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Government IT

The Shortage of Women In IT 697

Posted by samzenpus
from the equal-opportunity dept.
CIStud writes "The IT industry is hurting for women. Currently only 11% of IT companies are owned by women. The Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program requires 5% of all IT jobs to go to female-owned integration companies, but there must be at least 2 female bidders. There are so few female bidders that women-owned IT firms are ineligible for the contracts. From the article: 'Wendy Frank, founder of Accell Security Inc. in Birdsboro, Pa., wishes she had more competitors. It's not often you hear any integrator say that, but in Frank's case, she has good reason. The current Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program authorizes five percent of Federal prime and subcontracts to be set aside for WOSBs. While that might sound fair on the surface, in order to invoke the money set aside for this program, the contracting officer at an agency has to have a reasonable expectation that two or more WOSBs will submit offers for the job. “We could not participate in the government’s Women-Owned Small Business program unless there was another female competitor,” says Frank. “Procurement officers required that at least two women-owned small businesses compete for the contracts, even in the IT field, where women-owned businesses are underrepresented.”'"
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The Shortage of Women In IT

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  • Oh come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:02PM (#40132023)

    There is no âoeshortageâ of women in IT since in fact there is no quota nor any particular class of IT job that specifically requires women, and so likewise IT is not âoehurtingâ for women.

    Now, perhaps it can be said that few women want to go into IT, or perhaps there actually is a bias against women in IT, but this âoeshortageâ and âoehurtingâ bullshit is hyperbole.

    Unless Iâ(TM)ve just been unaware of the all-nude Swedish lesbian IT shopsâ¦

  • Bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:08PM (#40132047) Journal

    "The IT industry is hurting for women.

    The IT industry is no more "hurting" for women than the coal mining industry or the forestry industry or the alaskan crab fishing industry. There are more men than women in the IT business. There are more women than men other lines of work. So what?

    -jcr

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:10PM (#40132055)

    I take offense at the notion there is a "shortage" of anyone by race, gender, or sexual orientation in IT- or anywhere else.

    If you want to stop division and hatred the first step is to stop pretended some people need assistance and others do not. Let people be hired based on their own abilities and they will rise to the challenge - as individuals, not part of some arbitrarily defined group of "victims".

    The great thing about IT especially is that it is VERY open to anyone working, probably a lot mores than many other more established professions. If women want to work there, they can and will. There's nothing more we can do as a society to try and convince women to work in IT - so let go the notion that we need some percentage of women and just keep accepting whoever wants to work.

  • by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:10PM (#40132057) Journal

    The government shouldn't be practicing race or sex discrimination in awarding contracts. Can the bidder do the job? Do they have the lowest bid? That's what matters, and that's what the taxpayers deserve to get for their money.

    -jcr

  • by intertrode (1564753) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:12PM (#40132073)
    Only the government will set artificial quotas restricting its ability to do business and then complain that reality doesn't match the world they are trying to force on the rest of us. Why do people think men shouldn't be able to find jobs that pay enough to support their families? IT is one of the last places we can do that!
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:15PM (#40132093) Homepage

    The whole system of "veteran-owned" and "women-owned" businesses getting special privileges is a farce. I know of some companies that appoint veterans to certain positions just so they can be veteran owned. Or the veteran may have nothing to do with the company any longer. I know a company that is "woman-owned" because the owner put his wife on the board so he could get special privileges when bidding on government contracts.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:17PM (#40132117)
    Talk about crybabies. Sheesh.

    She complains about a phenomenon that is caused by women (since studies for over 20 years have repeatedly and consistently shown that women simply tend not to choose to go into STEM careers in the first place), then uses that as a springboard to further complain that she doesn't get enough Federal assistance for women!

    I mean, come on! It's one thing to discuss the issue of "not enough women in IT" (which has been discussed to death already), and quite another to so blatantly whine about it.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:22PM (#40132145) Journal

    Affirmative action == discrimination.

    The only business that government has here is to ensure that no-one is unfairly discriminated (i.e. people are turned down because of their race/sex/...). The moment government starts discriminating itself, by instituting quotas and other privileges, any pretense of equality goes out of the window, and divisions between all those artificially created groups only deepen.

  • Re:Not true... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:24PM (#40132155) Homepage

    Well that would be true if women owned companies were inherently inferior and unable to compete and therefore need special treatment. The rest of the article seems to imply that is the authors opinion.

  • Re:Oh come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TWX (665546) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:27PM (#40132169)
    Historically, boys, rather than girls, were encouraged to play with computers in the, "let's take it apart and upgrade it," sense. This encourages boys through their adolescent years to play with computers themselves as opposed to just using them. These boys grow into young men with knowledge and experience that fills though few slots above the average user, ie, the exact knowledge needed for entry-level service, like fixing PCs, setting up equipment, and other things that small service companies do for revenue.

