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Y Combinator Female Founders Conference LiveStream (youtube.com)
203 points by ggreer on Mar 1, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 278 comments



To all the people kvetching in the comments... this is the live stream for "YC's Female Founders Conference" [1]. That's why "female" is in the post title.

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.

[1] http://blog.ycombinator.com/announcing-the-female-founders-c...


This conference was just amazing. It has amazing and insightful stories. If you don't believe me, just start watching from Jessica Mah's (from InDinero) inspiring tale: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=QDa...


I feel like a lot of the knee jerk negativity comes from the implication that the event is 'good', 'great', 'inspiring' because of it being <under-represented group> only. Sort of has that liberal agenda, politically correct twang to it that really seems to exist in America, at least in this form. It gives a circle jerk like quality to it. I was personally uncomfortable with attending events in a minority only engineer group for the same reason.

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.


I feel like a lot of the knee jerk negativity comes from the implication that the event is 'good', 'great', 'inspiring' because of it being <under-represented group> only.

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.


Eh, I broadly categorize knee jerk as a bad thing, but I'm really more about understanding an emotion rather than picking one to support an opinion on this matter.

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.

shrug


> 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.

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.


When people start whining about events or programs like this, I like to send them off to read "When I Moved Abroad"[1], a blog post by that was like flipping a switch in my mind that suddenly made these things make so much more sense.

[1] https://blog.mozilla.org/it/2013/03/29/when-i-moved-abroad/


As someone who has lived for fairly long periods in a country that is not mine, this is exactly the sort of thing I seek to avoid. I try to hang out with the people from the region, not people who I already can speak to in a familiar language. I try to absorb the local cultural contrasts and not try to shoehorn them into my own. ("Tell me again what the traditional Garistan Christmas cake is? " -- Maybe they don't celebrate Christmas? Could it just be possible that they belong to another culture / religion?)

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.


That made up travel blog is silly. As another person that has lived in countries other than where I grew up, it sounds to me like a recipe for ghettoisation and continuing isolation rather than a good strategy for a happy life in another country.


As someone who's lived a little in another country, I'm not really impressed by made up analogies like this.

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.)


What if only 10% of women are interested in working in tech but 20% of men are interested? (Random numbers not based in reality). Does a 50/50 split make sense?

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".


It's not a conscious choice people make. It's a subjective perception issue, which is harder to fix. Example: In a room with a male and a female founder, most people will ask the male for technical help, while assuming the female is less competent technically. Interviews are highly subjective, so is wage determination.


That might be because a lot of women prefer other fields. If you pick a random female and a random male, chances are the female has far less relevant tech experience than the male. Even in "tech," they're more likely to be HR, graphic design, or a paid tweeter like Adria Richards was before her lack of basic git hub knowledge led her to try to bully people out of their jobs.


> That might be because a lot of women prefer other fields

...and it might not be. Still completely irrelevant to this event or these speakers.


I can actually see myself doing this, if I didn't know both people. But is that because I'm male or because I think males are more competent? I don't know.


> For those who hire, do you pay women developers less than male developers of the same skill level?

Skill level perception is influenced by gender, even for experts. [1] [2] 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.

[1] http://www.pnas.org/content/109/41/16474.full [2] http://www.nber.org/papers/w5903


So the research you linked was about a science department and symphony orchestras which can be comparable. I can totally see discrimination happening there. I'd say the major comparable characteristic is elitism and status there, which I do not see as relevant in tech hiring. Perhaps at Google and Microsoft, since a job there = status.

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 think asking for that is not likely to go well.

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.


> as we undo the effects of millennia of societal gender discrimination

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.


You have ignored the meat of my comments and picked a small chunk to seize upon, which is generally a bad sign for dialog. So, directly addressing your point:

http://everydaysexism.com/

http://projectunbreakable.tumblr.com/

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.


What in the world does this have to do with the event or the parent comment? Do people really have no level of self-introspection to the fact that you're the one making the conversation about this? That your immediate response is to this instead of the actual content, and yet you feel compelled to share it with the world?

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.


