CS10 is a class designed mostly for non majors, who are interested in Computer Science; CS61a is the first required class for the major. I know of a bunch of CS guys with their girlfriends in CS10. A lot of people who are already set on taking CS as their major go directly into CS61a, skipping CS10, and this accounts for a lot of the gender ratio difference in CS10. If you look at a class like CS162, you can see the gender ratio of the people who are actually sticking through the major.
This doesn't mean as much as graduation rates, etc.
"I want to make games!"
"This shit is hard, I'm gonna get a business degree."
As it happens when you have projects that take about 4x (or more) the amount of time as your friends majors that takes a toll. People would rather be partying than writing code. Maybe our CS1 was a bit too hard (we've had many discussions with the profs about this and the attrition rate and what to do about it), but everyone who finished freshmen year graduated in our class. It prepared us well, but it was too hard for most.
"Angersock," he said," do you know how many women there were in my first year?"
I thought for a second. "I don't know, maybe 20 or 30?".
"About half my class of around 80 or so. Do you know how many I graduated with?"
"Erm, 10 or 15?"
"Try 3. Does the phrase 'hunted to extinction' mean anything to you?"
EDIT: Never mind, I looked it up, which I should have done in the first place. CS3 is the optional intro CS/programming class ("Intro to Symbolic Programming"), and CS10 is "The Beauty and Joy of Computing", which seems designed for non-majors getting an introduction to "the history, social implications, great principles, and future of computing", with a gentle introduction to programming in a graphical language.
I guess that makes the article substantially less significant/interesting.
Whoops never mind, I just saw the response to my other comment saying that the course catalog is out of date. Never mind then.
At my university I would guess that it was about a quarter women. They were evenly distributed amongst the caliber of grads. Of the top 8 or so in my class (smaller program) 2 were women.
Although towards the end of the term, it trended towards a balance.
On review, the article is NOT about what you'd consider CS1
"Introduction to Symbolic Programming was reborn as Beauty and the Joy of Computing."
This is a CS class in the loosest sense of the word.
It fulfills no prerequisites towards a CS degree.
OTOH I could just be cynical, and this class is just what's needed to get more females into the subsequent CS classes.
At least anecdotally, I know a few people who had no real interest in CS start with this class, but then proceed to take proper CS classes they may otherwise have ignored.
Compare the descriptions for CS3L (Intro to Symbolic Programming) to CS10. They both still exist and seem very different.
CS10 represents an opportunity for those who never considered Computer Science until they reached a university setting. For many the study feels unapproachable, and the inviting environment of CS10 allows anyone with a curiosity to explore their capacity. In the ongoing debate of “should everyone program”, while I am uncertain about the prospect of making CS education a compulsive requirement, I do believe a net should be cast out to catch those who perhaps never realized their interest and potential. CS10 is that net. It is often the beginning of a student’s journey and inspires a life long love.
It’s easy to joke that about CS10 as a CS daycare. A place where the “non-serious” can feel like they are involved in a trendy field of work. But this does not recognize the success of CS10. With a majority of CS10 alums continuing on to CS61A, the demographic of students (including female enrollment rates) will begin to change. This is a new course and it will take time to percolate up to graduation rates, but the student’s in CS61A with a background in CS10 are not only prepared, but often far beyond those who directly jump into CS61A.
CS10 was the first experience I ever had with Computer Science and inspired me to pursue a career in the field. I love CS and sharing that love with my students in CS10 is my passion.
CS61A hasn't been the intro course for inexperienced students for as long as I can remember: What about CS3? I came into CS having never touched or seen a piece of code, and I took CS3 because my understanding was that it was supposed to be the gentle introduction for complete neophytes. I found CS3 to be enormously easy and hand-holdy (it was a little _too_ easy, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for a course meant to be a gentle intro).
What was wrong with CS3 that necessitated the introduction of a new course that (AIUI from the catalog) focuses more on things like the social implications of computing and its relevance to society?
Women are usually pretty awful programmers and engineers. Sorry, but the cats out of the bag.
I don't care how many classes women take, men will still rule the technology world.
If it's any consolation there will always be charity positions for under-qualified women, like Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, and that clueless simpleton at Yahoo!, who can't even get their email client to work.
If I offended any ladies here, let me apologize. Perhaps I can fund the next Spanx start-up.
My mother graduated from Berkeley as an EECS major. As a matter of fact, so did two of my aunts. They all earn a lot more than the male computer engineers in my family, and this is independent of their sex.
