinging match that nothing improves from.
It’s frankly tiring seeing the same crap repeated ad nauseum.
Still, a mature adult would have recommended someone for the next version of conference and if all points out your recommendation is being taken seriously you do your part and deliver your conference in the current version.
What would you propose those speakers do differently?
A follow up question: why do you say that would be more effective than what they did?
(And, I would ask you, is that something that still maintains their commitment to diversity, since they all mentioned that was more important than speaking opportunities?)
I always find in life that you get better traction when you approach people with a solution instead of just a problem.
So perhaps they could've said "Hey, I think it'd be good to increase speaker diversity, and I really recommend person X, she's amazing at Y, I could approach her and ask if you'd like?"
Instead of just yelling "There's not enough women!"
I hope other conference organizers take note and work to improve diversity while also actively avoiding speakers who pull stunts like this.
They could donate to software engineering schools in poor districts in their home countries or developing countries, but they decided to do something absolutely meaningless that benefits noone.
I would suggest every person who finds this behaviour acceptable to look towards Effective Altruism (https://www.effectivealtruism.org/) and drop this ridiculoius posturing.
"Bring me some women!" said the male speakers.
"Here, take back some of the money you were using to pay for our travel and use it to bring in some female speakers" said the male speakers.
That's not why they aren't attending. They aren't attending because the conference wasn't willing to put in any effort to try.
Props to the speakers who stood up for their values.
The problem isn't simply "there aren't enough women", the problem is "we only hear from the same group of people with similar lived experiences". The problem is self-reinforcing: because women are underrepresented at those events, they're not attending those events, thus becoming more underrepresented and ultimately marginalised.
Ironically a good solution for that is having more "women's events". Women-only events to strengthen the marginalised group, women-presenting-but-open-to-all-attendees events to settle in and finally quotas in general events to counteract the bias.
Except this is not only true for women but for all marginalised groups.
I see where are you coming from, but the solution you're proposing is not workable as there are infinite amount of marginalised groups, unfortunately. :( picking one (eg. women) won't result in a fairer society.
Privilege is about access. If you're born into wealth and have good connections, you can get into a lot of spaces other people would work hard to even be considered for. In many cases it's enough to just "look" the part, i.e. being white and male opens many doors (even if you aren't even aware of those doors because you didn't know they are barred for others).
Underrepresentation is about numbers. Representation alone is not obviously important, but being underrepresented almost every time can affect how a group is perceived. Representation "normalises" people, especially members of groups you might not think about even if there are many of them. E.g. if x% of people are non-heterosexual but far less than x% of movie characters are, and stigma or social exclusion means you barely ever see any actual people like that either, you'll think the actual percentage is far lower.
Marginalisation is about treatment. It often goes hand-in-hand with underrepresentation because minority groups tend to be mistreated more than if they are in the majority. This doesn't have to be actual physical violence or direct insults, it can also simply be a lack of consideration: if an event is planned by young fit men they might think chairs are unnecessary although it excludes people who need to sit down occasionally for health reasons.
Diversity is about variety. It's not nearly as important that your event includes "one of everything" as that it doesn't just consist of variations on the same theme (e.g. white 20-something guy from Eastern Europe, white 50-something guy from Western Europe, white 20-something guy from the US). White men shouldn't be your default -- in fact you should try not to have a default at all. Try to have a mix, the more varied the better. Having a "default" leads to everything else being somewhat of an "other" and thus easier to dismiss (leading to marginalisation). And even if an event doesn't already include people from a particular group they might feel safer to join if there's a healthy mix of different people from all walks of life than if it's dominated by a single group.
Inclusion is about experience. In other words, even if you invite a black woman speaker to your all-white mostly-male event, nobody will benefit if she's just a token. Diversity (i.e. making "othering" more difficult by making the groups more balanced) can help achieving this but for smaller events inclusion alone can already be a good start: if your all-male monthly meetup has a woman attending and she feels included (rather than just being "the woman" or having to try to "fit in") that might lead to more women participating.
So when I say "marginalised groups" I mean not simply underrepresented groups but groups the tech community treats poorly. A lot of spaces in tech are very unwelcoming if not actively hostile to women.
This isn't a new thing, I experienced it even when I grew up in the 90s although as a boy I didn't think of it that way at the time: it was "normal" that women were underrepresented, so that clearly meant women weren't interested and any woman showing interest was either not really a woman (because "there are no women on the Internet") or not really interested (because "everybody knows women aren't interested in tech"). This behavior results in women being excluded even when they want to participate and in being forced to "play along" (i.e. prove "they're not like the other girls").
You're right that there are many multiply-marginalised people. This is what intersectionality acknowledges: a black woman is treated differently from someone who's just black or just a woman.
But the solution isn't to just shrug it off and decide that nothing can be done. It's still about real people suffering and limiting that suffering is a worthwhile goal even if you think it's unrealistic that it can ever be abolished completely.