    On top of that, if those companies do field work, destinations are as varied as a nice, genteel home in a good part of town, to a dirty, grimy warehouse in a bad part of town, to a construction yard, and everywhere in between. These are those places that girls and young women are generally discouraged from visiting without an escort, which is something they're not going to have when working for a small IT shop.

    Entry-level IT employees may become mid-level IT employees, and some, even without college, might become high-level IT employees or even IT managers. Thing is, probably only one in ten will be good enough to be mid-level, and probably one in a hundred will be good enough to be at the top or to be a manager or owner. While it's not essential for an owner to know the ins and outs of the IT business, I can tell you from at three experiences in my career when the boss is only a businessman and doesn't know anything about performing the duties the business provides, the business generally folds or is weak with an empty suit occupying an office.

    When probably less than 20% of incoming entry-level IT workers are women, and distill that to the one in ten or one in a hundred to mid and high level jobs, and you can quickly see why there are few women owners, managers, or non-college tech workers in general. While women with college degrees are certainly better represented in IT-related jobs that benefit from college, a lot of IT still lets experience replace college, which means that men still dominate if they come up through the work-experience route.

    Had women been more represented in IT work through my roughly sixteen year career my life probably would have turned out differently. The few women in IT were either so hounded or so damaged that real relationships with women who actually understood my work were essentially impossible. So many of the very few women that were in the business were sexually-harassed to the point that they didn't bother to remain in IT either, instead looking for other kinds of work. To me, the lack of women is very much not a surprise.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:45PM (#40132259) Journal

    Yeah right - that worked out REAL WELL for the non-whites in the USA in the 1950s - right? Slavery was ended in 1865 and yet it wasn't until affirmative action was introduced under Kennedy in the 60s that real change began

    After slavery was ended, discrimination of blacks was still institutional - Jim Crow laws were just that, laws, enacted by state governments. The turnaround happened when federal government intervened and declared those laws unconstitutional, not because of affirmative action.

    Furthermore, I have explicitly said that governments safeguard the rights of citizens, even in private deals between each other - i.e. you can't be fired or denied a job because of your race etc. But that's not affirmative action - that's just enforcing equal opportunity.

    What the governments shouldn't do is announce specific groups of people protected, and enact quotas and other ways to promote those groups ahead of other groups, on the basis that they have been historically discriminated against, and now need an unfair advantage in order to "even out" things. That is segregation and discrimination, and it is no less evil when it's done in favor of the minority rather than the majority. That is what affirmative action is.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:52PM (#40132297) Journal

    When quota system is imposed on anything you will see the effect - end product is almost guaranteed to be inferior

    No matter how the quota is applied - by race, gender, nationality, religion or whatever - when quota system is enforced, competition stops

    The IT industry is the very last place where quota system should be enforced - too much is riding on the robustness and stability of IT products

  • Slashdot... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tpstigers (1075021) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:57PM (#40132327)

    The Middle-Class White Guy Game preserve.

    Give it a rest, guys. You all keep insisting that intelligence, skills and merit suffice to get ahead in this world. What you don't understand is that this is only true for middle- to upper-class white guys. The rest of the world has to deal with a society full of doors that are closed, NOT open.

    Affirmative Action exists for a reason. If you think we don't need it, kindly explain to me why women working the same jobs as men make less money.

    I know - you can't.

  • by khipu (2511498) on Monday May 28, 2012 @12:03AM (#40132375)

    Yeah right - that worked out REAL WELL for the non-whites in the USA in the 1950s - right? Slavery was ended in 1865 and yet it wasn't until affirmative action was introduced under Kennedy in the 60s that real change began

    Yes, but it has outlived its usefulness now. In the 1950's, the predominant factor for minorities being excluded from jobs was racism by employers. Today, the predominant factor are lower educational attainment, criminal records, etc. Those may or may not be caused by racism, but they are not caused by racism on the part of employers, and you can't fix them by forcing employers to do something. At this point, you should merely hold employers responsible for non-discrimination, for being race-blind.

    Opposition to affirmative action on the part of whites is often presented as some kind of competition for limited jobs, but the vast majority of whites really doesn't care about that. The real problem with affirmative action is that it doesn't work and hurts the communities by failing to address their real problems, problems which occur long before minorities hit the job market.

  • Re:Oh come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TWX (665546) on Monday May 28, 2012 @12:07AM (#40132403)
    Age and physical sexual maturity probably factors in, and perceptions about the maturity of those who do play with this stuff probably also factors in. If she sees boys who play with this stuff as undesirable, either intellectually finding them immature, or sexually finding them unappealing, then she might not want much to do with the hobby because of her perceptions about them, even more than her perceptions of the hobby.

    Most boys who play with computers do not become appealing to females until college age if they go to college, and sometimes later if they're not in the college setting with equally intelligent females. At that point, they're not perceived as successful. Success isn't yet measured in income or in income potential- it's measured in social performance- sports, fine arts, even academic performance sometimes. The further from the artificial environment that school fosters, the less those constructs fostered by that environment matter. Unfortunately, by then many females are well out of where this hobby-turned-career track could take them.
  • by Vermifax (3687) on Monday May 28, 2012 @12:10AM (#40132415)

    So basically she is upset that she has to compete with all the men owned companies instead of using federal money to underbid them because there isn't another female owned business that she could compete with to underbid the male owned companies.