Every subject has its introductory classes, many of which people have taken in high school. There isn't an option for introductory CS in many high schools. It seems logical to have one, then, in college
> Women are usually pretty awful programmers and engineers.
People are generally awful programmers. Don't know that many engineers, but I've certainly met a few good engineers of both sexes in the offshore industry.
As for female programmers, most of those I've met or seen the work of are on average much better than men -- but that's probably just because I've seen more code written by men (and also more crappy code).
".. who bring a different perspective to the job, may connect better with some children and can provide positive male figures in their lives."
Same goes for women in technology or any other misrepresented field.
And teachers? That has to be the MOST important group where we should absolutely have equal representation.
I would mostly agree with that. A lot of people probably would. But we don't see a huge number of "guys who teach" or "black guys teach" type programs popping up all over. We don't see article after article full of disdain for the "girls club" that is teaching. It is not just a gender thing. We don't see many "girls who drive trucks" programs either. I think it is some what of a phenomenon having such a large push to specifically get women into coding specifically. It just seems quite disproportionate. I'd like to see more push from other "one gender dominated" fields. [EDIT] Maybe there is and I just don't see it since I'm not in one of those other fields.
Sounds like your uncle is finally realizing a desire he's had for many years. Best of luck to him.
You don't see a huge number of "girls code" programs, either, you just think you do because some of them have press and you're pretty deep in the culture of software development. Not a bad thing, mind you! But we have to keep in mind observational bias.
And we pay our teachers like crap. Which confuses me even more about the teachers that clearly don't care for teaching by the way they half-ass the job. Clearly they are not in it for the money.
As a "traditionally female" occupation, K-12 teaching is woefully underpaid relative to, say, police or firemen. In the SF Bay Area, teaching is just not a middle-class profession at all.
Someone made the point long before I did that while we are grateful that women have so many more professional possibilities, it does mean a loss of many of the best women for the traditionally-female professions of nursing, "librarian-ing" and above all teaching. Just as engineering and science and medicine lose STEM minds to Wall Street and app-design shops.
Where I live, cops make $150K. Teachers make a lot less.
I'd really disagree with that. It means the best women are heads of those departments, not that they are lost from the profession.
This is one of the ways in which you recognize that something weird is going on with American politics. While it's a good thing to have lawyers in Congress, it's kinda weird that they're overwhelmingly lawyers.
In regards to Congress, it kind of makes sense to me they would be overwhelmingly from a law background - after all, the ones who know law best and are interested in law are most likely to want to have the ability to change it.
That's not quite what I'm supposing.
I'm supposing that the choices of individual people without external pressures will always choose things unpredictably. In other words, correlation between individual choice and any particular demographic facet of a person should be pure chance.
This is how random number generators work. You want to provide as even a distribution as possible. That doesn't change the fact that, given a certain seed, the generator will always return the same "random" result.
The analogy comes back around like this: if you can reliably predict that a random number generator will return a number divisible by 3 if the input is odd, there's something weird going on even if some results are not divisible by 3. Chances are, if you look at the RNG's algorithm, you'll find something that creates that bias.
Do you care? Is that an issue? Is that a vulnerability? That's an entirely different question. As software engineers, we'd call it a business or design decision. In the wider world, we call it morality or ethics.
Edit to add: One of the consequences of this perspective is that it factors in any demographic variety, not just "men and women". If someone has a chromosomal set of XXY, then it still makes sense to consider their representation. That it's vanishingly small, such that they rarely register a blip on populations smaller than "the entire world", is part of the same analysis.
Would you like a) a beer, b) a hot chocolate ...
Hmm, I'm sure it'll be a random distribution with equal weighting of men and women.
Is it really that weird that lawyers predominant in a legislative field? It seems like it would be the least weird tendency - like if street cleaners, dental hygenists or pop-stars were predominant that would be weird.
Nah. Usually I'm actually arguing on the other side of this one. But it seemed like a good example for illustrating how biases can be systemic to ethics-illiterate techies, since a remarkably large number of HNers are allergic to having respect for lawyers.
What are you basing that assumption on? You are 100% certain that there is no possible way that men and women could have different preferences, priorities or interests?
His post directly contradicts that statement, period. The supposed reputability of those sites are irrelevant, especially considering the basis for your own statement is the HN tech bubble.
I can get behind that cause.
