Why is it a great business and an initiative to be applauded if it is about excluding men and a scandal if it is about excluding women?
Because the one aims to reduce an imbalance in the workforce, which leads to a particular section being under represented.
Thwe other aims to increase an imbalance in the workforce, which leads to a particular section being under represented.
Some people believe that discrimination on the basis of race/sex/etc is bad. By that standard, discrimination in favor of women is also bad.
Other people believe that imbalance is bad, and thus discrimination should be used to counteract this.
IMO people with the second opinion probably shouldn't call what they dislike "discrimination".
Presenting it as bad is simply, at worst: propaganda espoused by sheep and their shepherds, and at best: ignornace.
There has been a ton of research done on "Thing vs People" career interests, which show very clearly that men prefer working with Things, whereas Women prefer working with People.
(When I say prefer, I mean the average in a normal distribution)
Simply google: occupational interests people vs things
Ex1: "Men and Things, Women and People: A Meta-Analysis of Sex Differences in Interests"
Ex2: "Straight Talk About Sex Differences in Occupational Choices and Work-Family Tradeoffs"
"Sex differences in occupational interests have been known for decades, and a recent aggregate analysis of the interests of more than 500,000 people shows that some of these differences are quite large.1 The most relevant finding here is that about 15% of women have the same level of interest in engineering as the average man; 50% of men, by definition, would have stronger interests in engineering than the average man."
Ex3: "Brainwash: The Gender Equality Paradox"
Is it only a question of sex-related disposition? If so, what has caused disposition to change so radically over the last 30 years?
And why, for example where over 50% of nurses men in the 1900s in the US, but it is now only around 7%? What caused men to apparently become so much less interested in people over the last 100 years, starting to become more interested in people again in the last 10?
The same thing with programming, women were dominant when it was mostly low level computations, but more and more men joined the field as computers grew more powerful and people saw the breadth of programs you could create. So the job changed, early it was more about maths and algorithms, and then we added more and more engineering tasks on top and people started to create huge programs which doesn't resemble math at all. So the gender balance of programmers shifted from the relatively equal applied math field to the extremely male dominated field of engineering. You can look it up, STEM without E has a very balanced gender ratio, while E tend to have above 80% men.
I can't justify for you your presupposition [nor demonstrate the existence of your chosen, yet unjustified presupposition given the evidence], you'll need to do that for yourself. Sounds like the news & entertainment media told you something repeatedly (without evidence), and you accepted it on its face without critical analysis.
Now, like many, when presented with evidence, you feel a sense of cognitive dissonance and would prefer to refute clear evidence rather than adjust your public opinion-- as to be expected given human nature of desire to save face.
However, what is apparently demonstrated in the studies is that the vast majority of individuals in a normal distribution favor a particular occupational set of interests based on gender: Men -> Things/Systems. Women -> People.
"The most relevant finding here is that about 15% of women have the same level of interest in engineering as the average (Read: 50% i.e. 50th percentile) man;"
"Straight Talk About Sex Differences in Occupational Choices and Work-Family Tradeoffs"
But you're pointing out the imbalance yourself...
> The most relevant finding here is that about 15% of women have the same level of interest in engineering as the average.
But when presented with evidence, you feel a sense of cognitive dissonance and would prefer to simply presume some biological effect. Is there any evidence that this is a biological effect?
Your presumtion is that balance = men and women have the exact same interests and should therefore be represented exactly identically in occupations of things & people.
That is an irrational posture, foisted upon you by your media overlords, and accepted by you wholeheartedly without critical analysis.
I do not believe men and women are equal-- if they were, we wouldn't have two names for two genders in a dimorphic species.
If apples equal oranges, we wouldn't have two names for them.
I don't know what sort of mentality you live within, but it isn't a rational nor informed one, in my estimation.
Given the psychological science (again, many studies over the course of decades), and given the biological science (hormonal and brain differences between sexes), I think it is very clear: Women prefer working with people, men prefer working with things -- On average.
I don't think you understand how statistical distributions work. There are two distributions here: One for men, one for women.
They don't both fit onto the same normal distribution-- if they did, it would be bimodal, not normal.
Good lord, I see you're trying to argue against biological differences between men and women-- You must not be aware of hormone differences, which in fetal development, yield either a male or female.
OK, I am done talking with such a brainwashed person. Your ignorance does not offend me, I just think it's pointless to discuss this with an irrational person who prefers to block out the daylight of reality falling upon their presuppositions, and media-informed (not science-informed) perspective.
Besides, inclusive and diverse workforces have been repeatedly shown to be better for the bottom line because organizations are more able to serve a wider market when they are made up people more representative of the total market.
Revenue for the division I work in at my current employer exploded when we started hiring people outside of the traditional avenue for new hires. Until a couple of years ago we had been staffed by traditional government/military-focused scientists and engineers with narrowly-focused aerospace engineering backgrounds. Our customer base was 100% domestic government/military because that's who we knew and had relationships with. Outside consultants recommended non-"traditional" hires, and we followed their recommendations.
New hires in the environmental sciences (mainly women) and personnel with foreign language experience opened up market opportunities that we had been unable to see before and by diversifying our workforce we were able to diversify our customer base to include foreign environmental management organizations, agricultural, and natural resource-based markets.
My employer develops and sells a pretty unique Synthetic Aperture Radar system with capabilities not found in competing platforms. We had been trickling out systems to the Navy and Air Force on a onesy-twosy basis every year.
People with a diverse background said "hey we can sell this to oil and gas companies, departments of agriculture and environmental science all over the world, and we can work with all of these universities on terrestrial surveying projects and make more money".
And we did.
I imagine for mass-market consumer products and services the impact of understanding the needs of the market by having a workforce representative of the market as a whole would be even greater than what we experienced.
So when society changes the demographics we have to fire and hire the right amount? Sorry you're the best candidate we've ever interviewed but we have hired too many black men and are above our diversity quota.
> Besides, inclusive and diverse workforces have been repeatedly shown to be better for the bottom line because organizations are more able to serve a wider market when they are made up people more representative of the total market.
Is it the diversity of color or diversity of thought that is what drives a better bottom line? I'm gonna go on a hunch it's the diversity of thought that you're taking credit for.
