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Half of young women will leave their tech job by age 35, study finds (cnet.com)
60 points by rbanffy 24 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 86 comments



This seems to be one of those narrow stats that misses the meta around it.

A lot of my female peers, while they like CS would consider family to be more important. (also common among men, but less so) Leaving a job to focus on children is very much a privilege in the 21st century.

Generally speaking, rich people marry rich people and people in tech are generally speaking - rich. This makes quitting the job for 1 spouse easier than in other professions.

Inclusivity is far smaller of an issue than parental leave, better working hours and the ability to show apathy towards your job. Tech gives you none. It is one of the few professions where you're expected to have it as your hobby. you're expected to keep learning in and out of the job. You are expected to attach your self worth to your work. None of these are exclusive to women. It's just that men have been conditioned to function in this ruthless framework without alternative, so they trudge on. Women bail when they can.

Let's talk about how hard it is to re-enter tech. Doing leet code from scratch when you haven't coded in 2 years is 6 months of full time work of prep. Companies like Google and FB make people of all seniority and technical roles to go through this grind. Let alone the fact that staying up to date is its own problem that gets compounded once you have kids.

This is not a he or a she problem. this is a problem(salient feature?) of tech. I am sure there are small diversity and I clusivity things that can improve too. But, they ate not the bulk of the problem..

The hard pill to swallow is if tech wants more women, it will need to decrease its unreasonable demands down to other similar careers for both men and women.


While I don't necessarily disagree with all of that, I would point out that there is a whole wide world of "tech" outside of stereotypical Silicon Valley startups and tech giants where many of those statements don't apply or at least apply to a significantly lesser degree.


you raise some valid points but I disagree with your conclusion. Tech is a gravy train compared to most jobs. I say this as someone who transitioned into it from a more physical blue-collar job and just went through the interview process recently. It sucked but "ruthless framework", etc. is hyperbole.


There are aspects of tech at some companies (and teams within companies) that are perhaps uniquely problematic--like the idea that "real programmers" have personal projects with Github repos. But the idea that young big firm lawyers and investment bankers--or many people who do more physical work and work on a less regular schedule (at much lower pay)--have it comparatively easy is the SV bubble talking.


Blue collar work isn't any better or worse than tech if you're young enough for your body to take it. You've got all the same variation, good bosses, bad bosses, slow and steady workplaces vs crisis every day workplaces.

One of the big differences is that being the guy who gets woken up at 3am is for the young people in tech but in the blue collar industries its for the guys who have stuck it out past 40 and are really experienced.

Side projects are just as common in the blue collar world but they're used as less of a technical filter and more of a culture fit filter.


>culture fit filter

Absolutely, if you're the one person in a group who doesn't want to go hunting on the weekend or doesn't care about working on and accessorizing your pickup, you may not really fit in. (Just picking a couple of random stereotypical behaviors that have certainly existed with people I've worked with.)


I meant it more like they casually ask you what you do when you're not at work and you mention that you put big engines in small boats and if the existing employees have hobbies that also involve money pit projects with vehicles then you get a couple extra hire-ability points that might make the difference.

Nobody cares what you don't do so long as you're not loud and obnoxious about being superior to people who do whatever that thing is.


Tech workers can go home exhausted as well. Just because it's not the pure physical exhaustion from blue collar work doesn't mean it doesn't take a toll on you.


I'm obviously not saying the work can't be exhausting.


Except for the fact that thirty-seven percent of respondents who said they'd left the industry listed "Noninclusive company culture" as their reason for leaving. A huge and embarrassing number for our industry that has nothing to do with considering family more important.


This theory would be relatively easy to verify by comparing against other 'rich' professions.

I think the reason is much simpler though - a small but significant number of our colleagues continue to make it horrible for women to remain in the industry, and casting it as women wanting to leave for families sits pretty poorly with me.


