back to article Science contest to get girls interested in STEM awards first prize to ... a boy

Energy giant EDF is in hot water for setting up a competition to encourage young women to get into science and technology careers – and then awarding the top prize to a 13-year-old boy. "In the UK, only 1 in every 7 people who work in science, technology, engineering and maths is female," the competition blurb reads. "Our …

  1. frank ly Silver badge

    I wonder

    If there was a drive to encourage boys into teaching, nursing, etc.; would it be called Handsome Interested? (After reading so many articles about sexism, I've become sensitive to it.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder

      would it be called Handsome Interested?

      Well that's covered about 2% of the male population. What about the rest of us?

      Big boned interested for the larger gents

      Grizzled interested for the older gents

      Scrawny interested for thinner gents

      Fugly interested for gents blessed with a Crimewatch face.

      Or maybe we should accept that the genders make their choices intelligently, abandon wanky competitions and ignore the hand wringing by feminists in the Graun.

      1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: I wonder

        Warning: Do not use any of Ledswinger's phrases as search terms, you may be shocked (or something).

    2. jake Silver badge

      @frank ly (was: Re: I wonder)

      There was an effort to teach more men to cook at Foothill Jr. College in Los Altos a about three decades ago. The feminists went berserk. Their theme was "men already have all the opportunities!" It was funny, in a sad kind of way.

      That said, my wife throws 1800 pound horses around, I do maintenance, the gardening, cooking and coding, and my daughter is a C programmer & Member of the Technical Staff working for a Fortune 50. Atypical? Perhaps. But we like it :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder

      They've been trying that in Norway since the late 70s, but men still rarely enter those professions. Those that do tend to be seen as weird, emasculated and possibly perverted by their female co-workers and are usually fairly isolated as a result.

      Very few women work in construction and engineering or other similarly intensive fields.

      This is despite the government providing grants and creating laws requiring gender equality.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I wonder

        "Very few women work in construction and engineering or other similarly intensive fields."

        On the other hand, I've noticed over recent years that there are many more women in white safety helmets using theodolites around road works and building sites. Maybe they stand out and are memorable BECAUSE they are women, or maybe there really are quite a lot going for that sort of work nowadays.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: I wonder

          There is a big jump in the number of women in those fields in Norway.

          But it has had a bit of a backlash - the news is full of groups of photogenically news friendly 21 year olds who just graduated with degrees in oilfield geology/offshore engineering/etc and none of the class received any job offers.

          Here in Canada they are being laid off as mining/oil projects are mothballed. The normal last-in first out means that most of the people kicked out are recent/new grads, which means more women, so the news is full of how women in STEM are the most likely to be dumped.

          1. Charles Manning

            Here in NZ...

            a male friend of mine was a nurse. He ended up being assigned to a mental hospital.

            Whenever they had a violent person that the females didn't want to deal with he had to do the job.

            He ended up leaving after he was beaten and hospitalised. The only reason that happened was because he didn't fight back. If he had the patient would have had the broken bones.

            So even in this lovely egalitarian world, we still have the "Aaaaagh Spider!" problem. We're equal tough girls until we feel we need a man to do something nasty.

            1. Code For Broke

              Re: Here in NZ...

              @Charles Manning:

              We're equal tough girls until we feel we need a man to do something nasty.

              Charles, I am a bigoted ass. I read your name and always assumed you were a man. But now that I've read your comment, written in the feminine-person, I realize my mistake.

              Unless you were being your normal, comically proportioned, pompous self, and simply writing in the tone of a woman?

    4. Kevin 6

      Re: I wonder

      Its only sexist if men are the majority in the role. If its women its perfectly fine.

      Its similar to racism(in the US) a white guy does anything at all to a person of African decent they are a racist, if a person of African decent beats the living crap out of a white guy while screaming racial obscenities its not racism.

      As for healthcare I work in a Nursing home, and over the years we've went through more then 40 nurses I can only recall 3 nurses being male(2 were gay). Now on the CNA(Certified Nursing Assistant) we have probably went through more then 100, and there were 5-6 males.

      I wonder if they ever thought that the reason why women avoid STEM careers is because the average person that goes into them is treated like crap, and get crap pay.

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        Re: I wonder

        Last time I was in the hospital I saw alot of male nurses. I'd say about a third came from the military.

      2. KeithR

        Re: I wonder

        "Its similar to racism (in the US) a white guy does anything at all to a person of African decent they are a racist"

        What - so you're saying it's NOT?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wonder

          @KeithR

          No, he's saying:

          "Its similar to racism(in the US) a white guy does anything at all to a person of African decent they are a racist, if a person of African decent beats the living crap out of a white guy while screaming racial obscenities its not racism."

          It's a claim of double standards.

          Oh, and we have the same happening here in the UK.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wonder

          "Its similar to racism (in the US) a white guy does anything at all to a person of African decent they are a racist"

          No that's not racist... it's only racist if you do it because of their race.

          If you were to punch the lights out of a person of African decent, but have already punched the lights out of an equal number of people of other descents the same day without a care in the world for where they come from... that's many things but it's not racist.

          If however I just make a habit of picking on people because they of African decent... that's racist. Just as it would be if I chose because they were British or American and of white skin colour.

  2. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Orwell said it (more or less) ...

    All sexes are equal, but some sexes are more equal than others.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Orwell said it (more or less) ...

      You get an upvote because Orwell was commenting on advantages in society gained through cultural reinforcement rather than from innate ability, and I feel compelled to point that out because I know that sooner or later someone will come along who reads your line and thinks "Yes, men are better than women."

    2. ciaran
      Happy

      Re: Orwell said it (more or less) ...

      This is mine: We're all equal, but we're all different.

      I think the one place where there should be a strict 50-50 share is in elected bodies. For every seat there should be a male and female representative.

      1. Rol Silver badge

        Re: Orwell said it (more or less) ...

        Sounds ideal, but in practice it is more sexist than Sid the sexist in a stuffed bikini riding a minstrel's cycle in the Tour de Lesbos.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Orwell said it (more or less) ...

        > I think the one place where there should be a strict 50-50 share is in elected bodies. For every seat there should be a male and female representative.