Wait, what? The parent was the one who emphasized "female" and associated it with "kvetching". I was more thinking out loud in the first bit, and then agreed with his point.

Unbunch your panties, Internet person. I suspect they will give you a heart attack.


No, the top poster was explaining why "female" was in the submission name (it was literally the event's name and a description of the people who were invited to speak), with the hopes that people could focus on the content.

"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.


In thinking over the topic a bit more, as well as reading more on it, I think I've come to a more nuanced understanding about it all. It's not that people want a 50/50 split, it's that they want more women who want to be in tech, to be in tech.

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.

Carry on.

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.


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).


Agreed. I saw someone post the link on Twitter, and it was very interesting. Skipped back to the beginning and Adora Cheung's story (HomeJoy) just blew me away.


Ditto. Some great speakers and great nuggets of education! Watching it now :-)


Agreed! been watching the entire thing so far


I usually don't bother with links to things that are phrased in such a way as to suggest support of segregationist policies. I don't care about women in tech. I care about people in tech.


> I don't care about women in tech.

I've noticed.

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.


> 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.

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.


> 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.


That's fine. But it still doesn't attempt to show why it is toxic/bad/whatever.

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.


Inform:

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.

Persuade:

Do you really need me to spell out why this is a good thing?


Why would you expect that? Statisticians and scientists have to go to great lengths to get samples representative of the population at large, and I hardly think a business or industry is a proper random selection.


I tend to agree with your view, though I'm curious if this assertion:

> 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?


I doubt it, because the groupings you mentioned are themselves arbitrary. We could just as easily split society into tall people and short people.

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.


> 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.'


What!? Where did I say anything like that (I'm not even white, anyway, and I don't believe that regardless).

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.


> , it is not an effective argument either.

danilocampos' post has no argument at all. It's just a carefully constructed pile of pathos.


That's perhaps too harsh.

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?


So essentially you're saying that wheelchair ramps shouldn't be installed because we need to maintain an ironclad everone-gets-exactly-the-same-treatment position? A ramp serves only a very select part of the population, therefore it isn't 'fair' and should be shunned?

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.


People are ignorant to the material effects of oppression. I'm not sure how sometimes, especially on hacker news, since everyone in this thread wouldn't start discussing some small aspect of a programming language they have never used. But if they wanted to, they would look it up and the contribute. When it comes to anything social and therefore political people are throwing words around and they do not even understand what they are saying.

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.


That metaphor is funny, wouldn't you resent those posters if they did?


If they what?


At least with my own disability/disabilities, I much prefer people to act normally around me. I absolutely feel othered if people go on forever about it.

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.


I googled your 70% stat and found this [1].

"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.

[1] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-24/women-controlling-7...


I absolutely feel othered if people go on forever about it.

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...

Citation needed.


> 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.

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.


Hi there. I thought I would reply to your post in it's entirety, as a 'handicapped' person and as a person aware of why events like this are good, and not bad.

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 [1] - 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.

[1] - http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/files/library/Clark-La...


I appreciate the thoroughness of your response and would like to reiterate my apology[1] above. Engaging on the "handicap" angle as I did was insensitive and unnecessary. As you're someone with lived experience in that realm, I hate to have validated terminology that could be hurtful to you.

A fantastic explanation and I appreciate your measured tone against my own frustration.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7327360


It is absolutely fine! Seriously. Thank you for responding. I do not feel negatively toward you. It is not an individual problem. It is structural, which is why it should be combated as social groups (women, disabled, ethnic minorities).


Well said!


You're sure busy on this thread for someone who claims not to have opinions or skin in the game.

> Is that misguided?

Completely.

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.


> 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?

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.


I typed that from a perspective of gross ableism and that was entirely insensitive. Please accept my apologies for that.

The rest of what you said is silly and not really worth responding to, but I was a dick and need to own that.


You disagreed with him, there's no way you could be anything BUT a young white male! Stop appropriating your own oppression!

(I also hated the disability metaphor.)


Actually, I am a young white male who is not disabled.I was just making those facts up to sound more convincing.


you did it again.