The remainder of it though, in my opinion, is a bouillabaisse of "it's never enough-ism" from a small group of hardcore feminists, hand-wringing from me-tooers, approval-seekers and undecideds, and some genuinely decent people who have nevertheless been hurt by specific cases of sexism and disproportionately react.
It is cyclical. It is a well-intentioned cause, but many times it is myopic.
I'd like to think that females could have a similar experience in CS degrees at some point.
Given that approximately 50% of the population (and ~60% of the "educated" population) are women, it's abnormal for a sector to be so heavily male. This indicates that women are being discouraged, in some way, from entering the sector. Women who might otherwise have contributed a great deal to our industry.
Think of it more about (nearly) doubling the potential number of excellent software engineers than about "encouraging women to code".
So, you're saying that aside from the numerical value, a set of people with an average testosterone level of ~500ng/dL are exactly the same as a set of people with an average testosterone level of ~20?
To deny that hormones exert a tremendous influence over our behaviors and motivations is absurd.
Possibly so, but there's plenty of evidence that testosterone levels affect someone's willingness to work long, tedious hours in isolation in exchange for a higher salary, and give up their personal time for career advancement.
> to learn how all of those studies have proven flawed/heavily biased
Notice the extreme impression you've gotten from this book. She does not "prove" flaws in all research on this topic, though often her criticisms are valid she chooses areas to criticize and hints that it's representative of all research that show gender differences.
She could have also chosen to criticize studies which attempt to disprove gender differences, which are often just as flawed.
Touted as such by whom? It sounds like just Baron-Cohen et al. Your comment gave the impression that "all" studies of gender differences have been refuted.
The most well-known, replicated, large effect study that I'm aware of I searched for and didn't find any reference to in her book. http://www.elainehatfield.com/79.pdf
You absolutely do. K-8 teaching and psychotherapy come to mind. Anecdotally, the ratios are the inverse of what we see in tech. Men are in huge demand.
Because computer geeks don't push back hard enough against overtime requests (a social skills issue again), and so have a hard time meeting anyone they don't work with?
Because unlike many jobs, much of computer programming also makes for good hobbies, so we spend a greater fraction of our time associating with like-minded people (and would like for said group to include women)?
You don't see anything like this in female-dominated professions.
But only because we're too insular to notice (again, a social skills issue).
Anyway, if the shoe were on the other foot, as a male feminist I would be in favor of getting more men coding.
I'll also add I went to a small liberal arts college with 60% women total.
Computer jobs were well represented, but so were health sciences. Here's the full list
1. software developer - san jose - 116K (93k natl avg)
2. computer systems analyst - (couldn’t find it in SF, best anywhere was $116k in bridgeport, 84k nation avg)
3. dentist - couldn’t find SF, can be up to $250K in best cities. 163K natl avg
4. nurse practitioner - san jose - $125K
5. pharmacist - highest of 160K in el centro ca, 115k natl avg
6. registered nurse - 122k in san jose, natl avg 65k (I think it’s about 112k in SF according to sfgate)
7. physical therapist - natio 81k, vegas 117k
8. physician - national around 190k, high paid regions about $250k
9. web developer - national 62k, san jose/sf around 90k
10. dental hygenist - 70k national, in SF 106k
It was eye opening to see how highly paid some of the health care degree fields, which generally enroll more women, are in the bay area.
For instance, nationally, nursing is about 90% women, and in San Jose (and San Francisco, according to a different survey), RN's (registered nurses) actually outearn software developers. There are a large number of factors here (growth potential, job security, the possibility of age discrimination at 40 or younger, where, when and how you like to work...), so I'm not saying that this tell the whole story - but there's a decent argument to be made that nursing may be a better paid and more stable field than software development over the course of a career. Would women be well served by reducing that 90% to 50% to free up more women to become software engineers?
Another interesting thing to note - since we're talking about flagship UC's here, the entering medical school class at UCSF is 58% women, and at boalt law school, it is 54%. I couldn't get exact numbers for pharmacy, but nationally, it skews female over male. Again, would women be well served by diverting some of these students to computer science rather than remaining in health care? A friend of mine who is an emergency room physician probably earns over twice the average software developers salary with fewer hours and very flexible shifts. I can't possibly claim she would have been better off in computer science.
I have a tough time with this, for a couple of reasons. First, I have no right to claim sour grapes for someone else. If women want to go into computer science, and feel that it is a great field, they should not have to put up with gender discrimination.
