EppsNet Archive: Harassment

Two Reasons For the Low Number of Women in Computer Jobs

15 Jan 2018 /

I saw this chart on LinkedIn with the heading “Chart: Women in tech continue to face uphill battle” and the hashtag #STEMSexism.

Chart

The first reason for the low number of women in computer jobs is that we rarely hear about women in computing except in the context of pay gaps, harassment, discrimination, “uphill battles” and #STEMSexism.

It’s self-perpetuating. “Computing is a terrible profession for women in so many ways.” Followed by “Why aren’t there more women in computing?”

You’ve answered your own question. If you think computing is a hostile profession (I do not, btw), why do you want more women to go into it?

 

The second reason for the low number of women in computer jobs — sometimes the simplest explanations are the best — is that women prefer to do other things.

Men and women are different and make different choices about their lives, as a result of which, women are underrepresented in some professions and overrepresented in others.

Women, for example, are overrepresented in nursing, family counseling, speech pathology, social work, education, to name a few.

Do we hear about a diversity crisis in speech pathology or social work? We don’t, right?

I worked with a nursing organization for five years. About 90 percent of nurses are women, but in five years I can’t remember a single instance where gender bias was cited as a crisis, a dilemma, a problem, or even something as mild as a cause for concern.

Women being overrepresented in certain professions is not widely considered to be a problem. But if women being underrepresented in computer jobs is a problem, then their overrepresentation in other professions is also a problem.

In fact, it’s the same problem. Because where are the women in computing going to come from?

On the safe assumption that the number of women is constant — that a large number of new women are not going to just appear out of nowhere — the women will have to come from other professions that they seem to prefer, the professions in which they are overrepresented.

Sorry girls, we can’t have so many of you working in healthcare, education and other helping professions because we need to boost the computing numbers.

Or — we could calm down about the computing numbers and leave young women to make their own choices about their own lives.

TL;DR -> Women are capable of making decisions for themselves. For the most part, they choose to do things other than work in computer jobs, which is okay. It’s possible that none of us really knows what is the “right” percentage of women in computing and it’s possible that none of us really knows what other people should be doing with their lives.

Thus spoke The Programmer


Presumption of Guilt

1 Dec 2017 /

But some female lawmakers, like New York’s Kathleen Rice, have begun to ask why elected officials aren’t being drummed out like their private sector counterparts.

“You see the actions that CBS, NBC take when there are allegations against very well-known men in positions of power, and we don’t do the same,” Rice said. “I think it’s a disgrace.”

Kathleen Rice

Kathleen Rice

“Allegations.”

She’s talking about Al Franken and John Conyers. The Franken case has photographic evidence, so the allegations against him are provably true.

But Conyers vehemently denies the allegations made against him. Why should he be “drummed out”? Why is there a presumption of guilt?

Anyone who’s ever been alone with another person can be the subject of allegations. Why is there a presumption in favor of the accuser?

A case study on false allegations, which you probably remember if you’re old enough, is the McMartin preschool trial:

Members of the McMartin family, who operated a preschool in Manhattan Beach, California, were charged with numerous acts of sexual abuse of children in their care. Accusations were made in 1983. Arrests and the pretrial investigation ran from 1984 to 1987, and the trial ran from 1987 to 1990. After six years of criminal trials, no convictions were obtained, and all charges were dropped in 1990. When the trial ended in 1990, it had been the longest and most expensive criminal trial in American history — Wikipedia

When charges were finally dismissed against one of the defendants, teacher Ray Buckey, he had been jailed for five years.


Who Will Be Left to Scold the Scolders?

29 Nov 2017 /

Some of the questions Matt Lauer asked Bill O’Reilly during their Today Show interview on Sept. 19:

[Your accusers] came forward and filed complaints against the biggest star at the network they worked at. Think of how intimidating that must have been, how nerve-racking that must have been! Doesn’t that tell you how strongly they felt about the way they were treated by you?

 

Over the last six months since your firing, have you done some soul searching? Have you done some self-reflection? And have you looked at the way you treated women that you think now or think about differently now than you did at the time?

 

You were probably the last guy in the world that they wanted to fire because you were the guy that the ratings and the revenues were built on, you carried that network on your shoulders for a lot of years. So doesn’t it seem safe to assume that the people at Fox News were given a piece of information or given some evidence that simply made it impossible for you to stay on at Fox News?


Every Form of Harassment is Okay — Except One

28 Nov 2017 /

How did we decide that sexual harassment is the one category of workplace abuse, incidences of which require national outrage and loss of employment?

Ideally, we would all have the prudence and restraint not to make sexual advances toward people over whose career we hold sway, but it happens.

And yet we’ve all been harassed and ill-used in the workplace in other ways by someone more powerful, someone who negatively impacted our career by embarrassing us, intimidating us, undermining us, lying to us, lying about us, stealing the credit for our work . . . it goes on and on.