    BOO FREAKING HOO.

  • Re:Oh come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by humanrev (2606607) on Monday May 28, 2012 @12:10AM (#40132419)

    Off topic, but I think the above post is an excellent example of how the lack of Unicode support in Slashdot is still retarded.

  • Re:Oh come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Belial6 (794905) on Monday May 28, 2012 @12:12AM (#40132425)
    I see this with all of my peers. They are either oblivious as to why girls pick certain things and boys others, or they believe they know why and use their children for their confirmation bias. All the while, I see every single one of them pushing their children into the predefined sexual roles that society has dictated. Even when they don't think they are doing it themselves, all of the people around them are doing it. Their relatives. The schools. The TVs. It is unavoidable.

    Part of that gender message that gets ground into children day in and day out is that males MUST get a good job if they want a good life. females CAN get a good job if they want a good life. As soon as little girls begin to interact with the rest of society, it is made absolutely clear to them that they do not need to provide for themselves. There is always someone else who will do it for them.

    Irrelevant of gender, you will get a lower percentage of people that have been told they don't have to work, working hard and taking less than desirable jobs. The fact that women as a group tend to gravitate towards jobs that pay less and require less sacrifice is not surprising. They are not underrepresented in these jobs because of their gender. It is because their gender is under represented in the group that is raised to believe that no one is going to pay their way through life.

    It isn't a genetic problem, and the solution for under representation of women in IT isn't to do more of what caused the under representation in the first place.

    If you want to see this whole thing really laid bare, look at plumbing. In IT it could be argued that everybody is equal, and thus it must be discrimination. When you look at plumbing, there are jobs were particular genders have a distinct advantage. While there are some jobs that require physical strength so a men as a group have a genetic advantage, in residential plumbing, it is incredibly common for the plumber to need to squeeze through small places. Many houses do not have enough clearance under them for an average sized man to fit. This is a field where equally competent little petite women should really shine. Every plumbing company in the country should have tiny little size 0 women working for them. Do we see this? No. Because tiny little size 0 women don't need to crawl around under dank insect infested crawlspaces. They don't need to literally crawl through human feces. So, they don't.

    Again. This isn't a genetic problem, and it isn't an industry problem. It is a cultural problem that starts before the kids can even walk. (Of course, that is only if one considers it a problem at all)
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday May 28, 2012 @12:19AM (#40132457)

    People (Americans in particular) want to discount genetics, pretend that we can all be anything we want to be, that we have no inbuilt limitations.

    Of course we know that is false. Most simply it can be seen (and strangely the one area it is accepted) is athletics. Some people have the genes that allows them to become top athletes, the rest don't and that is that. We also see in athletics the difference between men and women, that the genders are not equal at the top, they have areas they are better in.

    Well, this carries over to mental, emotional, and other differences as well. Your genetics don't dictate who you are, but they do define some limits on you and also what you might be interested in.

    So you are going to see differences in the interest of the genders, even without any societal forces. One interesting example I see is veterinary medicine. Since it has become a field that was acceptable for women to work in (used to be teaching and nursing was all that was considered "ok" for women to be in) it has become very popular for women. The vet office I use is ALL female. All the vets, all the vet techs, all the receptionists, all women. From what I've learned, the heavy amount of women is not an anomaly, it is a field that women have a lot of interest in.

    Now why is that? I'm not sure, I've never seen any research on it. Perhaps it is the nurturing aspect that appeals to many women. Whatever the case it certainly isn't something where there's a big push in society to "get women in to veterinary medicine" yet it is happening. It appeals to women, so they go in to it.

    None of this is to say that culture and childhood encouragement don't play a part, of course. If a girl is interested in computers but continually told that "girls don't play with computers" that can well change the course of her life. However we have to be open to the idea that just as different individuals have different predispositions, so do the sexes.

    We may always see a situation where there are less women interested in IT than men. Frankly I don't think that should be a concern, so long as we make sure it isn't because women are being unfairly forced away from it. I would think it far worse to try and start pressuring women in to careers they don't like all with some misguided idea of "balance".

    I guess I feel pretty strongly about this because computers were something I always wanted to do, since as long as I can remember. This wasn't because of my family, mom, dad, grandparents, none of them are technically savvy. However I loved computers and electronics and was fascinated by it from age 3. Clearly it is just one of those things about me, a genetic predisposition. I'm glad I got to follow that, and I wasn't told to do something different because people decided that I should have interests other than that.

  • Re:Slashdot... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28, 2012 @12:22AM (#40132473)

    There are a lot of problems with the "Women make less than men for the same work", but I'm going to point out the easiest and most obvious here.

