I'm an ardent supporter of the effort, and I hope (much like startup school) that YC is able to make it into an annual event! Very inspiring! Also, my wife is in attendance. I look forward to hearing her reactions later tonight. If the live stream is any indicator, it looks like a really great event.
On the flip side, there is an equally powerful emotional appeal to support an event like this when wife, daughter, girlfriend, female friend would like to attend. Though that might be more about the relationship of you and the person and less about the merits of the event.
Since when is that a bad thing?
On the flip side, there is an equally powerful emotional appeal to support an event like this when wife, daughter, girlfriend, female friend would like to attend.
That's a very Christian take on the subject and one that more people need to get rid of. A woman is not "made of man"; a woman's worth does not come from her relationship to a man. No one's worth comes from someone else's existence.
I wouldn't say it's Christian as in, Christian and only christian, I'd say its a traditional male view, Chivalric leanings are common in a lot of other societies as well.
A strict Judaic interpretation of a woman's value is not what I was trying to get across (not sure if this is more a reflection of your confirmation bias, or my ignorance of my biases).
It was more of a: 'I know you, and here's an event catered for you and your interests, thus I support it vicariously through you'. I am using these pronouns to emphasize that they are female because this event is related to gender and the intended audience being male, and to demonstrate relationship proximity. Swap out the event from female to black, and change it to black wife/husband, son/daughter, boyfriend/girlfriend, friend and I guess it would read a lot less like your interpretation.
As for worth, that's really in the territory of belief and philosophy, i.e. Trolley Problem. Your actions in the events of picking between people to support demonstrates your projection of worth which some would say is the same as worth.
What is a "Christian take", here?
- Refering to people by their role in your life? That is an incredibly common way to refer to people, whether that person is man or woman.
- It having an appeal because it supports people in one's life? That is possessive? Being encouraging because people that you care about, care about it? I'm at a loss.
Always sticking with your own lot and never completely opening up to a new culture (in my opinion) isolates you and makes you look standoffish.
I don't really have a problem with women-only 'spaces', anyway, as long as they don't interfere with my schedule - like going to the gym and finding out that they are having a women-only day/evening.
(When I lived abroad I didn't know anyone in that city who was from my own country, during that whole stay. There were people from my own country, but I didn't bother to seek them out. The closest I got was other foreigners.)
My personal experience is that there are fewer Black and Hispanic high tech workers than pretty much any other demographic, including women, if you get out of the big cities.
I wish the answers were clearer, but all I can say is that if women are actually discriminated against, then giving them their own space is OK.
For those who hire, do you pay women developers less than male developers of the same skill level?
I'd wager the answer is "no".
...and it might not be. Still completely irrelevant to this event or these speakers.
Skill level perception is influenced by gender, even for experts.   Unless hiring managers are blinding the process by which they determine skill and/or pay, then they could well be paying women less even if they think they aren't.
 http://www.pnas.org/content/109/41/16474.full  http://www.nber.org/papers/w5903
Otherwise in tech, it's just so foreign to me. I take the time to try and learn about each person and don't generally see their gender at all, unless I'm trying to date them. Perhaps it's because I have a daughter and a sister who are both into tech.
Or maybe I secretly think my daughter and sister are less competent than their male peers... In truth, my sister appears to me more competent than her bf who is in the same field and it's nothing to do with gender. My daughter always compares herself to those who are better so it's frustrating, to say the least. "YOU'RE GOOD!" "NO, NOT AS GOOD AS <OTHER PERSON WHO IS BETTER>". Argh.
I guess all this female discrimination just hasn't existed for my own personal interaction with others, not to say that women haven't experienced it. I suspect when they get into mothering age, they have to make a decision to further their career or their family which is probably where a lot of the "gap" comes from.
Interestingly, my daughter's school tries to indoctrinate certain lines of thought into them and hearing her opinion on it is always enjoyable to me. Generally, she is of the opinion that men and women are different, make different decisions based on their personal experience and as such, are responsible for their outcomes. I'm sure a lot of that comes from me, but I'm glad she is a critical thinker. She specifically says she doesn't understand why there is a "girls who code" and refuses to go there, even though I've encouraged her to go.
This summer, she will be joining a programming class with 17 year olds, and she is 13. To say I'm proud of her would be understating it. My opinion on this topic may change, depending on her experience there, since this would be the most likely equivalent to her future working life experience.
For what it's worth, I coach a kid's sports team and the only girl there constantly complains about the boys calling her names. Here's the thing: the boys call each other names and fart on their faces too. What should I be doing? I told her parents that I don't think I should baby her and over the period of a few weeks, she actually became more confident to the point where she was a star player in a recent game.
Before anyone chides me for being off-topic, the reason I say this is to explain why my opinions are the way they are.
So, can we hear from women who are actually IN TECH, who are provably competent (link to github?) and who can demonstrate that they experience discrimination? Because, so far, all I've heard is speculation from journalists and eavesdropping evangelists who can't take a joke. I remember being quite impressed with a security hacker who has been posted here before and I did not see any blog posts by her bemoaning discrimination.
I have a vested interest in getting at the truth, for reasons I hope are obvious. I want my daughter to be happy in tech and if she won't be, then I need to help her find something else she enjoys!
I've talked to plenty of women who have experienced discrimination. But I doubt any of them would post here.
Why? Well, look at your criteria. They have to "prove" themselves competent. And then they have to "demonstrate" discrimination. You've set yourself up as some anonymous internet judge of their qualifications. And of whether their discrimination is real enough. And who's the audience? A bunch of mostly-anonymous mostly-privileged mostly-dudes on a site where there is plenty of previous sexism. Gosh, sounds fun.
It is exactly nobody's job to prove this stuff to you. Sexual discrimination is pervasive in our society. No need to take my word for it; go read Everyday Sexism or Project Unbreakable. Or the many, many women publishing on this, both in tech and elsewhere. And if you'd like to question your own biases, go take the tests at Project Implicit and see how you do.
If you'd like to believe with no hard evidence that tech is the one special, magical place that is different, I'm not doing to try to talk you out of it. But if you're serious about preparing your daughter to work in tech, and preparing tech for your daughter, then I think you should question the assumption that, as we undo the effects of millennia of societal gender discrimination, the space around you just happens to be the one that has totally cleared that.
