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Girls in Tech closes its doors after 17 years (venturebeat.com)
dang 10 days ago [-]
All: if you're going to post on a topic like this please make sure you're not just commenting out of reflexive activation. That's not what HN is for, as the site guidelines try to make clear: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.

On HN, we want comments that are thoughtful—i.e. that come from reflection, not reflex [1]; and specific—i.e. that have to do with what's different about a story, not what's generic. This is not particular to any topic; it's an optimization problem: we're trying to optimize the site for intellectual curiosity [2].

The trouble with reflexive comments is that they repeat responses that have already happened many times—rather as if they're being served from cache [3]. The trouble with generic comments is that the generic level is too abstract to say anything new or interesting. Put those together and you get repetition, the arch-enemy of curiosity [4].

[1] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&sor...

[2] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&sor...

[3] This, btw, is why such comments always show up quickly: cached responses are the fastest to arise. The kind of thoughtful comments we're looking for take longer to "compute".

[4] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&so...

TrueGeek 10 days ago [-]
Better article with more information:


> In an email Monday, founder and CEO Adriana Gascoigne said “Girls in Tech will be closing its doors due to a lack of funding in 2023 and 2024.”

neilv 10 days ago [-]
Thanks. Following a link from there:


> Nashville-based Girls in Tech Inc. may be forced to shut down by the end of summer. [...] needs to raise $100,000 or it faces imminent closure. [...] Girls in Tech has a membership of 130,000 "women and allies" across 50 cities and 38 countries.

Was the membership base already tapped out, or the org didn't reach out to the membership on this, or the org had larger near-term funding needs than the immediate $100K?

Also, is it possible that funding isn't the only consideration? For example, even if the org could be saved with heroics, there's opportunity cost to leadership (personal, professional)?

specialist 10 days ago [-]
Like many orgs, probably, their funding model was working, and then got hammered by COVID-19, and were stuck holding on, hoping for return to "normalcy".

It's very hard to pivot. Fund raising costs money. Some one needs an idea, a plan, a strategy. Everyone needs to agree to it. Meanwhile, an org's (remaining) execs and board members are doing triage. To execute a new plan means even more work.

And so on.

I've met and worked with terrific fund raisers. For me, personally, fund raising is just the worst. I've done enough to know a) it's very hard and b) I suck at it.

michaelt 10 days ago [-]
Well, they seem to offer a "premium membership" for $9.99/month [1] and presumably that hasn't raised enough. If the aim of the charity is to get career resources in front of as many women as possible, they probably don't want to put their most impactful resources behind a paywall - that would be contrary to their goal.

I suppose they could try an appeal to generosity instead? Depends if they've got a network of grateful people they helped 17 years ago who are now making six-figure salaries.

[1] https://girlsintech.org/membership/premium/

neilv 10 days ago [-]
I know almost nothing about non-profit fundraising, but this benefits tier membership model looks very familiar as a tech for-profit service, rather than a charitable non-profit for the benefit of all.

(Specifically, in a tech, like a SaaS, the free tier are sales leads and inflated "market share" numbers, and the premium tier are the real customers of the service value you're providing and is your whole reason for existing. In a charity, however, you don't measure out benefits based on how much that person is paying you. Though a charity will have special recognition for exceptional donations, like the donor's name listed on some page, or mentioned as a sponsor of an event.)

Given the dire runway situation they were in, I wonder whether they sent out a recent urgent appeal to their free-tier, as more like a charity, asking for donations? (And if so, was the obvious benefits tier model hurting any charitable goodwill they might've otherwise generated?) Or did they try to push their free-tier members an upsell to their premium tier, like a business? Or neither?

10 days ago [-]
bookofjoe 10 days ago [-]
130,000 members x $1/member = $130,000
igor47 10 days ago [-]
Huh. You'd think all the organizations that attribute their challenges in hiring non-male engineers to a "pipeline problem" would've spent a small fraction of their recruiting budgets helping to fund Girls in Tech...
csande17 10 days ago [-]
For what it's worth, Girls Who Code -- an organization more directly focused on improving the "pipeline" through training programs aimed at K-12 and college students -- seems to be thriving, with over $20M in donations from a variety of tech organizations in 2023: https://girlswhocode.com/2023report/
darth_avocado 10 days ago [-]
Our company actively partners with girls who code for that exact reason. Our rather empty post covid office space gets transformed into summer boot camps for middle and high schoolers every year. It is a very productive way to improve the K-12 pipeline.
shmatt 10 days ago [-]
this deserves to be much higher than a sub-sub-sub-sub comment

the fact one DEI organization failed doesn't mean DEI failed. They could be mis managed just like any other non profit

arduanika 10 days ago [-]
Agreed, I didn't know the difference and at a glance thought it was Girls Who Code that folded.

