back to article The immovable object versus the unstoppable force: How the tech boys club remains exclusive

For a generation we've wrung our hands and wondered why so few women have taken up careers in technology. Could it be, as Harvard President Lawrence Summers publicly mused 15 years ago, that women just don't have the brains for such analytic tasks? (That gaffe cost Summers his job.) Or perhaps those hobbyist "microcomputers", …

Page:

  1. Electronics'R'Us Bronze badge
    Holmes

    Affirmative Action

    Has always been troublesome; where discrimination occurred due to government policies (as was the case in South Africa as but one example) then some action seems reasonable and appropriate but not all cases are quite so clear cut.

    The other problem is that so-called 'reverse discrimination' remains discrimination regardless of the (usually) good intent behind it although as the proverb says (in its modern form) The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    In the context here, the problem is that the proposed solution will (in many cases and not necessarily correctly) lead to females who gain promotions being viewed as having got there not because of their abilities but by being given an advantage (and therefore seen as a token hire). This simply demeans those women who have made it to the top by dint of their hard work and qualifications.

    In the UK, such action is generally illegal when done deliberately (there are some exceptions) and in one case, the judge said "while positive action can be used to boost diversity, it should only be applied to distinguish between candidates who were all equally well qualified for a role" (source), a view I think is reasonable (see previous paragraph).

    The reasons for the levels of representation are complex (I do not deny that the Epstein club did indeed engage in such conduct but it is difficult to be able to pin everything on such clubs).

    When it comes to tech, I have met females who were far superior to many of their peers (regardless of sex) and in those companies were advanced accordingly; when they are not advanced accordingly is where the problem lies. Two of my directors of engineering (at large multinationals) have been highly qualified women.

    At one company (in Florida in the 90s) the director of operations was clearly and openly misogynist so when a newly open position (which could be a promotion) came up, I took the relevant details of all the candidates and anonymised them (I left in all relevant information); they were simply listed as candidate A, B, C and so on. I did this with the blessing off the CEO (who was aware of the problem).

    In the end, a female got the job as a supervisor based on her clearly better qualifications for the position. (One of the males in the department said he would never work for a woman and was told to not let the door hit him in the ass on the way out). The director of operations was fuming but there was little he could do.

    So it is not an easy problem to solve, but there is no one size fits all solution; as H.L.Mencken once said "Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong".

    (H.L.Mencken is not everyone's cup of tea but there is no denying the influence he had as a writer).

    I know of a number of armed service units where the ships company was replaced (100% from the captain down and dispersed among other ships in the fleet) where rampant personnel issues existed and it worked; whether that would work in a company is difficult to know.

  2. Cederic Silver badge

    What sexist twaddle

    Why is The Register posting this sexist idiocy? Why the attack on 'boys clubs' and not the multiple corporate funded Women in Technology groups that promote only one gender?

    Women show far greater in-group bias than men, multiple attempts to remove gender from technology job interview processes have resulted in worse outcomes for women (demonstrating that existing processes favour them), politicians are continually pushing for gendered laws that favour women (e.g. the current Domestic Violence bill going through Parliament that expressly demands that the law recognises women's issues despite 40% of victims being male) and the education system is so horrifically gender biased that in a decade "must have a degree" jobs are going to be dropping that requirement because they won't be able to find qualified applicants.

    Already single women under 40 earn more than single men, women working part time earn more than men working part time and women that don't have children achieve career progress on a par with their male counterparts.

    I'm perfectly comfortable working with and for competent people, and I truly don't give a fuck what gender they are. So focus on finding and promoting those people instead of pushing divisive identity politics. I find this article not just sexist and offensive but also insulting to the many capable women that I've worked with, who succeed on their merits and don't need condescending policies from ignorant men.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not Just Women

    I think these campaigns fail when they make it about 'women'. Considering "Brockman hosted "Billionaire Dinners" through the 1990s and 2000s, events where the wealthy and powerful rubbed shoulders with the best and brightest. Yet, with very few exceptions, invitations to these events went to men of influence and power. " (my emphasis). The rich and powerful are invited to these things. If you are part of the wrong social class (especially in the UK) then you have virtually no chance regardless of your gender. By focussing on just women's lack of opportunity it breeds resentment amongst the many men who also have no opportunity to progress which in turn makes them less likely to be willing to support women in their fight against inequality in those areas of their life where gender bias really does make a difference. Inequality should be fought on behalf of the disadvantaged where ever it occurs regardless of people's gender (race, sexual orientation etc).