        Leaving aside the fact that the ratio of men to women is not exactly 50:50 - do you think that elected bodies should also represent the populace proportionately in other areas? By age, by ethnicity or language, by religion? By income? By level of education achieved? Perhaps also by height, weight and hair colour?

        If you don't, then surely you are condemning some section of society to be *not adequately represented*!

      3. Ben Liddicott

        Re: Orwell said it (more or less) ...

        What if women want to vote for a man? Will they be forced to vote for a woman?

        Or will both men and women have both a male and female representative? What if they would rather have a transgender representative?

        Why not just let them vote and let the chips fall as they may?

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Orwell said it (more or less) ...

          What if women want to vote for a man?

          A couple of years ago at UTas a bloke was elected to the position of Women's Officer. Fairly and democratically. There was an outcry from the feminists and the bloke resigned. The position became unfilled, there being no women who wanted the position. It should be noted that men are in the minority on the UTas campus. Equality? Feminists have zero interest in equality.

          1. m0rt Silver badge

            Re: Orwell said it (more or less) ...

            "Feminists have zero interest in equality."

            My personal opinion is that sweeping statements, and their re-iteration, are one root cause of inequality.

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: Orwell said it (more or less) ...

              My personal opinion is that sweeping statements, and their re-iteration, are one root cause of inequality.

              See CodeforBroke's comment. Feminists and misogynists alike have an interest in maintaining inequality and a history of having done so. Equalists not so much...

              1. KeithR

                Re: Orwell said it (more or less) ...

                "See CodeforBroke's comment. Feminists and misogynists alike have an interest in maintaining inequality and a history of having done so."

                So you don't understand what "sweeping statement" means, then?

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  Re: Orwell said it (more or less) ...

                  So you don't understand what "sweeping statement" means, then?

                  I do. But do you understand what a tautology is? Sweeping statement =/= a tautology.

        2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: Orwell said it (more or less) ...

          Well according to Madeleine Albright "there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other" when referring to Hillary's run for the White House so letting folks vote for who they want to vote for isn't really cricket.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            According to Madelaine Albright

            Madeleine Albright also said 500,000 dead Iraqi Children was "worth it"and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama. If I believed in hell, I would hope there would be a special place for Albright and Obama in there.

      4. KeithR

        Re: Orwell said it (more or less) ...

        "For every seat there should be a male and female representative"

        Hmmm... That's potentially difficult to square with "everyone on his merits".

        (This is "his" in the legal sense, which is construed to include "her" too).

  3. arkhangelsk

    To Be Fair

    Based solely on the info in articles, it does seem the boy's idea was more creative and letting him win was at least legitimate. We want girls in STEM but not at the cost of tilting tables in their favor.

    1. Guus Leeuw

      Re: To Be Fair

      Dear Sir,

      That is exactly what gender-based political correctness is all about: tilting tables in favor of the seemingly under-represented people.

      I am all for giving everybody equal opportunities, but that must indeed mean equal to everybody. Not "equal to everybody except those who are in the majority".

      Regards,

      Guus Leeuw

      1. David M

        Re: To Be Fair

        But how would you feel if you won a competition because you were a girl, and not because you had the best idea?

        1. Jess

          Re: To Be Fair

          The idea was to encourage girls not to patronise them.

          The runners up prizes actually meant something.

          Nearly the best on a level playing field.

      2. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: To Be Fair

        seemingly under-represented

        You really need to go away and think that through.

        How do you provide equality of opportunity if there are wider problems in society which underpin the inequality? It can take generations to change attitudes, whether by a natural process or by targetted encouragement, and even then there will be areas of society where the older mindset will hold sway for decades. Do you stand back and leave all the disadvantaged people to their fate during that time, or do you try to do something to help them?

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: To Be Fair

          You do something to help them. In a way that doesn't then disadvantage the "old majority" or advantage the disadvantaged. There are many ways to create equality. Creating inequality is not one of them and in the end doesn't help change the mentality. It just twists it.

          1. TheProf
            Angel

            Re: To Be Fair

            Isn't "tilting tables" a description of the winning idea?

            "Three of the four runners-up prizes did go to young women, including ideas for a waterproof tablet for use in the bath and another for a software system for refrigerators that identifies the sell-by and use-by dates to minimize food waste."

            So a male was a runner up? That's 40% of the prizes going to men. Good on yer lads!

            Also a waterproof tablet? Hello Sony. A smart fridge? Hello Samsung.

            "But how would you feel if you won a competition because you were a girl, and not because you had the best idea?" Probably the same as a football team that wins the game due to an own goal. Still ahead and in the money.

            Still, good to see a competitions' organisers sticking to the principal of the best idea winning.

        2. Fibbles

          Re: To Be Fair

          The aim of the competition was to get more girls interested in STEM. If lots of girls entered the competition then that aim is achieved. The gender of the winner is irrelevant.

        3. Michael Thibault

          Re: To Be Fair

          >Do you stand back and leave all the disadvantaged people to their fate during that time, or do you try to do something to help them?

          That something you do to help (them) would necessarily include determining that there's a point after which no more 'leveling' is practicable; defining equality as a strict function of parity (i.e. equality == parity in numbers) is a mistake, as doing so may well institutionally define inequality as perpetual, entrenching frustration. Not a wise thing to do.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Not enough discussion of work environment

            During my career my STEM type of profession changed from being male_only and heavily technical to being dominated by women with a considerably softer profile. Recently I quietly mentioned to my (female) boss the discomfort of being the only man in such a changing environment. She subsequently hired a female of the sort that we already have - even though there were male applicants with a lot better STEM qualifications.

            I am old enough, so I can escape by early retirement.

    2. Paul Renault

      Re: To Be Fair

      Thanks, I came here to post the same opinion. These were proposals, the contestants didn't have to actually make or even design the product. I case the other commenters don't bother going to the EDF site:

      Judges: Two women, one man, and last year's winners - a team of eight girls.