Can you talk about this every day discrimination some more?
History definitely shows women as being subjugated to men. But how is it possible then that a woman philosopher was so sought after both for her intelligence as well as her charm? How did Cleopatra come to be such an iconic figure in history? Clearly some women were able to make their marks on history.
Perhaps women were "subjugated" because technology didn't allow the literally weaker sex to leave the household as it does now. Having kids must have meant that one of the parents had to choose to care for the home since technology did not allow the household efficiency that it does now.
Also, read the biography of any pioneering female in any profession at all.
And consider educating yourself a little further before floating hypotheticals. If I say, "Perhaps Microsoft dominated for so long just because they made a really awesome product that everybody loved," or "perhaps the intelligence agencies are really only collecting the data they need to keep us safe", people here on Hacker News would mock me for not having done the slightest homework. Yes, those are reasonable questions to ask. But they aren't good ones to offer in the middle of a serious discussion. At best, it forces other people to spoon-feed you basic facts if they want useful dialog. At worst, it makes you look like a troll.
Nobody owes you a conference without the word "female" in the name, or one not featuring female founders speaking about their successes and failures. Get over it.
Unbunch your panties, Internet person. I suspect they will give you a heart attack.
"I'm an ardent supporter of the effort" is in specific reference to the conference, not an invitation for you to play topic-association and share your musings on what male/female ratio is appropriate in the tech industry.
It's irrelevant, but more importantly it's a fucking farce to try to hide behind a professed search for "truth" while turning an exploration of actual female experiences in the tech industry into a discussion of your thoughts on whether or not we should encourage more women to enter the tech industry. Own up to it and move on.
I always thought it was that they wanted a 50/50 split which never made sense to me. After reading the recaps of the female attendees, it hit me.
As for the on-topicness of the initial post, guilty. I had just read the "no gender pay gap in software" and so my mind was in that mode.
When you collect a few more life experiences, perhaps get a decade of career under your belt, you'll learn how toxic it is when monocultures form. You'll learn about the blind spots. The exclusion. The lack of productive conflict from varying ideas.
And perhaps at that point you'll learn why "caring about people in tech" means caring that no people feel actively excluded from its prosperity.
Until then, your callousness makes you emphatically the sort of dime-a-dozen, utterly common, entirely unoriginal personalities that make me want to walk out of this industry and lock the door behind me forever.
Good luck on your journey.
Perhaps when you collect a few more life experiences, you will realize that saying "When you grow up/stop being immature/a child/etc you'll share my opinion on X, Y, and Z" isn't providing any support for your positions, and even if you was, it is not an effective argument either.
To me that looks more like a literary construct (intended to make the argument more "beautiful", if that is the right word) rather than a logical construct. I read the "meaning" of their post as: "After I got some experience/a decade of career under my belt, I learnt how toxic ...". Except phrased in a more "literary" way.
If the point of discussions on hackernews is just to take a roll call of opinions, then the first two posts in this thread are on the right track. But if the purpose of discussions are to inform, and persuade, then I would say the posts failed miserably.
I personally would expect that the representation of a given gender, religion or race in an arbitrary body (a school, a company, an industry, a governing body, etc.) would pretty closely match the representation of the gender/religion/race/etc. in society at large.
The tech industry is clearly falling flat on its face when it comes to adequate representation of women.
Do you really need me to spell out why this is a good thing?
> the representation of a given gender, religion or race in an arbitrary body (a school, a company, an industry, a governing body, etc.) would pretty closely match the representation of the gender/religion/race/etc. in society at large
is necessarily true. I mean, how does one come up with a normative stance on the relationship between proportion in a group vs. global population? Given a perfect world free of discriminatory attitudes, would this principle naturally hold?
The distribution of professional basketball players is always going to have more of the tall group than the short group, simply because the rim is arbitrarily at 10 ft.
If a particular ethnic group happens to be taller on average than another, it's likely they will be more represented amongst professional basketball players, all other things being equal.
What we want is not proportionate representation based on arbitrary groups, but rather the correct representation. We want the best basketball players to be playing basketball, because that makes it more fun for the rest of us to watch.
Let me reiterate what I infer from your words: 'black people are naturally more athletic, so they should keep playing basketball, and leave all that pesky business and government-running to white people.'
I was literally thinking about the Dinka tribe from Sudan (who are very tall on average) and the Pygmy tribes of the congo (who are very short on average). Google them for data.
Alternatively, you can look at the well-studied difference in height between men and women. Do you deny this exists?
I could have just as well used tennis, where the vast majority of top players are white or soccer (where there's a quite proportionate distribution within the countries that play). In tennis, the ideal height is between 5'10 and 6'2. If you are much shorter, you have a disadvantage in serving. If you're much taller you have a disadvantage getting to low balls.
What I meant is that it's highly unlikely that the particular set of characteristics that determine success in any endeavor will be spread evenly amongst arbitrary groups. It doesn't matter what those groups are. We want the best set of individuals for the job, whatever it is.
danilocampos' post has no argument at all. It's just a carefully constructed pile of pathos.
You hear from people who are physically handicapped that the thing they hate most is the contrast in treatment. They want to be treated normally.
A different person in a different perspective gets treated differently because they are viewed as different. A common complaint. Is he being empathetic or indifferent? I dunno, but it's hard not to say to yourself "Women are being treated differently, that is what is keeping them out, so I will endeavour not to treat them differently."
Is that misguided?
Women are being treated differently, that is what is keeping them out, so I will endeavour not to treat them differently?
The flaw here is the fundamental flaw in libertarianism: there is no mechanism for evening the playing field. People who already have significant advantage get to keep their significant advantage. Being born into wealth doesn't just mean you have money - you also get a social network, plus you grow up learning about how to handle money and assets, amongst other things. Having classes intended to help people not born into privilege is about trying to level the playing field, not oppress the privileged.
Sometimes I wonder just how many of the vocal "how dare women get their own classes" crew have anything to do with providing education at all.
