[Linux-aus] Special support for women

Luke Martinez me at luke.asia
Wed Oct 30 10:31:05 EST 2013

How about, we actually accept that less women enjoy doing I.T. than men and
_that's_ why they're not in I.T.? And we don't need to go on a quest to
find women to join IT?

Just like how we're not going on an "Affirmative action" quest to gain male
teachers, nurses etc.

Maybe, just maybe, there _is_ a difference between genders. And It's okay.

On Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 10:21 AM, Michael Cordover <la at mjec.net> wrote:

> I know one shouldn't feed the trolls but I think it's important that
> not just the trolls have a say.
> I've only been an LA member less than a year. I'm barely active. I
> don't know membership statistics. I can't speak for anyone but myself.
> Here's what I think though. I think women are as capable as men. I
> think there is a serious shortage of female participation in STEM in
> general and in computing in particular. I think this is because of
> systematic disincentives to participation put in place by society. I
> also think some of it is probably direct discrimination - though
> thankfully not within LA.
> I think the end result is we don't have the meritocracy we'd like. We
> have people with potential and people with merit not participating in
> the community. The best sign of that is the differing participation
> levels of men and women despite no inherent difference in merit.
> There's an obvious and simple solution to this: targeted programs
> which provide incentives to people affected by this. These can provide
> support to overcome the barriers that exist and restore baseline
> quality. The idea is that this permits meritorious selection and
> participation. The reality is, however, that the incentives almost
> always fall short of truly addressing the barriers. What use is a
> supportive space when some idiot will criticise that support in
> public? It helps but it isn't transformative. It's a stepping stone to
> a situation where eventually, hopefully, there's not a differing level
> of participation.
> And you know what? IT WORKS. We can identify a problem by data
> analysis - consistent, statistically significant differential
> participation rates by gender. We hypothisise as to the cause -
> differential incentives caused by social mores. We try a solution -
> equalising incentives by providing targeted support. And all of a
> sudden participation rates rise -- and continue to rise, beyond merely
> the level the support provides. The data is clear. Targeted support
> programs help to address inequality.
> People who don't support targeted support (affirmative action, special
> programs, whatever you want to call it) do so because either they
> don't think women are underrepresented, or because they think women
> deserve the be underrepresented. I used to think that because direct
> discrimination was effectively eliminated there was no inequality. On
> that basis I thought there was no need for any affirmative action. But
> then I looked at some data and it became clear that there was some
> systematic problem. The disparity is too consistent and too pervasive
> to be an accident.
> I've ranted enough. I've not articulated well. I've not addressed the
> depth or breadth of the issue. I haven't touched on unfair
> inequalities other than gender. But I think it's important to have at
> least said something.
> Michael
> --
> http://mjec.net/
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Luke Martinez
me at luke.asia
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