37 comments

  • Matt WilliamsMatt Williams, over 2 years ago

    I fear voicing my opinion here, for worry of being called sexist, but for the sake of conversation here goes.

    Women became 50% of the college graduates in the United States in the early 1980s”. And yet... in 2015, women held 57% of all professional occupations, yet they only held 25% of all IT jobs. And the numbers are even lower when we consider women of color, like Latinas or Black women, decreasing to 1% and 3% of these jobs respectively.

    It's a bit disingenuous to not include statistics about the breakdown between female/male university majors here. Yes, more women are enrolled in college now. And yes, more men are employed in the tech industry. But there is a very clear statistic that is at the core to this reason in my eyes. According to a study NPR made in 2014, women are simply not going to school for tech. In fact, the numbers here are almost identical to the study you link. If I am reading these graphs correctly, it seems less than 25% are majoring in tech related fields. By focusing on these stats alone, I am forced to come to the conclusion that there is in fact no discrepancy in female to male ratio in tech based on percentages of majors.

    The core issue here, is it seems, that females are simply not interested in the tech field. Obviously, there are many components worth discussing on this topic, but not in this post.

    I also wanted to share a thought that I encourage you to consider in future writing/discussion as I believe it alienates half of your audience. When you say:

    in 2015, women held 57% of all professional occupations, yet they only held 25% of all IT jobs

    what would you think if I, as a male, said something similar:

    in 2015, men held 57% of all professional occupations, yet they only held 25% of all IT jobs

    The way I read your statement is as follows: Women hold most of these job but its not fair that they don't hold even more. How is this an argument for equality? It's broken at its core and is incredibly spiteful toward all males. I almost disregarded everything you wrote due to that small sentence at the start. A more constructive way to present this argument might have been something akin to:

    in 2015, women held 57% of all professional occupations. At slightly more than half, it's unfortunate not seeing a more equal ratio when it comes to IT industry at only 25%

    With that small thoughtful change, you would no longer be alienating every male that reads your article. Thanks for considering my thoughts on this and hopefully it wasn't too long.

    25 points
    • Mitch Malone, over 2 years ago

      You're not a sexist for voicing this opinion, I don't think. If you think that women shouldn't be in STEM careers because women are naturally deficient in those areas, then you're sexist. I'll let you sort that out on your own.

      One question you should ask yourself is why women aren't at parity with men in STEM careers. Why are there so few women in these careers? It's not because they don't want to be. There are systemic forces that push women out of these fields or prevent them from entering it in the first place.

      2 points
      • Matt WilliamsMatt Williams, over 2 years ago

        I only prefaced with that because I've been accused in the past for saying what I just did but that's not important right now.

        As for your argument, I think it's completely valid. I didn't go into it specifically because it breaks into another (obviously related) lengthy discussion.

        There are an infinite number of reasons starting from birth as to why women and men go in the directions they do. There are stigmas placed on every single career path and the same question can be asked of certain careers for males. There are systemic forces that push males away from being nurses which, Nursing Statistics clearly show a divide (only ~10% of RN's are male), yet we rarely see that statistic brought into these articles. All to often this very two-sided argument is often skewed to favor one side over the other. Shouldn't we instead address these systemic forces that are causing these gender gaps in the first place instead of attacking an entire industry or worse an entire sex?

        I still stand by what I said, that the core to why there is a gender gap in IT Jobs (or nursing) is a direct relation to the chosen major, regardless of systemic forces.

        10 points
        • Mitch Malone, over 2 years ago

          The forces that influence nursing careers (as well as executive assistants) are the same as STEM careers: systemic patriarchy. Certain jobs are "genderized"—nursing is for women, engineering is for men. The problem is there is no biological evidence of this. It's a complete social construction. And it's unjust because these career paths lead to better outcomes for men.

          6 points
        • Thomas Michael SemmlerThomas Michael Semmler, over 2 years ago

          The core issue here, is it seems, that females are simply not interested in the tech field

          because

          It's not because they don't want to be. There are systemic forces that push women out of these fields or prevent them from entering it in the first place.

          that is it! People learn to associate certain limitations or privileges on behavior based on gender very early. I am a queer feminist (or womens ally, depending on your need to exclude people from your movement) and I also think we should hire based on gender, any gender that is.