Your ramp example is spot on. And to take it a little bit further. Some of the posters in this thread are at the top of the stairs, staring down at everyone who can't get up them AND refusing to help them. The fact that these people are validating these attitudes in a way that actually serves to destroy their own point just shows that people in this thread with these views have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.
If you are uninformed/ can't follow your train of though to its logical conclusions PLEASE do some reading.
Able-bodied people can use ramps too. If I were in a wheelchair, I'd prefer my friends to walk beside me without talking the whole time about how tragically victimized I am by the existence of stairs and other devices employing 90 degree angles of oppression. I'd definitely be even more annoyed if "well meaning" "activists" tried to ban my able-bodied friends from using the ramps alongside me.
Also, you just compared the relative ability of men and women to succeed in the tech world as the former being like a person who can walk unassisted and the latter being like a person who is significantly crippled. Given that success in the tech world is largely due to mental ability instead of physical ability, you might want to find a different way to word it to avoid unpleasant implications.
I'm confused by the way you mention class privilege and then assume that somehow this means that women are disadvantaged. Women control 70% of global [consumer] spending. Are you proposing men-only scholarships to fix this?
>"how dare women get their own classes"
When even ACLU says you're on the wrong side of a civil rights issue, it may be time to reconsider your stance.
"Two centuries later, women -- who control more than $20 trillion or about 70 percent of global consumer spending -- account for only about a tenth of the voting power on the world’s key interest rates"
You seem to be ignoring a pretty big 'but' there. Plus its 70% of consumer spending, not 'global spending'.
Then you described someone in a wheelchair as 'significantly crippled'.
Also, this poster's reference to ramps and stairs was a metaphor - a tool for understanding. Not literal.
What I got from their comment was nothing you seem to have. I think they were saying that we need to understand the ways people are excluded, and support them.
Where did I suggest this at all? You're projecting your issues onto me. I wasn't painting people with disabilities as tragically victimised or any of that other shit. I gave one example that happened to be about people with a disability, then talked about advantage and privilege as largely abstract concepts.
you might want to find a different way to word it to avoid unpleasant implications.
You might want to find a way to respond without putting words in people's mouths. The audience that would actually take what I said as saying that being a woman is a physical disability does not exist. It's a bogeyman used for arguments like yours. "But these hypothetical morons might take you the wrong way and take offense!". Well, if they do take offense, no harm done, because they're morons. You're also arguing from hyperbolic outliers - painting 'well-meaning activists' as the ones who fight to ban sharing the ramp (because that happens... how often?) rather than the ones who fought to have the ramp put there in the first place.
The irony is that you've just said you don't like people taking offense on your behalf, and yet here you are taking offense on behalf of these hypothetical morons.
Women control 70% of global [consumer] spending.
Yes, women do a disproportionate amount of shopping for staple items like food or clothing. This is not 'controlling the economy'. It's like saying that since most workers in hospitality are in their early 20s, this means that people in their early 20s know the most about fine dining, since they are the ones that handle the plates.
I'm confused by the way you mention class privilege and then assume that somehow this means that women are disadvantaged
This is a fair comment. I was responding to a comment about women with a more abstract comment about social advantage, using wealth as an easy example. It wasn't meant to be a causal relation.
When even ACLU says...
You also hear that they needed legislation to prevent employers discriminating against them and that the idea of reasonable adjustment was a powerful driver in in reasing employment among people with disabilities.
1) Check the origins of the term handicap - it is derogatory. I'm sure some people will call this OTT or political correctness but whatever. The term 'impairment' is a good choice, mobility impairment, physical impairment. To those reading this who think it is political correctness I will put it in hacker news terms: There are ways of referring to potential customers in a way that ensures nothing you say will stop someone using your service. Anyway, check this out if you are interested in that  - it is a history of meaning of commonly used terms used to refer to impaired individuals. I know this was not the main part of your post but I thought I might as well mention it. Disability studies is a growing field and might as well be promoted here.
2) In order for minorities, for instance disabled people, to gain equal rights - in this case equal opportunity of entry into CS fields, it serves the effort well to be a group of people. It brings confidence that you are right, that you must be taken seriously and that attention should be placed on the issue.
For instance. If I am in a wheelchair and I am being forbidden entry to a building because of no ramp, or if I am being mocked and belittled. These are experiences that non-impaired individuals can empathise with, but they have not experienced it. So if I have experienced oppression I want to talk to other people who have, figure out what is necessary to change it and build up a group of people that can symbolise to other impaired individuals that while they may have to put up with the shit they get from other people, it is those people that are wrong.
So, if you take out the oppression part and look at a different social experience it might become more obvious.
Lets say someone in your close family has died. Whenever it comes up with friends or acquaintances who you know haven't experienced it you might be met with pity, sympathy, apologies or whatever. It makes you cringe a bit because people skirt over the topic because they don't know how to deal with it. Then one time you are talking to someone and it comes up that you have lost a close family member and it turns out they have too, and in a very similar way to you. Not only do you instantly feel comfortable talking to this person about this topic because they have experienced it, you also get to discuss how everyone else is ill-equiped to deal with such news mid way through a catchup, or whatever.
What I am saying is that, in a field such as tech, I would not be surprised if women would feel most comfortable relating to women as it is something that defines their experience and they can relate to each other directly. So, having these female founders as proof, as encouragement and as a tool for not just solidarity amongst women in tech but ALL in tech (because think about it: how many non-gender specific founders conferences have been all men, without specified as such).
I think this is a good thing and I think that being indifferent to the problem is really not worth posting about on a forum. Good for you, you want everyone to be treated the same but you don't want to do anything about it. And you feel so strongly about it you decided to post it here (that is aimed at the guy you replied to, not you).
Change does not occur by ignoring difference. It requires being pro-active and the organisers of this conference and the females speaking at it are doing just that.
 - http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/files/library/Clark-La...
A fantastic explanation and I appreciate your measured tone against my own frustration.
> Is that misguided?
Being a woman isn't having a handicap. Being brown isn't having a handicap. At least it isn't to my mind. Is it to yours?