> 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
Please don't do that.


>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.

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.


Kindly stop attacking the personality of your opponent, and focus on the point they are making. Disagreement is no excuse for being rude.


Do you think this tone and style of lecture is a good way to get people to hear the things you want them to hear?


How incredibly rude and condescending. Is there some good reason you chose not to include his whole statement in your quote?

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.


Please, don't try insult people who say they are humanist rather than pro-male or pro-female. Not only is it offensive, but the very statement say that sexism is the only cure to sexism and anyone else are wrong, ignorant, and do not care about "people".

I would say that people that make such statement don't care how people feel. If you can't behave, do please walk out.


Oh geez, what was I thinking, you're totally right. You've convinced me, I'll shut up and check my white cishet male shitlord privilege.

>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.


I think you'll find /r/mensrights is on another website. I am sure they will welcome you there.


Why don't you address the comment you're responding to instead of lobbing insults?


...because there's no meaningful substance to address, for starters?


Oh good. I finally found a feminist who'll admit that their rivals are nicer to egalitarians than feminists are.


The amount of tone-policing you've received for this comment absolutely floors me. My perception from this thread is that men can say whatever offensive thing they want about women, but as soon as someone says something that might be slightly harsh in defense, suddenly people care about the tone of the argument. Suddenly you're "attacking."


My comment really does mostly come from the perspective of 'why not try to increase the effectiveness of your communication', not policing tone.


Ah, the good old "whoever disagrees with me MUST be a man" argument.

Pro-tip: women are capable of independent thinking. Some of them are not going to agree with what you decree is best for them.


Problem is, Crake, we're doing something wrong. Three years I went to Conj, and the first year there were -zero- women attendees out of 300. Second year it was -three- attendees out of 300. Third year it was eight or nine. I don't know what Lynn and company managed to attract last year.

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.


Women have more attractive career alternatives. That's why they don't choose CS. I love CS, but it involves sitting in front of a computer a lot. That isn't healthy. Doing something with more people interaction is way healthier - and those are the jobs women tend to choose.

My take has always been that women are simply too smart to enter IT.


> Problem is, Crake, we're doing something wrong.

And perhaps the support of segregationist policies is the thing we're doing wrong.


Enabling people in a minority group to associate with one another while still not excluding them from anything is not segregationist; it's just considerate.

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.


> 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.


Okay.

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?


what do you mean already segregationalist? People were hired for their skills. Now they want to hire for gender. We got segregationalist now.


something needs doing

I'm doing something

something has been done.

full disclosure: I have no skin in this game, nor opinions. Just making an observation.


> Let's hear your proposal for addressing the already segregationist technology industry.

Stop supporting segregationist policies.


Isn't a conference for just Pythonistas considered segregation?

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


Indeed, a broad definition of the word would include this. I meant to imply that I was talking about segregation of groups which are often considered in genuine social conflict with one another, like gender, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, rich/poor, etc. Sure, there are "holy wars" between groups like Pythonistas and Rubyists, but I think most people agree that this doesn't reflect genuine social struggle.


Let me flip your argument around.

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.


"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."

What if it was phrased "whites in tech". Would you be okay with it?


Okay in what sense? I would absolutely defend someone's right to hold such an event.

I wouldn't even be against it, I would likely just not care about it (what's the point).


"What if it was phrased "whites in tech". Would you be okay with it?"

When Whites are an oppressed minority, sure.


this'll really blow your mind, then: http://www.blackgirlscode.com/


I would wonder why the hell it's necessary, considering the technology industry is dominated by white people.

http://www.lpfi.org/sites/default/files/tilted_playing_field...


I feel exactly the same way, and i'm glad i'm not the only one.

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.


> fix the root cause

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 rarely experienced that

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 haven't dismissed 'patriarchal society' by being offended at an exclusionary conference.

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.


Insightful comment, thank you for posting that. Ignorance and bigotry are powerful forces.


..phrased in such a way as to suggest support of segregationist policies

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?


Perhaps you should elaborate on your own deep understanding of the subject rather than simply alluding to it.

