Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by bit-tech, 27 Nov 2018.
Another one of those "let's-fight-diversity-by-introducing-preferential-treatment-for-the-former-minority" initiatives? Great....
Just pisses me off to no end that people tend to not aim for equality anymore (which I'm all in favour of), but instead want to get special support that the majority does not get to "have equal chances". It's not equal if one party gets treated differently. Is it so hard to treat everybody the same?! And is it really so bad there are less female app developers than there are male ones? Does the same apply to nurses? Or kindergarten teachers? The genders are NOT equal, just accept it.
The equality debate is a hard one to have.
I, too, think <insert specific group> only things are.. Basically stupid, and only ever more divisive than they're intended to be.
However, on the other hand, how many times have <insert specific group> had advantages over the other that may as well have been <aforementioned group> only?
Everything in society is unbalanced.
Women are more likely to get custody - Even if they're less fit as a parent - Because of their gender and the perceptions that a mothers bond is stronger.
Men are more likely to get a job because there are less perceived 'downsides' to men in the workplace, whether legitimate (Maternity/menstrual cycles that can be crippling and need time off being the only two that I can think of.. Not that it's a reason IMO), or not.
Both are monstrously unfair, but I doubt either (Or any of the rest) is going to go away any time soon.
I guess being a white man, though, my view is going to be coloured by not really being victim to any particularly big prejudices.
Actually, right now, you are part of the target group for one of the worst campaigns any social/ethnical/religious group has ever faced: white male privilege is based on patriarchy so all white males are monsters who suppress all other groups. There is a lot of that thinking going around right now and we will all feel this sooner or later. I'm a straight white male as well so I guess I'm evil incarnate in the eyes of quite a lot of SJWs and other people who seem to prefer a world led by anybody else than me (not leading anything, tbh) as long as they can say who that "anybody" may be. Flavour of the day are gender-fluid left-leaning blue-haired born-as-women with annoying voices, as far as I can tell.
If it were not, we wouldn't need initiatives like this. When you're at the top of the wall and someone else is at the bottom, it's the person at the bottom who needs the boost - not you. When you're both at the top of the wall, congratulations: you're equal.
When they start herding you into the gas chambers, then I'll say you're a victim of 'one of the worst campaigns any social/ethnical [sic]/religious group has ever faced.' Until then, not so much.
While that might be the case on certain websites, and within certain groups, it absolutely isn't the prevailing vibe I've been getting from the outside world.
As Gareth says, when it's a problem for us straight white blokes to leave the house for fear of being arrested, then I'll reconsider my opinion that I've not been the victim of prejudice.
The problem I have with initiatives like this is that they have no viable ending. Today, sure, encourage women into careers that they're currently lacking representation in, but how does one determine at what point this initiative is no longer required?
I suspect, rather strongly, that it'll have one of two outcomes;
1: It'll go on forever and unbalance things in the other direction until a male-only group is established and causes a gigantic argument.
2: It'll make **** all difference because the women that want to be in the field in the first place already are anyway. It'll get shut down and then Apple get vilified by the SJW's that Perplekks mentions, tainting their desire to ever do anything like it again.
I mean, speaking purely mathematically, the global human sex ratio is 102:100 male:female (thanks, Wikipedia,) so you would appear to have reached equality when there are 100 female programmers for every 102 male programmers. After that, you don't need to boost female engagement any more - unless, of course, you shut the programme down and the figures start to drop again.
Likewise, if things go suddenly too far in the other direction, then it'd be perfectly reasonable for Apple to launch a male-only Entrepreneur Camp. The overall goal isn't specifically more women in the field, it's more diversity - and if it was all-women, the solution would be to help men get involved just as while it's (almost) all-men the solution is to help women get involved.
As an aside, diversity is by and large a good thing. Remember when facial tracking cameras became a thing, and they refused to recognise black people? Would never have happened if they'd had just one person of colour on the development team - or, hell, even the testing team. Likewise the blink-detection cameras that ask those with pronounced epicanthical folds whether they blinked or not...
Diversity in your development (or design, or testing, or whatever) team lets you head issues like that off at the pass, while also giving you a wider view. If everyone was Zuckerberg, all we'd have are Facebooks, if you see what I mean.
Goodness me, Gareth is an important influence in the comments on these sorts of stories!
There is something about PC hardware which brings out people terrified of no longer being among the most advantaged people in the world.
When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.
Hey, I'm not saying diversity is a bad thing in any way - I'm just suggesting that, perhaps, rather than <insert group> only things, more effort needs to be made to make equality the default for all existing programs. Not to mention I've a suspicion that the choices made in potential careers and whatnot are more influenced by family and friends than whether the field is predominantly <insert group>. Although, with the passing out of older generations where those mindsets are prevalent, I guess that should work itself out in time.
Women should rightly be allowed and encouraged to apply for anything they damn well please - But to separate them out just makes it seem like they are different, whether it's meaning to or not.
As it happens, I don't recall the facial tracking stuff, but largely because I wasn't paying attention to things like that at whatever age I was when that was a thing.