I understand the point that diverse workforce leads to diverse ideas. But will fifty women per hundred employees produce five times more diverse ideas than, say, ten women?
Hiring women just for the sake of hiring women looks like a cargo cult.
The more honest, less PR answer is that people still discriminate on huge range of factors. Race and Gender are just the most obvious and egregious.
The post you're replying to specifically claims that it is to make employment more representative of the whole of society. Your statement that it's "hiring women just for the sake of hiring women" completely ignores the very words you're quoting.
Using a job board that explicitly discriminates based on a protected class is a very, very risky idea. If a member of the untargeted portion of the class (a male) sees a job ad there and is denied employment they have very good evidence for a sex discrimination lawsuit.
From what I get is that you are referring to woman as the poor, and man as the rich.
Just because it's a man dominated field, does it mean the others remaining have no chance to get anything in that field?
If so, do you suggest that one half of the world is not allowed to have these jobs at the same condition because some people already do, just because they have a male reproductive system? --- Meaning that all men are representative for all men, the same for women?
This is not equality.
Strictly my opinion: There are few women in software engineering because few women WANT to be in software engineering, period. ...and it's not a given that this is by definition a bad thing for them either.
Or at least arkward. When I started to study IT, I was surprised to see, that the stereotypes were the majority. Meaning, long, oily hair, etc.
So I guess that is still changing, and I really do not believe 50% women should be the goal, but maybe the IT world still needs reflection sometimes, why so little women want to get into it.
Not only is 85% a really large part of the majority of everyone employed, and a higher number than in the US, but for any male dominated sector there is a equal large female dominated one. In addition, the trend has been for the last 50 years of ever increasing gender segregation.
If sexist atmosphere is the culprit then the numbers makes no sense at all. People like to throw in the gender paradox, but that is more of an observation rather than explanation. If we go by the data the cause must be very fundamental, exist in practically all work places, and have equal force at both women and men.
I personally ascribe the phenomenon to a pretty old theory from the 1970. People feel slightly more confident and secure in a decision when they mimic decisions of people they identify with. From the first moment someone choose a education path, to succeeding and failing with exams, to applying for jobs, to succeeding and failing in the job, each time the benefit of feeling more confident and secure apply a small bias. You thus get a leaky pipe, and the more equality in choice people have in every step the higher the probability is that you end up with a gender segregated work place by the time people are in the mid 40s or 50s. If we wanted to prevent this we would need to raise confidence of any minority (gender, race, wealth, background, anything that people identify with) to be identical to the observed effect. In my view this is the primary reason mentor programs actually work, while looking at atmosphere (sensitivity training comes to mind) is unlikely to change the outcome.
Of note is that the percentage of open source programmers who are women is half that of the broader industry, despite open source programming generally involving less face-to-face interaction. Surely, if women were scared away by ugly creepy nerds, the safety from behind a screen and absence of compelled personal interaction would tend to bring them out? It would seem to be suggestive that far fewer women enjoy doing that sort of thing for fun.
Incidentally, we have a nursing shortage. The incidence of male nurses is similarly low to female programmers. I find it amusing that no one hand wrings about this, or would dare make comments like "maybe men don't want to be nurses because nurses are ugly".
I don't see at all how an environment full of unattractive and not well-socialized people create an environment that is in any way hostile to women.
But superficial people who, when female, will play the feminism card against people who happen to be unattractive and not well-socialized do create a hostile work environment for the latter group.
No. Genes play a role, but attractiveness is not so much about looks as it is about confidence and self esteem (and smell, of course).
I was considered very ugly in my youth.
And yes, I compensated with computers. I did not got much experience with girls in teenage years.
Then I traveled, studied and grew in my mind and confidence.
And today, well, lets just say, sometimes I am still confused, when very attractive women flirt with me, as my old me would have considered them to be way out of league.
Now I know how to play the game, so to say, but in the beginning, I know I hurt quite some feelings and was probably considered arrogant, when I simply did not know how to respond.
So, I got out of the basement.
"I don't see at all how an environment full of unattractive and not well-socialized people create an environment that is in any way hostile to women."
many nerds never did. They long for women, but never learned the game and sometimes think, they are too ugly etc. bullshit.
So when you have lots of men with unfullfiled desires and weak confidence or knowledge regarding women ... then yes, they act awkward towards women. They would like to bond, but don't knowmhow and think they never can. So not hostile, but awkward, so quite some women feel uncomfortable and rather leave.
Now to be clear, no, not every IT nerd is like this. But too many. I was one of them once.
Exhibit A: Physical unattractiveness pairing off with acting like you're not unattractive, perhaps because of some misguided Disney-movie philosophy about how self-confidence makes you attractive. Somebody acting like Johnny Depp when they look like Patton Oswalt is pretty much the definition of creepy, while somebody acting like Patton Oswalt when they look like Patton Oswalt may be perfectly acceptable.
Exhibit B: Up until this point of the conversation, attractive/unattractive was in reference to the presence/absence of factors that make women uncomfortable when being around you, which does not really extend very far into the sexual realm. And all of a sudden you start talking about bonding, longing, unfulfilled desires, flirting, playing the game, hurt feelings, etc. That is precisely what women want men in the workplace to steer clear of, when they look like Patton Oswalt.
I rest my case.
It is even more creepy, when someone "acts" like looking good, when he actually believes inside, he does not.
But when someone believes he looks good and feels actually good in his body, no matter the weight fot example, then this person does look good. (to most people)
But that does not mean, that suddenly everyone wants to have sex with him or her.
You seem to took the hollywood definition, that attractiveness is objectivly measurable on a linear scale. With sexiest woman toplist etc. That is bullshit. There are general things if course, like healthy body and mind, but attractiveness is highly subjectiv. Eastern areas for example love fat women. Weetern not so much (in general)
And I have seen really "ugly" men (by common standard) with very beautiful women in true love. Because the men had confidence amd strenght and knew is way around in this crazy world and the women loved that strength to feel save.
At university .. I got the impression that quite some people forgot that. Regulary. Also to wash clothes. There is a difference between unattractive and disgusting. And I love open source and fresh air. But I did not enjoy some linux convention for example, because I seemed to be the only one, who minded the bad, worn out air in the rooms. So all of this I find offputting, I suppose is putting of women as well.