Seconded that. It is a lot about choice in this socio-economic level. I bet if a lot of men can afford to also leave their tech jobs (or any jobs for that matter) for family or for pursuing something else, they would do it, and we'll see the same headline but for men, even with good working environment.


Anything you do, the more time you put into it the better you will be. This is true of a workplace, or a hobby. If there is a competition somewhere, more hours with usually translate to higher performance, and moving up in the hierarchy.

This is not a conditioning of the tech world, or even "companies" in the legal sense, this is true of almost an system in the world. I imagine someone working extra hours and hard in the chinese communist party also has a higher chance of moving up.

In fact, not so long ago, it was finance and big banks where people famously slept on the office floor and worked 20 hour days as juniors, and that only got slightly better as you moved up.

Men and women all have a personal choice about how much energy they put into what. That can be your job, your hobby, or your family. You have to choose what aligns with your goals.

Are there differences in goals for men and women? I'll leave that as an open question, as I don't want to get into this controversial area.

But to suggest this is some unique thing to 21st century tech, is not really true. How many hours do you think people spend farming or hunting thousands of years ago?


100% agree.

There are major psychological And physiological differences Between men and women. (Reminder: difference is the opposite of equal. Also, genetically distinct individuals are not equal. “Equal” is only useful in quantitative analysis).

Learn more here: “Gender Equality Paradox” - a Scandinavian comedian explores this topic by interviewing academics from various sides of the political spectrum.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tiJVJ5QRRUE


My prof said to go into database systems if you wanted to do something in tech that changes the slowest


As someone working as a DBA for over 20 years, the statement is correct, but it not all rainbows and unicorns in the database world.

Depending on the organization and applications, keeping things patched and running requires many nights and weekends, which I think most women with children would shy away from.

Additionally, being a DBA is a thankless job. The only time you will hear about a database is when there's a performance issue, or it is down.


At the last three enterprise organizations that I work(ed), the DB leads have been women.


>it will need to decrease its unreasonable demands down to other similar careers for both men and women.

Which unreasonable demands and which other similar careers?


(Beware the following “wrong think” which will cause you cognitive dissonance— it will challenge your popular culture world view. Yes, if you dislike the following, you are not counter culture. You are a subscriber to pop culture. If you are pained by these words, then you follow the same political view as the mainstream— the biggest banks, Hollywood, mainstream News, etc. Congratulations on your zombie-like conformity.)

Diversity is a divide and conquer strategy for controlling populations. When groups fight each other (based on inborn qualities, in a tribalistic manner), they don’t fight socio económic elites as much.

Have you noticed how much diversity is promoted by propaganda outlets across news & entertainment? That should give you a major hint of the intentions of socioeconomic elites: to push this idea on the population in a concealed, covert, subtle way.

If interested in challenging your perspective: Research the topic of how diversity in neighborhoods reduces trust and cohesion.

Additionally, for major corporations, Regulations to enforce diversity reduces their competition, because only the largest corporations can afford the most competitive salaries to attract the small pool of “diverse” candidates.

Ultimately the concept of diversity is itself racist and sexist, as are those who espouse it.


> Diversity is a divide and conquer strategy for controlling populations.

it does sometimes look like the left is eating itself by creating internal fractal divisions all the way down. I don't think there is any group of puppeteers pulling strings from the top; it's just a weird consequence of intersectionality.

> Research the topic of how diversity in neighborhoods reduces trust and cohesion.

you probably need to expand on this a bit more to support a conclusion like this:

> Ultimately the concept of diversity is itself racist and sexist, as are those who espouse it.

I don't contest that conflict often arises when there is a very diverse population living or working together, but we need to investigate the causality a bit more. does increasing diversity inherently reduce trust and cohesion, or does trust and cohesion appear to be reduced locally because a bunch of different groups who already didn't trust each other are suddenly living/working together?