    Basic logic dictates that if women made $0.77 per hour, while men received $1.00 per hour, then businesses would hire ONLY women to save on salaries. In this age of businesses trying to shave PENNIES off their bottom lines, do you really think they'd continue to pay an extra $0.23 per hour just to maintain the "Old Boys" club. If such a "club" actually exists anymore, do you think that a man that has to worry about his pay against what a woman earns is going to be a part of it? Explain to me how men get any jobs, anywhere, given what you're shoveling right now, then I might give your point some attention.

  • by InspectorGadget1964 (2439148) on Monday May 28, 2012 @12:29AM (#40132497) Journal
    I like them (women) in my private life, but for work, I like to be working with people that are capable, gender is superficial and irrelevant.
  • by TWX (665546) on Monday May 28, 2012 @12:33AM (#40132517)
    Veterinary medicine for pets is a fairly new phenomenon, and if the books of James Herriot are to be believed, evolved from livestock veterinary practices. Livestock practices were extremely difficult, dirty, and outright disgusting at times, with veterinarians literally stripping nude to the waist to avoid destroying clothes or leaving clothes bits inside animals when they had to reach into digestive systems or reproductive systems to perform. Obviously for a long time, even men weren't generally socially acceptable while shirtless, and women have been even less-so, continuing to this day. This, plus the physical nature of working with very large, very strong animals that might violently resist the veterinarian would certainly cause problems for women in the industry.

    Small animal care, on the other hand, does not favor strength or the ability to get one's upper body into a large animal's cavities. If anything, like your plumbing example, there are situations where surgeries and other medical operations would be better carried out by small hands and small fingers due to working on small creatures.

    Back to IT, and your comments on women potentially being unfairly forced away from it, I feel that sexual harassment is a major, major problem with discouraging girls and women from being interested. Unfortunately when boys don't get a lot of interaction with girls, it's difficult to regulate their behavior so that they don't harass. In non-workplace environments it's extremely difficult to control sexual harassment. Schools, clubs, Internet discussions, etc, all very, very hard to prevent sexual harassment if those present choose to do it. Can't fire them, can't really discipline them, etc. So, they drive girls and women away.
  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Monday May 28, 2012 @12:35AM (#40132529)

    They know that there's more to life than being forced to stay home on the weekends because you're assigned the duty pager. Also that they enjoy not having to do things like "maintenance windows" at 2am.

    There are plenty of female developers/QA engineers out there. Who cares if there isn't enough (how much is enough?) women in IT applying patches, deploying networks, managing storage.

    btw: There's also a shortage of women zamboni drivers, male daycare workers and nursery school teachers.

    nobody's writing an article about them...

  • Re:Slashdot... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rabbit994 (686936) on Monday May 28, 2012 @12:50AM (#40132603)

    I can. On average, women work less then men and take time off for a family. So in most cases, they are paid less then men because they don't work as much as men. There are many studies that show that women who work the same as men, same hours and experience because they haven't taken any time off work for family, they make same as men.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday May 28, 2012 @12:59AM (#40132659)

    Affirmative action was created to redress past discrimination.

    Yes it was. And now we know it doesn't work. Yet we continue to pile discrimination on top of discrimination, in the mad hope that moreArtificially discrimination will lead to less.

    That must stop, for discrimination itself will naturally go away with familiarity. inducing discrimination ensures it remains.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28, 2012 @01:16AM (#40132741)
    Many Americans (and I am one) make the mistake of thinking that "You have the OPPORTUNITY to be whatever you want to be," means "You CAN be whatever you want to be." If you don't try then failure is guaranteed. Women as a group are just less interested in the IT field than men are. That's the only reason why there aren't more. I'd love to see more of them in it too; I just reject the notion that it's because of sexism.
  • Re:Oh come on... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by snowgirl (978879) on Monday May 28, 2012 @01:45AM (#40132839) Journal

    Boy loves it all and is very interested; girl does not want to know. Why is this? Maybe just natural tendencies - I don't know. Wish I did.

    It's less so natural tendencies, and rather a "conspiracy" of culture. Children are subjected to more gender-stereotype influence than just what they get from their parents. Nearly everything about the western culture kind of discourages women and girls from being techies, and geeks. (Any girl interested in such things would likely readily be labeled a "tomboy", I know I was...) No matter how hard a parent fights against that trend, children naturally want to conform to the rest of their gender peers... so while the actual positions themselves are less so natural, the "conspiracy" that girls want to conform to other girls, and boys want to conform to other boys, results in them all picking up certain common interests which make it difficult to distinguish from "nature".