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.


Why is it that SJW types are so quick to insult and demean anyone who disagrees with them? It's very unpleasant

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?


It's not really an angle, but mostly a response to the content of your comment and certain other comments to be found in this thread, and my own general observations (which are hardly scientific of course).

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.


Some positions are outside the realm of legitimate debate. Ridicule is an appropriate response to ridiculous positions.

Calling an event that is trying to integrate a community "segregationist" is about as ridiculous as it gets.


Fully agree. By the way, feel free to spread the word about my forthcoming event trying to bring together the 20-35yo, white male, Ivy league graduate, $150K+/year community. I'm sure I can count on your support for this integration effort.


> 20-35yo, white male, Ivy league graduate, $150K+/year community

the funny thing is that you see nothing ridiculous about trying to use this as a hypothetical counterpoint.


If it were a real integration effort, sure. Imagine you are trying to get that group into a segment of society they have been traditionally excluded from. Only then would that parallel make sense.

I am having a hard time picturing exactly what that could be. Law enforcement, maybe? Romance literature?


this is a good read on the topic: https://medium.com/thoughts-on-society/a1345b36b91b


Great post that explains the issue at hand. Thank you for sharing.


Good metaphor indeed, thanks for the share


I usually don't bother with links to things that are phrased in such a way as to suggest support of segregationist policies. I don't care about women in tech. I care about people in tech.

So douchey.


Awesome! That's why you support women in tech and the female founder thought, right? Because that's how _people_ get in to tech?


Have you stopped beating your wife?


Mu.


Really? Personally It just sounded like I wasn't invited.

though... that was because I did not read the title clearly.


Who do you think wouldn't click? This sort of condescending underestimation of the HN crowd just amazes me! As expected, it's currently #1 on HN.


Not true, I didn't click the link because I feared it was about getting more female founders in development.

After reading namenotrequired's comment I clicked.


Yeah, same. :/ Funny, isn't? All the Adria Richards of the world claiming to want to increase the exposure of women in tech are actively discouraging exactly that.


You don't have to support things like this, but have you ever considered not constantly taking pot-shots at efforts to correct a really blatant inequality like this?


There isn't any blatant inequality except for the sex based discrimination being pushed on the field by feminists, which won't be corrected without pushback from egalitarians.


> the sex based discrimination being pushed on the field by feminists

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.


To play devil's advocate, I think what he might be referring to is when we try hard to fight for equal rights, we tend to over extend and give more benefits at the same time. This would make us men feel the need to fight more.


Feminism doesn't know what it is. For every feminist who thinks it's about everyone, there's a feminist who thinks it's only about women. All of the legislation? The policies enacted and enforced? Created and aligned to the views of the latter. Feminist laws kept me in an abusive situation as a kid. Maybe if feminists didn't bully, send death threats, and kill the dog of the person who created domestic violence shelters for everyone, or never passed laws based on models saying that only men abuse, I'd have a different opinion.

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.


Btw, I use sleepyti.me all the time. Great work!


If you believe the sexes are equally represented in this field, you should probably try to learn more about a topic like this before forming such strong feelings on it, because the numbers show that not to be remotely true. I honestly have trouble believing you really think this, but I'll assume you're sincere but misinformed, which is kind of a relief. The claim that there are as many women in tech as men is as poorly borne out by the numbers as the idea that Topeka is five miles from Tokyo.

Please, do some cursory research and you will see that women really are badly outnumbered in tech.


They have equal opportunity. (Actually, no, women have greater opportunity than men do these days.)

That's not a guarantee of equal outcome, though.


"badly outnumbered". Should this be a contest? Where are hard facts on discrimination of women in our field?


It's an interesting point. I think it's discouraging young male entrepreneurs.

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.


Hacker School judges everyone the same way -- they'd love to admit everyone who's friendly and excited about becoming a better programmer.


Why does encouraging others discourage you? If I praise someone else does it make you feel less worthy?