You edited your comment after posting it without annotating. Anyhow I literally googled your suggestion and the first result is this https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5875770/

When interethnic contact and perceived threat are included in the model there is no direct negative effect between diversity and social cohesion. The theoretical implications of these findings are outlined including the importance of facilitating opportunities for positive contact in diverse communities.

>>concept of diversity is itself racist and sexist, as are those who espouse it. I really don't understand how you are forming those conclusions.


First of all— Google is not an unbiased search engine. The leaders of google were exposed as promoting an anti-conservative election agenda in the 2016 USA elections. If I am seeking a less than intentionally biased search algorithm, I don’t use google. Google is a manipulated search engine, which promotes search results in alignment with the politically correct agenda.

There are tons of studies and study-reviews on the topic. It is a fascinating area of sociological research.

Here’s an interesting review— however, the issue is that it seems this reviewer has a bias whereby they’re trying to prove diversity doesn’t reduce social cohesion.

That said, it’s still an interesting review.

https://thealternativehypothesis.org/index.php/2018/08/10/et...


> "Ryan John Faulk, also known as The Alternative Hypothesis or The Alt Hype or FringeElements or Stodles or The People's Veto, is an alt-right blogger and YouTube talker who supports white nationalism and race realism. He writes articles for TheAlternativeHypothesis.org with Sean Last, a Neo-Nazi who also wrote for The Right Stuff." https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Ryan_Faulk

Yikes


"ad hominem"

Attack the message, not the messenger. Even folks you don't like might have well reasoned arguments.


> If interested in challenging your perspective: Research the topic of how diversity in neighborhoods reduces trust and cohesion.

I suggest you go deeper on your research. This phenomenon comes from fear of the other and lack of inclusivity in general. Diversity in a vacuum is a benefit (see monoculture), the drive for diversity is with this in mind.


I’m aware of the strategy you mention in the context of racial and ethnic diversity, but do you have a source suggesting that cohesion also decreases with more gender diversity, and that governments, corporations, etc. are somehow actively exploiting that? If anything I’d expect the opposite effect to occur.


Just a small empirical experience. No conclusions.

When there are a couple of girls in the class, they all tend to hang out together. Once the ratio goes closer to 1:1, there's a "boys' club" and there's a "girls' club".


Indeed, it's the first 'popular revolution' I've ever seen that's been pushed hard as a full-spectrum propaganda war by virtually the entirety of the establishment and elite; this 'diversity' they bore on about ad-nauseam does not seem to extend to diversity of thought. Object to it and you get cancelled (or worse) by the SJW footsoldiers.


The irony is that diversity of thought is supposedly predicated on diversity of social background. That was promoted so thoroughly— “we want different social backgrounds on our team because this will result in more creative ideas and thoughts”.

Yet... clearly we see there is no intention for real diversity of thought. Instead, there must be an ulterior motive.

Basically, get a population to buy in to tribalism. Then, they self-police each other into politically correct conformity.

Luckily though, the social institution of diversity consumes itself, no one can escape from the group-policing driving the group towards utterly bland conformity.


>Diversity is a divide and conquer strategy for controlling populations.

Amazon/Whole Foods knows all about that.


This seems to be one of those narrow stats that misses the meta around it.

There's more meta around it.

People in this age group seem to switch jobs a lot. This roughly falls in line with what Gallop found with regards to your average Millennial: https://www.gallup.com/workplace/231587/millennials-job-hopp...

Anecdotally, among the people I graduated with, I'm unique in that I'm with the same company and field since graduation. Almost everyone I know who is about 35 has switched jobs once or twice. A lot have moved from tech to other areas too.

... parental leave, better working hours and the ability to show apathy towards your job. Tech gives you none.