Call me a pessimist, but I don't have faith that these <insert group> only efforts are going to have the desired effect. Equally, I don't believe that 'reasonable' is a word that can be used to describe a lot of people/groups opinions on things.
Edit: As for the purely mathematical thinking.. What if there aren't that many women interested in the field?
Not meaning to seem confrontational about it - It's a genuine wonder I have. If the field, for whatever reason, doesn't appeal to <insert group>, you'll never reach mathematical equality in it, surely?
That's not how it works, sadly. Again, speaking mathematically, let's say that for every 9 Blues you hire 1 Green (colours chosen 'cos this applies to anything, not just men/women.) After ten rounds of hiring, you've got 90 Blues and 10 Greens, right? Okay, clearly things weren't equal before, so: equality means treating everyone the same, right? Easy enough.
You're now hiring 5 Blues and 5 Greens each time. So, after another 10 rounds you've hired 60 Greens including your first lot... but you've got 140 Blues. Oh. Well, that... that's not what we were trying to do, was it? We were aiming for equal representation, but we didn't get it.
You can just carry on with that interpretation of equality, and while the ratio narrows it never reaches equality. After another 10 rounds of hiring, you've got 110 Greens and 190 Blues. Another ten, 160 Greens, 240 Blues.
So, what can you do? If you want a fully diverse workforce - herein defined mathematically as 1:1 Blue:Green ratio - you're going to have to hire more Greens than Blues. Not forever, because then you're back to square one but with too many Greens and not enough Blues. Just long enough so that you hit 1:1, and then you can implement the everyone's-equal policy, because they finally are.
Equality, in this context, is not about treating everyone equally; it's about setting things up so they are equal. Once it's a level playing field, then everyone gets treated equally; until that time, it's about helping the disadvantaged (which is not the same as handicapping the advantaged, no matter how many people choose to interpret it that way - take Apple's Entrepreneur Camp as an example: clearly some in this thread see it as "it's excluding me, so it's unfair" rather than "if it weren't trying to help a disadvantaged group, it wouldn't exist in the first place so I wouldn't be able to be part of it anyway.")
Here's a simple summation, in fact: you spent ten hiring cycles hiring more Blues than Greens, so equality would dictate that you spend another ten hiring more Greens than Blues. Equal!
As above: they are different, in that - for whatever reasons you care to pick - they are under-represented in this field. There's nothing about being a woman that means you can't be a crap-hot programmer - you can still reach the keyboard with boobs, the chairs are just as comfortable whether you've got a meat and two veg between your legs, and so on - so clearly there should, going back to the underlying maths again, be a roughly equal number of men and women. There aren't, and for reasons described above and others which are hopefully obvious, that's something which should really be addressed - and you do so by treating women unequally, at least for a while, just as you did with Greens.
If we were talking nursing, a profession which is majority female, the exact same reasoning would apply: just flip the genders.
Oh, I ain't talking dim and distant, here: it was 2009. The "did someone blink" thing was a year later.
That's fair; but it would be nice to see a suggestion for an alternative way to increase the diversity in a given field that avoids the problems you see in "let's help the disadvantaged until they're not disadvantaged any more."
Don't make information on gender, race etc available to companies during the initial stages of the hiring process so you don't get a horde of white dudes hiring more white dudes because they are less likely to be troublemakers (troublemakers as in daring to voice an opinion, not going along with group think, not being the 100% perfect representation of the companies image etc).
While obviously not perfect as face to face meetings will still be required for interviews (until tech gets to the point where it can be automated) it would at least be a start.
While I agree with everything you're saying on paper - I don't believe that purely mathematical equality applies to the real world. I'd love to see a job posting that said "Hey, we need ten blue's, but no greens" without getting thoroughly crucified in the court of Twitter (Where, let's be honest, most of the judgement happens and sticks these days). The poster of that job advert could argue until they were dead that they were trying to balance the team - But they'd forever be tarnished as unfit for the modern world.
Add to that my query about how equality works when there simply isn't as much interest from the green's as there are the blues in any particular field - On paper, yes, you're absolutely 100% right, but we don't live on paper (If we did, I'd be about 30kg lighter, and a lot less balding..).
And I'm not sure I agree that any group you care to name is 'different' in any particular aspect apart from the physical differences between men and women - The only times I think that really comes up, though, is in situations where physical performance is paramount to the function of the job. Rescue workers, firefighters, that sort of thing. By that I don't mean that women should be excluded, but that they should be taking the same endurance and physical tests a bloke should - Something I believe is currently the case? Although I've not looked that hard, so maybe not.
And hey, 2009 was nearly ten years ago. Ain't no chance I'm remembering what I was doing, let alone what I was paying attention to! I've drunk and slept since then
I dunno. I feel like people's mentality needs to change more than the means by which people are trained. Until the mindset changes, you can have as many <insert group> only training initiatives as you like - The workplace is still going to be filled with people who don't see things the way the modern world demands they see it.