When you go and talk to people who are women or brown or some intersection of these, one thing that's clear is that they feel much more comfortable when interacting with other folks whose lives and paths look like theirs. Their life stories are different from those most commonly represented, so increasing representation means finding people who can speak from a common perspective.
And that's before I even get into the patterns of harassment and aggression that are reported to me consistently from every. single. female colleague I know. That's before getting into the challenges female founders face in presenting their companies to a VC industry that's overwhelmingly male and therefore under-equipped to evaluate a huge swath of verticals and opportunities.
None of this is abstract. All it requires is knowing people who aren't young, white males.
Is being handicapped a handicap? I can't walk. Am I handicapped when it comes to creating code, or starting an tech company? I'm not in my mind. Am I in yours?
> When you go and talk to people who are women or brown or some intersection of these, one thing that's clear is that they feel much more comfortable when interacting with other folks whose lives and paths look like theirs.
Good job of lumping billions of unique personalities into a single viewpoint. I'm sure some women and brown people feel that way. I'm also sure some women and brown people feel the exact opposite, and some women and brown people have an opinion that is neither of the two stated.
> And that's before I even get into the patterns of harassment and aggression that are reported to me consistently from every. single. female colleague I know.
Really? Every single female colleague you know consistently reports patterns of harassment and aggression? Did you ever consider that maybe your workplace is broken, and not society? Why isn't your workplace getting rid of the harrassors and aggressors, or taking any action at all to fix its obvious brokenness?
> All it requires is knowing people who aren't young, white males.
I'm not young, and I'm not a white male. But that's also irrelevant.
The rest of what you said is silly and not really worth responding to, but I was a dick and need to own that.
(I also hated the disability metaphor.)
> I don't care about women in tech.
... > I care about people in tech.
Why would you conclude my position was:
handicapped -> different perspective
women -> different perspective
women -> handicapped
I agree completely. I'm way more comfortable with my tech friends (of any race, sex, or ethnicity) than I am with people who have a single or multiple exterior characteristics in common with me.
It's HOW and WHAT you think that matters, not what you look like. Being subjected to the discriminatory policies people like you keep forcing on us "for [your] own good" only reinforces our desire to both perceive and be perceived for our minds, not our bodies. This was once readily available in tech; thanks to your efforts, it is now a much rarer experience.
If you have to misrepresent the views of those you disagree with in order to argue your own point, it might be the case that your own argument has no value.
I would say that people that make such statement don't care how people feel. If you can't behave, do please walk out.
>You'll learn about the blind spots. The exclusion.
>you'll learn how toxic it is when monocultures form
>The lack of productive conflict
Said the SJW to the minority, with absolutely no self-awareness at all.
Pro-tip: women are capable of independent thinking. Some of them are not going to agree with what you decree is best for them.
The people attending Conj are bright, well-spoken, polite. I didn't meet a jerk in three years, a crowd I was proud to be seen with. But WHERE WERE THE WOMEN? What is going on here?
We must do something. I don't know what. I'll agree with you that exclusionary events are counterproductive, but I can't see the harm in recognizing successful women who can show us how it's done.
My take has always been that women are simply too smart to enter IT.
And perhaps the support of segregationist policies is the thing we're doing wrong.
However, you have a very testable hypothesis here with the idea that these policies are the source of the inequality. And much like "Wet ground makes it rain," the hypothesis is easily disproven by considering the order that the correlated things happened in. The ground gets wet after it rains, and these events started being organized in response to the conditions you're suggesting they may have caused.
I assume that by "these events" you mean events targeted towards women. I never claimed anything about what events targeted towards women cause. I only mentioned events which support segregation, of which these events are a subset.
Let's hear your proposal for addressing the already segregationist technology industry.
Let's hear your proposal for elevating female/non-white founder percentages out of the single digits.
What've you got?
I'm doing something
something has been done.
full disclosure: I have no skin in this game, nor opinions. Just making an observation.
Stop supporting segregationist policies.
Definition of segregation for your convenience:
the action or state of setting someone or something apart from other people or things or being set apart
If you truly care about people in tech, you should applaud any well-meaning effort to get more people excited about tech, such as this, irrespective of how the event is phrased.
That this particular event is geared towards women doesn't prevent other events targeted to other groups: a conference for older founders, for example.
Moreover events geared towards underrepresented groups have a greater practical effect for getting people into tech, because people from these groups sometimes feel like they don't belong and avoid events like Startup School or PyCon.
I doubt, for instance, holding a "male founders conference" would have much of an effect: it's not like anyone from that demographic, like myself and probably yourself, feels alienated at tech events. But no one is stopping you from trying to organize such an event. It's just unlikely anyone will attend, since they'd have nothing to gain.
In the 90s, there was a networking group called The Indus Entrepreneurs, which aimed to help Indian immigrants start companies, get funding etc. Nowadays, the idea of having an tech group for Indian people seems ridiculous: because there are so many successful Indians in tech.
In 10 years, here's hoping that these efforts will make having a female founders conference seem just as ridiculous. But right now, caring about people in tech includes caring about getting more women into tech.
What if it was phrased "whites in tech". Would you be okay with it?
I wouldn't even be against it, I would likely just not care about it (what's the point).
When Whites are an oppressed minority, sure.
If you want to fix scenarios that look segregationist, fix the root cause. Reinforcing one segregation that appears to be a polar opposite of what you have too much of is just as damaging. it's not a tipping scale scenario.
How? Just tell women to stop feeling marginalized?
There are countless subtle ways a all-male (or all-female or all-Christian or all-straight or all-gay or all-white or all-black or all-[insert demographic here) subculture will do things unwittingly that make people not in that demographic uncomfortable. As a member of the majority in almost every respect, I've rarely experienced that, but I'm not so self-absorbed to insist it's not a real, legitimate thing that happens. Identifying each and every one of these things is nigh impossible. Convincing everyone to STOP doing these things IS impossible. So what do we do? We attack it the only way we can: identify and point out what issues we can (the happy majority will inform us that they're silly, over-sensitive complaints) and do everything we can to bring in people who can change that culture simply by being there, being someone who is NOT part of the problem culture.