Second, it's unclear as to whether software development is wonderful field. So not only do I have no right to tell others that the grapes are sour, I can't say with certainty that they are sour.
However, I do think that there is, at least a very clear case to be made that the grapes in health care are a lot sweeter than they are in the high tech world.
We need to consider, seriously, the possibility that avoidance of high tech in favor of health fields is a very rational choice from an earnings, working conditions, job security, and social prestige perspective. Young women are, in many ways, outperforming young men. Perhaps appreciating the beauty and joy of computer programming as a short detour on your road to emergency medicine or dermatology is a far more rational way to go through life than majoring in CS and getting a grad degree in a STEM field, or working for as series of startups or bigco's.
I'm not asking people to accept this conclusion, but rather to recognize that this question needs to be part of the debate.
That said, I feel this is entirely a false dichotomy - there are actually very few people choosing between nursing and computer science, and it is not "diverting some of these students to computer science rather than remaining in health care". They are simply very different students and workforces with different motivations, strengths, and weaknesses.
I am sure we can agree that there are many fields that are worse off than computer science. Retail, administration, and many disciplines don't have the flexibility or financial compensation. To me, in some ways, it does sound like sour grapes when one says "well, look women have nursing. They make good money." Regardless whether healthcare is a good field, that creates a false dichotomy when there are many people (both male and female) who aren't in these fields.
Even digging into this false dichotomy, it is another discussion whether healthcare is actually more flexible, has fewer hours, and is a better career choice than software development. The grass is always greener on the other side, but I would say that only in healthcare does a significant proportion of the workforce have to work overnight shifts, 30 hour workdays, and have to deal with relatively hazardous or infectious materials.
I love medicine, it's a great field, and I really enjoy having an impact on people's lives. But similarly, there are intangibles in software development like the satisfaction of creating something and doing things that can touch people far away. I think that to split these professions into "male" and "female" is a huge disservice and it brings nothing to the discussion to say some female predominant fields have good earning potential.
PS. UCSF medicine is typically between 47 - 54% female each year. Not sure where you got the 58% statistic. There are a lot of applicants, so the administrators probably have a lot of flexibility on how they want to shape the class demographics.
"The 167 new arrivals were chosen from 6,767 applicants. The average age of the class is 25, with a range of 21 to 34, and it is 58 percent female and 42 percent male."
I haven't made any further inquiry into the accuracy of this statistic, so it could be wrong, or it could be an unusual year.
The first is a study by the RAND institute:
This study concludes that Americans are avoiding STEM degrees in large part because the pay and job prospects compared to the "professions" including law or medicine have become so uncompetitive.
Another is by professor William Zumeta at the University of Washington. He looks into students with strong quantitative backgrounds to analyze why they are not going into science and engineering. He does conclude that they are often going to MBA or Health Sciences. (He also does address some systemic problems that particularly affect women in these fields).
Unfortunately, these researchers don't really address the false dichotomy you've brought up - they seem to assume that academically talented students do choose between very different fields based on pay and career prospects. Perhaps that is, as you've suggested, a deeply flawed assumption.
Believe it or not, I actually think that this in no way invalidates claims that outright discrimination or socialization from an early age is a factor! After all, even if it is a relatively poor career choice (already a very debatable claim), these can still be substantial (even definitive) factors!
Both are statistically dominated by an individual gender. There's huge amounts that we can learn from comparing the different approaches to this matter.
It's great if people are making a rational. Onsidered choice.
I'd love to see research. I suspect that people are not making that informed choice and that segregation along sex happens much much earlier.
And if being an RN is so good why are so many nurses imported from other nations? Perhaps that doesn't happen in the US or at least not for RNs.
As an aside: the highest paying RN job is in San Jose - isn't San Jose the crack capital of California? (I am only asking about crack, not about nursing or etc).
(Anecdote: My son is just over 3. He likes and talks about flamingos and his favourite colour is pink. (He has pink sunglasses.). We were drawing and I handed him a pink pencil and he said "no Dan, pink is a girl's colour." The only place he could get this from is nursery which means that children below UK school age are policing activity based on gender or staff are being careless with words. (Luckily I have a pink phone case and a pink towel and a pink watering can so I managed to persuade him that anyone can like pink.))
Not sure what relevance your anecdote has to the topic, however ...