It could be that as the "vibe shifts" away from DEI and the funding gets smaller, we'll see a culling where only some orgs survive, hopefully the best ones. "When the tide goes out..."

pedalpete 10 days ago [-]
Thank you. I was confusing these as being the same organization, and I thought Gils Who Code is doing quite well.
falcolas 10 days ago [-]
That would require an monetary investment into DEI, which has become a negative investor signal for many large companies.

It's a shame, because I've met several developers who benefited from Girls in Tech's work.

em-bee 10 days ago [-]
monetary investment into DEI, which has become a negative investor signal for many large companies

can you please explain that or point to some articles about it?

runako 10 days ago [-]


etc. There is a backlash underway against any effort to expand workplace diversity beyond the representative fractions circa 1990.

gadflyinyoureye 10 days ago [-]
There is a backlash to the heavy handedness of DEI. You can’t freeze out white males simple because they are white males. You need to remove barriers to entry based on sexism and such, but you can’t exclude a whole large class of people because that class had it good in the past. That gets you South Africa.
runako 10 days ago [-]
> You can’t freeze out white males simple because they are white males.

I agree with this. However, I have been working in tech for quite some time now, and I have not seen any place where white males have been frozen out of employment or funding. More typically, in my personal experience, they represent most of the staff and leadership and materially all of institutional funding recipients.

Perhaps my experience is atypical, or my definition of "frozen out" is different.

Manuel_D 10 days ago [-]
I have. In April 2019, when I worked at Dropbox, we instituted what we called "Opportunistic Hiring". 20 heads were reserved to hire "opportunistically". What this meant is that when a diverse candidate was hired, the headcount used for that hire didn't come from the team's headcount. It came from the pool of headcount for "opportunistic hires". Unless the "opportunistic hires" pool was already exhausted, then a diverse hire still counted against the team's headcount. The definition of a "diverse" candidate was a woman of any race, and URM men. If this sounds like an overly-complex way of saying "we're prohibiting Asian and white men from 20 headcount" it's because it is. I can provide the exact wording of the policy if you want.

It's not "freezing out" all white males. One, it's also freezing out Asian males. And two, it's only freezing them out of a specific chunk of our headcount. But it still deeply affected me to see a company outright deny employment on the basis of race and gender, even if it was only for part of the headcount.

rty32 9 days ago [-]
Thank you for your valuable input. This is one of the most convincing "evidence" I have seen so far regarding the "exclusion" during hiring. I wonder why we don't see such cases written out by people often in these discussions -- most of these are quite handwavy.
runako 10 days ago [-]
Reading your description of the policy, it looks like what it does is say a team can hire from the "Opportunistic" bucket for "free," but does not freeze out anybody else. Is that a correct read?

> 20 heads were reserved

I have not studied Dropbox extensively. In 2019, was 20 hires roughly equivalent to the total overall number of new hires? Or are we talking about a small percentage of overall new staffers? If the latter, how does this anecdote respond to my statements?

Manuel_D 10 days ago [-]
It's explicit denial of employment on the basis of race and gender. It's illegal no matter what proportion of the headcount this is.

If I have 100 headcount and I say "20 of our headcount is off limits to white and Asian men" is that ok? If I have 80 headcount and I create 20 "opportunistic" headcount exclusive to women and URM is that acceptable? You're smart enough to understand that these are identical policies.

runako 9 days ago [-]
I'm not reading anywhere in there where it says anybody is denied a job under any scenario. Perhaps if Dropbox had fixed hiring numbers like your hypothetical, but that was not data you submitted.
Manuel_D 9 days ago [-]
It doesn't matter if they were hiring 50 people or 500 people. If your policy amounts to "we have N headcount candidates of any background, plus M headcount that's exclusive to X races and Y gender" then that's denial of employment on the basis of race and gender. Regardless of what the values of M and N are - well, unless M is zero.

If a company institutes a hiring policy that amounts to saying, "99% of our headcount is off-limits to Asians" is it correct to say "no Asians are denied a job, under any scenario"? It's technically correct in that Asian applicants could vie for the 1% of headcount that's available to Asians. But how many Asians would have been hired absent this headcount restriction? Probably more than 1%!