Again, I'm all for achieving the same goal of equality, but maybe not in the same way that some places go about it. Hacker School is just an example institution, and I'm not trying to bash them or question their judgement - they really do seem like an amazing group of people, which is why I'd love to go there.

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.


I feel deeply uncomfortable with it as well. Getting paid $5,000 for having a vagina is usually something associated with, err, other industries. I'd feel much better if it were on the basis of financial need rather than which set of genitals you have (and as a non-cis person, makes me wonder what they'd do with a trans person...).


I never understood this. Does hacker school think women as a demographic are less wealthy than men? If they are applying its because they are interested, offering to pay wouldnt make more women interested, it just favors the ones that are even !ore. There's a reason women get imposter syndrome so often, because they are given extraordinary benefits and attention.


Really? I would have guessed it was all the MRA assholes.


>a person disagrees with GFK >"must be one of those evil MRAs"


Sorry if that's condescending? It wasn't meant to be. I just know many men might understandably not be immediately interested in something that's clearly aimed at women.

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).


No problem, it just seemed that you had a priori assumptions that may not be correct. If you want to sell to women, of course you would be interested, e.g. the great scene where Darcy first meets and teaches Nick this point in What Women Want (great movie all through, btw). As an edge case, think of people in Mattel not being interested in what girls think!


You're right, I'm happy to see I was less correct than I expected after it seemed to be ignored initially. The new page is a funny beast.

Sorry, I'm afraid that reference is lost on me :(


I guess you haven't seen the normal shit that comes up whenever people try to encourage women to do stuff.


Nope, this is in fact one of the topics that I feel strongly (and try to work on with high school prog teams). Yet, I feel there's a bit of hysteresis effect on that discussion, with HN flooded with such posts. Most of the "normal shit" on HN you refer to stems from the above.

This one is quite different though, it's actually about female founders, not just targeting girls for coding.


>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).

?!


Do you have a question?


Ah, you may not be acquainted with English punctuation.

The ? (question mark) and ! (exclamation point) when combined so ?! usually denotes (connotes?) baffled incredulity[0] or something similar.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclamation_mark

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'.


Thanks a lot for explaining! The same is true in Dutch, perhaps I should have phrased my question as "what surprises you?".


Hey, no problem. Your initial statement struck me as a little odd too. I wouldn't have used quite so terse (?!) a response to you because HN etiquette frowns upon it - even though some cases (like perhaps this one) may warrant it.

>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?


Thanks for being so considerate. I'm not sure if I worded it poorly or if my opinion itself is so controversial. How about this?

"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"


I think that gets your point across much better. It's just that people are so sensitive around the issues of gender/race/what-have-you that one needs to choose their words very carefully.


Yes, that's true, and I guess something that gets as many views and upvotes as that comment is normally bound to get some criticism or misunderstanding anyway :) Thanks again!


> Ah, you may not be acquainted with English punctuation.

Most of us are familiar with passive aggressiveness, though. Playing dumb in the face of it is one way of deflecting it.


Yep this is closer to my intention :) kmfrk were clearly surprised by something but there was no indication what. I appreciate that igravious he took the time to explain nonetheless!


Note the extreme lack of women commenting in this thread, as well as the lack of discussion of any of the substance of the livestream.

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?


Here's the problem summarized by an old-time female hacker:

http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/girls-and-software

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.


>This thread is 100% nerdy dudes feeling offended

"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.


Men are not entitled to have an opinion?


ad hominem + sweeping generality FTW

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.


I like how being a man is considered an insult these days. Woman who disagrees with feminism? Damn men!


"Unfortunately, this video is not available in Germany because it may contain music for which GEMA has not granted the respective music rights." (Quote YouTube)


This link works for me from the Netherlands: http://www.livestream.com/femalefounders


Thanks, it works.


Thanks! It didn't work for me on the official youtube android app (facepalm) but this link works.


seldom has your username been more appropriate


The event starts at about 37:20.



These are seriously awesome talks with lots of pointers. Very well worth watching.


Looks like a great event. Somewhat ironically, I'm a female founder and had an invite to do go, but couldn't go due to childcare.