I 100% disagree here - it depends on your employer, this isn't a "tech" thing. Again, this is anecdotal, but my employer offers parental leave above and beyond what is mandated by the state and federally and was allowing all kinds of work from arrangements and flexible scheduling even before COVID. Of my female colleagues, none left their job, let alone tech, because of work related issues after recently having a child.


hmm the 50% number comes from https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/PDF-134/Accenture-A4-GWC..., which seems to get the figure from a 2016 study (https://www.ncwit.org/sites/default/files/resources/womenint...), which seems to get it from a 2008 study performed by https://coqual.org/, which describes itself as a d&i thinktank. Also the reason cited for leaving appears to come from a later, different survey? Just skimmed all this but article seems kinda sketchy.


Another note from the study is that 50% of the women who left didn't leave tech, they left private tech companies and went to create a startup, become an independent worker or join a government agency.

And of the 50% who left tech 20% didn't get a job in a different field and instead just took time off, so just 40% of the women who left tech actually left the field for something else.

So if this applies to the 50% by 35, then it is actually just 20% of women who left tech by 35 in order to get a non-tech job. This aligns roughly with this quote: "Eighty percent of women in SET report “loving their work” (Hewlett, Sherbin, with Dieudonné, Fargnoli, & Fredman, 2014). "

From page 10 here: https://www.ncwit.org/sites/default/files/resources/womenint...


Anecdote: my wife works for a biotech company and her firm has more way more women than men. She does statistical programming and her entire group (I think 4-6 people?) are women. Coming from more conventional engineering companies that always lean overwhelmingly male, I've found this fascinating.

I don't know if it's a feature of biotech specifically or just her company (which offers good maternity leave by the way, and the employees make use of it).


In Eastern Europe during the Cold War the trend was also the opposite -- with women in the majority. Women occupied the majority of those "dev" roles as it was laregely seen as womens work.


I think east Europe is also leading the numbers for rate of women in tech, especially as coders and they are ranked among the best in the World.


This was the case in the US too, until about the 80s; not a majority of women working in programming but a much more sizeable portion of the workforce was.


This was a time (there was a similar period in the U.S, but it was earlier) when the direct operation of computers was essentially secretarial work, a level more sophisticated than operating a typewriter; it was not some magical era where women were the majority of people designing and implementing computer programs at the highest levels.


mm and a lot of the first computers where in fact women


Anecdotally, there's also variation between engineering disciplines.

In my undergrad, EE's were overwhelmingly male followed by MechE.

ChemE was 50/50 (and as I recall ChemE was one of the more selective at the time, owing to the notion that starting salaries were the highest among all the engineering disciplines -- this was during the era of oil & gas dominance).


I'm one of 3 women in my graduating class of ~100 in EE. It's still a male dominated field.


I’ve been to a few biotech conferences and biotech definitely has more women than machine learning conferences.


I worked for a sequencing centre a few years ago that was pretty even mix of men and women. However there was wet lab part and a bioinfomatics part. The wet lab was almost all women and the bioinformatics part mas mainly men.


> The wet lab was almost all women and the bioinformatics part mas mainly men.

This was my expectation as well, which is why I was surprised by my wife's company.


I notice they didn't mention what percentage of young men leave their tech job by age 35.


Nor the percentage of young women that leave their non-tech job by age 35.


They did. They did mention that. They said 20%. It's right below the stat in the linked report.


I think you can't ignore the side issue that even if you work in a US tech company with better than typical female representation almost all the female engineers are immigrants who come from other cultures that have stronger emphasis on academic achievement.

Saying you got to 40% women is not quite the same thing if 95% of the female engineers on the team immigrated from India, Russia, China, South Korea, etc.. You got yourself a decently diverse team but it doesn't hide the fact that US culture + education system has a major issue with discouraging women growing up in the US from entering some of these fields.


>Fewer than half of HR leaders (38%) think that building a more inclusive culture is an effective way to retain and advance women.

This is a really interesting stat, I wonder why that is.


Because inclusivity was never the problem.

Consider: among the countries with the highest ratio of female to male tech students are Tunisia and Pakistan. Norway is the country with the least. That does not directly address what happens mid-career, but it's a pretty good hint.