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Not Just Women

      Beat me to it.

      Its not just bias on gender, class, skin colour, "looks", all sorts of things come into it.

      Some people will be knowingly sexist, racist, etc., others will have unconscious bias, but you will struggle to find someone without bias (they may well be unaware of it).

      The classic example was orchestra auditions, as soon as auditions were done with performer hidden behind a screen (so judgement purely on musicality) - number of offers to women & minorities increased significantly.

      .Even if bias reducing recruitment method used, there is the next issue of the general team culture, in a room full of rich ex public school boys a black female from a council estate won't feel 100% at ease (even if the males behaviour is impeccable)

      Said as someone from a working class background with (non Southern UK) regional accent - often you see the look on someones face as soon as they hear your accent and know that "instant judgement" has kicked in.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not Just Women

        In my experience there should be minimum three of any group. One is clearly too little. Two is better, but not sustainable in the long run.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    FTAO ...... The Perfumed Garden Cat House for Exciting Almightily Excited Shenanigans*

    Only when we start to fear the power of the "girls' nights out", when the fates of male colleagues get decided on a whim, will we begin to understand the scope of our error, how much has been lost — and how much will need to be repaid.

    Oh please, you cannot be serious whenever All Below is Available .....

    Only when we start to exercise and master the power of the "girls' nights out", when the fates of male colleagues get decided on a heavenly whim, will all begin to understand the scope of our powers which are so very much more than just what desire offers to fulfil with an inclusive conclusive mutually rewarding satisfaction, for then is everything else also Readily Available for Market Offerings.

    I Kid U Not ‽ .

    * SMARTR Red Light Territory for Other Not Real World Experiences ..... Private Intellectual Property Pads for Pandoran Pilots and Pirates ..... ESPecial CyberIntelAIgents

    Okay, I admit we've jumped ahead a tad here, but because of what follows all of this, is it worthwhile to ponder and file away to secure memory for Future Recall and Present Reflection.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FTAO ...... The Perfumed Garden Cat House for Exciting Almightily Excited Shenanigans*

      First rule of pre-cog club is...there is no such thing as the pre-cog club.

  5. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Beginning to see.

    "We're beginning to see how an entire generation of women found their way forward in computer science effectively barred by misogyny at the highest levels."

    Perhaps. But the second half of the sentence links to an article about Richard Stallman. First, I'm not sure whether "creep" and "misogynist" are wholly overlapping categories, and most of the chatter around Stallman has been about creepiness. Second, the article does not establish that he barred anyone from anything. Finally, what highest levels did he control? Not hiring in the Microsoft or FAANG world.

    1. Orv Silver badge

      Re: Beginning to see.

      It's hard to put the blame solely on Richard Stallman, but there's a decided male bias in open source communities. There have been multiple studies showing the same code submitted under a male name was more likely to pass review than it was when submitted under a female name. I personally was on a cryptography-related mailing list where a woman complained the responses to her (very well-written) posts consisted mostly of requests to go out on dates.

  6. Julz Bronze badge

    vive la difference

    As I have said before, there were a wide diverse bunch of people working in IT companies in the seventies and early eighties. Not just in terms of sexes but also in terms of attitudes, outlooks and in ways of going about doing their jobs and solving problems. Things have changed between now and then and the IT industry is a much more mono cultured, insular and a much less fun place to work. So what has changed?

    In part it must have something to do with computer industry and the rise of the PHB, but I think it also has something to do with larger cultural changes and the increasing focus on fiscal targets in a globalised market. As others have said, it's complicated. But I do think that concentrating on one aspect of a person, their sex, is not very edifying.