But we're too damn busy being offended by this conference and threatened by the idea that there's subtle sexism in the tech industry (or the world) to even try listening to any sort of feminist theories about privilege and power and marginalization.
I know, modern feminist theories about oppressive patriarchal culture sound really, really outlandish at first, and my first instinct was to reject them and just say "everyone's equal; let's treat them equally". Many are stated really inflammatory and surely some are way off-base.
But shit. The world's a fucked up place. And if you start looking at what earns people respect and power and what invites derision, you begin to recognize that maybe this overly-sensitive complaint about subtle sexism, and that gripe about feeling uncomfortable as a minority in a group, and it all starts to reveal itself as, well, reality. It's hurting us as a group, and it's oppressive each one of us as individuals. (Unless you're a handsome, masculine, white, Protestant, alpha male, football-playing frat bro, in which case maybe you're 100% on the privileged side--congratulations!)
(Sorry, this rambling rant isn't really directed at you. It's directed at most every comment here, and the tech industry, and the world.)
I've often experienced that. I'm experiencing it right now, in multiple places in this discussion.
>And if you start looking at what earns people respect and power and what invites derision...
...you would find that as science predicts, class privilege is the greatest factor in success.
I am simply upset at the idea that people think that large problems that were caused by painting with 'too wide a brush' can be solved by exactly the same methodologies.
If I started a gay male-only developer conference, people would freak. If I started a female to male transsexual only conference, people would freak. If I started a socialist dog-only developer conference , people would freak.
It's not that people are against a certain ethos or political movement. That's not why they are upset. People get upset at exclusion, and by creating these specialist conferences, we do nothing but further an exclusionary rift that we already know exists.
If that's what you think, then you have a pretty shallow understanding of the issue. That's OK. People have shallow understanding of all sorts of things. Maybe you should keep quiet about it instead of embarrassing yourself, though?
Why is it that SJW types are so quick to insult and demean anyone who disagrees with them? It's very unpleasant. Your beliefs are not the forgone conclusion you treat them as.
Is this the angle that you're coming from now? I thought that it was liberals and white knights and feminists that were so thin-skinned and sensitive?
At any rate, you've not really addressed my comment (the one you're replying to) - but I do feel as though your reply is meant to mock me, which, to my thinking, reinforces said observations. Excuse me if mockery wasn't your intention.
If Crake has such as a shallow understanding of the subject, as you say, perhaps you could enlighten all of us with your deep understanding of the subject? Merely asserting that someone's incorrect doesn't carry much weight by itself. This might lead one to think that you're unable to demonstrate the validity of your assertion by argument - i.e., that your statement is invalid.
Calling an event that is trying to integrate a community "segregationist" is about as ridiculous as it gets.
the funny thing is that you see nothing ridiculous about trying to use this as a hypothetical counterpoint.
I am having a hard time picturing exactly what that could be. Law enforcement, maybe? Romance literature?
though... that was because I did not read the title clearly.
After reading namenotrequired's comment I clicked.
I've tried to avoid this inane discussion, but realizing that you're probably misinformed rather than malicious, I thought I'd chime in.
Feminism is egalitarianism. Feminism literally means that women should be equal to men. I'm not going to argue with you about so-called "segregationist" policies, because it seems like we'd come to a stand-still. The only thing I'd like to point out is that we should all be feminists, because the only alternative is sexism. Seriously, look it up.
If you've had a bad experience with radical women who say "all men are pigs," please don't use that as a reason to not support true feminists (such as myself), who (among other things) are trying to rectify the atrociously low ratio of women in tech.
Yes, we all want a meritocracy. Yes, there's something that we're doing to prevent more women from entering the field. Yes, we need to change that.
Actions speak louder than words.
>The only thing I'd like to point out is that we should all be feminists, because the only alternative is sexism.
I have chosen to identify as an egalitarian. Please don't remove my agency. I have very good reasons not to identify with an ideology that cannot even agree on what it is, and has done considerable harm to both myself and many others in the past and present.
I think you can be a feminist and still be a good person. I think it's silly to imply that in order to be a good person, you have to be a feminist.
Please, do some cursory research and you will see that women really are badly outnumbered in tech.
That's not a guarantee of equal outcome, though.
Hacker School has special funding for women wanting to apply and while I consciously ignore this, sub-consciously, I feel that I have a less likely chance of getting in so why bother applying.
That said, I don't see why any man who isn't able to fully fund his stay, shouldn't be able to apply for a HS grant. If its for encouragement, then it would seem discouraging to those that can't apply for it. I'm not in this boat, but I can think of a few people who should go to HS but just can't afford to.
Edit: Oh, and also because it didn't appear on the front page until ~30 minutes after it started (though it had appeared on new a few times).
Sorry, I'm afraid that reference is lost on me :(
This one is quite different though, it's actually about female founders, not just targeting girls for coding.
The ? (question mark) and ! (exclamation point) when combined so ?! usually denotes (connotes?) baffled incredulity or something similar.
From good ol' Wiki P, "The exclamation mark is sometimes used in conjunction with the question mark. This can be in protest or astonishment ("Out of all places, the squatter-camp?!"); a few writers replace this with a single, nonstandard punctuation mark, the interrobang, which is the combination of a question mark and an exclamation point." ps: when Wiki P says 'a few' here please read 'hardly any'.
>For those who wouldn't click cause it's "Female Founders" - so far it's been just as inspiring as Startup School (even for me as a man).
I'm not going to put words into your mouth. Can you explain what you meant by this using a different set of words?
"I know this conference is clearly targeted to women, but it's interesting and inspiring to all (aspiring) founders, so I recommend men don't let themselves be put off by that"
Most of us are familiar with passive aggressiveness, though. Playing dumb in the face of it is one way of deflecting it.
This thread is 100% nerdy dudes feeling offended by this event, plus other dudes attempting to counter this.
Is not this thread itself indicative of a giant problem?
Whenever gender and software appears in a discussion, the same bs comes out every time. It's so predictable now you can just skip these sort of thread.
"anyone who disagrees with me is a man! "
There are plenty of women here. You're just choosing to ignore and erase their existence because it invalidates your religion.