That's because in poor countries, tech is a way to escape poverty as outsourcing has really propped up wages meaning a good dev can earn more than a doctor or a lawyer so people there will put up with anything for that kind of money, including women, but in very developed nations like Norway, women have better options than SW development where they can get good pay for less hours and being a dev there is nowhere near close to doctors and lawyers in terms of pay or status.


Here you go. Though things seem to be changing in developed countries as well.


As @himinlomax said in countries where career paths are easier to follow for women, like in Scandinavia, they chose other lines of work that are less taxing on personal and family time and more rewarding economically (per hour worked) such as law, economy, education, politics (city counselor, consultant for the government etc etc).

It seems that STEM is an escape route for women that can't find other ways to emerge or advance their careers,but it's not preferable if they can have a choice.

https://www.thejournal.ie/gender-equality-countries-stem-gir...


> building a more inclusive culture

What does that even mean?


An inclusive culture is one where you feel like you belong, and you don't feel a pervasive sense of being alienated, a sense that other people don't want you to be there. The sense that your contributions aren't valuable to the team.

If you don't know what this feels like, good. Over time it really wears you down.


I wonder what their criteria is for "inclusive". My current company has a lot of surface level diversity that most people look for, but I feel isolated because I went to the military while the vast majority of other employees went to college. Our life experienes as adults are so different, that it's hard to connect to anyone.


I feel you, there was a book I can’t find at the moment that a coworker recommended to me on the subject of people from poorer/rougher backgrounds in tech/white color jobs and how their learned experience can isolate them in ways they don’t even realize. You could be told you’re argumentative or uncomfortable to talk to because of intense eye contact but growing up you were told that is important to maintain.

On the one hand this saddens me as I realize a level of inclusivity where people don’t feel these little micro-exclusions is essentially impossible. On the other being aware of them in others broadens empathy and aware of them in yourself can help you select better.


I hope you can find this book because I'm one of those people who came from the rougher background and live in SV. I'd be interested to at least read a book summary! I have a peer who also came from a rougher background and she says I'm fucked because I still act like someone from that background on certain behaviors... and people from that background are looked down upon quite heavily here.

I have almost nothing in common in terms of background with the SV tech people. They're almost all rich kids.


Pretty sure this was what I read https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/46074.Limbo


>I wonder what their criteria is for "inclusive".

less white men


Wow, that sounds so good! As a man I would love to join such a culture. At the moment I have no other choice but to simply be good at what I do and thus earn the respect of peers.


Well you do get to start at the baseline of your peers assuming that you are competent and have some right to be there, which is frequently not the case with regard to women and other minorities in tech. It is easier to 'be good' and earn this respect when you have to spend less time justifying your presence. Of course, you are clearly someone who would be oblivious to this.


It's only an inclusive culture if everyone feels like that, though.


What does it mean to "build" one?

Every places where I have worked people have been treated respectfully by the company, though certain individuals can be arseholes. The main place I am thinking of was a female boss who treated the mainly females team below her like shit. Plenty of them left and why wouldn't they? (Those wouldn't be classed as "tech jobs" though, it was wet lab biologists).


> What does it mean to "build" one?

It goes beyond institutional policy -- it is social in nature.

Don't hire assholes. Guide your subordinates away from doing things that might isolate others. Organize interactions that encourage different groups of people to interact and build rapport with each other. Demonstrate to your employees that it is valuable to be inclusive.

The only people with the power to build an inclusive culture are the people with institutional power.


> Don't hire assholes.

So you become more inclusive by excluding people? Do you see the inherent contradiction in this?

And who gets to decide who is an asshole?

> Organize interactions that encourage different groups of people to interact and build rapport with each other.

But you have just avoided hiring one very poorly defined group.

> Demonstrate to your employees that it is valuable to be inclusive.

Sound like virtue signalling to me.

Out of interest would my opinions be welcome in your "inclusive" workplace? Would you build rapport with me and respect these opinions? I have a hunch that I wouldn't feel very included.