Okay, what if it wasn't 99% restricted to Asian, but just 50%? Can a company just say "half of our headcount is off limits to Asians"? Does that lower percentage make it okay?

No, of course not. It's not okay if it's 99%, 50%, 1%, or 0.01%. It's denial of employment to wall-off any proportion of headcount on the basis of protected class.


In case you need an explicit scenario laid out to see how candidates are denied employment because of Dropbox's "opportunistic hiring" policy, here it is:

The company has already exhausted its non-restricted headcount. An Asian male applied. He gets rejected automatically because the only remaining headcount is restricted to women and URM. A woman applies. She's allowed to interview because the company still has that "opportunistic" headcount, and unlike our Asian male applicant her gender makes her eligible for this set-aside headcount.

If all headcount (including that "opportunistic headcount") were available to all races and genders, our Asian male would have been able to get hired.

runako 9 days ago [-]
The scenario at the end really illustrates how important it is to not evaluate partial policies without accurate and full knowledge. In particular, we don't know how whether this hypothetical situation ever happened (and if so, what breakdown led to them hiring ~480 white & asian men before even hiring 20 women or URM, assuming a 500 annual hiring budget?).

But that aside, we don't know how management would handle the hypothetical. If I need to hire someone today and all I have are the "opportunistic" headcount available, am I allowed to hire an Asian man or am I required to leave the job unfilled? The use of the word "opportunistic" does make it sound as if this is not a hard requirement in all situations. But again, we are on HN and do not have access to anything like the full guidelines presented to management at Dropbox.

Manuel_D 9 days ago [-]
Do I seriously have to spend three comments explaining how a policy of "white and Asian men are prohibited from X% of our headcount" is denial of employment, regardless of the value of X?

> If I need to hire someone today and all I have are the "opportunistic" headcount available, am I allowed to hire an Asian man or am I required to leave the job unfilled?

You are prohibited from hiring an Asian or a while male. You can either leave the job unfilled, or hire a woman or URM candidate. The point is white and Asian males are denied that hiring opportunity. It's irrelevant what management would do in this scenario. Whether they'd hire a woman or just leave the position unfilled is irrelevant to the fact that white and Asian males cannot be hired, explicitly on account of their race and gender.

Again, I really find it hard to believe that people are having trouble to understand that a policy of "X% of our headcount is off limits to $RACE and $GENDER" isn't discriminatory and denial of employment on the basis of race and gender. If you're of the opinion that this discrimination is justified on the basis of advancing equity, by all means you're entitled your own opinion. Just don't try and deny that this is discrimination and ultimately results in people denied work because of immutable characteristics.

I'll post the full policy in a reply.

Manuel_D 9 days ago [-]
This is the text of the policy announcement:

> The Problem Statement

> Based on 177 like tech companies in Silicon Valley (market research and EOO-1 Diversity Statistics data), the percentage of diverse engineering talent is sparse. In short, 4.7% are latino, 2.1% are African American, and 19.2% are female. These candidates are being targeted with all of our top competitors with white gloves tactics, strategic outreach, and engagement strategies, while Dropbox has yet to systematically establish any of these practices to compete for this top talent and showcase our uniquely inclusive, dynamic, and thoughtful culture.

> Opportunity to market DBX [Dropbox] more broadly:

> Moreover, diverse engineers are the most sought after group of individuals on the market today. While the average response rate to engage is high (37%) the rate at which they are interested in moving forwards is quite low (11%). We interpret this in two ways:

> First, due to the small pool and scarcity of diverse talent, companies are motivated to keep their diverse talent happy, well-compensated, and engaged; prospects are rarely on the market, and when they are, it is a highly calculated and careful search based on existing relationships.

> Second, traditional sourcing engagement methods (email, LinkedIn) do not adequately showcase what makes Dropbox special, and because these candidates are so highly sought-after, it would serve us to highlight our culture early on, and to take a more long term approach to courting them.

> Opportunistic Hiring

> As the business needs shift and open roles become more narrow, it will become difficult to find a home for diverse candidates that we're able to engage and who pass our bar. We feel like it would be a disservice to use in the long-term if we miss out on hiring critical talent for Dropbox because of current headcount constraints. To this end, we propose that Eng VP's withhold 20 heads to hire opportunistically.