    People working as mounted policeman and orchestral conductors apparently have a preponderance of left handers. Is this a reason to castigate their recruitment policies and demand a pro-right handed policy? Professional athletes are disproportionately taller than the general

    population (as in fact are company executives) . Should we demand equal height representation.

    I know those are trivial and silly examples, but I also think that viewing the world through a lens where peoples sex is their most important, indeed their only characteristic of any note, is also silly.

    Seeing the whole person and be more tolerant of their differences (not just their sex) would be a good place to start and reinvigorate the IT workplace.

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: vive la difference

      Yes indeed. The current fad for identity politics where you are defined by your "group" and whether you are oppressed or oppressor seems to bring more problems than solutions. Not least the reductio ad absurdum if taken to the limit.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If it's just a matter of the board level

    If the idea is to get more women onto the board level, and we can't find women who appear suitable: why not just appoint some who don't seem suitable?

    In how many companies does the board do anything useful anyway?

  8. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    Motherhood

    There is one major reason why there are fewer women than men going into STEM and that is is the evolutionary pressure to have children. Having a child has a major interference with education and working. For a woman to be sufficiently established in a STEM career to be able to take time off for children usually requires delaying having children till after 25. In non-technical fields, the education is often shorter and a break in the career to care for children does not have as much impact.

    For larger companies (>200 employees) having a creche/day care center can help women back into their career with minimum disruption but few companies provide such a facility.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Motherhood

      In my first job on an electronics campus I suggested a day care centre to my HR manager because it was obvious 90% of the employees across all the factories were young females. Only about 1 in 50 engineers and technicians were female, but all the operators were (with their tiny little hands perfect for sewing gold thread) and all the HR staff (with their female capacity for faking empathy).

      She ran with the idea and opened up a creche nearby and became a millionaire. My idea though, although I never earned a penny or even kudos from it.

      Later, a half mile away, I came up with VoIP, and thought, "This will make for a fun office joke." Kind of scunnered when Skype sold to Microsoft for a billion.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Motherhood

        "HR staff (with their female capacity for faking empathy)." You've been lucky! I've never met anyone in HR who could successfully fake any human interaction - and I'm on the autistic spectrum!

  9. holmegm Bronze badge

    "Could it be, as Harvard President Lawrence Summers publicly mused 15 years ago, that women just don't have the brains for such analytic tasks?"

    That's not what he said, and you know it ...

  10. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Twenty-six Men and a Girl

    A mostly male environment is hostile and uninviting to females. In my 1986 class there was one female electronics student, and she was always one of the two students pulled out of class to do college publicity, which she hated but went along with to encourage future female students.

    The workplace was incredibly sexist then, like nude calendars on walls, but the few women engineers in the workplace were treated fairly decently. Things seemed to get better into the '90s, almost too PC - I recall my boss being told to remove an innocuous photo of a girl band from his cubicle. And then things got worse again, not just in the workplace but in society. I blamed 'lads mags' but internet porn probably had a bad effect too. Then in the 2000s things got much worse, the whole Gamergate / entitled InCel 8Chann misogynist mob mentality.

    The best ten software engineers I've worked with are female. The fewer hardware female engineers I've known were okay, average, but less successful. I guessed that is a bias to soft and hard but that's superficial. In my youth women got taught at school how to touch-type, so they could be secretaries. Typing is a key skill in coding efficiently. Of course a brain that can process logic and maths is essential, but those skills aren't dependent on gender.

    One female boss laughed at me looking at the keyboard when I typed - she could churn out a perfect screen of text in the time it took me to complete a paragraph. I explained to her though that was the speed my brain worked at, I was thinking it through as I was typing it and there was no use in typing faster than my brain worked. Hell, this has taken me half an hour to write.

    1. Oengus Silver badge

      Re: Twenty-six Men and a Girl

      I found that the programmers who could touch type were no faster because their fingers worked faster than their brain. They had to constantly retype their programs. On documentation they were quicker...