> And who gets to decide who is an asshole?

These things are not as ill-defined as you assert. I think we can all come up with a generally agreed upon description of what it means to be an asshole. Someone who does not treat others with respect, is cruel, demeaning, etc.

> So you become more inclusive by excluding people?

An "inclusive culture" is referring specifically to the culture among the people working at an organization. The population at large includes many people who are insistent on intentionally excluding others. An "inclusive culture" has never meant "hire anyone no matter what they do!".

Don't confuse "inclusive culture" with "a culture that results from including everyone". Those are two different things.

>> Demonstrate to your employees that it is valuable to be inclusive.

> Sound like virtue signalling to me.

One of the primary roles of a leader is to signal expectations, some explicit, and some implicit. Call it what you want, the point is: a leader's subordinates will learn the bounds of acceptable and unacceptable behavior from the norms that you set.


A leader who builds an inclusive culture takes efforts to consider how their words, actions, and influence makes people feel like they belong on the team, whether they're an outlier or part of the majority.

Often, team members will self-isolate themselves into cliques, which is not only isolating for outliers, but can hurt the productivity of the team. A leader can do things like staffing projects or planning activities with a broader cross-section of team members to give people more things in common. Also, they may need to occasionally give gentle guidance or suggestions to their employees to take actions that don't isolate others.


How about James Damore's views at Google?

Obviously a lot of staff disagreed with him, but the way they treated him could in no way be described as "inclusive". How would a situation like that be handled?


I don't know much about that case, but I think the final sentence in my previous comment is likely applicable.


You do a good job avoiding specifics in all of you replies. James Damore's case was pretty high profile.


Because inclusive culture is an unachievable goal.

What about older developers? What about different race developers? What about cross-gender developers? What about Ahmish developers who only use pen and paper? What about Indian culture vs Korean culture vs Chinese culture vs American culture?

It's a slippery slope.

The goal of management should be tolerance and fairness and objective measures of employee value and the 'culture' problem will sort itself out.

Management attempting to engineer employee culture non-organically is super creepy and unacheivable.

Also, the idea of 'culture fit' is in itself exclusionary because it implies theres a pre-set culture to fit into...even if it includes women...what other cultures are excluded?


Good for them. After 20 years of this I wish I had done something else, but it pays the bills and I don't know much else. Well at least it's easy to find work and pays reasonably well.


Anecdotal, but another trend I see is that more women seem to leave SWE/coding roles and transition to roles like product manager, project manager, business analyst, or even some sort of non/semi-technical middle manager.


I've always thought that the reason women choose other careers than STEM is that many STEM jobs tend to be done in isolation, and that many women (whether by nature or nurture; it doesn't matter which) tend to prefer work with more human interaction.

An anecdote that can be generalized across many couples I know, is that I enjoy going to my workshop and working on a project by myself for 4-6 hours at a stretch. It's relaxing to me, helps me focus my thoughts. My wife likes to do book clubs and meets with friends to discuss political and social issues for similar stretches of time. I find her hobbies to be a bit stressful and occasionally boring, and she feels the same about mine. I think this has really shaped the careers we've pursued.


It's obvious to the point of banality and every generation has known this. But for some reason now we have to "overcome" this and deny it. I think it's just that modern life is too easy and people need something to get emotional about.


What does it mean "Noninclusive company culture"?


So much focus is on the 'nurture' aspect for reasons why women leave tech or don't thrive in tech.

Why can't the 'nature' aspect also be a factor?

Women have fundamentally different biological imperatives than men.

Now days with ample choice in careers and women gaining the lions share of college degrees....they still choose certain subjects.

Are there just certain characteristics of different fields that attract different types of people?


I'll play ball. I assume the reason for the focus is because we can change the 'nurture' part and we can't change the 'nature' part.