What is the problem with more hygiene and fresh air and more sensitivity?
And the number of male nurses is increasing.
Why? Complex, I guess. But also not too interesting to me. I am more interested in motivating people in IT towards a healthier live style in general.
Do you realize how this comment would come off if you were talking about women and judging them for their appearance when they went to school to study something utterly unrelated to appearance?
I believe body hygiene is wanted in all professions.
(btw. my hair is long, too)
This is hilarious. I don't know if it is more insulting to nerds or to women, but I somehow like it.
Seriously, I don't even know how to begin here...
It's the concept that women have no agency. That other people are responsible for the choices of individual women.
Check out my other post on this thread-- I show three different investigations into the reality:
Regarding occupational interests:
Men prefer working with things, women prefer working with people
But if you want it explained, well above I just said, that many (not all!) IT nerds still fullfill the stereotype in my experience.
And the stereotype is unwashed nerds, who have never been close to a women in a way they wanted, but they want to, but don't know how. So they behave weird with women around.
That makes women uncomfortable and avoiding the scene. Not long hair.
I see what you mean, the real discrimination in tech is against well groomed people! So all the well groomed men and women get pushed out and are forced to study things like business, medicine or law instead!
How do we solve that? I know, we put up posters like "Deodorant is not a sin", have mandatory diversity training days teaching the nerds how to properly shave, and have recruiters float well groomed peoples applications to the top!
Hmm, this is a reason I never heard of. Honestly I haven't come across many men with long hair in 20 years.
Do you think this might be regional? Are there a lot of men with long hair in your area? Perhaps moving countries might help.
I was more speaking of things like body hygiene ...
well, stereotypes don't appear out of thin air.
but think about it : when you started to study IT, you had to enroll a few months before, right ? the 1B$ question is why, with the information you had you chose to enroll, while many women with the same information do not. If we don't solve this, there's no chance to get anywhere near 50% parity in the workplace.
The fact that data entry was a female dominated profession because women were pushed into it and men discouraged from it doesn't serve to prove that current women are not able to work in the field.
There was a time that nobody would have considered education peasants. It was not a conscious bias.
Times have changed and will continue to do so, we need to do what we can to correct the mistakes of the past.
Independent autonomous people making decisions about which field they would like to study and seek employment in is not a mistake that needs correcting.
In order to study CS at my school you had to take some fairly advanced Math classes including Calculus and Linear Algebra, which are not easy unless you are comfortable with Math.
My SO codes but hated anything girly from a very young age and was constantly told she wasn't acting ladylike.
Those experiences are from prior to encountering the effects from the rest of society. My SO was diagnosed with ASD as an adult but has had elevated testosterone levels found at a young age. So just personally it feels weird attributing those things to upbringing.
And Sweden where I am really shouldn't have as few women in tech as we do either if it was based on gender roles in upbringing.
I wish. I have a baby and the most important question is allways: a boy or a girl?
(Not: healthy? Everything allright? Hard birth? (Yes, allmost, yes))
And clothes, very important the distinction between boy and girl. We got a lot of second hand clothing ... and people did not understand, that I really don't car about the color shades. They should be comfortable, good to the babyskin and fitting for the weather. And good looking, yeah, that comes afterwards. But underlining that it is a son? Why?
The reality is pretty much the opposite, with Eastern Europeans, Indians and Chinese being overrepresented in software engineering and higher degrees in STEM subjects.
Maybe women have less of a chance to get something in that field because employers are specifically excluding them from their job ad targeting?
For women as a whole it's another issue, but very few are going to learn an entirely new skillset just because they saw an ad.
I can't talk about everyone's experience, but this is true in a "We desperately want to have more women", but not true in the sense of "We're willing to address the systematic reasons women don't join our company". It doesn't matter how much you advertise on a website for women if you're advertising a job with no maternity benefits, or one of your engineers remarks "Oh! Is this our new HR lady?" when you're showing the prospective employee around the office.
As for men making condescending comments towards women, that's not a systematic problem with a systematic solution. And women (or really, feminists) pretty routinely make condescending comments towards men in my experience, at a much, much greater rate. The idea that women face a hostile work environment and men don't is the inversion of my own experience. Men face a much more hostile environment. The last thing the software industry needs is ramping up the hostility towards men even more because that's the only way feminists can think of to increase the number of female hires.
Now, I see the feminist movement in our industry definitely overshooting towards that other bad end, and it doesn't really matter that most women are reasonable - the mere possibility of chancing into someone unreasonable drives overly cautious behavior. There is such a thing as pushing too hard. Stirring a conflict of sexes may have been the fastest way to enact change, but the antagonistic atmosphere isn't going to just dissipate itself.
 - I mean the cases that make women uncomfortable; I've worked with women whose sexual innuendos during regular office chats made me uncomfortable.
 - Or, worst case, someone who does that on purpose, to advance their career at the expense of others. There's always a fraction of people of both genders ready to play dirty, but in current environment one of them is now armed with a superweapon.
> every male in the office becoming tense and extremely self-conscious in presence of their women co-workers, because of the perceived risk that they may be dealing with someone that gets easily offended about random things and is ready to create a stink with HR
Seems like things are setup to fail.
If discrimination is THE issue, then woman specific job ads also needs to be banned.
I suspect you probably know the reason (even if you disagree with it) and you're making a polemic point rather than genuinely asking this question.
If I'm mistaken then forgive me. In short - certain sectors have a very skewed gender bias and it's regarded as a good thing to try and correct for that.
However - the arguments for, against and for many points in between have been stated many times. Either you already are aware of them in which case you should be engaging with those rather than restating a starting position - or you can just do a Google search and get up to date with what is a fairly complex and nuanced topic.
The degree of “unfairness” is the same, but the goal isn’t “fairness” as such but rather equality. Whether we personally agree with forced equality or not is really beyond the point in a society that views inclusiveness as good and exclusion as bad.
I think I interpret "naturally so" as some biological argument, but even if it alludes to what society makes us do, I still think it is incorrect. The reason is that working at broculture dev shops killed my will to code, so I really think it's a question of how a vocal fraction those 95% men create a culture of exclusion.