      1. Orv Silver badge

        Re: Twenty-six Men and a Girl

        IMHO the main benefit of touch typing isn't speed, it's not having to look at the keyboard. It means you can instantly proofread what you're typing.

      2. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Twenty-six Men and a Girl

        You can think about the programming if you're not thinking about how to use a keyboard.

        My experience is that touch typists program better because they don't forget how they solved a problem while trying to type it in.

    2. baud Bronze badge

      Re: Twenty-six Men and a Girl

      > One female boss laughed at me looking at the keyboard when I typed

      I wonder how the mockery would have gone if the sex were reversed.

  11. mevets

    Existance Proof.

    The thesis of this article seems to be that men are jerks that should be viewed with suspicion. A dim recognition of being maligned results in a rash of odd counter arguments which pretty much confirm the thesis. Well Done!

    I have spent 30+ years in software, in companies ranging from very small to quite large. Consistently, these work environments have been toxic, not just for women, but especially for women. Studying the phenomena could keep loads of evolutionary biologists occupied for decades., How do they manage to reproduce?

    During the 1990s, when "don't ask don't tell" was the closest the US could come to a decent strategy for managing sexual diversity in its armed forces, I couldn't come to grips with the issue at all. I thought that an advantage of having a sexual orientation unaligned with the expectations of the military was that you could avoid military service. Why would anyone, regardless of orientation, do that?

    I feel the same about women in tech. The tech industry is awful; why would you want to work with these people? Cave-dwelling INCEL idiot savants that think they are masters of the universe. Lock em in a room, slide pizza under the door, and turn on the sprinklers every couple of weeks.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Existance Proof.

      "Lock em in a room, slide pizza under the door, and turn on the sprinklers every couple of weeks."

      I'm gonna throw you an up-vote, because that was funny at least :)

  12. Nick Pettefar

    Great Idea

    I think that’s a very good idea. I am fed up of working in all male teams. We have twenty-five team members and only one, in India, is female. That’s ridiculous. When I did IT at Leicester Poly in the early 80s, we had two women out of sixty students and they both dropped out. Pah! It seems to me to be the parents and teachers that are mostly to blame. My 7-year old daughter is going to be an engineer or similar, I hope. She has a doll, some pink stuff but several construction sets which she loves, two railway sets, model dinosaurs, cars, aeroplanes, guns and is learning to code. Come on you parents, get your daughters sorted out.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Great Idea

      "Come on you parents, get your daughters sorted out."

      My first love went on to become a published, respected molecular biologist. What first attracted me to her was she was so much more confident than I, or anyone else, was. She admitted recently she wasn't confident at all, but each day when she went to school her mum would hold her by her shoulders and say to her, "Remember. Pretend to be confident." That is a tip to 'sort your daughters out' - eventually you are what you pretend to be, and confidence is a concrete foundation.

      My mum told me not to get in fights, and my dad told me not to lose fights. Not such good advice.

      It's notable that girls go into biology and boys go into physics, generally. It's akin to the hardware / software gender divide. You can also divide biologists according to intelligence - the party girls go into marine biology, the median go into micro biology, the smartest go into molecular biology.

      https://xkcd.com/1520/

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Enough is enough

    I've carved out my own niche because I was never on the most recommended victims list.

    How many Decades have we given Women and Minorities advantages over straight white males?

    I've done ok and will be out of the maze soon but what I see around me is sad...Identity Politics, who would have think it?

    When you seek to remedy by imposing the same bias you are fighting you lose.

    Most women in big tech are business people anyways, the same people that cheered for Steve Jobs....get me?

  14. Marty McFly
    Facepalm

    The last time....

    .....I ran an interview process, only one in twenty of the resumes received were women. We interviewed every one of them on the basis of gender alone. Unfortunately, the other 95% of the pile yielded better candidates. It is not for lack of trying by the interview team. It is for want of hiring the best person, regardless of gender or other legally protected characteristic.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The last time....