> When a diverse/URM candidate is interested in interviewing, regardless of headcount, we will put them through the process. If they pass the TPS [technical phone screen] we will bring them onsite and evaluate based on their skillset.

>If the candidate goes to HC [hiring committee], we will proactively find a sponsor/team home for the candidate, and that team would receive a preciously withheld headcount for that hire.

As you can see, this really is a needlessly verbose way of saying "we're setting aside 20 headcount off-limits to white and Asian men". The fact that these set-aside headcount doesn't count towards the team's initial headcount does not change this fact: we had 20 headcount that were explicitly off-limits to white and Asian men.

What's even more interesting is that as per the company's diversity report, our tech workforces was 23% female as compared to the 19% cited in the policy announcement. So we actually had an overrepresentation of women at the time, yet we still instituted explicitly discriminatory policies favoring them.

runako 9 days ago [-]
I think you're reading a lot into that policy which is not stated. This looks a lot like "opportunistic" hiring as it is described. In any case, this looks like more of an announcement and less of a policy document describing how to handle the edge cases on which you base your hypotheticals. In particular, did Dropbox hit its headcount target and need to use this "opportunistic" bucket? If so, how did it handle that case? Judging management decisions in the abstract is folly.

> our tech workforces was 23% female as compared to the 19% cited in the policy announcement

> So we actually had an overrepresentation of women at the time, yet we still instituted explicitly discriminatory policies favoring them.

I think you and I have different definitions of what would constitute "overrepresentation" of women in a workforce. (Again, keeping in mind that at many/most tech companies, the majority of jobs are not held by engineers.)

Manuel_D 9 days ago [-]
> In particular, did Dropbox hit its headcount target and need to use this "opportunistic" bucket? If so, how did it handle that case? Judging management decisions in the abstract is folly.

This is explicitly spelled out in the policies I sent you: the opportunistic hiring bucket is exclusive for women and URM. If you want to use the opportunistic hiring bucket, the candidate has to be either a woman or URM. What is hard to understand here?

> I think you and I have different definitions of what would constitute "overrepresentation" of women in a workforce. (Again, keeping in mind that at many/most tech companies, the majority of jobs are not held by engineers.)

The "opportunistic hiring" was exclusively for engineers. Also what do you mean by "overrepresentation"? Representation relative to the workforce is what's relevant. In a field that's 80% women and 20% men, having 50/50 representation would mean that women are one quarter as likely to be hired as men. This would require vastly disadvantaging women relative to men.

runako 9 days ago [-]
> What is hard to understand here?

What I said:

> how did it handle that case?

You haven't said a) whether this hypothetical actually happened or b) how it was handled. That leaves all this in the realm of rage-bait hypotheticals.

> Representation relative to the workforce is what's relevant.

You're defining "workforce" narrowly to exclude people who do not currently work in the "field." This is unnecessarily narrow because e.g. there are people who work in tech who do not work at pure-play tech companies in Silicon Valley (this is where the policy pulls its stats). So setting a low bar and barely clearing it.

There's also likely the possibility that they are conflating "engineering" and "tech" roles. Female CS majors are indeed ~19% in the US, but "tech" jobs often include lots of people on product teams who are not engineers: QA, UX, etc. I don't know whether Dropbox counts a UX person as "tech" or not tech. I also don't have good stats on e.g. gender balance in UX, but I would wager that it is not the same as for CS grads.

Incidentally, Dropbox non-tech is only managing 43% women. This includes roles like marketing, sales, finance, HR, etc. where the excuse of the college pipeline is not operant. (For example -- women are the majority of accountants in the US.)

Manuel_D 9 days ago [-]
It absolutely did result in people being hired under discrimination. If I have 80 headcount for men and 20 headcount exclusive to women, and 90 people were hired total then 10 hires were made with the deliberate exclusion of men, explicitly on the basis of gender. Creating situations like these is fundamentally how "opportunistic hiring" would shift company demographics. The only way it doesn't have an effect is if nobody ever taps into the "opportunistic" pool. And yes, there were teams who hired above their allocated headcount. And yes it was pretty awkward for the women and URM hired to realize that aspect of how they landed at the company.

> There's also likely the possibility that they are conflating "engineering" and "tech" roles. Female CS majors are indeed ~19% in the US, but "tech" jobs often include lots of people on product teams who are not engineers: QA, UX, etc.

It's for engineers.