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Monday May 28, 2012 @01:48AM (#40132845)
    In truth how many women do you know interested in IT? I've known quite a few so they are out there but the ugly truth is the percentage of men to women that show an interest in IT is 10 men for every woman. Just a wild guess but not far off. It's not women being shut out half as much as not that many women pursuing it. It's not like there are large numbers out there unemployed that can't find work. Maybe it's not being encouraged at a young age or women are less inclined but there are simply fewer women interested in pursuing IT careers. I come out of special effects and the same percentages applied. Few shops hesitated to hire women and most would seek them out. Women with any talent found it far easier to find work than men. How many young women did you know that built models or played with stop motion animation? I know lots of men but very few women. Unless young women become more interested in IT don't expect the numbers to change.
  • Re:Oh come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epyT-R (613989) on Monday May 28, 2012 @02:36AM (#40133027)

    Has it occurred to you that building systemic pro woman bias into the culture actually makes any existing gender bias against women's technical abilities worse? The status quo demands that men at least wonder about the actual abilities of female coworkers/bosses/hires because they don't know for sure if they earned their way, or if they were given free rides in education and in corporate life by crappy politics. These kinds of people care more about the appearance of equality than objective measurement of relevant abilities and earning respect.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28, 2012 @02:56AM (#40133087)

    I feel that sexual harassment is a major, major problem with discouraging girls and women from being interested. Unfortunately when boys don't get a lot of interaction with girls, it's difficult to regulate their behavior so that they don't harass.

    The problem is that our society has decided that it's OK for a female to engage in a Mating Display and expect the males to not respond. So the women are driven away by the unwelcome responses. The other problem is that in many cases the males involved are not the Alpha's who draw the female's primary interest- those guys are out playing football or working in management. So regardless of harassment, the females are drawn out of the profession because there aren't any suitable candidates for mating.

    We vastly underestimate the role of sex and Mating in our society. We pretend it doesn't matter... it does. We pretend that a couple who are dating or married have "eyes only for each other" but that is also bullshit; despite traditions and cultural taboos, both genders are constantly on the lookout for a different partner. The females are always looking to trade up for a better Male, and the Males are always looking for more females to mate with. It's the elephant in the room that nobody wants to address- the idea that we should all become asexual drones seems to be the current thinking on how men and women should act in society.
    There seems to be a lot of people promoting the idea that the male should have to "control himself" in responding to sexual triggers, but that women should NOT have to control themselves in sending them. Until we get such double standards addressed in our culture, we'll continue to see gender gaps in a lot of professions, not just IT.

  • Re:Oh come on... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28, 2012 @02:58AM (#40133101)

    There are many ways it's harassment. Another poster covered some of those very well. For one, simple interest isn't quite the same thing as hitting on someone isn't quite the same thing as harassing them, necessarily. A lot of it is about how it's done. A lot of it has to do with how appropriate it is, which is all about context.

    Derailing a business meeting to keep saying shit like, "god, you're gorgeous" or "I'd love to show you my place" or whatever? Stupid, offensive, and really inappropriate.

    The other thing that's often forgotten in these conversations? There's a big fucking difference between expressing simple interest at an appropriate time and NOT TAKING NO FOR AN ANSWER. Most people? Are pretty good at picking up the signals that say "I'm uncomfortable," "I'm not interested," "Please leave me alone". Not everyone is, but that's relatively rare, and in any case, those sentiments will usually eventually be voiced, usually, if it becomes necessary. But speaking as a woman? Too many dudes ignore all of the above, and it's not because they have trouble reading body language or understanding that "Can we just get back to project y?" or "I'm not interested," means "please stop". They just don't care. They're DUDES! How dare a woman not be FLATTERED that they want to sleep with her? Shouldn't she automatically reciprocate, regardless? They're dudes!

    And if you don't believe me, listen to the rants of men who've pushed things to the point where women have to push back. It's always about the ungrateful bitches who think they're too good for anyone.

  • by HertzaHaeon (1164143) on Monday May 28, 2012 @03:33AM (#40133209) Homepage

    The bias and prejudice that keep women out of IT could be said to be an informal quota system for men. That too should lead to an inferior product.

    Diversifying doesn't necessarily mean a quota system, and it can very well be profitable. Like for IBM [hbs.edu].

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday May 28, 2012 @03:50AM (#40133243) Journal

    Affirmative action is a way to give minorities and women the opportunity to succeed and show the prevailing stereotypes are incorrect. In acts as an anti-segregation force. Increasing diversity in the workforce and in higher education is similar to anti-discriminating education. If you see and interact with people who are different than you but perform at the same level; you are compelled to rethink whatever stereotypes you might hold.

    Except that's exactly what's not happening. Take this case. Suppose that they now start forcing N% of contracts to IT businesses run by women. Now there aren't many such businesses (regardless of the reason), which means that competition for that N% is going to be lackluster - heck, it's spelled out in TFA, pretty much. Which means that they'll have to sign on anyone who comes and satisfies the criteria just to fill that position - and the likelihood of them being good at is going to be low, precisely because there were no competition. You think the people who are forced to hand out tasks to people based on some arbitrary politically correct criteria of the day - rather than anyone who's good at it, regardless of anything else - aren't going to be bitter about it? Even if they weren't sexist before, you think this kind of experience is not going to make them believe the stereotypes are actually true?