          I think we should first find out, if the reason for this is bias during the employment process, which of course happens all the time. But it happens to men to, just in a very different way. Second we should find out, if another reason is, because young girls grow up learning that tech is for boys and not for girls and eliminate this immediately. This will be the most crucial part, especially in the US right now, but it is the only sustainable long term solution to this problem. And as a Third step, we can host hackathons and other events that introduce young people to code and cooperate with girls initiatives. I think its very important, to have those events open to any gender, not just for girls. Kids of any gender need protection.

          I also wanna return to the very core issue, that is actual sexism. Yes, we should without a single doubt invest our efforts into getting more women interested in tech at a very young age.


          Gender Roles Rant ahead - trigger warning:

          But at the very same time, we should invest to get more men to become kindergarten teachers, nurses, flight attendants, hairdressers, florists, bakers, waiters and what else not. The problem is, that we associate some professions with certain gender stereotypes and also with a form of associated sexuality, that vice versa only comes from really damaging stereotypes. When a man does something professionally that is stereotypically done by females, people will somehow believe that this will make him gay. Same goes for females. Why can't a woman be a blacksmith without her being forced into a lesbian stereotype. Many women and men in those roles are just queer, because marginalized people already learned how to deal with this and are not really afraid anymore to do it anyways. That is the only reason why we have gay hair dressers and florists, because by growing up gay in society they learn very early that what they are is wrong or at least different, so doing a job that is typically done by the other gender won't make a big difference anyway.

          Sexism has many, many active zones in society right now, all of them need attention. I personally think that the most important thing we can do is, to not turn your children into marionettes of societal gender roles. Some say, the most important part is to bring more companies into hiring more leading role women, which is also important, but can also turn into sexism real quick. The argument that the best suited person for the job should get the job, and that person's gender will not make a difference in weather the person gets the job or not. I can understand that, but that's not whats most important to me in this discussion.

          The simple message is always, "we should get more girls to code", which is true. And we should at the same time realize that this will not solve the core problem and also join efforts to find a way to get rid of gender roles all together, because that is the core issue of all that. If we as humans finally solve this problem, we will evolve drastically. Discrimination based on gender is in my personal observation the root for homophobia, sexism and transphobia.

          4 points
      • Jacob TaylorJacob Taylor, over 2 years ago

        It's not because they don't want to be. There are systemic forces that push women out of these fields or prevent them from entering it in the first place.

        Although this is probably the right answer, it'd be good to have some analysis to back this up. As Matt has at least use some evidence for his position.

        4 points
      • John PJohn P, over 2 years ago

        It's not because they don't want to be

        How do we know this? Please also consider women outside of the SF/SV/Twitter tech press bubble.

        There are systemic forces that push women out of these fields or prevent them from entering it in the first place.

        Such as?

        1 point
        • Mitch Malone, over 2 years ago

          It's very well researched and documented. It occurs in all geographies across the world, as far as I know. I linked to five articles above to get you started.

          8 points
    • Ghaida ZahranGhaida Zahran, over 2 years ago

      I'm not sexist but...

      7 points
      • Connor NorvellConnor Norvell, over 2 years ago

        What he said wasn't sexist, just a bit misguided.

        4 points
      • Josh Sanders, over 2 years ago

        what exactly is your point in this comment? Nothing he said was sexist, yet you attempt at insinuating an underlying theme. Get off your high-horse if you're not going to bring any value to this thread.

        12 points
        • Ghaida ZahranGhaida Zahran, over 2 years ago

          Every other response here is from a man. You mad I interrupted the "Diversity. PISH!" circle jerk you got going on in the post? You and Matt are just two more men on the internet that feel they have to correct every woman's opinion. It's all so predictable and boring. GOOD DAY, SIR.