      Winner, the boy: A game controller where the triggers creates energy by a wind up mechanism

      Runners up, all girls: 1) a smart fridge system that monitors expiry dates, 2) curtains which automatically open when they sense the sunlight (the proposal didn't include 'closing them in the summer', not much of an issue in Scotland, eh), 3) a device which you put near your computer screen, which reminds you/monitors your pre-bedtime routines, 4) a bathtub mat so now you can surf while bathing.

    3. John Tserkezis

      Re: To Be Fair

      "Based solely on the info in articles, it does seem the boy's idea was more creative"

      More likely his idea would reap more money when it was sold to the console makers.

      I think we can all agree that just because something is a money maker, it doesn't make it creative.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: To Be Fair

        I think we can all agree that just because something is a money maker, it doesn't make it creative.

        And I think we can all agree that just because something is not a money maker, it doesn't make it creative. Whoda thunkit? ;-)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To Be Fair

      "it was opened up to both sexes in the name of gender equality."

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Equality meets affirmative action

    Two go in, only one leaves.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stem encoragement

    I'll go out on a limb here and say that while the newspapers and websites report spurious health products (let alone miracle cures) we don't have enough young persons of either gender going into STEM

    Though Stem take up is still low for females, it least we have moved to it being a personal choice rather than the dark days when my colleague was advised against studying science by a teacher and it took her mother's insistence for it to happen. That my colleague has a doctorate in biochemistry serves as the coda to that anecdote.

  6. ChrisJC

    Positive discrimination is just as offensive to me as negative discrimination.

    The best competition entry deserves to win, irrespective of gender.

    I presume that the judges had the gender of the participant withheld whilst judging to enable them to make a non-discriminatory choice.

    Perhaps Dr. Black would prefer a 'fixed' competition where it was predetermined that a girl would win. I wouldn't. I prefer a fair competition.

    Chris.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      I think you're missing the point. The competition was supposed to encourage girls, and was originally intended only to be open to girls. For some reason they decided to open it up to boys too, when they could have run a parallel competition just for boys. That option would have achieved their primary aim and given an opportunity for boys to get involved.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Smacks of the old prize categories thing "Girl winner (Age 5-7) is... Boy winner (Age 5-7) is..." etc etc until everyone's a winner. By separating the prize categories out by gender, it kind of reinforces the idea that women and men can't compete on a level playing field and have to play in their own arena. IMHO that's sending completely the opposite message. I work in a university science department and we have a fairly even split between male and female at all levels. The only problem is that the women seem to keep falling pregnant and having to take long breaks from their research - working with teratogens it's kind of essential that they do that. :(

        1. x 7 Silver badge

          @TRT

          "The only problem is that the women seem to keep falling pregnant"

          What are you doing to them?

          1. Def Silver badge
            Joke

            "The only problem is that the women seem to keep falling pregnant"

            What are you doing to them?

            If you still don't know how that works...

            Then a career in IT is perfect for you. :D

        2. Code For Broke

          @TRT: Another bit of genger injustice is posed by the problem of your pregnant grad students. Why are your male grad students, who must be equally involved in pregnancies, not also taking equal amounts of time to care for their pregnant partners and children?

          1. TRT Silver badge

            @code. I didn't say it was to care... pregnant women are restricted from performing certain activities and entering certain areas because of the teratogens used in them. They have to take up "safer" duties instead. The rules were similar when I worked in the printing school - women who were capable of conception were not allowed to operate the Ludlow type-caster because of all the lead. A woman comes with a full complement of gametes (haploid cells, eggs) from before birth, so any mutagenic compounds that enter the body can have an effect on reproduction for a lifetime, but male gametes are made fresh constantly so the effects of exposure to a mutagen clear within a few weeks, or at least when the mutagen is removed from the body. But I see your point about caring and time off for parenthood. I'm glad to say that we are progressive in this respect and afford the same opportunities to both male and female parents, have nurseries on site that cater for infants from 6 months upwards, and have the advantage of being able to offer extremely flexible working arrangements.

            Thankfully in science, there are sufficient alternative activities that can keep a career going even if working from home on a full or part time basis, e.g. literature work, lecturing, personal tuition, data analysis etc. We have one female scientist who fell pregnant unexpectedly and has had to have others perform her planned experiments and gather the data for her. The time she doesn't spend in the lab, she now spends doing outreach work, taking a team of volunteers into schools where progression to university is low and doing demonstrations and lectures. Not easy to persuade pupils from deprived backgrounds into HE given the f***ing extortionate cost of going to university nowadays, thank you very much successive UK governments., NOT.

            Now there's an area where there's an even bigger differential in achievement in STEM. We've got schools in south London where only one or two pupils a year will go on to STEM HE, a few more will go on to arts and humanities, but the rest are straight out onto the dole or unskilled work. 48% of private school students go on to HE, 18% of state school pupils and only 2% of pupils eligible for free school meals. BiS has cut funding for diversity work by over 60% in the last 5 years. Compared to the general population, employment or training in STEM subjects is under represented by around 90% for social disadvantage, 30% for ethnicity, 40% for gender (except medicine) and 60% for disability. Figures from CaSE.

            1. TRT Silver badge

              You know, the other day I worked out that the income tax recovered on just the difference in average salary between HE workers and non-HE workers comes to, over a 40 year working lifetime, £24,000, compared with the £21,000 average debt under the old rules. Under the new version of the loans scheme, the Institute for Fiscal Studies reckons that HE students will repay nearly £67k over their life time, accounting for interest etc

              Just throwing a few ideas out here...

              Isn't it about time we scrapped the student loans company, with all the administrative overheads, delays, errors etc and simply imposed a different tax code on all graduates, say 1 or 2% on the basic rate, 3% on the higher rate and 5% on the enhanced rate? We could then reintroduce means-tested full grants for living expenses and scrap tuition fees. Reign in VC and executive pay in the HE sector as well, which isn't so easy if you're not holding the purse strings. Give universities the option to administer their own loan scheme or join the government funded stream, or hybridise the two.

              1. TRT Silver badge

                Graduate tax to replace Student Loans

                Of course, Student Loans are repayable if you go to work abroad, whereas Income Tax is not (given certain provisions). We impose income tax on foreigners coming to work in the UK, would they have to pay the graduate component? Balance that against how many of our graduates go to work overseas, as we don't claim income tax on foreign earnings in most circumstances.