    When you're targeting some group with affirmative action, all that does in terms of education is re-enforcing the stereotypes - "X can't succeed on their own without an unfair advantage". Worse, it encourages picking token representatives just to satisfy the quota, who are not necessarily even good at it (because their job, in effect, is not to be good - it's to satisfy the quota). And even if they do get someone who's good, it won't really help with the stereotypes - it'll be explained away as "well, there was that one good guy I know". In other words, an exception rather than rule. Because, again, if it was the rule, common sense dictates that quotas wouldn't be needed.

  • Re:Slashdot... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Monday May 28, 2012 @04:12AM (#40133315) Journal

    Bullshit.

    You call bullshit, then you go on to freely state that you simply don't know.

    Congratulations. You are one of those rare intelligent, motivated self startes who can drag yourself up from poverty and become a success. That's great and the world could do with more people like you.

    Because, most people aren't like you.

    Perpahps for you, being poor taught you to be resouceful. That's good. You're one of those that can learn very easily. But have you kept in contact with all those single-wide trailer park dwellers that you grew up with? I'd bet that for almost all of them, growing up poor taught them one thing: how to be poor.

  • Re:Oh come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epyT-R (613989) on Monday May 28, 2012 @04:20AM (#40133351)

    So what? you want legal protection from stupid comments/people? I don't think that's really attainable without a police state, and even then... Stand up for yourself. If they think less of you because of it, they are stupid fools. If they're groping or touching you, I have no problem with you defending yourself, physically if necessary. However, your discomfort does not justify bypassing due process like VAWA and other nonsense allows. You were harassed? prove it...and if it's so bad that you're ready to sue, this should be fairly easy. Unfortunately, the definition of 'harassment' keeps expanding every year as women's groups demand zero tolerance for male behavior in growing numbers of contexts. Men will not be eunuchs for the same reason women won't be, no matter what the feminists say about social constructs.

    If you've got a lot of guys harassing you, maybe your behavior is playing a role too. See this is another area that irks me: apparently men are the sole proprietors of sexual non-verbal cues and women are just helpless, molested bystanders. This just isn't true. Women started it when they set themselves up to look attractive in the first place (which 99% of women do, of course). From what they do in the morning before work, to the way they carry themselves walking down the hall or sitting in a meeting, to the way they speak, all play into this. As a male, I can tell you this: when a woman is interested, it's very obvious. when a woman is not interested, but is flattered, she is obvious, even when she vehemently denies her interest. men can see that, so they pursue. they have their nature just as women have theirs. Since I don't know how you dress or any details of your situation, I can't comment further, but this is generally what I've seen go down. This is the same thing as the highschool cheerleader that complains about guys staring when she's got nothing on but low cut shorts and a tight tshirt. She's been taught that men owe her whatever behavior she wants, when the reality is that we can't control another's behavior, only our own. Of course, what she really wants is the attention of the 'hot guys' and not the 'losers.' It doesn't work that way.

    I happen to find women who take advantage of this mandated upper hand even more inappropriate than a stupid comment. I've seen more than one woman manipulate her way out of trouble she's caused by blaming a man for it (and of course the feminist trained males just believed her and he was raked over the coals for it). Another even held threat of accusation over a man as a means to gain advantage in bonuses. The more attractive the woman, the more likely this is to work, and these sorts of women use this to flatter the men whom they are sexually attracted to and/or are useful idiots, while sticking it to the guys they find unattractive/contemptuous (eg the hs example above). I have zero respect for this. If victimization is claimed by a party, it has no business opportunistically victimizing others, especially when the victim's victimizing occurs in the same context, in this case being gender discrimination.

  • Re:Evidence? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebraining (1313345) on Monday May 28, 2012 @04:21AM (#40133359) Homepage

    So, let's have some examples, Taco Cowboy - unstable products produced by companies with a large number of women versus stable and robust ones produced by all-male companies? Did Microsoft put all the women on Windows ME? Is Facebook's security department an all women shop? I think we should be told.

    So fucking tired of this bullshit. Parent spoke against quotas, not women. That argument is a complete strawman.

    The point is that if you put quotas instead of fixing the underlying issues, you'll make the problem worse. Women in general still won't want to go to IT, and the ones that already do will be even less respected than they are now because they won't be able to prove their value by competing with all their peers.

  • by ETEQ (519425) on Monday May 28, 2012 @05:18AM (#40133527)

    The point is that claiming a quota system "always" leads to degradation of standards is a blanket statement that ignores the fact that some quota systems are designed to cancel out inefficiencies that already exist. The original Taco Cowboy point is based on an over-simplified view of reality (that the "default" lacks any sort of biases).