> You're defining "workforce" narrowly to exclude people who do not currently work in the "field." This is unnecessarily narrow because e.g. there are people who work in tech who do not work at pure-play tech companies in Silicon Valley (this is where the policy pulls its stats). So setting a low bar and barely clearing it.

The figure of 20% comes from the number of people who put "software developer" on their tax returns: https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm it's not just counting the "pure play tech companies" whatever that's supposed to mean.

If you put up a job for a software developer, count the number of men and women who would potentially be interested in the job the former is going to be about 4 times bigger than the latter. If you have a different way of measuring this proportion, you can make that argument.

> Incidentally, Dropbox non-tech is only managing 43% women. This includes roles like marketing, sales, finance, HR, etc. where the excuse of the college pipeline is not operant. (For example -- women are the majority of accountants in the US.

HR is 70-75% women according to Google. So if a company is hiring 70-75 women in HR it's not evidence of any discrimination. Same with all the other roles you listed. We'd have to inspect each role one by one, and comparing Dropbox's representation. Furthermore, the discriminatory policies were specific to engineering. So I'm not sure why these other roles are relevant. Did Dropbox discriminate against female accountants? I have no idea. But how does discrimination against male coders somehow make up for potential discrimination in other fields?

runako 8 days ago [-]
> It's for engineers.

You clearly have a lot of privileged background information you have not shared yet (for which I do not blame you). So it's going to be very difficult to pre-but some of this. For example, the BLS report you linked also shows women "computer system analysts" at close to 40%, and this is a job title often given to programmers. But you know that the appropriate compare is the row that's 19%, presumably because you have the inside background knowledge I mentioned.

In any case, the debate is stale because the folks who want to keep tech extremely male have won and these types of efforts are being relegated to history. So tech has gone back to broadly not considering qualified women and URM and this debate is mostly historical.

5 days ago [-]
gadflyinyoureye 10 days ago [-]
Manuel_D 10 days ago [-]
If there's a field that's 80% women and 20% men, is setting a DEI target of 40% men preventing sexism? Or is it perpetrating sexism?
runako 10 days ago [-]
Nobody can manage anything with this little information. A KPI set at a particular value cannot tell why the KPI has that value. Thus without more information, your hypothetical is not productive.

An illustration by way of example. In a field where other firms have a range of net profit margins of 35% - 45%, one firm sets their net profit target at 10%. Is that because they are not competitive?

Another illustration by way of example. In a field where other firms have a range of revenue per employee of $200k - $300k, one firm has no RPE target at all and its revenue per employee is $15k. Is that worth examining?

Manuel_D 10 days ago [-]
> Nobody can manage anything with this little information.

I can! Unless you have some reason to believe that one gender is superior at the job than the other, it should match the representation of the field.

> In a field where other firms have a range of net profit margins of 35% - 45%, one firm sets their net profit target at 10%. Is that because they are not competitive?

Net profit margin is not a protected class. Race and gender are.

runako 9 days ago [-]
> it should match the representation of the field

Why? You have not supported this at all. If the field is staffed by wildly bigoted hiring managers, why does your assertion follow?

Separately, why would this be obviously best for the company? Does matching parity with the field somehow ensure the best quality or cost/performance? Does this still hold at firms that are smaller than the largest (say: under 5k engineers)? Why?

Manuel_D 9 days ago [-]
If I'm hiring 20 people in a field that's 80% women and 20% men, why would I expect to hire more than 20% men? Unless I have some evidence to think that one gender is better on average than the other, then we'd expect a non-discriminatory hiring process to hire women and men in equal proportions relative to the field.

If a firm is staffed by bigoted hiring managers that favor men, we'd actually expect closer to equal representation amongst those bigoted firms. Because they're bigoted against women and less likely to hire them, they end up with a more "equitable" workforce. If a firm in our hypothetical field is bigoted against women, and hires women at half the rate as men, then it'd actually end up with a representation of ~40% women and 60% men. It's closer to equitable because of its discriminatory policies.

This is a great example of why equity isn't evidence of nondiscrimination, and gender disparity isn't evidence of discrimination.

> Separately, why would this be obviously best for the company?

Illegally discriminating against pregnant women benefits the company: maternity leave is expensive, and avoiding expecting women saves money. Does that make it a good thing? Remember, nondiscrimination is both morally right and the law of the land (in most liberal democracies, at least), even if you have reason to believe that increasing or decreasing the representation of certain groups is advantageous.

> Does matching parity with the field somehow ensure the best quality or cost/performance?