Seriously though, I am not a proponent of gender restricted events, but I have not commented on this particular thread because I wanted to watch the content first, and it's not really the place for such discussions.
That said, others may feel differently, having not participated in prior conversations on this topic, and thus, the label you've applied to opponents is unnecessary and unfair.
If you've gone through the online YC application process, imagine you dumbed that down for a 10 year old who only had 10 minutes to complete it and only had to answer one question, along the lines of "Why is America the best country on Earth?"
Here's the rejection email my wife got for those that are curious:
Thank you for applying to the Female Founders Conference. Unfortunately we couldn't accept you this year. There was such a large number of applications that we had to turn away hundreds of people we would otherwise have accepted.
We will be streaming the event live on our website, and are looking into options for even larger venues in the future. We really hope you will apply again.
Y Combinator Team
 Bonus points for anyone who gets that reference. :)
In all seriousness, if that's the application, both the Startup School and the Female Founders Conference should just do a randomized allocation.
I attended AdaCamp last year and it was fascinating. In previous AdaCamps they'd tried mixed-gender stuff. At mine, though, they did an "allies" track for guys (and any women who wanted to pop in).
It felt a little weird being excluded from the main track, but honestly, it made sense to me from the moment I arrived. Suddenly, for the first time at a conference, I was part of a small, visible minority. It was uncomfortable. Everybody was perfectly nice, but I was acutely aware that I did not look like everybody else.
That made it easy for me to imagine how empowering an experience it could be to for the women at AdaCamp to experience a women-only environment at the conference. It reminded me of the time I rode in Critical Mass: suddenly, because bikes vastly outnumbered cars, I felt free and safe in a way I had never experienced biking in the city.
So now I'm entirely in favor of things like this. To me, it's all part of tidying up the legacy of millennia of oppression of women. In 50 years, I hope it's not necessary. But for now, I say it's great.
EDIT Now it is over.
I see this all the time in my country (I don't know if this is the case here) but females get a lot more attention in basically all areas of society and I don't think much good can come from that.
Well, I guess I'm just trying to write as a man in the extremely feministic country of Sweden I kind of feel left out and viewed as "not as important" as the counter gender. Since I am quite young and the feministic views here just has grown stronger with the years, this feeling has grown on me since I started elementary school.
Now in my twenties, I don't think it's that weird I think feminism is possibly one of the worst phenomenas in my country and the world in general.
Look around you: assuming you're in IT, unless you work in a truly remarkable place men considerably outnumber women. We (and I mean the egalitarian "we") have to do something about that.
I'd welcome your suggestion. But "start treating everybody as equals" is a goal, and not very prescriptive. How do we get from point A to point B?
(I upvoted you because your discourse is reasoned and polite.)
Why? What is that evidence of? You assume sexism presumably. Men and women are different and have predispositions to excel in different areas.
You know what would be really weird? A 50/50 split. Why is that the definition of correct?
Why are so few people rational about this?
Then how do you explain the radical skew toward gender imbalance that occurred after the field of programming came into being? Back in the 60s and 70s there were many more women in computing research than there are today. This is not because of "predispositions". It is cultural.
Women have more options now. They're choosing them.
Men have the same options now as they did then. They're choosing from a much more limited selection pool.
(For numbers see e.g. http://blog.fogcreek.com/girls-go-geek-again/)
"Right" and "wrong" are judgment calls, though most people do feel that keeping women out of a field with no natural barriers to them is wrong. Regardless of your personal values, the historical data shows that whatever barriers exist are not natural.
The fact is that CS -- or what people on HN call CS -- has changed massively in 40 years. For instance, startups barely even existed 40 years ago, and they certainly weren't as hyped as they are now. Furthermore, gender roles have changed in the past 40 years, as has female college admission.
There's something ironically conservative in democrat-styled liberals'  harking back to the CS of yesteryear where gender equality was the norm. Societies change, as do fields of work. If I had to take a pundit's guess at the reason, I'd probably say that we have similar raw numbers of women in the field now as then, but more men have flocked to the field as it's proved itself as an excellent means of generating wealth, thus upsetting the ratio.
In all honesty, if I were to guess at the reason there aren't many women in CS, I'd say it's because women don't tend to care as much as men do about generating wealth. Warren Farrell's 'Why Men Earn More' came to similar conclusions: that men are more disposed to taking nastier, more stressful jobs if the pay will be higher. If this is indeed the case, then it would seem that the easiest way to attract women to tech would be to get everyone -- irrespective of gender -- involved in CS at a young age, and allow them to see how fun it can be. If women genuinely do choose to work in careers that they find fulfilling, then this would achieve the goal of increasing the numbers of women in tech without having to discriminate in any way, simply by getting more women to self-select into tech.
 I must say, from the point of view of a UK liberal, there doesn't seem to be much liberalism in the US definition of the term. It seems closer to socialism from where I'm standing, with its heaps of top-down reforms and regulations. Yes, this is irrelevant, and no I'm not willing to defend this statement, since -- as a UK citizen -- I have no dog in this race.
Why are so many professional basket ball players black? Racism?
There is an implicit assumption in this and its validity is assumed. It is not being questioned.
I am really tired of hearing that. I do not think that is what women mean when they refer to someone as "creepy." Closer to "unattractive and won't give up in the face of no" perhaps.
Effective Strategies for Increasing Diversity in Nursing Programs
Seriously, I take your point about the differences between men and women. I saw the news tidbit a few weeks ago about the study on toddlers and the toys they prefer. I'm willing to treat those studies objectively.
Yet in the case I cited, fewer than three percent of attendees at a technical conference were women. "Predispositions to excel" or not, that's a statistic too big to ignore, and there's something else going on.
I'm skeptical when studies like that make claims about "intrinsic" gender differences because boys and girls are treated differently by adults pretty much as soon as they're born. Girls are told their dress is so pretty, boys are told they're so big, etc. I think of it kind of like, "Hey, don't you want to play with trucks? You really want to play with trucks, don't you?" And then — big surprise — two-year-old boys like trucks.
It has no basis in fact is my point really. And I'm uncomfortable in applying sexism as a solution to perceived sexism.
Im confused why everyone isn't uncomfortable with that.