      But I think it's incredibly obvious that there's a bias against women in any male-dominated field, just as there's a bias against men in female-dominated fields. No one can reasonably claim that society doesn't apply a lot of gender roles in every aspect of a person's life, so any task dominated by one gender will by nature be harder to get at for the other, because the context the minority group has as less applicable.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Monday May 28, 2012 @05:19AM (#40133531)
    Sexual harassment can't factor in. Why? Because career choices are made before "sexual harassment" exits. Harassing girls because they are girls isn't "Sexual harassment" (in the original definition, as the new one includes bad body odor, regardless of gender, as sexual harassment, making the phrase useless, which is why I refuse to acknowledge it.)
  • Re:Oh come on... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alphatel (1450715) * on Monday May 28, 2012 @06:33AM (#40133831)

    If you want to see this whole thing really laid bare, look at plumbing. In IT it could be argued that everybody is equal, and thus it must be discrimination. When you look at plumbing, there are jobs were particular genders have a distinct advantage. While there are some jobs that require physical strength so a men as a group have a genetic advantage, in residential plumbing, it is incredibly common for the plumber to need to squeeze through small places. Many houses do not have enough clearance under them for an average sized man to fit. This is a field where equally competent little petite women should really shine. Every plumbing company in the country should have tiny little size 0 women working for them. Do we see this? No. Because tiny little size 0 women don't need to crawl around under dank insect infested crawlspaces. They don't need to literally crawl through human feces. So, they don't.

    Are you on crack? My whole family is plumbers and the two factors that make it distinctly male have nothing to do with crawl spaces which are incredibly rare, and in any case, would be perfectly suitable for midgets, yet I've never met a dwarf plumber.
    Plumbing is 1) dirty, and sadly women have an aversion to the stuff, breaking fingernails, etc. It's ugly, smelly and pardon the pun, shitty work. 2) You are definitely advantaged by having extra weight and/or strength. Much of the work requires carrying cargo, lifting, and turning old threads that refuse to move, or new ones that refuse to joint. Pulling boilers that weigh several tons out of a basement with nothing but a handcart?

    Ultimately it is #1 that causes most women to simply walk away from any plumbing opportunity. The only ladies I have seen successfully apply to and retain plumbing jobs were in the military - where they learned on the job to deal with the difficulty of being a lady and getting dirty. So your analogy sucks. As for women in IT, more power to them. Although I walked through a Google space yesterday and I have to tell you, there wasn't a woman programmer in sight. Talk about sweatshops.

  • by kdemetter (965669) on Monday May 28, 2012 @07:23AM (#40133973)

    Not to mention how degrading it must be for the women he actually want an IT job : to be hired not for your competence, but because you are a women.
    Quota's are sexist.

    Also, I have never seen quota's the other way around ( there are jobs which typically are occupied by a lot of women and only men ) .

    Just hire the most competent person for the job, regardless of gender or sexual preference.

    On the other hand, women and men often have different viewpoints, so it can be an advantage to have both men and women in a team.

  • Re:Oh come on... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by realityimpaired (1668397) on Monday May 28, 2012 @07:56AM (#40134091)

    Irrelevant of gender, you will get a lower percentage of people that have been told they don't have to work, working hard and taking less than desirable jobs. The fact that women as a group tend to gravitate towards jobs that pay less and require less sacrifice is not surprising. They are not underrepresented in these jobs because of their gender. It is because their gender is under represented in the group that is raised to believe that no one is going to pay their way through life.

    You're wrong on that point. I'm a woman who was raised to believe in a strong work ethic, always go to work, and sometimes you need to take a job you don't want in order to make ends meet. And I have had some shitty jobs in the past that I did not enjoy at all, but I took them because I needed to put food on the table and pay rent. I have never, in my life, claimed employment insurance or any of the other entitlements that we have in this country, despite being eligible for it, because I believe in fending for myself.

    However, there comes a point where you reach certain minimums that let you make ends meet. Once you are able to live comfortably, you don't need more money, more wealth that you can't use. It becomes a quality of life tradeoff... do you want that extra $20,000/year if it means that you will be working 80 hour weeks with weird on-call hours, or are you willing to take a slightly smaller paycheque if it means that you can work a 40-hour week Monday-Friday, and have your weekends and holidays off? I took the latter, and it's not because I was raised to think I didn't have to work for myself, it's because I was raised to believe that quality of life is more important than bank balance. I live comfortably and have growing savings that will have me retiring by about 55 or 60, but I do it by not wasting money on things when I can have as much fun for free. I'm probably healthier for it, too, because instead of going to the movies, I'd rather go roller-blading by the canal for a couple of hours, things like that. But in balance, I think I will have a much better life out of it, because I have the time to enjoy myself, and I have a job I can leave at the office.

    There is a cultural problem, but I believe the cultural problem is the emphasis that gets placed on materialism. There's a *lot* of pressure to succeed in life, and success is measured by the size of your bank balance, and by the type of car in your driveway. You must be able to out-bling your neighbours, you see.

  • by misexistentialist (1537887) on Monday May 28, 2012 @08:07AM (#40134133)
    That's because you define harassment as something men do to women. Women are equally likely of harassing men, just in a more passive-aggressive female way. The difference is that their behavior is entirely accepted. Women are also overly invested in their feelings and entitlements and when they don't interact enough with men in the real world they become wilting flowers and PC harpies. In a male-dominated office they can never feel comfortable unless the whole thing is rearranged around them personally; on the other hand there is no way for a male to fit into a female-dominated office.
  • by jimbolauski (882977) on Monday May 28, 2012 @08:43AM (#40134327) Journal

    The point is that claiming a quota system "always" leads to degradation of standards is a blanket statement that ignores the fact that some quota systems are designed to cancel out inefficiencies that already exist. The original Taco Cowboy point is based on an over-simplified view of reality (that the "default" lacks any sort of biases).