I don't think that's a gendered issue. It's hard to be a founder and raise kids at the same time. Kids are a startup--a human startup. Good luck!


Never mind that this is called "Female Founders." I'm male and found this helpful.


highlight how silly it is to be sexist, doesn't it?


The goal is to attract female participation, not to deter male participation.


Has been a great set of speakers so far. I connect most with Elli's experiences fighting through all the "No"'s founders receive to get to the point of fully believing what you are doing is going to work if executed as you understand it.


Diane Greene is amazing! I think I can listen to her speak all day long


My wife applied and I was surprised by the unseriousness of the application process.

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?"[0]

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.

Best,

Y Combinator Team

http://femalefoundersconference.org

[0] Bonus points for anyone who gets that reference. :)


It was a very similar application to the Startup School application.


Okay, good to know.

In all seriousness, if that's the application, both the Startup School and the Female Founders Conference should just do a randomized allocation.


Occam's razor suggests they simply got a lot more applications than they anticipated.


I suppose less is at stake when admitting someone to a conference compared to admitting someone to YC. Therefore it makes sense to have simpler questions.


[0] excellent quote from an excellent movie.


I thought it was from Newsroom but someone else said "film"


It's from Thank You for Smoking.


I was surprised it was only open to female attendees. Having the female role models is both important to females AND males since they need to support the inclusion of females. (And not spank the behinds of founders in VC meetings!!!)


Both experiences are useful.

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.


Is this over already? I'm in the US and just getting "Please stand by."


It's not over yet, have you tried the livestream link? http://www.livestream.com/femalefounders

EDIT Now it is over.


pg, please thank Jessica for putting this event on. My girlfriend is on her way to starting her first company after years successfully being one of the few women in the private equity sector as well as her graduate program at Stanford. I've only just watched the keynote from Jessica and this is exactly the message that not only she, but I, need to hear about starting a company (tech and/or financial for that matter). Hearing these stories builds confidence and it's what both of us need.


I dislike the fact that females get a lot more attention because of their gender. If you want true equality you've to start treating everybody as equals and giving extra space for some just doesn't cut it.

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.


staticelf, most of us here want that "true equality" that you refer to. But the unassailable fact of the matter is that we don't have it today.

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.)


"men considerably outnumber women. We (and I mean the egalitarian "we") have to do something about that."

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?


> Men and women are different and have predispositions to excel in different areas.

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.


I agree it's cultural.

Theory:

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.


Yes, must we all have the same interests and be represented in all fields in a proportionate split? This presumed sexism is something that I have never seen in person, nor heard of from female colleagues/friends. If there are groups of women that need to view others of their gender succeeding to be sufficiently influenced, then they need to find another field; versus being pushed and coddled into tech.


Even assuming you are correct about this - CS is not one of these areas. If you go back a few decades, programming was a much more even leveled field. In the 80s, approximately 50% of all programmers were female.

(For numbers see e.g. http://blog.fogcreek.com/girls-go-geek-again/)


Why is 50% correct? Why was that right and later lower values wrong? What is the rationale?


It's not that the numbers are "right" or "wrong." It's that the data shows there is nothing inherent about computer science that excludes women. So if women are not interested these days, there is something about the current state of affairs that is creating the friction. What we are doing here is rejecting the hypothesis "Women are simply, as a matter of nature, disinclined to go into computer science."

"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.


I don't actually think women are unsuited for CS, but I must say that I don't find the argument that 'in the past more women were in CS' very compelling, because it makes the pretense that all variables have remained constant over the past 40 years.

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' [0] 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.

[0] 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.


You're missing chc's point. The point is not that the older state of things was necessarily preferable, it's that the rate of women in CS fields is not steady state, which means that the status quo isn't by its mere existence evidence of the "natural" state of things (which would be the actual "conservative" argument).


Because 50% of humans are female. If there's a strong deviation from this in a large sample size, then there must be a correlation between being a woman and in CS. If gender didn't matter, there wouldn't be a correlation.


I don't deny the correlation. I question the assumption that it is due to prejudice. It could be due to differences in the predispositions to excel at different types of work between the sexes. Men and women are different.