                The US, however, runs things a little differently. As a US citizen working abroad, you are required to fill in tax returns still, and pay income tax to the US government on part of their foreign earnings, with deductions etc etc etc.

                If the UK adopted a "citizen tax", we could still collect taxes on foreign earnings in a similar way in order to recoup the cost of the privileges of personal development obtained at UK education institutions above the basic level of education.

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        "I think you're missing the point. The competition was supposed to encourage girls, and was originally intended only to be open to girls. For some reason they decided to open it up to boys too, when they could have run a parallel competition just for boys. That option would have achieved their primary aim and given an opportunity for boys to get involved."

        Was it? That information wasn't in the article, and would have helped. I read it as, there was a competition, and a separate but linked campaign to get girls interested. But that didn't mean you had to fix the competition in the end if the girls were rubbish.

        Rather like job vacancies. You can particularly encourage applications from women, but you don't pick a woman as the new employee just because she has tits.

      3. Mad Chaz

        OR, as they said in the article, someone figured gender EQUALITY was important and that refusing boys entries was about as sexist as a male only competition.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That would have the exposed the disparity in ability, as the boy's winning entry would have been a regenerative console controller that uses multi axis dynamos to recharge while playing. And the girl's winning entry? An ipad with a squirt of silicone sealant in all the holes. Good job, love. A+ for effort.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "An ipad with a squirt of silicone sealant in all the holes. Good job, love. A+ for effort."

          Being able to use Facetwat in the bath? Priceless :-)

      5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Separate competitions with the same rules and prizes?

        Welcome to the murky area of separate development or shudder, aparteid.

        That's why the old Young Scientist of the Year was one competition open to ALL, be they male, female or transgender.

        As has been said, it is hard to get anyone (of any sex) interested in a career in STEM. STEM subjects are frigging hard when compared to the plethora of soft degrees (Hons degree in Stage Makeup? WTF?)

        There are lots of Degrees being awarded in subjects that used to be a City & Guilds/BTEC course done at day release or evening class at the local Technical College. Now those Techs have become Universities.

        Try explaining to an 18year old the relevence of 2nd Order Differential Equations to real life and their eyes will glaze over. We have to make STEM far 'sexier'. i.e. far more attractive and relevant otherwise it will be a losing battle.

        1. x 7 Silver badge

          Re: Separate competitions with the same rules and prizes?

          "That's why the old Young Scientist of the Year was one competition open to ALL, be they male, female or transgender."

          Hey, I was part of a team that won that. Three male, one female.

          but......nearly all the other teams were all male.

          Meeting George Porter at the RI was one of the biggest days of my life - and yes it was open to males and females. However.......what you won't have seen on screen is the bitchy behaviour of the programme management team towards their juniors, who were all women. Junior female studio workers being threatened with the sack because someone's whisky bottle was empty........BBC hadn't heard of equality back then.

          1. x 7 Silver badge

            Re: Separate competitions with the same rules and prizes?

            Just to clarify something - my comment about the bitchy production team was about the BBC senior employees, not about Sir George or the other judges, who were all thoroughly good people who treated us kids well. Just thought I'd say that in view of the BBC's other problems with kids at that time.

            Now talking of the BBC, have I ever told you the story of Jim'll fix it, the girl who was given an elephant for her wedding ride from the church, and what Sovile tried to do to the bride and her sister in his dressing room when the studio program was recorded - AFTER the marriage

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: parallel competitions

        They couldn't do that, if they did, then the boys only competition would be considered discriminatory.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Perhaps Dr. Black would prefer a 'fixed' competition where it was predetermined that a girl would win. I wouldn't. I prefer a fair competition."

      That's exactly what she wants. There's no discrimination between the sexes in STEM teaching nowadays - it's simply a myth. Girls, on average, are simply are less interested in pursuing STEM careers than boys. They perform just as well as boys up to GCSE level then the numbers choosing to continue their eduction drop off a cliff.

      Another piece of nonsense in the news recently is the supposed gender pay gap. This is also demonstrably false since, if it were true that a woman could be paid less than man for the same job, there would be no men left in the workforce! Businesses are not stupid.

      No, what this is all about is pushing the perverse, politically correct diversity agenda. Advocates of feminism simply believe that females are superior to males hence why their supposed quest purporting to achieve equality, which in reality was attained decades ago, is expanding not diminishing.

      1. Esme

        @AC - companies tending to recruit women over men because they feel they can pay women less is exactly seems to be happening in some places. Pay discrimination? Nooo, we don't discriminate on pay, we just don't employ blokes, and pay all the women the same - minimum wages.

        And advocates of feminism (ahem! (points to self)) do not believe females are superior to males. We believe females should have equality of opportunity and are equally worthy of respect in society as men. Trying to claim otherwise is a tad like being an MS troll/schill claiming that all Linux advocates are pirates/communists/black hat crackers. Some may be - but the vast majority are not.

        Equality was not achieved years ago as an absolute thing. The right to vote, and the acceptance of women in the paid workforce - yes, that was won, and both were big steps forward. Equal pay for equal work was the next thing to be tackled, and whilst that looks easy enough to achieve, in practice it wasn't (and isn't) as easy to achieve as you'd think, due to the deviousness of employers in trying to find ways to circumvent the intent of equal pay legislation. (Note I'm not even implying any gender bias on the employers part; they've simply done their damndest to keep the costs of employing warm bodies down by every means possible, and hang the fairness of the methods used and never mind the gender of those falling foul of their schemes)

        But the things that are left are far subtler and harder to do anything about. One that personally used to bug me a LOT I've been interested to see happen rather less as the years go by is the tendency for the males in a meeting involving both males and females to just talk right over the top of the women present, and generally ignore what the women are saying. That's one of those things that couldn't be legislated for (OK: no sane person would try to legislate for it), and had to be chipped away at at a personal level in meeting after meeting after meeting by, well all of us, until it got to be less of a problem. So being a boor/idiot is now, so far as I can see, something where gender equality exists where before it did not :-}

        What about equality of prestige, talking a womans word on a subject with equal weight to that of a man saying the same thing (assuming that what is said is correct)? Ooh, that's a tough one (and one in which gender bias isn't always in the one direction, either)! How DO you factor in child bearing and rearing in a way that is fair to both genders and the childless? What about societal attitudes to war and soldiery (curious that men were seen as both more important than women, but also more expendable - biologically, that may be so, but we're talking about human beings here, for heaven's sake!)? And with both genders free to seek paid employment, making competition for work fiercer, what about the effects on the youngsters seeking employment in an ever more mechanised and computerised world?