Hiring the best candidates ensures the best quality and cost to performance ratio. Unless you have some reason to believe that men are better than women, then matching parity of the field is a side-effect of hiring the best candidates.

> Does this still hold at firms that are smaller than the largest (say: under 5k engineers)? Why?

Sure, a small sample size is going to have more variance. A one-woman consulting firm is going to have 100% women employees. That's not evidence of discrimination. But nor is a one-man consulting firm that's 100% male. Smaller firms have a lower sample size and are naturally going to have larger variance due to smaller sample sizes. But it'll all average out.

redeeman 9 days ago [-]
it will probably be downvoted to hell, but it seems like there isnt many that argue the field of plumbing needs more women, more women laying down sewage pipes etc.

I tried reaching out to some feminist organisations to make some campaigns for this, and they were 100% not interested.

it seems the "increase female %" only covers jobs that are super cleanly in office spaces

rty32 9 days ago [-]
I understand your sentiment. In theory there is no difference between a plumber or construction worker vs a CEO when it comes to DEI.

However, in the real world, a female CEO or President is much more likely to inspire girls to work towards those roles, compared to a model female plumber.

They call it "glass ceiling" not "glass floor" for a reason.

Those feminist organizations are definitely hypocritical, no question about that. That does not necessarily mean they are doing anything "wrong", according to how the world runs. I wouldn't blame them for not doing anything.

All that said, I think you bring up a valid point that people almost never talk about. But that's as much as it's worth.

redeeman 6 days ago [-]
if broadening female involvement in the upper levels is good, it makes no sense that it isnt also in the "lower levels" (though I would say its not proper to describe plumbing as a lowlevel job).

The goal is NOT to "inspire girls", the goal is to make the job sector reflect the population, no?

for feminists it seems like only the nice cushy office jobs needs to reflect the population, not the dirty labour

em-bee 5 days ago [-]
the goal is to remove barriers. reflecting the population implies that every job should have 50/50 gender parity. i don't think that should be a goal unless there is a benefit, such as in school where children need both male and female role models.

the problem is to identify what the barriers are and how to actually get rid of them. lack of inspiration can be a barrier.

belorn 4 days ago [-]
There are many studies that have identified barriers that causes gender segregation. The most interesting aspect that I find in those studies is that the barriers are similar for both male and female dominated industries.

The biggest barrier of them all for both men and women is that young adults will look to similar aged and gendered peers when choosing career paths. Such choices generally provide a feeling of safety which provide protection against setbacks and doubt (something most student and later professionals generally face multiple times at some point in their life). This concept is a major aspect of gender equality paradox, which predict higher rate of gender segregation with fewer barriers.

The most effective way to get rid of those barriers is to create alternative forms of protection that give similar effects. Mentorship programs has shown to be very effective substitute for both women and men, but they are costly and do not fix the initial problem when young adults chooses career paths.

Sweden has public data on gender segregation, and they provide an additional risk factor of gender segregation. Career paths that has natural points for segregation has generally higher rate of gender segregation. Examples of those are teachers who can first segregate on age/educational level, and then further segregate on subject. An other is nurse, doctors and other health care specialists, who can later segregate further based on specialty. Give people multiple chances to self-segregate based on identity and they will do so.

em-bee 1 days ago [-]
that is very insightful and interesting. the more opportunities there are to choose a direction along your career, the more often you have to consider if you are comfortable being part of a minority in your field.

but i think we can do more with mentorship and go beyond its perceived limits. however getting there takes us to rethink education as a whole.

there are a few aspects: for one i think everyone should have a mentor at least for the first few years of their career. that should be part of our education system. for example, every university graduate should be required to mentor at least one new student. every university student as well as trade apprentice should mentor in highschool. etc... in the montessori education method older students always teach younger ones, so mentoring at a higher level is really just an extension of that.

this would obviously be easier to ask in countries where higher education is free, because then its fair to ask for something back.

from these, mentoring in highschool is probably the most important because that's when careers are chosen. i remember that time, and i remember being all alone with my choices. i really would have loved to be able to get more insights into the potential careers that i was interested in.

em-bee 9 days ago [-]
well don't ask feminist organizations, ask the plumbers and the customers:


The second reason comes down to client safety. For various reasons, some women simply aren’t comfortable with male plumbers. Though most plumbers are perfectly nice people unless you’re a particularly spirited clog in a drain, the fact remains that not every woman is comfortable being alone in her home with a man that she doesn’t know. Having access to industry professionals that can provide a little more comfort can be a huge selling point, particularly for young women, single mothers, and victims of domestic violence.



