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Etsy Wants to Give Female Programmers $5,000 to Attend Hacker School (techcrunch.com)
18 points by 3lit3H4ck3r 825 days ago | comments


tjic 825 days ago | link

I realize that I'm going to be in the minority here, but I find it disgusting that it's not just socially acceptable, but downright applauded to discriminate against 50% of the population because - through no fault of their own - they were born with male equipment.

Yes, yes, I understand the argument that it's somehow desirable to change the gender makeup of engineering (although I've yet to see programs aimed at fixing the general balance in elementary school teaching or nursing), but this does nothing to address the problem that there are INDIVIDUALS who might like to apply for a grant but are excluded because of what's inside their underwear.

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madd_o 825 days ago | link

Right or wrong, my first reaction was also "heyyy, that's sexist"...

Next is Etsy going to pay guys $5,000 to take knitting classes?

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1qaz2wsx3edc 825 days ago | link

Well, I agree with you. To me it's a "Pot calling the kettle black" idiom.

You can't solve this problem through exclusion, the solution needs to be inclusive, like Lady's Learning Code and other such groups.

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Zikes 825 days ago | link

Excluding a group is not inclusive, nor is focusing on a particular subset. Inclusion means everyone.

This is creating a positive effect for women, but having a negative effect on men by excluding them from the ability to qualify for their grants. That is not a solution, it does not solve the problem, it is a reversal of the problem which shifts the negativity to the other end of the spectrum.

A proper solution would be to remove the negativity altogether, perhaps by initiating societal reforms that don't shoehorn men and women into a particular role at a young age.

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GiraffeNecktie 825 days ago | link

You're disgusted? Really? I'm a little stunned that an organization is actually being criticized for encouraging diversity in an area where it's badly, badly needed. I think that if this encourages more women to become involved with technology it would be a fantastic thing. God knows, we need it. And yes, if they gave scholarships to poor black kids or to native kids, I'd say that was a good thing too, even if it "discriminated" against rich white guys.

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timtamboy63 825 days ago | link

The difference is that rich white guys wouldn't need the scholarship, whereas poorer males would. Etsy is discriminating against males. I do agree that there needs to be more diversity in this industry, but I'm quite shocked at how Etsy is doing it - what makes the women chosen any better than the males who could have been chosen?

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GiraffeNecktie 824 days ago | link

" what makes the women chosen any better than the males who could have been chosen?"

Nothing makes them better, nothing makes them worse. The point is not to find people who are "better" but merely to fill a gap in the workforce (diversity). You can't get more diversity by hiring more of the same.

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michaelcampbell 824 days ago | link

If they're not better, why incent them to be hired at the expense of others? Or is the argument that diversity is better just because it is?

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GiraffeNecktie 823 days ago | link

Yes. Actually that's exactly it. Diversity is good for the workplace, good for the community, and good for the bottom line.

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michaelcampbell 818 days ago | link

I'm not disputing that, because I have no data to back up a dispute. Is there data on the positive side?

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dominikb 825 days ago | link

Maybe you're complicating this. It's just a basic principle of capitalism and freedom. Etsy can give away their money to anyone they choose to, if it helps them commercially (or in any other way).

We should consider this socially acceptable for our own good.

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tjic 825 days ago | link

> Maybe you're complicating this. It's just a basic principle of capitalism and freedom. Etsy can give away their money to anyone they choose to, if it helps them commercially (or in any other way).

100% agreed.

I stand for the right for every firm to pass out scholarships, hire, fire, etc. based on all sorts of things: I support the RIGHT of bookstore owners to exclude on race, the RIGHT of golf courses to exclude on sex, etc.

...but once we turn from the topic of what people should be ALLOWED to do, and address what people SHOULD do, I will say that I dislike people who exclude on race, sex, sexual orientation, etc.

Your uncle has the RIGHT to be racist (thought it makes him a jackass), and Etsy has the RIGHT to be sexist and judge people based on the accident of their birth instead of the content of their character.

...and it makes them jackasses.

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carlsednaoui 825 days ago | link

Im going to be "that guy" but this story was already on HN's frontpage yesterday (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3804508).

Additionally, as per HN's guideline, I would suggest linking to the original piece of information being http://www.etsy.com/hacker-grants and not the TC one.

I tend to do this mistake myself (link to TC posts instead of the original one) but have realized that the HN community prefers to see the original source (from the HN guidelines: Please submit the original source. If a blog post reports on something they found on another site, submit the latter.).

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madd_o 825 days ago | link

Dude! Stop being "that guy"!

Sorry, didn't realize this. Gotta catch up on my HN rss.