Remember we are both talking about personal experiences here, I do not think that all workplaces that do not have women are broshops, nor do I have solutions for more women in CS. For me it has been a pleasure to work in places with a lot of women doing "things that are naturally ment for men", that's one of the reasons why I do not like the term "naturally".
So the conclusion we draw from that is ... women aren't as interested in money as men?
I've heard a number of other theories that also sound plausible, and they sound like problems that should be addressed.
Examples of other theories (not exhaustive): alienated by brogrammer/strutting/aggressive culture many places, discriminated against in hiring many places, harassed by some individuals, not trying due to belief that they'll be discriminated against, not trying due to belief that they'll face harassment or other hostile culture.
There are also, for whatever reason, differences of employee distribution across gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic, etc.
I think it's reasonable to suspect that tech organizations overall would tend to have different hiring practices, cultures, and distributions of individual behavior than organizations in other fields overall.
I don't know the research on this, but there's a lot of grassroots talk that they do.
First, we need to stem the losses of women in tech that happen due to the traditionally woman-hostile culture that has pervaded the industry for so long, and is only now beginning to recede. Women (and in fact all minority groups) get pushed out of the industry by hostile work environments. A specialized channel like this allows companies to say "We don't tolerate that, so come work for us." It allows them to tap a potentially huge labor force before it shrinks too much.
Second, markets like these offer a less stressful job search for marginalized groups, because they can have greater confidence that they won't get jerked around this time. It means that less women get so fed up that they quit, which means less time and effort is required to reach a critical mass where the momentum of women in tech begets more women in tech on its own.
This isn't about excluding men; it's about providing a more confidence-inducing hiring process for marginalized groups.
This company dominated my industry. I always planned on the taillight following strategy where you follow a leading company and wait for them to screw up. I'm now happily taking full advantage of their situation.
I actually have a way more 'diverse' staff. I offshored the work (and myself) to a non-white country where for a weird historical reason this work was mostly done by women. The main difference is that they're not a protected class here so I don't have to worry about lawsuits.
The most lucrative customers will only buy American so once my competitor goes under I'll open up a US office which will mean exposure to US laws but by that stage I'll be ready to package the company off and sell it to someone else to worry about.
Plus it just sounds like a shit post - "You can't hire black people, they'll just slack off and sue you when you fire them."
I'd like to point out that specifically you can NOT do this on Facebook any more, or at least not if Facebook find it out. They make you mark your ads as being job posts, and remove demographic targeting from that.
The headline here is irritating, because the headline being shown is two years old. The headline should be the second half of it, which is:
"After two years the Federal Government confirms demographic advertising of jobs is illegal"
A newly-public EEOC ruling resulting from investigative journalism around explicitly discriminatory hiring practices facilitated (and profited from) by one of the more morally-bankrupt technology companies of our time is announced, and your gripe is the journalists aren’t giving Facebook enough credit?
A lot of discrimination happened while Facebook hadn’t fixed the problem. Discrimination which Facebook profited from. Facebook decided to enter the job, credit and real estate ad markets, but didn’t care enough to think through the details.
Recent history has been Facebook et al being brazenly lawless, making money from it, and then getting away with a slap on the wrist. The government starting to show teeth is news, and stating their confirmed finding is a fair headline.
My gripe is that the headline _as it currently is on HN_ is two years out of date, and that the real headline is "Government rules targeting job ads using demographics is illegal".
In contrast, one of the contemporaneous headlines was “Facebook Is Letting Job Advertisers Target Only Men” , i.e. in the present tense.
You can be perfectly willing to hire a 55 year old female construction worker, but you’ll probably save money by only advertising construction jobs to men aged 20-50.
Now I think about it, even in the first case it could make a difference. Rejecting an application from a real individual based on prejudice might be harder to do, due to a stronger feeling of wrongness, than just unchecking a box labelled "female".
But the reality is that the modern world seems to seriously suck at figuring out how to help people find the right kind of job for themselves or help employers find the right people for the job. I keep thinking "Surely, there must be a better way than what we are doing currently."
Maybe if we worked on solving that issue we would see less of this issue. Like if it is a job for writing HTML and you write HTML, there are ways to find you based on that and it won't matter what your gender or age is.
1) they keep thinking about gender and age as qualifiers for jobs for which those factors have absolutely zero relevance (girls are bad at math! Old people can't learn new things!), or
2) They invent the delusion that gender and age disqualifies you for a job (girls will just get pregnant and leave! oldster can only do Cobol, they'll never learn Python!).
This is not a delusion, and it's a thing commonly talked about in my country (Poland). It's not just about that girls will get pregnant and leave - it'll be that girls will get pregnant and out of the sudden go on paid maternity leave, which they can extend to a year, during which you have to keep their position open, after which you can't legally fire them even if you've already found a replacement, and there are many women who plan another pregnancy just after the leave period ends, in order to extend their employment period by another two years. The incentive here is that health leave and maternity leave both count as employment, so they don't have a break in years of employment on their CV (and both are paid, too).
Overall effect of our legal landscape makes companies prefer men over women, and/or prefer employment contracts that don't offer these legal guarantees, and there's always noise being made whenever our government (which is currently pro-family) starts talking about adjustments that would extend some protections to those other work contract types.
(Now I'm not saying this to justify the bias in general, but just to point out that there are real economic pressures in play that do get considered by the employers.)
 - You don't have a "notice period" on maternity live; if a doctor decides there are concerns about the health of a mother or a child, your employee can just give you the doctor's note and stop coming to work.
 - And I've personally heard parents encouraging their daughters to do that. It seems to be a common theme, at least among the less well-off parts of our population. The boss-employee relationship is pretty antagonistic.
You can't solve problems while pretending they don't exist and making it Verboten to speak of them.
Beyond inertia of the traditional family model, there are real biological constraints that you can't bulldoze with calls to equality - pregnancy is taxing on the body, childbirth doubly so, the mother needs time to recover, and she's arguably the more important parent in early stages of a child's life. You can't e.g. declare equal amount of childbirth leave for both genders and call it a day.
(Though equal, paid mandatory leave for both parents would probably be fairer and also more beneficial for the child.)