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.


The rationale is wishful thinking and nothing more. Some people need to believe men and women are the same in every possible way in all cultures.


100 percent of pregnancies are women :( there is some obvious discrimination going on!


Damn, I knew science was a tool of the patriarchy!


I don't think you can just compare programming in the 80ies to programming today. Also, would you therefore say society was more equal in the 80ies than today?


It looks like the average CS guy went from rather alpha to rather beta. So, the solution is for CS guys to start working out and stop playing video games. Creepy is code for unattractive, so if CS guys took much better care of themselves, socially intelligent women wouldn't be rightfully put off from CS in general.


I'm sorry, in what mystical era were CS grads ever "alpha"?


He's insecure and judges people and himself based on how manly and muscled they are. Read his other comments. Good guy, just needs to let go of things that don't matter.


There are no net downsides to placing a very high priority on becoming more "manly and muscled". I don't think any guy anywhere has ever regretted doing that. To me, it seems like a very obvious and neutral thing to evangelize.


Creepy is code for unattractive

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.


You can be creepy without even saying anything. E.g. "creepy guy standing in the corner".


That's true. I don't think that is evidence that "creepy" simply means "I wouldn't hit that." Body language and other things can indicate that a person behaves in a certain way, without anyone saying a word.


And there are fields where women outnumber men. No one ever bothered to think about equality there and having the need to "uplift" men


Oh, you mean like this ?

http://www.aacn.nche.edu/aacn-publications/issue-bulletin/ef...

Effective Strategies for Increasing Diversity in Nursing Programs


Careful with that. You saw what happened to Larry Summers, right?

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.


Curious, what was the toddler study?

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.


Without looking into it the percentage that suggests no prejudice is unknown, so we don't actually know if 3% is where it 'should' be for that to be true, or the much assumed 50%.

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.


If I had to put my cynic hat on (oh who am I kidding? I never took it off) I'd say it's because the people who're 'comfortable' with any form of discrimination tend to benefit from it.

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


As a person in the demographic they claim to be trying to help, I'm confused too. I'M definitely uncomfortable with it, but according to these guys I'm too stupid to understand anything about my life.


More opportunities these days for women than in the 1960s--they're off enjoying too many other things, in a lot of cases. If we expanded gender roles for men to encompass the same spread that women now have, maybe we'd see a bit more equality. You can try to convince women with a ton of options to come, or you can try to expand options for men, so that they aren't trapped into certain things because many others are closed to them.


You saw there was a study in the AMS Notices a few years after the fact that said 'actually Larry Summers is full of shit, here's the data,' right?


Getting downvoted for this, so I'll just drop some facts here: http://www.ams.org/notices/201201/rtx120100010p.pdf


That's an interesting paper. I am not a statistician or professional scientist, however, I was surprised at the amount of story telling involved in their analyses, and how often they would exclude certain data based on those stories. Is doing this common in studies like this? It seems one could make the same data say anything by using this approach.

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?


> there's something else going on.

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.


That's cute, but attrition for female tech workers is double that of men.

Something is going on.


Pregnancy?


Yeah, women are raising kids.

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.


I wonder what the rate of attrition is for women in other fields.

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"""


What are the "social consequences of having negotiated"? (Full text is paywalled)


A woman doesn't even have to negotiate to be a money grubbing bitch.

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?



What's with your obsession with "working out"? You keep bringing it up.


1. I don't do it enough myself, so I'm projecting my anger/disappointment. 2. In the past months I've come to notice that I respect built men so much more than average guys, and how many social ills could be solved if every guy just lifted heavy weights a few times a week.


Your admitted sense of self-loathing doesn't make you a particularly good candidate on how to behave properly.

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.


Well, I appreciate your honesty. You should perhaps consider that you're projecting your own self-loathing onto other people. One's physical fitness has nothing to do with the quality of one's character, and the world would not magically become a better place if all us fat dudes got visited by the Muscle Fairy.


Dedication towards improving fitness is certainly a reflection of character.

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.