I mean the standard argument that follows from your post would be that we shouldn't aim for 50% male 50% female because maybe in truth there are just 30% less women "naturally inclined" to taking up engineering than there are men.

I can accept that maybe we shouldn't target a particular quota or ratio on diversity. But I don't accept that we should drop inclusivity and diversity altogether: regardless of the 'nature' aspect, if we KNOW that there are issues with the 'nurture' aspect then we should do something about that.

So then we return to the question: Are there issues with our culture where it isn't inclusive enough, and if so what can we do to remedy this? And that's something that I believe every HR department should be asking if they care about employee well-being.


Ok I'll bite also....

Your theory is that HR should take actions to social engineer a culture to accomodate women.

I propose that any attempts to social engineer a culture via HR or any non-organic method is a doomed enterprise from the start.

You also will have to social engineer a culture that fits other groups.

What about older developers? What about different race developers? What about cross-gender developers? What about Ahmish developers who only use pen and paper? What about Indian culture vs Korean culture vs Chinese culture vs American culture?

It rapidly becomes a slippery slope of accommodating each and every cultural difference.

Then you have side effects. Also, after these HR corrections, what if workplace culture becomes so biased towards one group such that other groups are excluded?

The emphasis on 'culture fit' is itself an exclusionary idea by nature as it implies that there is a pre-set culture to fit into instead of the culture emerging organically from the employees.

Basic, minimum work provided culture does not need to be inclusive it needs to be tolerant and fair, and that is all.

The goal is not inclusivity towards any one group, the goal is a to award performance based on hard work, talent, productivity, etc.

Engineering a culture is a ridiculous and to be frank, creepy idea. and is a fruitless doomed endeavor.

Instead of HR focusing on a more inclusive culture they need to be focusing on objective empirical ways to measure employee value and the culture issue will sort itself out.


> I propose that any attempts to social engineer a culture via HR or any non-organic method is a doomed enterprise from the start.

Maybe this argument has merit, but it's worth noting that HR frequently does this anyways completely outside the scope of diversity & inclusion. Other core values that HR tries to "engineer" are often things like "obsessed with product" or "only cares about the customer" or some equally fake-sounding corporate nonsense.

Nonetheless, HR tries to engineer corporate cultures, both relating to and not relating to diversity & inclusiveness. I would assume there is some evidence of success by the fact that nearly every corporation does this, but maybe not. I think that's hardly an attack against D&I though, that's an attack on the existence of HR in the first place!

> You also will have to social engineer a culture that fits other groups.

> What about older developers? What about different race developers? What about cross-gender developers? What about Ahmish developers who only use pen and paper? What about Indian culture vs Korean culture vs Chinese culture vs American culture?

> It rapidly becomes a slippery slope of accommodating each and every cultural difference.

I don't think that's a slippery slope or even that difficult. If someone has a requirement for their culture that doesn't impede work, we SHOULD accommodate that: yes, we should have vegetarian options at the company lunches. Yes, we should be okay with Jewish coworkers taking off Yom Kippur. Yes, we should be okay with cross-gender developers using the pronoun of their choice. The Amish one is less likely because that affects business output so I'm sure HR departments can find an excuse to not accommodate that one, but in theory if an Amish pen/paper dev could do high quality work then I don't see why not.

> what if workplace culture becomes so biased towards one group such that other groups are excluded?

I mean, this is literally the status quo right? The whole reason for this so-called "social engineering" is because the status quo workplace culture IS biased towards one group, so the goal is to make it less biased towards them. Maybe in the process it "backfires" and makes it biased against that group, but if it does so in a significant way then I would argue we'd need D&I to help the former majority group.

Either way, the difficulty in this process isn't a convincing argument to not even try.

> The emphasis on 'culture fit' is itself an exclusionary idea by nature as it implies that there is a pre-set culture to fit into instead of the culture emerging organically from the employees.