I don't have first clue what the optimal, or "most fair", way of equalizing career prospects in context of childbirth is. But as you write, we can't reach it if people are pretending that the problem doesn't exist. And in context of companies, that means realizing employers aren't discriminating here out of spite or evil nature, but because there are economical considerations in play, and with them comes market pressure.
You just need to change the laws, and how you deal with parenting socially, then it will all make sense ("just").
Definitely there's a lot of work to be done on parenting in Poland, both in regulatory and social fashion. Currently it's a tension between the traditional family model and the desire to allow women to have equal career prospects to men.
What other reasons are there that lead women and older people to be excluded? I'd probably add salary as a factor with older people.
> The "modern world" sucks at figuring out how to help people find the right kind of job for one of two reasons:
> 1) they keep thinking about gender and age as qualifiers for jobs for which those factors have absolutely zero relevance (girls are bad at math! Old people can't learn new things!), or
> 2) They invent the delusion that gender and age disqualifies you for a job (girls will just get pregnant and leave! oldster can only do Cobol, they'll never learn Python!).
I didn't "go off on a tangent" about anything. OP already refocused the conversation to apply to the entire problem domain of career matching, which is absolutely absurd, so I teased the two issues back apart. Put on your reading glasses.
I believe, that yes, for example women of a certain age, have a high statistical chance of getting pregnant soon (or already are pregnant). That is very relevant. As they will suddenly be not avaiable anymore for quite some time. While the employer still hase obligations to them (don't know about US, but definitely in germany).
Now yes, the correct solution can't be to just exclude women of that age or prefer man. But the reality is, that this is happening a lot. And it sucks and is a hard problem for society in general, but I don't believe the mantra helps to exclaim the problem does not exist.
Are you arguing one of those two things or have I misunderstood?
You know, "younger people learn faster than older people on average" might be true; but even if it is, it doesn't preclude "I learn faster than you even though I'm significantly older".
Ideally, if you need fast learners, you should hire & test for learning speed, not proxies like age.
For the higher paying specialized jobs, it’s called a network. But networking is even more biased than formal recruiting approaches.
To an audience of 98% white males.
The director acknowledged the incongruity, thankfully, but never solved the problem.
I know plenty of women in the industry, but for the specialty I would recommend for, I couldn’t list more than a couple of names (of which are well employed already).
Yet still, very few females apply. I had interviewed 100+ people for Google. Of them IIRC 8 were women and 1 was hired. You can't get more women into the profession if they choose not to apply.
And they can't apply if they never see your ad because of practices like the ones described in the article under discussion.
Another issue, with workplace politics and edicts being what they are, wouldn't white men be a better category of applicants to exclude via such targeting? I'm pretty sure this is happening as we speak. I don't view this as a problem, though, for the reason alluded to above: approximately nobody in tech lands jobs in response to ads.
That having been said, I fully agree that such targeting in job ads in particular should be illegal. I agree with this out of my own rational self interest, as a straight white male in my 40s. Other aforementioned types of gender, racial, and age discrimination should be made illegal as well.
I don’t see how an ad would be effective at all in this hiring climate. Yes, you might get something, but you would be unlikely to get a woman or underrepresented minority hire, even if they were specifically targeted. They have much better options than to answer these ads.
That's exactly what we did, with a modicum of success. The pickings are super slim, though. Most CS students don't really seem to give a shit about CS, meaning they don't do anything other than coursework, at all, and their coursework is pretty primitive, and uses Java which our company had no use for.
Another problem is when you go to career fairs, easily 9 out of 10 people coming to your booth will be looking for an internship rather than a job. This isn't a problem per se, if you're a large company this is actually pretty great. But I was hiring for a small (at the time) startup, so that was a bit of a waste of everyone's time. Still we landed a few diamonds in the rough after a few attempts. 8/10, would hire from local schools again.
Ironically, the most extensively qualified candidate I met at these career fairs was female. She was in grad school and had a resume you wouldn't believe if you'd seen it, and very obviously smart as a whip. She was, however, too smart to work for a startup. Can't say I blame her.
Probably in several ways, along with a gender bias in your network there's probably a high likelihood that there's a racial bias, a class/wealth bias and an age bias.
Your network probably has a strong contingent of people you went college with, people with a shared interested in your sports (which can be a proxy for class and race) and people with a similar background.
Let me start by inverting something that Uncle Bob has been saying for years: If you have less than 5 years experience, then 50% of the developers out there are 'older' from your perspective. Are half of your recommendations for people over 28?
Let's see how mine would stack up. If I had to recommend 10 people right now:
If I'm honest, about 6 of mine will be for people over the age of 28. That should be 5. So my recommendations are biased against young devs, which I hated when I was 26. If you asked me to be fair I could come up with 1 or 2 more young developers, but unbidden it would probably be 3-4.
2 or 3 would be female. If you only consider recent grads, that's low. But there's a hole in the older generation, so 25% is probably spot on, even though I think it kinda sucks.
2 should be black, hispanic or asian. I hit that number sort of. Because I could recommend 3 Indian developers and one East Asian from recent jobs. I have to my knowledge only ever worked with two black developers, one of whom was good, and also understandably frustrated that he is a statistic. I have seen him exactly once in 10 years.
I would wager that my numbers are better than most of the people who are getting rustled here (if you know your numbers are fine, you're likely not getting drawn into the conversation), but they're still biased. My recommendations don't make things better. They don't make them much worse, but they still tug the needle toward the unfair end of the gauge.
Hiring managers would then pick a tech stack or set of skills they need, and matches would bubble up based on applicants in the area with the relevant skills.
The "culture fit" question could be another egg to crack. Who knows if interviews are the best way to figure that out...
Also, looking beyond the immediate need, companies would also need to understand that this only applies to very specific positions. You shouldn’t apply this to entry level, nor should you apply this to positions where the employee is expected to adapt quickly to changing tech stacks. What this leaves you with is contracting. You hire experts with a very specific skillset that you need that is verified by an agency. For everything else, there is still not a good generic solution.
My company selects for people who can pass white board interviews. Which are not only terrible in their own right but also not the way anybody I know codes.
And despite that, most of the people I work with are actually below average at explaining things with drawings or whiteboards. And since that average in our industry is already "pretty awful" that's saying something.