          2 points
          • Connor NorvellConnor Norvell, over 2 years ago

            DN is more than a majority male, thats another issue for another time.

            if one thing holds true on the internet, DN Included, its that everyone has to correct everyones opinions, not just women's opinions, everyones. yes I fully understand the irony of what I just said, moving on.

            Everyone gets critiqued, and has their point torn apart. Many of them, much worse than this thread I might add. And many of those written by men.

            This thread isn't an attack on diversity, or women. its a dissection of the article.

            10 points
          • Josh Sanders, over 2 years ago

            wow.. you sound like a really angry person!

            1) no I'm not mad? not sure where you got that from.. was it me asking you a question? GOD FORBID someone who is a man asks you a question without you getting offended.

            2) "circle jerk post"? thats the best analogy you could formulate? hmmm, that's quite a gender-focused attack... not very mindful of you.

            3) overgeneralizing statement "just two more men on the internet who have to correct every woman's opinion". Now that's quite an assumption!

            I didn't correct you anywhere in my original comment, so strike 1 for you. Claiming that I correct every woman's opinion? False, as you have no basis for such a ridiculous claim like that.. strike 2. And how dare you refer to me as 'Sir' in your ending sentence. You have no idea what I identify with, and that's quite ignorant and close-minded of you to assume that just because I'm a male. not so fun losing at your own game is it? Strike 3. You're out. OMG, did i just make a baseball reference? shoot, baseball is comprised of majority males, let's go throw a tantrum now because we 'need' women in the MLB.

            9 points
    • Jacob TaylorJacob Taylor, over 2 years ago

      Two things on this

      The core issue here, is it seems, that females are simply not interested in the tech field.

      This is an inference you have made for yourself. Perhaps their are other reasons that woman are not enrolling in courses that lead to tech jobs.

      The way I read your statement is as follows: Women hold most of these job but its not fair that they don't hold even more

      This is not what is being said at all. The statement is making a comparison between professional numbers as a whole and the numbers within the IT sector, and asking why that discrepancy has occurred. It's a perfectly legitimate question.

      I think you are being nitpicky with your correction of this statement.

      5 points
      • Matt WilliamsMatt Williams, over 2 years ago

        Yeah thats a good point. I definitely made an inference there where I otherwise should not have. I made a guess based on the statistics, so that's fair to call me out on it.

        Pertaining to your second I'm with you. But I think it's okay for us to be nitpicky about the language used in the context of sensitive subjects. Too often, you see people being torn apart because statements are left open to some interpretation. I only wanted to give advice on avoiding those situation. Thanks for pointing that out though!

        4 points
    • Rakesh KRakesh K, over 2 years ago

      I expressed the same thought when everybody were voicing for gender diversity on Women's day https://twitter.com/rakeshdesign/status/839462310318002177

      6 points
      • Wil NicholsWil Nichols, over 2 years ago

        wow you're terrible

        5 points
        • Connor NorvellConnor Norvell, over 2 years ago

          Which part is terrible? honest question, which part are you referring too? The argument that women should be hired, just because we need to be more diverse, is a little more than insulting to women.

          6 points
          • Wil NicholsWil Nichols, over 2 years ago

            The part where he ignores the original problem and asks a leading question in order to derail the conversation and detract legitimacy from the existing contributions.

            Of course recruiters are going to weight skillset, qualifications, etc. This argument does not obligate anyone to hire an unskilled workforce — which his tweet falsely asserts as the original argument.

            2 points
            • Connor NorvellConnor Norvell, over 2 years ago

              It wasn't necessarily his original argument. Gender diversity shouldn't be factored into agency selection... hiring the best human for the job should. Irrelevant of gender, sex, race, religion, etc.

              I think the broader point Rakesh was trying to make (I will admit he failed somewhat) is that hiring for the sake of diversity just causes agencies to hire "token" women, and "token" African-American employees so they look better. Which is not only offensive, its also not a solution.

              Andy's second argument explains this:

              Rakesh: Thanks. My question: for example, when only 18% of women graduate in CS why should we aim for 50% of the recruited to be women?

              Andy: because it's the right thing to do.

              His argument turned into: Hire women because diversity. which isn't a good solution to this problem.