I'd love to suggest a solution - But I don't have enough of the facts, nor enough of the experience, nor enough of the knowledge, required to make a suggestion that isn't inherently flawed. Being white and a man, anything I put forward on my own isn't likely to be without the colouring of things being easier for me than someone else.
Edit: @Anfield You want a real hoot? Look at German CV's. The done thing is to have a headshot on it so they know what you look like before they even respond to your application.
I think people here are getting the idea of equality mixed up - Equality isn't about making sure there's a woman for every man (or someone of ethnicity for every white person, or an old person for every young etc etc) in every workplace, it's about making sure the same doors and options are open for everybody. No prejudice. No judgement.
The fact of the matter is, as of right now, there aren't as many woman interested in this field of work as men, thus there will not be a "mathematically equal" representation. The problem woman face is the same as in a whole number of fields - the presumption, usually by old, white guys, that a man can do X job better. Construction is another prime example of this - I met a few female construction workers during my time on site, and they got the jobs because they were good at what they did, not because the company wanted to improve it's "equality image". But the fact remains, not many women are interested in being a plasterer or diamond driller.
If a big software company only has 1 female software engineer/programmer for every 8-10 men, that doesn't automatically mean they are anti-equality, it most likely just means that only 1 female candidate applied for every 8-10 males. As long as that company hired purely based on the those candidates skills, experience and persona, the totals don't actually matter.
Why not? What part of being male means you'd be a better programmer than someone who's female? I mean, unless you're typing with your penis, I can't think of anything. (In fact, in the early days of computing programmers were almost exclusively female, and did a bloody good job of it too.)
Everyone I've ever seen shout down these kind of programmes always argues that things should be based on merit, and I completely agree. The fact that the tech world is majority male, though, means that clearly it isn't based on merit - if it were, you'd see roughly equal numbers of male and female members because, again, there's nothing about being female that should mean you're not good at programming. Not a damn thing.
Never mind Twitter, you'd get crucified in the court of law: "no blacks, no Irish" hasn't been legal for a while in this country, and it doesn't become any more legal when you change that to "no whites, no English."
The example was merely a demonstration of why "treat everyone equally" isn't the be-all and end-all of solving a long-term equality problem. You don't fix it by saying "right, we're only hiring Greens"; you fix it by saying "right, why haven't we been hiring Greens" and solving those problems - like by, I dunno, running Green-exclusive Entrepreneur Camps to encourage more Greens to apply in the first place...
You're not thinking below the surface. Yes, there are fewer women than men interested in applying for technology jobs - but, again, there's no biological reason why that should be the case. The real issues are below the surface: women don't apply because a lot of tech outfits (coughUbercoughRiotGamescough) are absolutely bleedin' toxic techbro hellholes; women don't apply because they're told at school that computers are for boys; women don't apply because they're given Barbies and wooden kitchens rather than Game Boys and Spectrums.
Again: the first computer programmers were almost exclusively women. We know women can program. If we're hiring on merit, it should be 1:1 male:female. The fact it isn't means that we're missing out on people who are good - we're literally hiring men who, by the law of averages, are inferior to the women we're not hiring. Forget the other benefits of diversity, that's provably bad.
As above: it really does matter. The law of averages proves it: take a group of 10 men of varying skill levels and hire the best five. You've now got the best in the group, three who are above-average, and one who is average. Take a group of 10 men and 10 women and hire the best five: your five are now better than the five exclusively-men you hired.
Expanding your pool of candidates gets you better candidates. Encouraging more women to apply expands your pool of candidates, which means... Well, you can finish the thought.
See, I'm starting to wonder why we're having this discussion - I feel like we're saying the same kind of thing in different ways.
If I'm reading right, this Apple jobbie is to train a small group of people from female owned/led businesses in Apple-code.
That doesn't intrinsically mean that Joanne Bloggs, Computer Science Bsc is going to be able to go just by virtue of their chromosomes. That doesn't mean Sexist Joe Bloggs in charge of hiring is going to get a head-space adjustment and actively look into why women don't apply, or why they haven't been hired if they have, or even why they've left if they did make it through the door.
IMO, this Apple jobbie is a PR stunt to appease people who might think their environment is sexist. It doesn't, to me, scream "We're trying to fix the balance of gender in Apple-product workplaces".
The current tech environment needs to change, no question. I can't count how many articles I've read about one or more women in <insert field/company> that left because of toxic male ********. I just don't see how this particular 'effort' is going to make any impact at all.
It covers 20 start-ups, and three women from each - so 60 people. It's absolutely a PR stunt, but one which sends the message "hey, women, tech is for you as well." That's a good thing, I think you'd agree.
Has Apple fixed the gender equality gap? Hell no. I don't think anyone, even Apple, would argue that. Will it help more than it hurts? I think so, even though it's a drop in the ocean. Gotta start somewhere, and maybe if there was less pushback on these initiatives we'd see more of them - and, thus, more impact. One drop ain't much, but get enough together and you've a flood on your hands.
I'm surprised at how many actually care and why this even made news more so than the content of what the news is....
I'd say the answer to why this is news is right there in your first observation: people care!
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