>he said "no Dan, pink is a girl's colour." //
I found for my sons that the girls in their nursery were very strong policers of colour and toys ("you can't play with that it's for girls" or "pink is for girls"); all the teaching staff are women, most parents/carers/guardians present at pick-up are women .. I corrected the kids [I'm like that, "anyone can have pink things, I've got a pink shirt", usual response giggling] but never heard anyone else do so.
Got to admit to feeling self-conscious carrying one son's pink love-heart handbag around after dropping him off though. It's really not my style.
It has some odd messages about ownership. http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/21_02/lego212.shtml
Reminds me somewhat of Thomas Paine's "Agrarian Justice" as well pedagogically as the teacher running a live experiment on racism using eye-colour (I'm sure you've seen it, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeK759FF84s).
Source: wife is a nurse (RN).
The link said average pay for RNs was $69,000
It's bizarre that you have more free time as a nurse to work on your own programming projects than you do in the tech industry.
1) Waterloo, which everyone sees as a ticking time-bomb because of Rim.
2) Mississauga, which is Toronto's sprawl and is where all our soulless corporate code is written.
Fortunately, I work for a hospital.
Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of great stuff going on in Waterloo and I love living here, but Toronto is so much bigger and has so many more opportunities its not funny.
Waterloo has a population of 100K people. If you include Kitchener and Cambridge then you're up to 400K.
Toronto on the other hand is the 10th largest city in the Americas. To put that into perspective for Americans, that means that if you live in a city in the states that isn't NYC or LA, then Toronto is bigger.
(I'm looking out the window from the Empire State Building right now.)
Technology even at its most complicated is hardly a comparison, but at its average? Heh. You can't compare any of it to caring for people while they are sick, get better or die.. with feeding them, taking care of their wounds, cleaning up vomit and feces, washing a dead body, being confronted with suffering and fear (as well as bravery and generosity beyond comprehension).
I never even worked as a "real" nurse myself, just in a close enough capacity for long enough to have some serious respect for cojones I simply don't have, not in the long run. A few years would be rough, but a career of it? Anyone who light-heartedly thinks they could hack that might be fooling themselves. Programming is "just" hard, but being a nurse is hard.. of course I can only speak for myself, but what kept me from becoming a "real" nurse wasn't anything I could have learned, no matter how disciplined; I just don't have it in me. On the other hand, I think at least smart people generally all could learn to program in just about any language if they really wanted to, and invested time regularly. I'm not trying to diss "the tech industry", but I do think firefighters and nurses and whatnot play in wholly different leagues, sorry :P
But I see your point.
They are as emotionally advanced as computer types are intellectually advanced.
Some of them are pretty damned intellectually advanced as well.
The point was that nurses have more emotional strength than most people.
I couldn't care less about who is getting into whatever field, though, so long as they are passionate about it - not just the paycheck.
Why does this only apply to women?
FWIW, before a flamewar starts, this observation is not to be construed as bigotry, but simply descriptivist.
(I found it interesting that the Berkeley enrollment statistics lump all latinos/hispanics into figure, but break out the individual percentages for each asian subgroup.
Why do people care about the numbers of women in Computer Science classes? Because, they say, it shows some inherent discrimination against women in the industry. (which totally exists, but mainly as a bigger cultural issue that affects everyone along gender lines) If you ask how that could be (as nobody is actually barring women from signing up for classes) the most popular theory is that gender stereotypes combined with an antagonistic male environment leaves women with little choice but to abandon the field.
So the answer has been to make more opportunity for women to join the industry by making it more attractive to them or reducing gender-related friction. Many employers are pushing to find more women in technology/computer science and give incentives to hire them, and in cases like this, change curriculum for schools to make the subject seem more "beautiful & joyful". And it seems like it might be working - more women are now in classes, and one would assume, may some day soon be evening the gender gap in tech jobs.
But what's the end result to merely bringing more women into the industry? Has the culture shifted? Are salaries evening out? Is sexism dead? The people pushing for more women in technology seem to think that by merely increasing the number of women in the field, all of these things will happen. But realistically, none of these things are accomplished just because there's more women in technology.
Compare it to when President Obama was elected, and certain people claimed "racism is dead" because we finally elected a black President. Is racism really dead? Did the culture shift to become more understanding? Did the overall quality of life for black people increase? Did they get higher salaries, or more economic or political power? My casual observation indicates these things did not happen. The culture was not affected, and so, the same institutional problems caused by problems in the culture persist.