        Just because the 'easy wins' (which involved a lot of conflict and deaths to gain) have been won, doesn't mean that we've reached an idyllic state of societal equality here in the UK and 'the West' in general. Some of the attempts to correct one wrong (inequality in pay) have sometimes caused other wrongs (employment of women at the expense of males; pushing wages down, rather than up in some industries). And what of the situation worldwide? There are still way too many places where women are still regarded as chattels and denied basic human rights. How to tackle that, CAN that be tackled without prompting cries of cultural imperialism or the fighting of a war (whcih Daesh, it seems has started)?

        So, sorry to prick your over-simplistic bubble, but feminsim isn't about claiming or even thinking that women are superior to men. It's about achieving a fairer society for all. It's just that we remember the struggles our grandmothers and mothers had to get here, and we see that vigilance is still necessary whilst the likes of Daesh exist. We see that whilst we in the West are not doing too badly, that women elsewhere are not so fortunate, and we want them to enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities that we have. And we DON'T want to cause unfairness to men in so doing. So kindly stop trying to speak for us, AC. You know as well as I do that any large cause will have extremists who make a lot of noise and yet actually be working against the principles they claim to espouse. Don't try tarring feminists in general with the same brush as the ones you're complaining about. They annoy the hell out of us, too.

        </soapbox> :-}

        1. Code For Broke

          I do actually believe the term feminist implies the belief that women are superior to men.

          If one believed women were equal to men, I believe they would have to call themselves an equalist.

        2. Alumoi

          Esme, nice and informative comment, but there's one thing bugging me since this 'social equality' started: why do everyday women refuse to do hard labour?

          You want to be treated as equals but you also want to work only in cushy fields, like medicine, science, teaching and so on. Basically anything that does not imply using muscles.

          So it seems that women do not want an equal society but a divided one: let the males do all the muscle work and let the females do the intellectual work. After all, evolution made males strong, it's not your fault.

          1. Bob Dole (tm)

            That's usually how my wife tries to divide the activities up.

        3. Jess

          Egalitarianism is a much better word

          The word 'feminism' is sexist in itself, and it also does nothing to address all the other inequalities that are nothing to do with gender.

        4. Bilious

          Two different matters

          No disagreement about equal rights and equal opportunities and equal pay, in all countries. Unfortunately there are feminist extremists who dominate some channels and, I am sorry to say, have poor command of their subjects. We can cope with those, even though we may have to misbehave in meetings.

          But quite a few apparently moderate feminists squeeze out men from the workplace by hiring only women. So the net effect in those cases is a reversal of roles - from patriarch to matriarch. I do not think it is an improvement.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's always a question: Who is the referee?

      Bosses go for their own kind. Very few prefer people with opposing views.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did it achieve it's objective?

    If three of the top 5 entries were from girls, I would say that the competition achieved it's objective - clearly girls were interested enough in developing their ideas and entering the competition.

    Arguing about the gender of the winner totally ignores the aim of the thing : a girl winning would have been the icing on the cake, but the cake itself still seems pretty good.

    Any gender-bias argument against the winner would be interesting to hear - considering that according to the EDF blurb, the four judges comprised two women, one man and a group of schoolgirls.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    runner up - prior art

    A waterproof tablet for use in the bath?

    Like the current range of both Sony and Samsung phones then?

    If that was the level of entries then they had no choice to give it to a credible 'idea'.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: runner up - prior art

      A tablet for use in the bath requires a lens cover for the camera. Did Sony, Samsung or the contestant remember that?

      1. David Roberts Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: runner up - prior art - lens cover

        I assume your comment is based on the fact that glass lets water through?

        Oh, hang on.........

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: runner up - prior art

        "A tablet for use in the bath requires a lens cover for the camera."

        No. But it does require a lens that adapts to the fact that it's now operating in a medium of different RI.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: runner up - prior art

          Are you kind of missing the point that we're talking about girls in a bath, presumably naked and therefore quite a tempting target for perverts?

          The only tablet that should be in the bathroom, by the way, either discloses plaque or is made of soap. Or are we returning to a Romanesque / Grecian idea of bath houses being a social forum? In which case, why do we need bathroom door locks?

        2. Ben Liddicott

          Re: runner up - prior art

          Most modern smartphones have a planar surface as the front of the camera, so no adjustment for RI is necessary.

      3. Known Hero
        Thumb Up

        Re: runner up - prior art

        I love the way commentards assume your talking about some technical aspect in regards to the functioning of the device, rather than simply a useful privacy feature.

        Ahh us techies missing the subtle point for years and years :D

    2. Old Handle

      Re: runner up - prior art

      To be fair, a waterproof tablet "for use in the bath" might have different design considerations. Most of the current models seem designed for rugged outdoor use. I suppose you'd still want some rubber on it for improved grip, but it wouldn't need to be almost an inch thick...

  9. John Sager

    Be careful what you wish for

    As always. Just to be sexist for a minute, is the lack of women in tech down to us cavemen putting them off, or are they just not interested & enthused by the subject?

    I was down at the computing museum at BP last year, looking at the Harwell Dekatron computer. There was a school party there with quite a few girls, and the presenter, as a form of encouragement, was showing them pics of the early days with quite a few women in the team. In those days a lot of programming was writing code on sheets marked off into boxes with one character per box so that punch card operators could punch it up into a card deck. I did wonder whether the women were designing the algorithms or just writing the code on the sheets. In those days, 'writing code on sheets' was seen as a perfectly reasonable job for a woman, and they may well have seen it that way too, as just another sort of clerical function. These days that just doesn't wash, so girls generally don't want to do that stuff, and I wonder just how many of them really are enthused by the process of algorithm design as a prelude to the process of writing code.