Lifting weights is the white collar suburban version of being 'alpha'.


Yes I realize that most of the people want that. But I believe that if we try and take the quick route it will over time only make the situation worse.

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.


> that special thing is the golden rule to treat others how you want be treated yourself.

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.


>Unless you have some magical way of forcing everyone to suddenly drop their prejudices, then there is a need for social activism.

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.)


>What's your proof that such prejudices exist

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.

\sarcasm

>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.


> The last western country to give women right to vote was in 1960s.

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.


> This is practically an urban myth at this point.

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:

http://asq.sagepub.com/content/44/3/453.short https://archive.nyu.edu/handle/2451/14253


Actually if you look at the US office of government accountability study, you'd see a completely different view. Considering that the two cited articles are from 1993 and 1999 respectively, it might be worth it to attach more weight to a wide ranging government study from 2009.

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09279.pdf


Two things about this study: First, it only covers people in government jobs. Second, the title of the study is "Gender Pay Gap in the Federal Workforce Narrows..." meaning there IS STILL a gender pay gap. And if you read the study, about 7 cents worth of the gap was unexplained by any of the factors they analyzed.

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?


Nope, I'm just drawing your attention to the fact that it's narrowed from (the previously) stated 77 cents, and that perhaps the issue needs to be examined from a new perspective in order to continue to achieve returns.

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.


> 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?

Oh, you want proof? Here you go: http://programmersbeingdicks.tumblr.com/.


> What's your proof that such prejudices exist

Ask any female programmer about it sometime. It'll be enlightening for you.


No, my entire argument is about convincing people that events like these are sexist events and does not belong in an equal society. My experience is not that people have prejudices against females. My experience is that people rely on prejudices to exist in order to make sexist events "ok" or even "good".

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.


This isn't an equal society, though, so your argument is invalid.


> My experience is not that people have prejudices against females.

Are you female? Because if you're not, you're probably not aware of them. Ask some of your female colleagues about it sometime.


As a minority, I've always felt that "affirmative action" discrimination policies do me no favors. I wish more people understood how harmful they are.


Might I intervene for a moment?

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.


Men outnumber women in IT because most IT jobs sucks, and women don't want jobs that suck. Also, women don't have to take jobs that suck, therefore they don't go into IT.

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.


> unless you work in a truly remarkable place men considerably outnumber women.

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.


In my office, the ratio of man to women is 1:1 under 24. After that it skews.

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.


> I dislike the fact that females get a lot more attention because of their gender. If you want true equality you've to start treating everybody as equals and giving extra space for some just doesn't cut it.

"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.


The Swedish male is doing fine. You might not be, personally, but it's not because you're discriminated against. You describe your country as "extremely feministic" as if it's a bad thing, but how can that be when there is still such a strong gender imbalance?

http://qz.com/37036/in-sweden-women-make-up-45-of-parliament...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-18/top-female-swedish-...

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/dec/12/research-lac...


Just because one group is marginalized in some way doesn't make it OK to intentionally marginalize another group in what can only be called retaliation.

I personally subscribe to the ethos of "two wrongs don't make a right".


The GP makes the unsupported (and IMO spurious) claim that in Sweden, "females get a lot more attention in basically all areas of society". You're now categorising that (which may not exist) as aggression against men.

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.


Swedish circumcision laws are an interesting topic.


Women have always been more important than men, because they bring the babies into the world. That is why men become cannon fodder - they are expendable.

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.


I am awfully backwards in this; I still use the common dictionary definition of "feminism", meaning "advocating social and political equality of genders", which I understand has now fallen out of common use.

On the assumption that you mean something else when you say "feminism", what do you mean?


I want to move to Europe someday (possibly), but while I love how liberal a lot of the place is and admire their strong social safety net, the tendency to shift discrimination around from one demographic to the next instead of trying to eliminate it completely is something I find quite alarming. :/


this comment literally has no redeeming qualities


Fundamentally its irrational. And I note comments like this are voted down without any rational response to the perfectly valid points made. I dislike sexism and am alarmed at its acceptance.


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