And this is what will happen regarding women in technology. Anyone can change their experiment to fit their expected results, and then when they get those results claim they had success. But that's not a cause for celebration. What would be good is if we actually attack the cause of inequality - our cultural differences and biases - to make it so that women are not an exception to a rule, but an equal part of a common community. Merely adding more women to computer science classes is the equivalent of a misogynist saying "Sure, you can have a computer - in the kitchen." The sexism, gender stereotypes, and cultural conflicts will continue to exist until those are addressed directly.
This is a classic example of "moving the goalposts". By claiming that incremental progress doesn't matter (or is somehow detrimental) because of sexism elsewhere, you inhibit progress everywhere. By relying on strawman arguments and a false comparison to the election of Barack Obama, you implicitly frame any incremental achievement for women in CS as a failure.
 Referring to your, frankly, bizarre comment about a misogynist saying "you can have a computer in the kitchen". No idea what this is supposed to imply, or who exactly is saying it.
There's no such thing as "intrinsic value", and arguing based on it is a form of begging the question.
Gender balance is nice because it has certain effects that I happen to like. Such as not spending all day in a room full of only guys.
P.S., gender balance is "nice" for reasons that don't involve you as well. Really more about equal opportunity for women in this case, who face constant discrimination in CS, among many other fields.
But people claiming each other is giving strawman arguments is an infinite loop. So let me just address your point about gender diversity. Is it useful in general? Sure. Will it help you understand an algorithm's efficiency? Probably not.
There's a lot of different kinds of diversity we could be pushing for, like political, religious, economic, cultural, and racial diversity, but nobody's pushing for them. I suspect it's less that tech workers are inherently more sensitive to the needs of women, and more likely that lonely male nerds want women to gawk at in the workplace. This could be why none of them are actually discussing the issues that cause inequality and seemingly just want to get them to work in nearby cubicles. But that might be a big leap.
To elaborate on the misogynist comment, i'm saying getting more women into tech jobs won't make for a better working/living condition - they're still subject to the same problems that prevented them from going into the job in the first place. Example, when men started allowing women into the workplace (in general) in greater numbers. They allowed them in, sure, but still treated them like shit - and still do, for reasons other than simply access to the job. So pushing women into more tech jobs without working on the more important issues (inequality) just subjects them to more abuse, for example the misogynist kind.
That's not what I said, and your logic is also a poor example of syllogistic reasoning, which just refers to deducing a conclusion from two premises and is not fallacious by nature. I'm criticizing the part where you assume an indicator of progress (more women in CS courses) is unimportant or negative because of structural problems elsewhere. This is a defeatist attitude that's used over and over again to shut down social progress (we shouldn't help advance the careers of women in CS because there's sexism elsewhere!). Note that I am criticizing the logic of your post and not claiming that your singular comment has affected anyone anywhere.
...about gender diversity. Is it useful in general? Sure. Will it help you understand an algorithm's efficiency? Probably not.
So? That's not the issue at stake (although there is plenty of evidence that gender-diverse workplaces are more effective).
There's a lot of different kinds of diversity we could be pushing for, like political, religious, economic, cultural, and racial diversity, but nobody's pushing for them.
People are absolutely pushing for those things as well[2,3]. I have not heard much about political or religious discrimination in the tech world. I would be curious to see any evidence on the extent of those problems.
I suspect it's less that tech workers are inherently more sensitive to the needs of women, and more likely that lonely male nerds want women to gawk at in the workplace. This could be why none of them are actually discussing the issues that cause inequality and seemingly just want to get them to work in nearby cubicles. But that might be a big leap.
That is a mightily limited assumption (which also seems to imply that none of the people fighting for gender diversity in tech companies are women!) that I strongly disagree with. Think about how the current situation came about -- male-dominated cultures emerged at tech companies because the employees were almost all men. A workforce with a more balanced gender ratio would help bring about a more welcoming and equal culture, but since the culture discourages women from joining in the first place, it's necessary to have proactive measures to improve the balance. There are other factors in play, but it's really not too much more complicated than that.
So pushing women into more tech jobs without working on the more important issues (inequality) just subjects them to more abuse, for example the misogynist kind.
This, to me, epitomizes what I find so very wrong with your attitude, which screams "keep women out for their own good, because we're too hopelessly misogynistic to create a good culture for them." Punishing women by keeping them out of tech companies isn't a recompense for misogyny, it is an expression of misogyny. Tech companies ought to actively change their cultures by recruiting and hiring more women, not give up and use their own sexism as an excuse for keeping women away.