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drhayes9 825 days ago | link

Grants and scholarships based on minority status are bigoted, yes, but not in a bad way.

Hear me out.

The negative reaction to bigotry arises from a perceived inequality: one group is getting favored over another, and that's unfair. Sure.

But that assumes that both groups started out equal in the first place. If one group were at a disadvantage then giving them a leg up merely equalizes what was already an unequal playing field. So, in this example, men have been and continue to dominate professionally by almost any metric we care to look at across the entire population (salary, job title, etc.). Helping out women in this regard is an attempt to level the playing field.

That said, in practice it is not that easy. Quotas are my favorite anti-pattern in this arena; they simply don't work and do more harm than good. In this case, I'm a little leery because Etsy has financial motivations behind wanting to be seen as women-friendly. A government offering this kind of scholarship as a social contract effort is more neutral to me; a business offering it as a marketing effort is more suspect. Maybe I'm too cynical, though.

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tjic 825 days ago | link

> But that assumes that both groups started out equal in the first place.

Women get more degrees.

Women live longer.

Women work less, yet collection social security longer.

Women get equal pay for the same experience in the same job.

If Etsy is doing this just as a purely cynical marketing stunt, playing to their female demographic, I could have some respect for them, in the same way that I respect a sleazy salesman, or an alligator.

...but if they think that they're "solving" a "problem" by discriminating against young men, then they're just fools.

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drhayes9 825 days ago | link

> Women get equal pay for the same experience in the same job.

That goes against a whole lot of sociological research, including CEO pay in the private sector and professors at the academia level. Where are you getting that idea?

One third of all women are killed by an intimate partner. Women ages 20-24 are disproportionately the victim of non-fatal domestic violence.

Women live longer? Well, okay: that doesn't have to do with pay scale or work inequality, though, right? They don't live longer because someone is deciding to let them live longer, but they do get less money because some institution is deciding they should get less money.

Ultimately, how do any of these facts relate to professional equality?

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tjic 825 days ago | link

> > Women get equal pay for the same experience in the same job.

> That goes against a whole lot of sociological research

No it doesn't.

Here's a report that the Department of Labor commissioned

http://www.consad.com/content/reports/Gender%20Wage%20Gap%20...

TL;DR: women and men with the same experience and the same job get the same salary. Women, though (a) opt out of the labor force to have and raise kids, and (b) opt out of high paying jobs that are dangerous or require insane time commitments.

Feel free to respond with any actual statistics you may have.

> One third of all women are killed by an intimate partner.

One third.

ONE THIRD??!?

Let's see what the CDC has to say:

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm

1,219,784 women died in the US in 2009.

3,673 died of homicide.

That means that 0.28% of women were killed by ANYONE.

...yet you claim that 33% of women are killed by their intimate partners.

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drhayes9 825 days ago | link

The violence statistic was a mistype: one third of women murdered are murdered by an intimate partner.

Check this out: http://jec.senate.gov/public/?a=Files.Serve&File_id=9118...

It refers to your study, but clarifies some stuff.

All other things being equal (skills, experience, etc), resumes with female names were responded to less than resumes with male names.

Women who have children are paid less than men who have children in the same occupation even if they are at the same level.

In nearly every study of gender inequality in pay, there is an unexplained discrepancy that favors men.

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GiraffeNecktie 825 days ago | link

Note that the Consad study you cite was from the recent Bush administration which was notorious for abusing science for political ends. Here's rebuttal of some of their findings http://www.amptoons.com/blog/2010/11/26/how-the-consad-repor...

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karinqe 825 days ago | link

How would you feel about "Etsy Wants to Give Male Programmers $5,000 to Attend Hacker School"?

It would be in the news all over the country. If you can't switch male/female without feeling like it's wrong one way, it's wrong the other way too.

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GiraffeNecktie 825 days ago | link

Just because it's wrong one way doesn't make it wrong the other way. It's wrong for Etsy to give male programmers money because women are already underrepresented and, in many ways, disadvantaged in a male dominated hacker culture. It would also not be wrong to give poor black kids a chance (even though it would be wrong to "discriminate" against white kids).

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karinqe 825 days ago | link

The point of non-discrimination is EQUALITY between people of all races and genders. So if you can't switch the sides, they are not equal and it is wrong.

This is just madness. You can give poor black kids a chance by giving them equal rights and rules. Anyway, woman are underrepresented by their own choice and are in no way disadvantaged. I actually feel it is the opposite, that as a woman, I'm in advantage in IT.

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pandres 825 days ago | link

It's not only sexist but also stating clear that there is a handicap in being a female programmer.

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