    1. Sean Houlihane

      Re: Be careful what you wish for

      You need to look at other cultures where engineering and computer science are as well respected as medicine. Or look at medicine in UK/US culture. Agree a 50/50 split isn't right, and a contributing factor is the challenges for men in teaching, but here there is still a huge cultural barrier for women with potential skills in there areas.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Be careful what you wish for

        Men can't be teachers. Because pedo-panic.

        1. GrumpyOldBloke

          Re: Be careful what you wish for

          Once we get child friendly white collar workplaces then men will be pushed out of these environments to. It is unlikely such a workplace would produce anything useful so the public sector or NGO's are an obvious first choice. The cancer could then spread to the private sector through gender equity regulation and social pressure. If we follow the normalisation of LGBTI and population control agendas then successful men may eventually need pretend boyfriends as social cover for their oppressive hetro interests. By then of course there will be gender benders in the water and few of us will remember if we were Arthur or Martha.

          1. imanidiot Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: Be careful what you wish for

            @GrumpyOldBloke, not sure if serious? You might want to check your tinfoil hat there...

            1. GrumpyOldBloke

              Re: Be careful what you wish for

              @imanidiot: Good question. Give it 5 years and I will tell you.

            2. GrumpyOldBloke

              Re: Be careful what you wish for

              @imanidiot: sorry one more:

              Water pollution and gender / gender identity issues are already being raised as potential issues.

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1281309/

              1. imanidiot Silver badge

                Re: Be careful what you wish for

                Lots of speculation, little hard numbers there.

                Might be an issue, but doesn't really make much of a difference. (And if an effect is found and water quality demands are altered to reflect this the problem goes away)

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Be careful what you wish for

      Working in a high tech environment with a lot of "typical techno-geeks" and a few females I can say that "us cavemen" putting them off IS actually a factor. Not the entirety nor even half, but it DOES count somewhere on the scale. I've had a female collegue comment that she avoids wearing dresses or skirts just because she gets a lot of unwanted comment about it (note: not actually sexual in nature, but enough to put her off the idea of having to listen to: "Ohh, going out with the boyfriend after work, you're all dirked up." all day long, just because she's wearing something girly looking)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Be careful what you wish for

        @iamanidiot

        " I've had a female collegue comment that she avoids wearing dresses or skirts just because she gets a lot of unwanted comment about it..."

        News flash: Heterosexual men are sexually attracted to women and will at times make comments that express this fact.

        Nothing to do with IT per se, it's just that IT types are often particularly unattractive to females, hence they receive more vocal condemnation.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Be careful what you wish for

          @AC (You might have missed the fact I am a male)

          I think you are missing the point here. It's not ABOUT expressing attraction. Just a comment or 2 of "you look nice today" is perfectly acceptable to most females afaik. It's the never ending stream of insination and comments that wear a person down over time. To the point where they rather not wear "feminine" clothes.

          "News flash: Heterosexual men are sexually attracted to women and will at times make comments that express this fact."

          NEWS FLASH: there is a difference between making a comment every now and then and wearing a person down over time with inane "quips", flirting, commenting on whatever she wears, etc. The first is usually acceptable (depending on the way it is done). The second is exactly why women avoid working in fields with an overabundance of people who think it's perfectly fine to annoy women with whatever pops into their head or lower extremities

          And I'm not talking specifically about IT here. I'm a mechanical engineer by trade.

    3. Andy Taylor

      Re: Be careful what you wish for

      At the National Museum of Computing, we also have an entire gallery dedicated to women in computing. The early programmers were certainly not just ticking boxes and punching cards.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Be careful what you wish for

        My mother was a programmer in the days of punched cards. After that she taught others (men and women) to programme COBOL.

  10. jake Silver badge

    The question remains ...

    "a young lad who came up with the idea of building clockwork energy storage devices into a games controller to harvest power generated by playing."

    ... did the lad do the math(s) to demonstrate just exactly how much of an energy sink fiddling about with video games actually is?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Re: The question remains ...

      As someone with a physics background, my pet hate is micro energy harvesting.

      Every month or two, some non-science design hipster invents something, and the media go apeshit over it. Yet you never see it adopted in real life.

      These designs are only one step up from perpetual motion machines, and either the energy will be missed, for example trying to harvest energy from cars increases drag and steals fuel. Or the amount of energy is too tiny for any use; the physics equivalent of a potato clock.

      The harshness of thermodynamics is proof of either no god, or god hates us, and wants our engines to be at most 35% efficient.

      Ignorant people will say "oh but the technology will improve". Well yes it will, but only to asymptotically approach the theoretical maximum. People who don't understand Carnot efficiency are illiterate peasants in a technogenic world.

      1. Ben Liddicott

        Re: The question remains ...

        This!

        This!

        This!

        Serious, now. This!! FFS! THIS!!!!

        "we'll harvest energy from people walking on floors!"

        You know how walking on soft sand is harder work than walking on a hard pavement?

        WHICH IS WHAT THAT WILL BE LIKE.

        Because thermodynamics.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: The question remains ...

          So they use more energy, so they aren't lard-arses, and that energy comes from food made from sunlight and CO2. So it's free energy with a health benefit that reduces global warming !

          White lab coat -->

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Boffin

            Re: The question remains ...

            Your joke simply reveals yet another subject that the media spreads dangerous ignorance, where it could be providing a public service.

            Hardly a month goes by without some dickhead journalist writing an article about fidgeting, walking around in bouncy shoes, sex as cardio, or some other "micro exercise".

            This is nonsense on two levels, the most important of which is that your total metabolic rate is *dominated* by the basal rate, and basal rate is largely a function of muscle mass. Now we have a whole industry flogging activity monitors which gather wrong and useless statistics.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: The question remains ...

      "... did the lad do the math(s) to demonstrate just exactly how much of an energy sink fiddling about with video games actually is?"

      Probably enough to power the device I would think. Much more than that and I don't believe it. (I'm basing this on the same technology in watches, which proves that it can power a small device.)

  11. MrXavia
    Paris Hilton

    "waterproof tablet for use in the bath"

    Must be a future Apple engineer.. take the obvious and make it patentable....