So not only are we looking for the wrong thing, but we haven't even proven our own people can do the thing we thought we were looking at. I'm starting to think a lottery system would be better. We know we have algorithms that do better with random sampling. Maybe hiring is one of them.
Sometimes, that's enough to make a real difference.
You mean like... a university?
If there were different ads for different groups but everyone still had the opportunity to see, apply and acquire the position then it's fair game.
Perhaps Facebook could improve job ads to allow for more specific targeting but always have a fallback ad in that campaign for any non-targeted users. This would help employers without excluding anyone.
Do these cases involve advertising positions that are not listed elsewhere? Because obviously no company can afford to reach everyone who might be interested in a position. I would agree that selective advertising would be much more of a problem if the positions are not listed on employers' websites.
If Facebook also had a jobs board that anyone can search and find ads where employers aren't paying for impressions then I think that would offset a targeted campaign to select groups.
If only men see the ads, apply jobs and get interviews, then the employers may think that they shouldn't advertise to women. This is just circular thinking.
I was a male typist for a while when I was at university. I found the weird experience of breaking gender roles quite entertaining, but it was definitely an addition to the usual do-work-and-get-paid deal. And secretarial work is not intrinsically unpleasant, so I was already doing better than most people in my position.
FWIW there are women on highway construction sites in the UK. Not many (construction as a whole is very male) but not none. I think the only industry which is entirely male here is mining, and that's because of a 19th Century law prohibiting women and children from doing it.
I guess that's the question being asked here. Why would that one woman be the only woman in the steel mill. Why aren't thousands of women rushing to work at steel mills, or in war fronts, or in coal mines, or in any other stereotypical male dominated jobs. And you can't even blame this on some modern world conspiracy. These things have been true throughout history across times and cultures.
The answer to that question is simple. Women are under represented but they are definitely far more cleverer than men. Once you prove you are likely to die from cave ins or lung disease in a mine, or that you are almost assured to get killed in a war, that fact now begins to itself act as a filter as to who wishes to sign up and who doesn't. You have to be stupid and brave beyond belief, to sign up for this kind of stuff. But then what happens is those people who fight wars, eventually dictate politics and positions of power. This ain't exactly a grand conspiracy. But millions of men have to die in battles for a few to be in power and become Generals/Rulers. So the process is largely self sustaining. You can chose to break this, then eventually you face a stronger army and get eliminated.
This is where problems in software show up too. For years we have talked about open source work being unpaid labor. Now which intelligent person man or woman would sign up for this? So now you see if there is no gate keeping, no criteria apart from plain merit, ability to work and contribute code. Then the biggest bottleneck is you yourself. The fact that awkward nerds dominate this area is because you have to be that crazy and stupid enough to work for free building things for others. Eventually some crazy nerds will indeed write Linux or Perl or Emacs. Again its not exactly conspiracy. But it's a kind of brutal filter.
In a way men are stupid, but that kind of stupidity leads to a better positions on the very long term, because last ones standing hold positions of power over whatever is left. But in the process millions of men have to suffer in wars, refugee zones, mines and highway labor to make it happen.
It's not worth making exceptions on case-by-case basis for each industry and position, especially when the final outcome could very well be affected by the initial ads.
Also ad campaigns are always optimized and should naturally show more to demographics that are responsive as they are run.
Simply put: because the law says you must.
FWIW highway construction is around ~5% female in the US.
For instance if I advertise a position in, as some random example, Popular Mechanics, I'm going to get an extremely biased sample. And I'm putting my position there specifically because I want to appeal to that demographic. This is also why, for instance, in times past if you stayed at home and watched broadcast television there would be a disproportionate number of ads for things such as tampons, diapers (adult and child alike), and job injury lawyers. It was targeting the demographic watching television at that time.
Perhaps one fair solution here would be an opt-in demographic profile override. What a mouth full. What I mean is that if you want, you can require Facebook to set your demographics to whatever you like. In other words, imagine you're a woman and you want to be shown ads targeting men, well you can opt-in to require your account profile to be a hit for man or woman.
The curious thing is that I imagine almost nobody would actually choose to opt-in there. It'd probably be more used as a protest tool to destroy the value of advertising (by large numbers of people opting into everything), than a tool to get more ads you're interested in. Can't say I'm particularly upset by that outcome though.
Sure, it sucks for the interviewees for now, but there's potential to make things better for everyone in the long term.
First two are presumably looking for manual laborers who can lift heavy furniture and install heavy windows.
I previously worked for a moving company and tried to help fill my vacancy when I left the company. We would have been happy to hire a woman who could move sofas and dressers all day in a safe and controlled manner. (The company had previously had one female employee). There just aren't that many of them out there. The resumes I got from women had no indication of manual labor in their work history (they were just shotgunning applications out to every recent job listing). They would have been rejected based on work history (just the same as men) if we weren't desperate. However the company was very short on labor and I called every applicant. None of the female applicants showed up for a working interview
>and Sandhills Publishing Company.
The third is a software company that forces its employees to wear a suit to work. So maybe they're stuck in an antiquated sexist mindset. Maybe they just realized 82% of CS majors are young men.
I do think it's good to remove discriminatory job ad placement, for the sake of that 18% of the population. But don't think for a minute that this will change the gender imbalance in certain industries. It's a pipeline problem.
It's a process, you move goal posts one tiny step at a time and eventually it will become less and less acceptable.
Look at firefighters. To get a female firefighter in New York they had to lower the strength tests. Those tests were calibrated to be able to carry people out of a burning building. Do you really want a 'process' that one tiny step at a time leads to people eventually burning to death because their rescuer was a tiny 5ft girl who couldn't lift them?
Or more prosaically, do you think men should be lingerie models? Or people too old to run should be hired to take care of very young children?
Now lets look at a story in question:
> In the latest rulings, the EEOC cited four companies for age discrimination:
> Capital One, Edwards Jones, Enterprise Holdings and DriveTime Automotive Group.
> Three companies were cited for discrimination by both age and gender: Nebraska Furniture Mart,
> Renewal by Andersen LLC and Sandhills Publishing Company.
No firefighters, no lingerie models ( I thought there were male underwear models).