      When you have bias working for you then why would you need experience, knowledge or qualifications, hell you don't even have to wear a suit.

      One more reason that you don't see as many women in the field, they don't want to be tarred with the same brush as the ones that snuck in the back door

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: The last time....

      DISGUSTING! Don't you know you should have ignored 90% of the applicants that were male, and appointed all the females and the remaining 5% males?

  15. mtfrank

    "we will need a long period – at least a generation – where women are favoured over men" has been standard practice at many large companies for many years. It is called "hiring to quota".

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like many articles of this type, there is confusion between actual discrimination and politically motivated synthesis of discrimination. The “equality of outcome” proposed by the author indicates that the latter is the case here. Jumping on the Epstein bandwagon is all the proof needed!

    The facts are that less females enter university to do subjects such as computer science, and this has always been the case. The question is why ... in my experience with 18 year old kids, it is amazing how few female students show any interest at all? - despite all manner of interventions to try to get them interested.

    Until we see 50% of the tech population being female, we shouldn’t be expecting 50% of leadership to be female either. Attempts to force this outcome will cause resentment amongst people who are driven by logic and mathematics - they are not interested in or impressed by virtue signaling or political correctness, just logic.

    Just think how much progress would be made if computers were programmed with virtuous statements and politically correct syntax and not with logic!

    It’s time to be logical not emotional about the motives of the extreme feminist agenda being pushed by the hard left socialist “equal outcome” brigades.

    1. tfb Silver badge

      See my other comment: the number of women doing CS has halved in a generation, from a peak of around 37%.

  17. Wonder Dog

    Equality of outcome is very bad

    The proponents of equality if outcome never seem to be able to answer the dimensions question. If you want to somehow mandate equal numbers of (in this case) IT workers/managers/executives then why stop the equalization at just gender. What about ethnicity and gender. What about age , ethnicity and gender. What about height, social background, marital or child caring status weight, hair colour ,etc etc.. the list is almost endless.

    Basically you end up at the individual.which, let's face it, is what you want. In any company , organisation , you should try to recruit, retain and promote the best ( most suitably skilled, adapted and competent) person... regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation..whatever.

    But of course that means you cant write virtue signalling articles to increase your standing in your own small peer group.

    Equality of opportunity should be the goal and not equality of outcome. However, if you have that that you need to accept that in many cases males and females will make very different choices and that those choices may not always mean a 50-50 distribution

    One other point...why would anyone think.having females as managers and executives be any way different. Take a look at what Ginny is doing at IBM. No different to all her male predecessors...Maybe worse.

  18. gal5

    Social engineering does not work.

    Youll just destroy the West's ability to compete with sane societies that don't shackle their productivity like that.

    Want more women at the top?? That is a goal worthy for you? great! teach your children to be ambitious and not want participation trophies.

    How many times must we repeat those mistakes? why won't the writer learn from the Scandinavian experiment? the more they forced Women to be like Men, the stronger the lash back got.

  19. martinusher Silver badge

    Its never was a "boy's club"...

    The only reason you get carping like this is because these jobs are perceived as good and high paying so they're desirable. If they were something more unpleasant -- like old fashioned coal mining -- then you'd see a lot less pressure for gender equality.

    The awful truth about 'good paying STEM jobs' is that they require rather a lot of work to prepare for. You can't just do a few courses at school and then step into them, you have to do a lot of external preparation. Traditionally -- a couple of generations ago -- boys would have had the inside track because the impressing of gender roles at home and school would have put all but the most dedicated and talented girls at a disadvantage (the boys would be fixing stuff and doing hobbies like making radios, the girls would be playing house in one form or another). This sort of stereotyping is long behind us but it doesn't mean that all girls are about to be programmers -- its more likely that (as in the town where I live) they'll be far more interested in biotechnology. They wouldn't be doing this a generation or so ago because the technology and the jobs just didn't exist (well, they did, but we called it 'brewing' and it wasn't quite as scientific).