    But I think it's incredibly obvious that there's a bias against women in any male-dominated field, just as there's a bias against men in female-dominated fields. No one can reasonably claim that society doesn't apply a lot of gender roles in every aspect of a person's life, so any task dominated by one gender will by nature be harder to get at for the other, because the context the minority group has as less applicable.

    That is not bias, bias is not hiring a female in the IT field because they are female, it's impossible to determine if the reason there are so few women enter the field is because of societal pressures or simply because women are not as interested in the field. The claim that society steers women into other fields early in a child's life is irrelevant because once they are adults they will not have the skills of their male peers, and thus would be inferior. A quota system can not undo these problems, you simply can not make up for a decade of missed education opportunities and fix it by making the path easier.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Monday May 28, 2012 @09:10AM (#40134469)
    Gender, ethnicity, religion, educational background, sexuality, OS choice... All moot unless quota-mandated by the government.

    True diversity in the workplace does not come from employing (e.g.) 1 in every 10 female or non-caucasian by law. It achieves nothing, while harming business, patronising those you shoehorn into jobs, and is prejudiced against those who, through no fault of their own, are the statistically common gender/race/body type to apply for that position.

    It is all bullshit. Best person to apply for the job is all that matters.
  • by nbauman (624611) on Monday May 28, 2012 @07:04PM (#40137885) Homepage Journal

    So you'd prefer to have the doctor who is there because he got into medical school through his father's connections? That's the way it is in much of medicine.

    The reason the Supreme Court finally allowed making race a consideration is because they heard evidence about the alumni's son preference.

    There used to be a lot of medical schools that had quotas on Jews. There were medical schools that didn't accept blacks at all.

    I've met a few black doctors and they're very good. There are a lot more blacks who worked twice as hard as a white guy to get through medical school than there are incompetents who got in through quotas.

    There aren't a lot of black doctors in America. About 10% of the American population is black, and about 5% of doctors are black. The reason for that is clearly 100 years of slavery, and 100 years of Jim Crow. Black people couldn't even vote in most of the South until around 1968, and they're still having trouble. Black schools were segregated and inferior in the South.

    I think people who suffered violations of their rights like that should be compensated. If you want to give $1 million to everyone who suffered because his ancestor was a slave, and forget about affirmative action, that would be fair. Unfortunately restitution doesn't seem to be politically possible. As a compensation, there are a few affirmative action programs, but they don't really provide that much. It's better than nothing.

  • by Darinbob (1142669) on Monday May 28, 2012 @09:13PM (#40138541)

    You get diversity by getting rid of sexist and racist employees too. Too many IT shops have a tendency towards scaring off the women with bad attitude and then pretending that nothing is wrong by saying "they need a thicker skin". The best person for the job often doesn't want a job working with troglodytes. And IT definitely seems to have more all-male departments than many other software or engineering jobs I've seen.

  • Paternity leave (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aqualung812 (959532) on Monday May 28, 2012 @10:13PM (#40138791)

    The answer isn't pinning this on women, the answer is expecting men to step up as well.

    In some countries, men get almost or the same amount of leave to care for a newborn.

    If they did it this way, I could see many companies that have young women AND men who take anywhere from 2-3 days a week to 2 weeks at a time to take shifts caring for their newborn.

    I would have *LOVED* the chance to take care of my children at that age. Even though I contributed the same amount of genetic material as my wife, because I have a penis, my country (USA) doesn't think I should be able to spend the same amount of time with my newborns.

    Fix this, and the whole issue you illustrated (very well, I might add) goes away.

  • by Kyrene (624175) * on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:04PM (#40157755)
    Female software engineer, been in the industry past 13+ years. I can definitely vouch that sexism, while not frequent, does indeed still exist in the workforce. I have been blatantly discriminated against and to my face in regards to my gender, one company made me telemarket for them as a developer because "women sound better over the phone". The other developers initially were forced to telemarket as well but were allowed to stop. I wasn't, and when I asked why was given that response. Hm. I think it comes down to perceived attitudes more than anything else. If you want more women in IT, stop selling Barbies to little girls telling them that "math is hard". I was raised around computers, taught myself to program at aged seven. No one ever gave me the impression growing up that "only boys" are interested in computers. I was the only female to graduate with a Computer Science degree, and nineteen times out of twenty am the only female developer at my workplace. I hope that this is a generational thing and will go away with the younger folk. My advice: raise your daughters on this stuff, and don't cop out by buying that pink Barbie software crap like they need "special things" because of their gender. Let them use it and run with it like anyone else. My $0.02 worth.

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