As far as who do I expect to become firefighter ? Anyone who can do the job. If it means only males can do the job (I have no idea hoe true that is), I am fine with that exception. But if there is a woman who can lift just as much as average firefighter, and want to do the job, why would you prevent her from doing it ?
I think you're also drawing a rather arbitrary line here, based on assuming the differences between young/old/male/female are purely physical. But that's clearly not the case. If you're looking for a salesperson for your motorbike store, you'll probably have more luck fishing amongst men than women and that's not discrimination unless your job ad literally says "no women allowed".
That said, I do agree programming is not a job where there's any obvious way or reason to do such targeting. But presumably these companies had reasons for making those choices. Why don't we hear their side of the story?
But "the algorithm was sexist, not me" is probably going to be a losing argument in any court case.
 Well, not entirely, but that's another can of worms.
Edited for clarity
> The laws enforced by EEOC prohibit an employer or other covered entity from using neutral employment policies and practices that have a disproportionately negative effect on applicants or employees of a particular race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), or national origin, or on an individual with a disability or class of individuals with disabilities, if the polices or practices at issue are not job-related and necessary to the operation of the business. 
Here's one: https://assets.propublica.org/images/articles/20171121-faceb...
I did a digital marketing course and have met a few digital marketers. When asked if they use social media themselves, most if not all answer "oh GOD no."
One important requirement for a senior executive job these days is their Soft Skills. If you can find a way to measure that, well you have solved a major issue.
I thought it had been shown that using proxies to discriminate is still illegal if the intention was to discriminate against a protected class.
You won't get a sympathetic jury. People don't have a lot of empathy for algorithms. Maybe empathy for the people who write them, and then only maybe. But you'll be up against a huge slate of expert witnesses explaining how we already have lots of open sourced methods for teasing out these sorts of indirect indicators.
Even by advertising on Facebook in the first place, you could argue they're discriminating against people who don't use Facebook. I'm sure you could find a protected demographic with lower-than-average Facebook usage to support this.
This entire discrimination thing is crazy. Yes, a company can discriminate intentionally and not accepting or failing certain candidates based on demographics OR it simply chooses where to spend the marketing money for the best impact. Like not advertising a bra to men, not because men don't wear a bra (some may do), but because the impact per dollar of advertising it to men is reduced. Discrimination!!!
Now, no one gives a shit about how advertising tampons to women discriminates against men. And no one gives a shit that Axe body spray is targeted to males of a certain demographic. What the government is concerned about is how advertising jobs, housing, and finance can be discriminatory.
If you post an ad for a job that targets exclusively men, you are in violation of the Civil Rights Act (Title IX), and the American Disabilities Act.
If you post an ad for an apartment that targets white males you are in violation of the Housing and Community Development Act and the Civil Rights Act.
If you post an ad for mortgages or other financial vehicles that targets a certain demographic and even certain neighborhoods you are in violation of the Civil Rights Act, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
There is no law against marketing bras to women, beers to men, or Cialis to the elderly. Housing, employment, and access to credit are some of the foundational services that the government has deemed any discrimination is bad. There is no one step forward because there is a clear line drawn in the sand that anyone with a basic understanding of these laws will know.
Facebook has a history of facilitating this type of thing and crying ignorance later. A local landlord was caught using Facebook to target apartment listings to people who weren’t black, Hispanic, Jewish, or gay.
It might feel that way to you, but it seems you haven't bothered to look into the history of why certain classes are protected against discrimination in housing, employment, medical treatment etc.
One of those reasons is to fight the tendency for discrimination to create second-class citizens. Along with our society's past and its contemporary history, we also have a several millennia of written history to look back upon to see just how easily and willing we are to make life very bad for people who are discriminated against.
And sure, the existence of those laws might be arbitrary. But the laws themselves are specific.
You say that they "were passed in response to actual and widespread discriminatory behavior". That's true. But they wouldn't have been passed, notwithstanding discrimination, without enough political support (of one sort or another).
I mean, there's also been discrimination in health insurance rates based on preexisting conditions. And gender-based discrimination in vehicle insurance rates. The Affordable Care Act more-or-less restricted the first. But the second is still the norm in the US.
There is plenty of ways to lawfully discriminate in this country. You can even still have discriminatory policies in employment if you can show it directly relates to the job.
Also, when it's about stuff like housing and services, there's not much basis for discrimination. Except for providing access to those with disabilities. And that seems fair.
When it's about employment, even if there are data that might justify discrimination, it's all about statistical distributions for populations. So there's too much uncertainty when you apply it to individuals. And there's also the fact that untangling innate/genetic and developmental/sociological factors is impossible.
For health and life insurance, basing rates on age and preexisting conditions clearly makes economic sense. Older people will likely cost more than younger people. And people diagnosed with cancer etc will likely cost more than people generlly. But for health insurance, there are social justice arguments that discrimination is unfair.
For vehicle insurance, it's undeniable that young men have more accidents than young women, and middle-aged people generally. And that old people people also have more accidents. At least two factors distinguish that from health insurance. First, there's the sense that people can choose to drive more carefully, and have fewer accidents. Also, there's the argument that driving isn't as essential as medical care.
Actual past experience with specific, widespread, and demonstrably harmful discriminatory practices.
Widespread discrimination in housing during the 20th century -- and the negative effects that had on certain communities -- resulted in laws prohibiting discrimination in housing ads.
Widespread discrimination in employment during the 20th century -- and the negative effects that had on certain communities -- resulted in laws prohibiting discrimination in employment ads.
BTW, these categories also make sense. Housing (i.e., schooling) and employment have a huge impact on your life outcomes in the USA. Choice of hair product, not so much.
For instance, travel services must be free from discrimination:
> Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
Or buying property
> Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
Or the issues of this thread
> Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
Or general social servies
> Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, ...
> Everyone has the right to education.
Is it Ok just because it’s overwhelming likely to be women who see it, versus algorithmically targeting women?
I'm not. But I don't believe you are right - advertising in a magazine doesn't exclude people just because their demographic doesn't target them.
If you ran a job ad for a make-up person in women's magazine there is nothing stopping a man who is also interested in make up seeing it and applying.