I'm not sure what to say about this except (a) The term 'culture fit' is from my experience not related to D&I but rather used as an excuse to fire or not hire based on team members with power who don't like you (b) As a corollary to (a), most actions resulting from 'culture fit' are in fact the result of employee's opinions, and thus "organic" culture. I've never seen someone not get hired because the team members really liked the interviewee, but the interviewee didn't display enough enthusiasm for the customer and that's a core value. (as an example of an inorganic culture fit)

> The goal is not inclusivity towards any one group, the goal is a to award performance based on hard work, talent, productivity, etc.

What you're describing is a culture of meritocracy. That's nice, until you lose a dozen great-devs when the brilliant-dev (who can't get fired because he's brilliant) is an absolute asshole to everyone else on the team and makes their life miserable.

Basically, my response to you is that you clearly prefer a purely meritocratic culture, and while I don't think that's an unreasonable preference, I think the consensus among decision makers at large corporations is that a purely meritocratic culture is not effective, certainly not to the degree that you think "the culture issue will sort itself out".


> Nonetheless, HR tries to engineer corporate cultures, both relating to and not relating to diversity & inclusiveness.

I think that's far less true than it superficially appears. I think HR tries to create a PR image of interest in exactly the things that would, if perceived to be absent, motivate lawsuits against the company, for the precise purpose of being seen by the "human resources" they manage as allies to come to in the case of the problem, rather than the opponent they generally, in fact, are.

HR is far less likely to be trying to engineer an inclusive culture as to be trying to create an image of the HR organization itself that makes those who feel excluded come to them to the mollified (and to give HR a chance to work with management to weave a defenseive narrative) before seeking outside counsel.

Now, this does have some effect on culture, because you can't effectively maintain this kind of image without actually doing something about the most highly-visible and flagrant systematic violations, whether its something substantive or at least finding a way to reduce their visibility and the air of casual acceptance around them.


It is nature: despite of all efforts men still cannot get pregnant.

The society is trying hard to fight the nature and convince women that their primary goal should be a successful career, but so far the nature wins.


Mostly, because we know that there were eras when women dominated programming, typing, debugging, documentation, etc. So we know that there's no biological or innate reason why women are unable/unwilling/unskilled at this labor. Instead, we conclude that it's culture.

Incidentally, part of the culture which causes women to leave is your inherently-othering comment which seeks to divide women and men into a binary categorization.

Edit to the children comments: To spell it out more clearly: The proportion of laborers in different fields is wholly cultural. The entire concept of fields of labor is wholly cultural. The entire concept of labor as something done not just for survival is cultural. Your brains are extremely plastic and you exist almost entirely on cultural, not instinctual, impulses.


> Mostly, because we know that there were eras when women dominated programming, typing, debugging, documentation, etc.

wasn't this the same era that women were mostly secretaries and programming, typing, debugging, doucmentation, etc. were all seen as secondary tasks supporting the main effort instead of the main effort itself?

also, during these eras, there simply weren't nearly as many programmers or money in programming, so the segment of the population that even had access to a computer, let alone knew how to program, was severly limited and not a representative sample of the potential population of programmers at that time.

> So we know that there's no biological or innate reason why women are unable/unwilling/unskilled at this labor.

we know no such thing and its bad science to say that we do. Perhaps you should qualify this statement to be more clear.

> Instead, we conclude that it's culture.

bad conclusion that ignores other factors, including availability of access to computers, proportion of the population that knows how to program, status of programming in relation to the work being done (secretary work vs primary work), etc.


Those eras where women had very little choice of other careers except clerical positions of which programming was an extension of at the time.

Well aren't they? There's quite a lot of differences between men and women whether one wants to accept it or not. There's massive amounts of socioligical and physiological science backing this.

Additionally, you can Google sociological studies on what women and men prioritize in their careers and women overwhelming prefer caregiving and time for family while men prefer more traditional status and materialistic success.

Google it!

Step out of the critical sex theory for a second. This isn't some toxic masculinity seeking to repress women. This is reality.




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