    I'm glad to be retired these days so I don't have to put up with this kind of workplace politics. Its actually been going on for ever -- pushy people who are at best second rate but manipulative enough to find angles to advance their personal agenda (its gender neutral as well). Its part of office life but with the new twist of finding some kind of discrimination that allows you to claim a place that you're not really entitled to. Real talent shines through this crap and its appreciated regardless of the gender, orientation and general shape and size of the person.

  20. tfb Silver badge
    Boffin

    Why the 'women are innately less interested/good at technology' claim is wrong

    Inevitably someone is going to claim that, well, women may just be innately less predisposed to be good at technology. This claim is not supported by the evidence. A good way to see this is to look at statistics for Computer Science degrees.

    In 1984/85 37% of CS degrees in the US were granted to women. In 2010/11 18% were. Both these figures are for the US I think. So, in 26 years – approximately one generation – the proportion of women being awarded CS degrees halved. It's not the case that CS has become vastly more technical or anything like that since 1985.

    What this means is that whatever drove this collapse in numbers is not innate predisposition, because changes in innate predisposition occur over evolutionary timescales, which are quite a lot longer than 26 years, to put it mildly. So some other factor or factors has driven women away from CS between the mid 1980s and today.

    A second conclusion from this is that, unless you assume that there was very significant positive discrimination towards women in CS in the middle 1980s, which seems very unlikely to me (and I was working in computing academia in the late 1980s), the 'unbiased' proportion of women in CS is probably something greater than 37%: in other words, it's very likely that there's no significant difference in innate predisposition between women and men at all.

    [A slightly second-hand source for the numbers I quote above is here.]

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Why the 'women are innately less interested/good at technology' claim is wrong

      Yep. I met my then-wife on a Computing Science course - she was actually doing a "higher" course than me, I was doing some micky mouse CompSci undergraduate degree that left my brain turning to cheese, she was doing an IT Masters, but was actually doing real proper programming stuff, her final project was an interactive CPU emulator/disassembler/single-stepper. (My course should have been called IT, her course should have been called CompSci, but that's a rant for another day.)

      She then used her degree and programming expertise to parlay her way into a top-level Social Worker post. So even if you do bulldozer 50% of girls into programming, just expect it to result in them going into non-tech jobs afterwards, and there to be calls demanding that tech graduates be forced into tech jobs.

  21. vgrig_us

    seriously?

    "we will need a long period – at least a generation – where women are favoured over men for funding and promotion."

    Wtf?! Promote based on gender? Is this (checks article) guy even capable of understanding what he proposes?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reversed discrimination is still discrimination

    As a white male, I have had trouble getting job interviews. I've actually had a manager tell me that he wasn't ALLOWED to consider me for an interview until they had looked at "diversity candidates". The fact that I am male doesn't mean this isn't sexual discrimination. The fact that I am white doesn't mean this isn't racial discrimination.

    How about actual, proper equality, where everyone is evaluated based on technical skill, communication ability, and the ability to work civilly with others? We should fix these discrepancies, not by adding a different discrimination, but by changing the culture to make such discriminations - in any directon - unacceptable to the general populace. Note that "ability to work civilly with others" would include treating everyone with respect and dignity, regardless of gender, race, etc - an applicant CAN be judged on their decisions on how they treat others.

  23. Sherrie Ludwig

    I scrolled back

    to my astonishment, the author of this is male. Thank you, sir, for getting it. I am at retirement age, but ran into this sort of thing, overt and covert, for the time I was in corporate life, and in financing and networking my own business later. I don't think that reverse discrimination is the correct answer, but calling out the common or garden variety discrimination and the mindset that underpins it will be an ongoing task for the next generation. #Me too does exist, and it spills over and colors every interaction in the business world.