The men currently in tech who support pro-female discrimination aren't going to be affected by it: they're already in tech, and they already had a chance to enter it before their asinine discriminatory policies came into effect. They benefit from feeling they've achieved some good (irrespective of whether they actually have). The same is true of powerful people who aren't dependent on an equal playing field, such as politicians, the wealthy, and current business leaders. Such people won't be affected by proposing a piss-poor solution, so if they can feel like a champ for doing so, then they'll do so.
A less cynical view is that such people are simply bad at logic; that they don't understand that you form theories from evidence, rather than using evidence to support theories. The trouble with all gender politics is that it's too emotional an issue. All parties feel threatened, and all parties feel that they're the ones being shafted. In an atmosphere so hostile to reason, I'm just grateful that no-one has jumped to gulags and gas chambers as a solution. Oh wait... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_for_Cutting_Up_Men
I am particularly perplexed by their discussion of what they term "the variability hypothesis", which states that because:
1- a higher statistical variance in the distribution of some attribute in one population vs another population leads to a larger difference in relative representation of the two populations the further from the mean you go (this is true a priori), and
2- men have a higher variance in "math ability" compared to women,
then we will observe a significant difference in representation between the sexes at very high levels of ability. The authors mention that there is in fact a negative correlation between gender inequality and variance in ability (i.e. the more equal a society is, by their metrics, the higher the difference in variance in performance is between the sexes), which seems to elegantly support the variability hypothesis, to my understanding. I wonder if there has been any follow-up to this paper?
It's irresponsible and misogynistic to assume this is true. Irresponsible as it's used as an axiom for powerful political movements, and you as a smart person, should confirm this (and not via feels) before stamping your name across it; there is nothing 'else' going on. Misogynistic because you disrespect a woman's agency to choose her own profession.
Something is going on.
And, they negotiate lower pay, so are less invested in the industry.
And, they find opportunities in other industries more enticing than men, so are more likely to jump ship for more pleasant pastures.
And, and, and shit that people in tech shouldn't bust a brain cell over figuring out and seeking rent to validate their feelings.
If you haven't had your warm fuzzies for today, go work a soup kitchen.
If you're the guy creeping women out, then work out and learn social skills.
This is not that complicated and it disappoints me to see it on hn.
Also w/r/t/ negotiation and pay, check out things like this: http://pwq.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/08/23/036168431245...
Policy makers, academics, and media reports suggest that women could shrink the gender pay gap by negotiating more effectively for higher compensation. Yet women entering compensation negotiations face a dilemma: They have to weigh the benefits of negotiating against the social consequences of having negotiated. Research shows that women are penalized socially more than men for negotiating for higher pay"""
At one company, I switched from W2 to being a contractor such that I could invest pre-tax in a different business. This company offered me a much higher hourly rate then I would have asked for on my own, asked me to work 40 hours/week, and then complained bitterly about how much I cost. What was I supposed to do, negotiate a lower rate?
If a woman doesn't value you, it's because of how you feel about them and not because you're not bulked up enough.
I honestly can't think of anything in the world that wouldn't be better if every skinny/fat guy started losing fat and gaining muscle.
Of course, you are correct in your statement that men outnumber women in the field of IT. But I disagree with the statement that we have to do anything special about that unless that special thing is the golden rule to treat others how you want be treated yourself.
I don't want to be put aside, or left behind just because there is less women in the job that I may apply to in the future. So I treat any such endeavor to endorse gender-promotion as a hostile action, because it is unless the goal isn't equality. I want people to have equal chance and the route we're on now is not heading in that way at all.
The goal is clear and so should the message be, the goal will be reached as any other goal gets reached. You take one step in the right direction and educate people on why it's important to treat each other as equals. If this path won't change, I will get older with the same views on the society I have now. Who knows, perhaps I will employ people in the future and I will bring my experience with it. As will a lot of other people with the same experience of getting put aside, left behind or not valued as they should because of their gender.
From my experience and if it carries on and get worse do you really think women (in this case) will benefit from that? All it says to me right now is to have suspicion against women in IT, since they're getting all kind of help to be promoted and their skills or experience may very well not be real. How may I know the difference? Will she deliver? All those questions and certainly there are a few will just make it easier for the employer to pick the employ the other gender. This is as well as true for women-dominated work environments.
I'm not saying I actually will do that if I become an employer, but as it is right now that's unfortunately the way it's headed and is the hard truth. There is a lot of people that feels like this, probably on both sides of the gender. Even if we get downvoted on community sites just because right now our thoughts are "wrong" it won't change the fact that endorsing a gender in the name of equality is not just a cruel thing to do, it's counter effective. It is easy to breed hate, it's a lot harder to get rid of it. Trust me, I am one of those people that will hate if it just continues.
Unless you have some magical way of forcing everyone to suddenly drop their prejudices, then there is a need for social activism. Sorry if that inconveniences you.
Your entire argument is a straw man. Who are these women being given more than a fair chance?
Bear in mind that the purpose of this "Female Founders" event is to show other women that there are successful women in technology. The idea is to inspire other women to get involved. We don't have "Male Founders" events because almost all "Founders" events would qualify.
Predicated on what? What's your proof that such prejudices exist, or that they're applied more so to women than men? Furthermore, what's your proof that discrimination is the form of social activism required to fix this unproved prejudice?
In any debate around this issue there seems to be a lot of working backwards from the evidence to whatever theory the commenter personally supports. People who want to believe that prejudice and sexism 'keep women down' cite the fact that men are predominant in tech. People who want to believe that men are more predisposed to enter tech than women cite the exact same evidence. This isn't how logic works. Unfortunately for the latter group, it's not possible to prove a negative (i.e. the absence of sexism), so the former group will actually have to present evidence showing that prejudice is the best explanation for the gender gap in tech.
>Who are these women being given more than a fair chance?
Ignoring the facile pretense that every tech event is somehow exclusive to men simply because more men choose to attend, I'd start off by saying that this event -- this event which is enforced as exclusively women-only -- is evidence of women being given gender-based advantages. It requires Orwellian levels of double-think to look at a female-only event and pretend such a thing isn't sexist, while at the same time decrying the sexism in tech from the mere unexplained fact that tech contains more men than women. But this event is too hot an issue for both sides for either party to concede that it's proof or disproof of a female advantage in tech.