  12. David Roberts Silver badge
    Holmes

    Discrimination?

    It depends on how you look at it.

    It looks as though there is probably still a barrier to females in the "engineering" arena (why do I get a mental image of crusty tweed clad pipe smoking....) and I know my daughter hit some of this at school.

    However computing (especially software) isn't hard science.

    It requires a certain variety of logical thinking.

    Success at Cluedo might be a positive indicator.

    I started my computing career in the early '70s and at the time (doing mainfrsme COBOL programming) there was a good mix of sexes. Recruitment requirement was graduate (or partial completion of a degree course) plus programming aptitude (or at least an aptitude in passing the tests). Lots of different disciplines but no Computer Scientists IIRC.

    There was some apparent discrimination because the were more female than male Systems Analysts and most of the programmers were male. Never worked out why.

    Then again this was in London which was quite enlightened at the time.

    Daughter is still making Daddy proud by earning shed loads of money in IT - more than I ever made.

    I do note that the awards seem to be aimed at physical things - tablets, clockwork and the like.

    Wheras most IT seems to centre around the "softer" skills (as in software) where logical thinking, multi-tasking, team and negotiating skills all have their place.

    One thought - autism is often linked to high intelligence and involves a large degree of social isolation and lack of awareness of the "rules". It is also predominantly a male trait. Which ties in with the image of an unwashed male nerd in a dark basement hacking the Internet - with one in a thousand going on to start an innovative tech startup and some of them to achieve Unicorn status. So perhaps there is a sex linkage to success in certain areas of IT which is not fuelled by discrimination?

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Discrimination?

      It depends on your definition of intelligence. If your definition is the memory of facts and procedures (and the logic that this tends to produce) then yes, there is a greater cross set of those with diagnosed autism and those with this type of intelligence. Some of this is the desire to label every damn personality trait rather than "this person is a bit socially awkward but they are a great scientist" - which if you consider many of what are recorded as great scientists they were known as being a bit socially awkward. Whether this was cause or effect is a different matter altogether (and it could even be a bit of both).

      The more labels and hard black/white judgements are made the harder it is to just get on with life. We should be focussing on giving everyone the same opportunities and removing artificial (or social) restrictions on them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Discrimination?

      Those of you who are not autistic need to stop making generalisations about those of us who are. We are a diverse lot and many of us have no interest in technology, coding and so on (although this one does)

      Also, ignore every depiction of autism you've seen on TV, they're all either total bollocks or take one extreme example and use that to represent the whole. We are not all non-verbal or rain man, most of us are somewhere in between with challenges on the social side of things and strengths in other areas.

      I'll also mention one thing we virtually all agree on is that we don't want any damn cure or therapy to make us act more like you, we're in the main perfectly happy as we are... the therapies on offer (ABA and the like) are more about making you NTs more comfortable around us than anything intended to benefit us and acting NT (or passing as it's called) is extremely draining and can lead to depression or worse.Where this idea that we'd all be happier if we were just like you comes from I do not know but it's certainly not true.

      1. x 7 Silver badge

        Re: Discrimination?

        " main perfectly happy as we are... the therapies on offer (ABA and the like) are more about making you NTs more comfortable around us than anything intended to benefit us and acting NT "

        I can't agree more - I've never been diagnosed but I'm sure I'm in the autistic spectrum somewhere.

        One question: I've never heard the phrase "NT" in this context. What does it mean? Normal Twats?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Windows

          Re: Discrimination?

          Will guess: neurotypical

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Discrimination?

            About 30% of the people I work with are aspie/ADHD/etc. These are the ones designing surgical robots.

            The others are mentally handicapped, but in these enlightened times we can't cal them morons or idiots - so we refer to them as management/HR/marketing.

        2. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Discrimination?

          I've never been diagnosed but I'm sure I'm in the autistic spectrum somewhere

          Try this:

          http://www.rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Discrimination?

        Fucking normies!

        REEEEEEEE

    3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Discrimination?

      Quote " A large degree of social isolation" and "Lack of awareness of the rules"

      I'd say that cover pretty much all of the IT field (and some other fields)

      Why?

      Because it takes intelligence and understanding to be able to de-bug a complex program, so you need to tell the annoying twat with a broken laptop to f*** off while you study and solve the problem, which means you want to be socially isolated, and because you told them to f*** off , you also have the lack of awareness of the rules.

      So you're pretty normal for the STEM game and its everyone else who needs to change for you

      Oh gawd... my neighbour just rang the door, his broadband aint working..... brb I fear a conversation with the words "f*** off" is about to happen

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternative headline

    "Boy wins competition despite discrimination"

    How do people who support this nonsense think they are making nerdy little boys feel ?

    The only sexists left are the feminazis.

    1. Grifter

      Re: Alternative headline

      You sound positively terrified of women.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Alternative headline

        Grifter > You sound positively terrified of women.

        I love normal women, who do not see men as their enemy.

        I am terrified of the everyday man-hate the feminazis are generating, and the backlash it will cause from ever-more disadvantaged young men:

        http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/nov/11/white-boys-from-poor-areas-least-likely-to-take-as-or-a-levels-says-study

        1. Grifter

          Re: Alternative headline

          You have gone completely batshit. The everyday man-hating feminazis? Seriously? Do you wear tinfoil-hats to protect yourself against their feminine man-controlling mind-rays too?

          Clearly, this is your opinion. Now _that_ is fucking scary. You are a dinosaur and your viewpoint is fossilized.

          The only people who fear giving women equal rights and representation, are the losers who despite after years of living with extreme privilege end up on the bottom, where they comfort themselves knowing that at least they can be superior to women. The future must be fucking TERRIFYING for you.

          1. x 7 Silver badge

            Re: Alternative headline

            "The future must be fucking TERRIFYING for you"

            not as long as we wear the tinfoil hats......we're safe then

          2. Dr. Ellen
            FAIL

            Re: Alternative headline

            "The only people who fear giving women equal rights and representation, are the losers who despite after years of living with extreme privilege end up on the bottom, where they comfort themselves knowing that at least they can be superior to women. The future must be fucking TERRIFYING for you."