Picking one WILL result in a fairer society. Because as soon as you normalise women in tech spaces, you can focus on something else. Tech is no different from any other part of society. You will screw up, everybody does, but it's important that you simply own your mistakes and learn from them and then try better next time. Yes, people will shout at you for anything you got wrong, but that just means there's room for improvement. They may have a point, though, if you're willing to listen.
Feminism has achieved a lot, especially for white women (and men, btw -- "toxic masculinity" is not about cancelling manhood but about calling out shitty behavior people previously got to excuse with "boys will be boys" or absurd standards of "manliness"). Many places including the US have made broad strides towards equality for gay and lesbian people. It's hard work and progress is slow and incremental (with the occasional leap in between), but there's definite progress.
EDIT: I guess downvoting counts as an argument these days.
Nobody proposed a quota. The idea is to improve outreach so that you get a wider range of high quality submissions to pick from.
> the solution you're proposing is not workable as there are infinite amount of marginalised groups, unfortunately.
Clearly, there are not a infinite number of marginalize groups.
> :( picking one (eg. women) won't result in a fairer society.
It would. The society would not be perfectly fair but it would be fairer.
That doesn't even have to be about fairness. There is knowledge and experience that is going underutilized because it is held by groups of developers that are underrepresented
in these conferences.
However, I think my other points still stand.
Politics should be discussed on political events, not technical ones.
While implementing that product, everybody involved makes myriads of tiny decisions. Even if you're not in project management or any official "decision maker" position, you likely still make tiny (or not-so-tiny) decisions that affect the experience of users of your product.
If it's a web or mobile application for example, you might decide between different libraries or build tooling and that in turn could affect the download size, which affects people on slow connections. Or you could make certain assumptions about connectivity, affecting people who frequently need to work on spotty connections or high latency. Or in software in general you might pick a component or implement one in a way that makes it inaccessible or harder to use for vision or motor impaired users.
And those are just generic examples that apply to most products regardless of the actual intended use cases. There's of course the obvious examples of Google image recognition categorising photos of black people as apes (which I as a white person might shrug off as an inoffensive glitch but someone with a lived history of racist slurs in the same vein might be extremely hurt by) or soap dispensers not reacting to black hands (which is genuinely silly but betrays a lack of consideration on the part of the people who built the technology).
There are many, far more subtle examples.
Like a woman is more likely to have experienced abusive relationships and might therefore find it more obvious how certain "inoffensive" tech might be used by an abuser.
Or someone who's experienced intense trauma (like the death of a child) might not enjoy your social network's "remember this day from last year" surprise feature.
Or someone who's trans might not want their identity be revealed to untrusted people automatically (or might even prefer to use different identities when interacting with e.g. their ultra-conservative parents who come from a cultural background that encourages honor killings).
Or a member of a group that is frequently on the receiving end of racial profiling might have concerns about what data you are gathering that you may have to hand over to law enforcement (not because it might hurt the guilty but because it might help building a case against someone innocent the jury is likely to be already biased against).
Or you might implement a payment gateway a certain group of people can't use because it requires documentation they can't provide or because it denies them service for some reason.
It's not about having a black person at your all-white all-male event. It's about having a diverse group to maximise the chances of having a diverse set of experiences present. It's about empowering marginalised speakers because by definition their voices frequently remain unheard and their marginalisation means their experiences are likely going to be very different from yours.
It's about building products (or projects, at least) and those products are going to be used by people and will affect them. So the least we can do is learn how to avoid actively making their lives worse with the products we help build.
Conferences publish a call for participation and wait for speakers to submit their application rather than the other way around.
Except that is not the case. There are disproportionately more male speakers than there are male PHP developers.
> Do we cancel future events solely on this premise? Seems like a terrible idea to me.
The events were not directly canceled due to a lack of diversity, but due to a complete lack of effort to solicit a diverse range of submissions.
The organizers have committed to making an effort in future years.
There are things in life more important than tech conferences. Quality in tech should not override human rights, civil rights, people's health and relationships, etc. This could be a long list, tech isn't even close to the top.
The only number I've seen for this conference is one woman submitter out of 250, which isn't even close to matching the proportions of the community.
Well, that isn't actually true: the evidence is overwhelming that women are treated preferentially, and that this preferential treatment is now not just accepted, but actually so expected that not giving out this preferential treatment is seen as hostile.
Which is quite incredible, when you think about it.
Did the organizers select a lower ratio of diverse speakers than applicants? Were there very few diverse applicants and the organizers decided none of them qualified?
Mark didn't cite a source for this, which is what I was looking for in the Twitter thread.
You could probably check Mark's other claim more easily: "...the line-up last year was almost all male as well, just one woman out of 39 speakers."
Regardless, the conference organizers are at least partially responsible for lack of diverse applicants if their speakers were able to find candidates on short notice.
But I'll go to the next PHP meetup in Dresden and try to confirm my suspicion.
Lots of discussion on twitter about how talks were chosen. Not many brought up the fact that the submissions process itself was apparently broken.