              But then again, twitter had never really been a place for long form, and civil, debates.

              4 points
              • Wil NicholsWil Nichols, over 2 years ago

                Exactly — Twitter is by nature reductive, and that was his only contribution to this thread, which could have invited reasonable comments.

                I disagree that "hiring for the sake of diversity just causes agencies to hire 'token' women, and 'token' African-American" — prove that this is a problem, beyond the quality of his argument on Twitter.

                0 points
                • Account deleted over 2 years ago

                  Because if you hire someone based on their race to fill quotas then you are just doing it to have your 'token' race members, not the best team members.

                  0 points
                  • Wil NicholsWil Nichols, over 2 years ago

                    Again, show me that this actually happens. Find one person who a team that cares only for quotas.

                    0 points
                    • Account deleted over 2 years ago

                      You're missing the point. If this kind of thinking becomes institutionalised, then this will be the outcome.

                      1 point
                      • Wil NicholsWil Nichols, over 2 years ago

                        ... and you're justified in assuming this will inevitably happen? I'm not hearing an argument; I'm loosely hearing an unproven worst-case.

                        0 points
                        • Account deleted over 2 years ago

                          ... and you're justified in assuming this won't inevitably happen? I'm not hearing an argument; I'm loosely hearing an unproven best-case.

                          0 points
      • Lindsay Hook, over 2 years ago

        It is definitely most important to hire qualified candidates vs. just meeting a quota. However, that is kind of beside the point. It's not 'should we hire more women just because they aren't represented', its more of 'are we making our best effort to make sure women are getting the best chance to be hired, in an equal manner to men'. There are lots of unconscious biases, social norms, and external pressures that can play into hiring – and this is different from person to person. Because tech industries are generally led by men, there could be a subconscious desire to hire people 'like themselves' which doesn't always mean sexism.

        As an obvious statement: as men, it is inherent that you cannot understand a women's perspective. Therefore to "eyeroll" at the women's march, or just not believe in the need for such things is silly because as men, you aren't subject to the experiences an average women goes through in her lifetime.

        But besides the point, I'm upset that the few women commenting on here have been generally hostile. I have found that 99% of the commenters are insightful/intellectual and willing to be proven wrong or just looking for more information. I thank you guys for being open to a discussion. As women, however we are generally met with a lot of aggression (esp. on the internet) and a general disbelief that we have anything to complain about. So that's probably the reason some women are quick to fight back with aggressive remarks.

        5 points
        • Jake Lazaroff, over 2 years ago

          But besides the point, I'm upset that the few women commenting on here have been generally hostile.

          Maybe they're just fed up with our shit.

          Many of the men here have been generally hostile solely because someone pointed out their privilege. I'm upset about that.

          2 points
    • Jessa ClarkJessa Clark, over 2 years ago

      females are simply not interested in the tech field

      Oh good, let's listen to men's expert opinions about what fields women are and are not interested in!

      8 points
      • Matt WilliamsMatt Williams, over 2 years ago

        Thanks for pointing that out. I've responded earlier to my assumption:

        Yeah thats a good point. I definitely made an inference there where I otherwise should not have. I made a guess based on the statistics, so that's fair to call me out on it.

        2 points
  • John LeschinskiJohn Leschinski, over 2 years ago

    The comparison of Steve Jobs to Ada Lovelace is very odd. They're not even in the same ballpark. Maybe if you were chastising people for thinking of Turing instead of Grace Hopper it would make more sense.

    5 points
  • Skyler Westby, over 2 years ago

    Great read! I'm intrigued by the conclusion and its claims about "diversity". Which type of diversity is this referring to? Racial, Skin Color, Sexual Orientation, Ideological, Political, Cultural, Religious, etc.?

    Including diversity as part of the strategic plan is a good way to maximize results and make a company stand out in relevant subjects like innovation, motivation and leadership.

    I'm curious if anyone has seen any reputable studies that demonstrate that diversity benefits companies in a measurable way? It'd be interesting to see if it maximizes results, and makes companies stand out in innovation, motivation and leadership. Thanks in advance!

    3 points