That is different to the Facebook system, where there was no way for someone from the excluded classes to see the ad.
US employment law prohibits a large number of normally OK employment practices when they have a disparate impact on protected classes.
> For example, an employer's reliance on word-of-mouth recruitment by its mostly Hispanic work force may violate the law if the result is that almost all new hires are Hispanic. 
Yes, if you take care to balance your ad placement so that your job opening advertising policy is not biased against protected classes.
> because it’s overwhelming likely to be women who see it, versus algorithmically targeting women?
That doesn't matter. What matters is the end effect of the advertising policy.
Here is how I think about it:
If my intention is to discriminate against men and publish an ad in a female magazine, sure, I cant control if a man buys and sees the ad or not. But discrimination was my intention to begin with regardless of how effective my efforts were. Besides, those efforts will be pretty effective. Instead of magazine advertising being 100% effective - as is in the case of FB targeted advertising - they will be just slightly less effective (lets say 90% or w/e number you want to put here). That´s because in the magazine´s case we know for certain that that vast majority of female magazine consumption is done by women - That´s literally what they are made for.
So in a sense, we are arguing about degrees of effectiveness rather than the nature of discrimination. Not only is this a slippery slope, but imo it flips everything in business on its head as having a target audience for your product or a service will be considered discriminatory!
No, it doesn't. If you determine that your target audience watches BET, and you decide to only advertise your product on BET, that's 100% legal.
If you prevented anyone but your target audience from using your service, and you end up discriminating against a protected class, that's a different story.
There are entirely different standards when it comes to hiring and employment.
Yes you can advertise jobs in Ebony or Cosmopolitan. There is nothing stopping a non Black or man from picking up those magazines.
It is not. Your intent to discriminate is not necessary for you to fall afoul of US equal opportunity laws. Demonstrating disparate impact of your employment policies on a protected class without a valid business is can be sufficient for you to lose your case.
Anyone is welcome to purchase a copy of Ebony magazine. It's targeted, but it's not exclusive.
Let’s take a company like REI: is it wrong for them to put their stores in places that are most profitable? Should luxury good companies be required to have store fronts in inner cities?
I’m legitimately not sure I’m comfortable with either answer. “Women / older people are unlikely to respond to this ad; so we’ll have a better ROI by excluding those groups” feels awkward but like a legitimate business interest. If I sell male hygiene products can I exclude women from seeing the ads, not because I don’t like women but because the ad is less likely to be relevant?
“I don’t want to work with women or older people so I’ll not show them the ad” feels unquestionably wrong.
I think you have to consider intent as well as outcome.
That's not what this thread is about. The question here is what is the difference between advertising on Facebook and excluding some demographics, and advertising in a paper magazine where you don't have the power to exclude anyone from viewing the ad.
And if this isn’t really any better, where does that leave you?
If your local newspaper could print a special edition for minority subscribers that didn't include job listings, that would be a problem. Advertising in a special interest publication is not, on its own, a problem. Of course there's no clear lines in reality, everything must be evaluated in context.
If facebook displays housing ads only to white people a black person is very likely not even aware that they're being discriminated against in some specific way, the entire control is in the hands of facebook and the ad buyer, and intransparent.
The situation would be equivalent if facebook gave you complete control over their algorithm and let you choose what type of ads you want to be exposed to. Which would make discrimination much less of an issue. Or the other way around, the current facebook situation would be akin to the store owner quickly cutting the housing ads out of cosmo as soon as black people walk into the store.
The issue seems to be when people _exclude_ certain groups, rather than when people _target_ specific ones; i.e. I can filter for middle-aged white guys for testosterone-boosting pills, but most would balk at filtering _out_ blacks, young people, etc. for rental ads. The question is, is there an ethical difference, and why? I think all of us can agree that a cosmo ad for women is fine, and tossing out a black guy's resume is not; the question is where is that line, and why? These sorts of technologies are bringing us closer to either side, so it's relevant to figure out where it is.
We are discussing legality and yes, what is being advertised has a significant impact. The rules around employment and housing are VERY different from the rules around makeup and viagra.
> The issue seems to be when people _exclude_ certain groups, rather than when people _target_ specific ones;
Nope, both are illegal (for protected classes) when it comes to housing and employment.
The poster you're defending (and, frankly, the whole argument) was trying to make the point that "targeted ads", as a category and devoid of context, was a good thing because you reach the target you want to reach. Fair enough. But if it's an employment ad, and you only want to reach upper class white males, well, that's discrimination. Period. If your "principles" enable that, well there you go.
Let's take the flip side. Pretend I am one of the many companies which have adopted discriminatory hiring practices in favor of certain minorities. I want to hire more of said minorities. I target facebook ads towards them. Is that any better or worse? As far as I'm concerned, they are the same; but many people I know would say that's fine.
Yup, that is illegal. Discriminating based on protected classes is illegal, regardless of which groups within that class you are discriminating for/against.
>> For example, an employer's reliance on word-of-mouth recruitment by its mostly Hispanic work force may violate the law if the result is that almost all new hires are Hispanic. 
Yes. That you happen to be poor, in that situation, does not obviate the cultural and sociodynamic power, in this country, from being white. And it's those advantages that just--for example--mean that if you are walking on a dark street in a city at night, a cop is orders of magnitude less likely to stop you and ask "hey, boy, what are you doing out so late?". That you might be poor, of course, is a reason why you are not as culturally or sociodynamically powerful as a middle-class or a rich white man, or maybe even a rich--gasp!--black man. But that white skin is an implicit handicap in your (and, as it happens, my) favor, even if other accidents of birth or providence happen to stack up on the other side. And it is downright immoral not to acknowledge it.
"Play god"--hogwash and worse words. Acknowledge structural imbalances. Poverty is one. Racism in a country that makes racists powerful is another, and it's bigger, and it's multiplicative with the aforementioned poverty in the first place.
And while we're being real about this, it is also worth noting that the historical fear of being "lesser than the black man" is one of the sadder causes of poor whites aligning with rich whites against the poor whites' economic and social interests--that is, the racial fear and resentment helps keep them poor. "Racial unity of poor whites with their economic exploiters" is a pretty good one-line summary of the post-Colonial American South in general, now that I think about it.