    1. High Tech

      Re: I scrolled back

      Yup, Goes like that. I remember the first time corporate mowed me down as a high level professional woman. Walking into the doctors office to help with my PTSD, the Doctor didn't even know why I was there and I said... I am an Electrical Engineer, a PhD. He said from where. I said Cornell '1989... Without knowing anything he said... "Wow, you must have been through a hell of a shit". Yup. Yup! No more tears though.. just want someone to hire me for my expertise. Running from abuse leaves a woman without a network. Anyone seeing an accomplished woman in Engineering of the age of about 50 or 60, (outside corporate) and if she is smiling, which I am... Should probably whisper in her ear... Bravo! You must be amazing, is there any of your expertise that could fit into my business areas. :)

  24. Toilet Duk

    If Affirmative Action is any indication then this discrimination will be permanent, not for a generation.

  25. Steven Guenther

    Others worried

    Do nurses and school teachers worry that there are not enough men in their professions?

    Are lawyers and plumbers also trying to get more women into their ranks?

    I would rather focus on getting quality, than just checking off liberal talking points.

    1. tfb Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Others worried

      Do nurses and school teachers worry that there are not enough men in their professions?

      Yes, they worry a lot. My brother is a teacher and very definitely people are alarmed that there are far more female than male teachers at primary school level, and that this is a bad thing for people being taught. There are schemes, mentioned in this gov.uk article, to encourage men to become primary teachers.

      I am not so sure about nursing, but judging by this article it is certainly something people worry about.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Others worried

        What do you expect? Any man who expresses an interest in being around kiddies is a PEEEEEDDDDOooooOOOOO!!!!

  26. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Where the wealthy and poweful rub shoulders.

    I think Richard Nixon blew the lid off the 'good old boys' clubs with his (recorded) comments about the Bohemian Grove. A number of 'business leadership' retreats were quietly closed down when these remarks went public.

    If they invited women, they'd be pretty lonely at some of those events.

  27. teebie

    Terrible idea

    "we will need a long period – at least a generation – where women are favoured over men for funding and promotion"

    Straightforward positive discrimination a terrible idea. The best way to deal with people of one gender thinking people in another only got the job because they were in another gender person isn't to make the prejudiced people correct. And of course by rejecting talented members of the one gender for less talented members of another you are ensuring your company doesn't get the best talent and performs worse.

    (I'm using "gender" in the middle english sense of "kind", "type", or "sort" here, because the same applies whatever group you are discriminating in favour of.)

    There are ways to deal with inequality that don't have this drawback, or the problem of illegal discrimination

    - employ the best people - if you do this the talent pool available to your company is bigger than the talent pool available to a hidebound competitor that still thinks that "those people aren't right for this type of work". Outcompete them, prove them wrong, and rejoice.

    - remove identifying information from CVs/whatever before passing them to the potentially prejudiced person in charge of hiring. This has been shown to work in blind auditions for orchestras

    - if you must mandate something, mandate interviews not outcomes - since the NFL mandated that at least one non-white candidate must be considered for a head coach job the diversity of head coaches has increased, but nobody got the job because of their race.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Socialism at it's finest

    It's funny how socialists insist we live in a free country with equal rights and then at their earliest convenience write laws that remove our freedom where our choices differs from their opinion of what the correct choice should be.

  29. Dropper

    Fairness

    My problem with articles like this is the assumption that only one sub group of people are affected by preferential treatment. There's no doubt that certain groups have been discriminated against, but that discrimination isn't against a single target. The greatest con game played against the poor is to pit each group against each other, leaving the wealthy to laugh at us all.

    No we should not start reverse discrimination based on gender, orientation, ethnicity, financial status, nationality, age or whatever other arbitrary factor pits one set of people against another.

    Why should person be at a disadvantage for the rest of their working lives, just because people who look like them have committed injustices? That kind of reasoning promotes discrimination and anger, while those with the power and money just sit back and laugh as the people below them fight amongst each other.

    Why can't we just have fairness? Make it a civil crime to not be fair. Fine companies that have been found to deliberately exclude individuals from promotion or other rewards when it can be clearly shown they favor one set of people over others.

    All I hear when I see articles like this is another attempt to let the good old boys club continue as before. Because this article isn't a call to bring them to account for their actions. It's a call to let them continue as before, but instead of targeting women they get to choose another group to ignore.

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019