Instead, I'd ask what you think constitutes fair, and what constitutes equality? It seems that the answer to this question is what really divides the two sides in this debate. I -- and I assume most who think events like this are destructive -- would answer that fairness and equality relate to negative freedom: the freedom from someone restraining you from pursuing your goals i.e. we would all be more equal if the only thing which stood between us and our goals were our own skill (or lack thereof). If you disagree with this goal, could explain why? And if you do not disagree with this goal, could you explain how you justify discriminatory events? (And if you could do so without sarcasm, that'd be fantastic, thanks.)
This guys has a point. Yea women where is the proof that you are prejudiced against except centuries of discrimination? The last western country to give women right to vote was in 1960s. Almost 50 years ago. The fact that you make 80 cents to every dollar a man makes is not a proof of any prejudice but a proof that women are genetically pre-disposed to making less money than men. Also, feminism is bad.
>I assume most who think events like this are destructive -- would answer that fairness and equality relate to negative freedom: the freedom from someone restraining you from pursuing your goals i.e. we would all be more equal if the only thing which stood between us and our goals were our own skill (or lack thereof).
Because this argument assumes a level playing field for everybody including no intrinsic factors like lack of role models, lack of representation and lack of societal support.
Here's another advice for you, what you are thinking are well-reasoned arguments are all the same arguments that come up time and again in Sociology 101 to being stated in every argument on gender and race related issues on Hacker News. So, go do some research make some new (but probably) misinformed arguments about how we live in a post-gender society instead rehashing the same bigoted crap all the time.
Women got the right to vote at a federal level in Switzerland in 1971.
> The fact that you make 80 cents to every dollar a man makes is not a proof of any prejudice but a proof that women are genetically pre-disposed to making less money than men.
No. You talk about sociology 101, so how about this nugget; making less money than someone has many more variables associated with it than discrimination (for example; part time vs. full time). This is practically an urban myth at this point. You can Google for refutations of it if you want (either 80 cents, or 77 cents) and you should be able to find a dozen decent ones.
You are wrong. It's not clear-cut. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_pay_gap for an introduction.
Are you suggesting that women are not prejudiced again in work-place and in technology?
> You can Google for refutations of it if you want (either 80 cents, or 77 cents) and you should be able to find a dozen decent ones.
I did. Here's what I found:
So okay, women don't make $0.77 for every dollar men earn. If we discard all the stuff the GAO found that definitely isn't related, women make $0.93 for every dollar men earn. So, is that somehow okay because it's "only" 7 cents?
As the previous studies cited were a 1993 study and a 1999 study covering Sweden, I thought it might be important to add some modern statistics into the mix.
The interesting part to me is on pages 84-86. If you look, you'll see the pay gap resulting from characteristics such as experience, difference in education, and difference in occupation (the three most usually cited to explain the wage gap) have narrowed significantly.
This is important because it showcases a societal shift in workforce population, from a 'glass ceiling' problem to a far more difficult one that is harder to define and fix.
Oh, you want proof? Here you go: http://programmersbeingdicks.tumblr.com/.
Ask any female programmer about it sometime. It'll be enlightening for you.
Maybe female founders inspire women which is completely fine and maybe almost all the other founders events would qualify for a "male founders" event. But it doesn't change that there probably is a lot people that want to attend and being recognized not welcomed since they have the wrong gender which is kind of the core of sexism.
My absolute main point is that sexist events are not ok whatever you like to dress it up as. My second main point is that I felt the sexism my entire life and every time it happens it disgusts me and if it continues I am afraid that I will become very sexist myself even if I'd like not to. I am seriously afraid for it to come to a point were protecting my interests means being sexist to people that did not have anything to do with the sexism inflicted on me.
Are you female? Because if you're not, you're probably not aware of them. Ask some of your female colleagues about it sometime.
You're confusing equal opportunity with equal representation. I don't know under what definition of "true equality" you operate in, but typically it refers to the former.
The perception of IT has been distorted by some glamorous startup success stories and their photo galleries of comfy office space with free cappuccino. The daily reality of most software engineers is much different.
Time will perhaps show the truth of those words - I'm sure you'll disagree for now.
That in no way points to inequality. It points to the fact that men and women want different things, and have different strengths and weaknesses.
The idea that there aren't as many women in IT as men because of some sort of discrimination is laughable.
The last 3 female co-workers we had to replace decided to be full time moms.
So, please, explain how lowering the expectations of every woman that soldiers on and not go be full time moms/wifes is improving our lives?
This is nothing but a short term gain with longer term side effects. A few women now cling to those handicaps to reap the easy benefits, while contributing to the overall notion that woman can't still be equal because, well, they still need the handicap.
But go on. convince yourself of what you want and enjoy the brief spotlight.
"In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread."
If you want true equality, you must help the downtrodden to rise up and stand as equals. These days, when someone in a deep hole is given a ladder to help them climb out, it's popular for bystanders on the sidewalk above to cry "It's not fair! Why don't I get a ladder? I'm being treated unequally!" Well, no. You don't get a ladder because you're not in a hole.
That's an oversimplification, of course. We all have our own holes, of varying depths, and for all our best efforts there still aren't enough ladders to go around, nor enough people to distribute them. I'm not sure what the solution is. But I'm pretty sure that demanding that we smash all the ladders isn't it.
I personally subscribe to the ethos of "two wrongs don't make a right".
Show us the evidence that men in Sweden are marginalised and I'll jump right on that anti-feminism bandwagon. I suspect I'll be waiting a while.
What irks me about modern feminism is the claim that women have it so bad in society, when really they have privileges everywhere. Including less pressure to make a good income, and therefore more freedom in choosing jobs (jobs that are more fun often pay less good). Some of those less attractive jobs include IT...
I mean I think it is OK if women have privileges - I've watched my wife give birth. That makes up for a lot of things. But to give privileges and then be accused is not appropriate.
On the assumption that you mean something else when you say "feminism", what do you mean?