A lot of conferences seem to have a sort of selective outreach component to their call for papers.
Conference organizers will go and post the CFP in various forums from which they'd like to get papers -- particular programming language forums, particular theory or practice forums, particular universities, etc. Some of this seems creative, like "we'd like to get more foo-lang people involved with bar-con this year." All that sounds like selective outreach.
If the conference values, say, diversity of background brought to the table, then those conference organizers could seek out and post the CFP in places that diversity might be found.
One of the difficulties is that it's hard to know what all diversity you're missing out on (much of it isn't visible, and much of it doesn't have familiar labels), but other of the diversity omissions are glaringly obvious.
Including the glaringly obvious omissions in one's outreach seems a good start.
From the article it implies they did not do that.
None of that is really relevant, though, because we aren't talking about a generic OSS conference. We are talking about a PHP conference. What is the percent of women who are PHP programmers?
Actually, that number would not be all the useful, either. Such surveys are going to find out what percent of various groups use PHP. That would be somewhat useful for estimating what the conference attendees should look like. Conference speakers, on the other hand, should be people are are doing new things with or to PHP. That's going to be a much smaller group than the people who use PHP, and so is likely to have much more skewed demographics compared to the larger PHP user population.
It was fully booked for men during the first event, but only one woman joined. The second event, fully booked for women and only two men.
Third event they called it Wellness Evening, with no mentioning of any hair pack or grill, and it ended up fully booked for both men and women. Forth event similar.
The probability of those outcomes happening through naturally probability is extremely unlikely. It is almost like people will interpret subtle gender identity in events, and then have it impact their decision to join.
As other repliers have already stated: a) you chose a flawed survey to get your "10%" figure, b) the percentage of "women in open source" is far different, for a variety of reasons, than the percentage of women who are likely to submit a proposal to speak at a PHP conference in Germany, c) you dismiss any possibility that unusual ratios could possibly be due to reasons other than bias (is lung cancer biased because it overwhelmingly affects older people?)
You've offered zero fundamental evidence of bias (i.e. they filtered their mailing lists, they adjusted female speaker ratings, etc), other than the math doesn't work out the way you'd like, which isn't surprising given the invalid inputs and assumptions you started with.
I think we literally mean different things by the word "bias". It doesn't have to be intentional.
Even if somehow the population they were drawing from was 99.6% male, I would not comfortable with conference organizers who just passively accept that. At best, they're still perpetuating other people's discrimination. I think the fact they didn't even care to address that is what made these speakers uncomfortable enough to leave.
While skewed outcomes can make you suspect bias, they simply are not sufficient evidence to conclude that there is bias.
For example, around 50% of the population is male. Yet 0% of all births are to males. Obvious discrimination against male fathers! Silly me, no, of course not bias. There is some other factor at work.
Or take the 100m dash as Olympic discipline, or in fact most of the track and field running events. Extreme racial skew. Bias?
And no, I am not saying that these same factors are at work here, just that you cannot conclude bias from unequal outcomes. In fact, as far as I know the science, it would be exactly matched outcomes that would actually be highly suspect.
See also: Simpson's Paradox ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson%27s_paradox ). Again, not saying that this is an instance of Simpson's paradox, but definitely saying that just because something looks like bias when superficially examining outcomes, that does not at all mean that bias is the actual cause.
And of course there are a lot of potential reasons why there would be a skew, many of which have been identified as fairly reliable gender differences, including willingness to take risks,
> 10% of OSS software programmers are women
The numbers I found were lower, more in the 1-5% range, skewing toward the lower end:
To sum up, your argument is flawed for at least 3 reasons:
1. Your numbers for the baseline are wrong
2. Your assumption that any skew in outcomes proves bias is wrong
3. You ignore actual gender differences that can explain different outcomes
I doubt that’s actually the case. But 1/250 does seem very low.
Would be good to hear female voices in here... why was there only 1 application?
Having studied in an all boys school, this looks to me as the times when me and my friends would get together to discuss how to approach a girl, or what would girls like. As you grow and mature, you understand that you only have to ask THEM, same as you would ask a random guy.
Until it was revealed to be real footage...
It's become increasingly clear that no, tech is not just about tech. Tech has a huge impact on society and if your tech conference only has male speakers you aren't trying hard enough to make your conference reflect this.
Further, if your tech group isn't actively working to bring people from other backgrounds into it then it becomes an echo chamber.
Echo chambers are the worst, because people don't realise that's what they are in.
This isn't some random political position, it's something based on real, measurable results where echo chambers make horrible technical decisions because of real-world blindness.
I do machine learning for a living, and there are some particularly notorious examples of this happening in my field. The most obvious one is "Gender from Iris Images" where an entire series of papers by male-only teams ended up being discredited by a single devastating paper by (apparently) the first female to look at the problem. The paper title gives away the whole story: Gender-From-Iris or Gender-From-Mascara?