Rarely do negative consequences accrue to the harasser.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, for example, was known for being abrasive, dismissive, shouting down colleagues, blaming others when things didn’t work out and occasionally wrapping himself in glory that rightly belonged elsewhere.

Did this torpedo his career? Hardly. He’s an American icon.

(In other Pixar news, John Lasseter likes to hug people. He’s now a pariah.)

Bill Gates never hesitated to tell people how dumb they were and how stupid their ideas were. In spite of this, Gates also managed to have a good career.

You can fill in your own additional examples. There are plenty to choose from.

Like sexual harassment, the options for dealing with other forms of workplace harassment are 1) report it; 2) quit; 3) decide that you need or want the job enough to remain silent and take what’s dished out.

I’ve usually taken option 1 or 2. Maybe I would have had a better career with more frequent exercise of option 3 . . . false pleasantries toward people I didn’t like, faux respect toward people I didn’t respect . . .

Thus spoke The Programmer.


Who Will Scold the Scolders?

11 Nov 2017 /

http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/the-wrap/article/George-Takei-Accused-of-Sexual-Assault-of-Former-12349407.php

Oh my! Pants! Are around my ankles!

Of all the smug moralizers in the world, I can’t think of one offhand who can out-smug George Takei. He’s gay, you know, which gives him an elevated moral perch from which to sermonize and pontificate. You don’t like it? Are you a homophobe?

The recent surge in sexual harassment accusations among celebrities and media members, who are themselves usually the ones most likely to be dealing out the admonishments to our nation’s deplorables, is a schadenfreude booster, but it does raise the question of who will be left to scold the scolders?


White Privilege vs Gender Privilege

4 Nov 2017 /
Men and Women

A USC doctoral student at the School of Social Work has filed a lawsuit against the university and professor Erick Guerrero, alleging USC did not impose disciplinary actions that she found sufficient after investigating a sexual harassment complaint she filed in January.

Professor Guerrero says the student, Karissa Fenwick, is taking advantage of “her life of white privilege.” Fenwick counters that white privilege in this case is trumped by Guerrero’s gender privilege.

Women or minorities — who are the most victimized victims?


Tech Gender Bias: Men Not as Concerned

24 Oct 2017 /

According to LinkedIn:

Despite a string of revelations that women in tech face considerable headwinds — from persistent gender-based pay gaps (per Bloomberg), to limited VC funding for female-led startups (per Fortune), to sexual harassment (per The New York Times) — just 29% of men say that discrimination is a major problem in the industry, according to data from Pew. In fact, some 32% of men claim that it’s not a problem at all.

Everything I read about gender discrimination in tech starts out by assuming it’s a real problem and that all reasonable people agree that it’s a real problem.

Even the supposedly objective LinkedIn blurb above tells us that 29% of men “say” that discrimination is a major problem, while 32% of men “claim” that it’s not a problem at all, “despite a string of revelations blah blah blah . . .”

I’ve worked in tech for 30 years . . . I say it’s not a problem but I’m open to an evidence-based argument that I’m wrong. (NB: “If you can’t see it, then you’re part of the problem” is not an evidence-based argument.)

 

Some possible evidence for gender discrimination:

Gender

Just look at the numbers. It’s a male-dominated industry.

Agreed, but that’s not prima facie evidence of discrimination.

I worked with a nursing organization for five years. Nursing, you may have noticed, is a female-dominated profession. During that time, I never heard one person mention gender bias in nursing. Never. In five years.

Most schoolteachers are women, most therapists are women, most social workers, most MFC counselors . . . I could go on with this but I think we both get the point: Have you ever heard anything about gender bias in any female-dominated profession? I haven’t.

Gender imbalance is not evidence of discrimination. Men and women are different and they choose to do different things. More women choose to be nurses and social workers and more men choose to be programmers.

Limited VC funding for female-led startups

VCs would love to fund more female-led startups, but again, men and women choose to do different things and more men choose to do startups.

Note that there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of women starting small businesses, but more men choose to pitch VC-funded startups.

Gender-based pay gaps

Gender-based pay gaps are not specific to the tech industry.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is not specific to the tech industry.

Online harassment

If you think online harassment is limited to women, you haven’t spent much time online. Standards of discourse are nonexistent. Civility is almost nonexistent.

Jump on Twitter for a few minutes and see how people talk to each other.

I’ve been interacting with people on the web for a couple of decades . . . some of the things people have said to me . . . it’s beyond upsetting . . . you can feel the blood draining out of your face as you’re reading it. It’s not limited to women.

Women are passed over for raises, promotions, plum projects, etc.

Yes . . . so are men. What’s your hypothesis? Men are passed over because they’re undeserving, while women are passed over just because they’re women?

 

TL;DR -> Women are capable of making decisions for themselves. For the most part, they choose to do things other than work in tech and do startups. So what?

Thus spoke The Programmer