            Good God Almighty, and Great Zot with a chaser! You sound like a true believer in the Patriarchy, and likely to make enemies wherever you go by telling everybody about it. Making enemies is a bad idea no matter what your cause. I avoid such people even when I agree with them.

          3. MD Rackham

            Re: Alternative headline

            "Do you wear tinfoil-hats to protect yourself against their feminine man-controlling mind-rays too?"

            Surely you know that their man-controlling rays don't come from their minds. Likewise we men need to wear the tinfoil lower down to be fully protected.

            Alternatively, you could just treat co-workers as co-workers rather than as everyday (or weekend-only) man-hating feminazis.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Alternative headline

              "Alternatively, you could just treat co-workers as co-workers rather than as everyday (or weekend-only) man-hating feminazis."

              I'd like that, but with today's PC bull I'm afraid to tell even an innocent joke. One of the PC nazis might report me.

          4. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Alternative headline

            You have gone completely batshit. The everyday man-hating feminazis?

            I have a friend who teaches primary school physical education. Inevitably, some of his pupils fall and hurt themselves; it's the nature of physical education. However, he is no longer allowed to provide physical comfort to those pupils thanks to the "everyday man-hating feminazis" who define such physical contact as pedophilia, or worse. There's something distinctly odd about women who would prefer small children to suffer than be comforted. Or maybe that's just my aspie POV...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    surely

    the success of the competition should be judged on how many took part, or similar, not who won. Anyone who takes up STEM in order to "win prizes" is very probably going to be disappointed in their subsequent career: afaict there are very few prizes, let alone many of note, and how winners are chosen is rather a mysterious (and very probably not very fair) process - e.g. the invariable debate about who should have (also) shared the Nobel prize in physics in any given year.

  15. x 7 Silver badge

    "a waterproof tablet for use in the bath "

    thats a brilliant idea. Think of how many people read in the bath, but never finish the book because the pages get wet and stick together. Absolute best seller, but too late to patent the idea now.

    But you could copyright the brand name.........quick, someone register the names "iWet", "iDamp" and "iBath" (or iBathe).

  16. KLane

    They actually meant to say....

    "EDF has responded by saying that the competition was originally meant to encourage girls into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) but that it was opened up to both sexes in the name of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS."

    Fixed that for ya......

  17. Bota
    FAIL

    As a male student, currently at uni

    I can make the following statements:

    1 - we've had a 33% drop out rate of females, the dropouts came after the guys stopped doing their work when the casual flirting enabled the men to be manipulated

    2 -currently have 2 females in my class

    3 - both of them didn't have the same rules applied to them when joining the course. One has an NVQ in Sports and in her third year doesn't know what "task manager" is.

    This is where box ticking gets you, an army of women on paper who are just as skilled and who are prioritized for job applications but ultimately are clueless.

    1. x 7 Silver badge

      Re: As a male student, currently at uni

      "One has an NVQ in Sports"

      you do of course realise that "NVQ" stands for "Not Very Qualified"?

  18. JustWondering
    Meh

    So ...

    ... the ratio in STEM is one female out of every seven; any stats on what the ratio is over at gender studies?

    1. Steven Roper

      Re: So ...

      You might be surprised.

      In my dealings with confronting feminists over the years, I've often found that, head cases like Andrea Dworkin and Gloria Steinem aside, most female feminists are primarily concerned with women's issues and women's rights, and don't give two shits about what men do or don't do. Most of the directed misandry, and the weasel sophistry and goalpost-shifting surrounding the concepts of "privilege" and "patriarchy" is driven mainly by male feminists - sociopathic little political climbers like Michael Flood, Michael Kimmel and Allen Johnson, all of whom are "professors" in what I call the Socjus Triad - sociology, psychology, and gender studies. A surprising number of men take these courses, and they all consign other men to the misandrist yoke with their hypocritical rhetoric. This is why I rate male feminists somewhere between hedge fund capitalists and child molesters in the human shitpile rankings.

      Interestingly, many of the men's-rights organisations are strongly supported, and in many cases even founded and helmed, by women - for example Sue Price, who founded Men's Rights Australia. Unlike their male-feminist opposites, who do it for social brownie points and to advance their political careers, the female MHRM supporters do it because they've recognised the systemic misandry present in most establishment policies and are concerned about its impact on their male children and relatives, and far from advancing their political careers, these women face considerable social and political ostracism and even harassment for their support of the MHRM.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Go

        Re: Steven Roper Re: So ...

        ".....male feminists....." I think I've only run into one of those, but it was an interesting experience. The contrast between two disagreements over interview quotas was illuminating. When I objected to technical job listings having the requirement for a degree, after a mounmental battle, it was finally accepted by HR that experience was actually a better indicator than a piece of paper as to an applicants capabilities. My argument was I wanted the best person for the job irrespective of paper qualifications.

        But I was treated as a heretic (and sent on "sensitivity training") when I questioned a requirement that every job had to have one-in-three female applicants interviewed, and that we needed to hit a target of at least 40% female hires. This time round, arguing that I wanted the best person for the job irrespective of gender led to an absolutely rabid repsonse from the male director of HR. Reason went out the window and it became an argument of almost zealot-like faith that we had to employ a quota of females irrespective of capability. This requirement held up interviews, in one case stopped us hiring at all because we had no female applicants, and led to cases where others interviewed (and employed) women they knew were not fit for the job just to meet the quota. Needless to say, HR were determined not to see the facts and blamed the subsequent higher turnover in female staff on "ingrained misogony in the male-dominated workplace" (an actual quote from our male director of HR).

        The problem seems to be that a PC idea becomes so cherished that it reaches a status of unquestionable, at which point it is no longer "equality" but dictatorship.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For Fuck's Sake

    How about

    "Everybody does whatever the fuck they're interested in for a living competition".

    Boys are more interested in technology than girls. Big fucking deal. Girls are more interested in shit that doesn't get reported on male-dominated media. The world still goes round. Shit gets done. Get a fucking life.

  20. Craig 2

    Life is unfair, and the unfair-ness is unfairly distributed.

    Get over it.

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