That's not what I was doing, actually.
> I have not heard much about political or religious discrimination in the tech world.
I didn't say there was discrimination on those fronts, I said there was a lack of diversity.
> Think about how the current situation came about -- male-dominated cultures emerged at tech companies because the employees were almost all men. A workforce with a more balanced gender ratio would help bring about a more welcoming and equal culture, but since the culture discourages women from joining in the first place, it's necessary to have proactive measures to improve the balance. There are other factors in play, but it's really not too much more complicated than that.
Other factors... like gender roles, sexism, rape culture, inherently lower salaries, and every other form of discrimination against women? I guess it is easier to simplify everything into "there were more men than women, and so we should just add more women, which will make everything else okay" and ignore all the "other factors". But since it's all the "other factors" that led to this situation in the first place, perhaps they should be addressed, and not dismissed to make it easier for you to think about.
It's a complicated problem, and so people try to find simple solutions. But if the only thing you do is hire more women, the problem will not get solved. It will perhaps become a way to ignore the problem ("we have all these women in technology now! what gender stereotype?") or cover up the problem ("my best friend at work is a chick and loves making fun of women! what sexism?") or use the situation for more discrimination ("man, ever since all these women joined the job i can't get anything done"), etc. There are so, so many ways that things could get worse by ignoring the bigger picture and only focusing on job numbers.
There's a lot of discrimination out there. Try telling black people they need to wait until there are more women in IT. Try telling gay people that. Or try telling indian workers they need to wait until women get a higher salary before they're allowed to be paid the same wages as white people. These problems all need solutions, but they all have different origins. Just hiring an equal amount of all kinds of people would still leave institutionalized racism, sexism, and all other kinds of isms, because all the origins of the problems would still exist in the culture.
> This, to me, epitomizes what I find so very wrong with your attitude, which screams "keep women out for their own good, because we're too hopelessly misogynistic to create a good culture for them."
You have it backwards. I was saying that because we're (currently) hopelessly misogynistic (amongst other things), we are keeping women out, and we should fix the former to help fix the latter. Did I at any time advocate keeping women out of a job? If that's what you read, you were only interpreting what you wanted to. We're trying to accomplish the same thing and you're making me out to be an oppressor.
I want everybody to have a job, and I want nobody to be discriminated against. So I want all people to have an equal opportunity in all fields. But are HR departments going to start hiring exactly equal quotients of every single kind of background? Fuck no, that would make no sense... Even if you could find an female irish black gay republican and a male asian transgender hindutva and a russian cis male muslim, you're probably not going to find enough of all these people to hire exactly proportional to make sure everyone is represented.
Now, if you want to make sure there are more women (or any kind of person) to hire from, you get more of them interested in school and a career. And how do you accomplish that? By reducing the sexism and gender bias from video games, television, movies, computer labs/irc/forums, and challenge both boys and girls to rethink how they relate to one another so that they don't polarize on socialization or special interests. If you think just hiring more people today will accomplish that, I disagree.
Hopefully one day the minorities will outnumber the majority for the first time. :)
Coming soon to HN ..., boys only code classes, special boys only STEM days, toys designed to interest boys in STEM, books with male characters doing computer-y stuff, etc..
I tutor coworkers in exchange for food and beer. My policy for math and CS is this - if you give me an example, I will walk you through the example with as much detail as you want, but I will not do anything other than proofread your assignments after they've been created.
Good: Student has an assignment to do quicksort on an array of integers. He has difficulty with array syntax and asks me to walk him through basic array operations. He then has difficulty grasping what exactly quicksort is doing and asks me to walk him through a quicksort operation by hand. After this, he feels kind of confident and tries making a function. It doesn't work, and he can't find the problem, so he asks me to help debug the program.
Bad: "Oh man, I don't get this quicksort stuff at all. Can you, like, help me?"
(Cue frustrating half hour where the person shows that he barely grasps the concept of a variable and doesn't give a fuck about the class)
"Uh, I gotta turn this in at 11:59 tonight. I need this now."
The person who pulled the latter with me was male. I said "no" and watched him fail the class.
It doesn't matter how many men or women work in particular careers. Technology is only singled out because the pay is high. Where are the articles about the lack of women in welding?
I'm sure it's very easy to say that gender inequality in the workplace doesn't matter at all when you are not the one affected by it.