“We work with women that are survivors of domestic abuse. At a women’s safe house, if some work needs doing and they need to contact a tradesman, it can often be quite stressful for them. We get inundated calls from customers who want to use tradeswomen.”

so it appears there is an objective need for female plumbers, not just as a statistic, not just to create a better workplace, or higher shareholder returns. those arguments are given too. but with single women being more common and higher awareness of domestic abuse, the argument can be made that with 30% of women being single, 5% female plumbers is not enough.

this is a very rough estimate. 30% single women is 15% of the total population, but 23% of the total number of households. (30% single women + 30% single men + 70% each of married men and women adds up to 130 household units)

however if you add 25% stay at home women who are usually the ones who would deal with a plumber since the husband is at work, then they will probably prefer female plumbers too. so i'd estimate that we need at least 25% to 30% female plumbers.

it can be argued that being served by a tradesperson of your own gender is a right, and therefore a gender distribution that matches the needs of the population is not just something that would improve the trade (which can be argued about), but actually a necessity that should be enforced by law.

same goes for teachers btw. boys need male role models, and therefore i believe laws should push for a 50/50 gender parity among teaching staff at all levels.

similar arguments can be made for all consumer facing professions. (police for example). this is no longer a question of qualification or job preference. it's not even a question of gender equality, but a question of how to best serve the population as a whole.

Jensson 10 days ago [-]
Women were a much higher percentage in the field 1990. Women abandoned the field after the IT-bubble and it never recovered.
strikelaserclaw 10 days ago [-]
once interests rate went up all DEI initiatives dried up - these companies don't really have integrity or beliefs beyond doing what is politically correct at the current time.
jimbokun 10 days ago [-]
Almost as if they are organizations formed around the goal of optimizing profits, and not the general benefit of society.
badgersnake 10 days ago [-]
Not even optimising profits, growth hacking to optimise share price.
cudgy 10 days ago [-]
Then what use are they?
trealira 9 days ago [-]
The idea behind a free market is to use the desire for profit as an incentive for the self-interested to collaborate with others and serve the public interest in doing so; this is why the state promotes the formation of businesses and punishes fraud and insider trading, in addition to violent crime.

... Man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favour, and shew them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity, but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages.

- From An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith


jimbokun 9 days ago [-]
It’s the best system we’ve discovered so far to optimize price discovery, efficiency and productivity.
IncreasePosts 10 days ago [-]
Why would rising interest rates affect what is considered politically correct?
travisb 10 days ago [-]
You can read "politically correct" as "politically fashionable".

When money is cheap it's easy to spend a bit of money on political signalling. However when money is no longer cheap that pure cost centre is the first on the list for cuts.

micah94 10 days ago [-]
Borrowing money becomes more expensive so companies will focus on their own needs (or surviving) rather than giving or outreach programs. Unlike Apple or NVIDIA most companies need to borrow money to stay in business.
sangnoir 10 days ago [-]
> Borrowing money becomes more expensive so companies will focus on their own needs (or surviving) rather than giving or outreach programs.

All the (Big tech) companies - not just Apple and Nvidia - have higher revenues and profits now than they did during the Zero-interest regime. They are not hurting for money to fund outreach programs that meet their strategic goals.

What has changed is their hiring outlook. Online services saw unprecedented growth when everyone was cooped up in their homes due to Covid lockdowns, and the tech companies thought the growth would be permanent, rather than a temporary bump, and couldn't hire engineers fast enough to meet the anticipated growth: hence the outreach to non-traditional hiring-pipelines. After the layoffs, they stopped hiring aggressively and the labor market is now a buyers market

krageon 10 days ago [-]
> most companies need to borrow money to stay in business.

With respect, this is entirely untrue. Most companies don't need to borrow money. It's the functional cancer of the VC-funded silicon valley meta that needs to borrow money to do anything useful. Most corporations run based on what they earn. This is the only reasonable thing too, or every country would have the egregious debt load that the US has.

s1artibartfast 10 days ago [-]
>Unlike Apple or NVIDIA most companies need to borrow money to stay in business

What do you mean by this?

DopplerSmell 10 days ago [-]
Nobody inside the org cares about gender ratios, but they do have to react to people outside of the org who care a whole lot.

It's easier to explain reality than to try and change it.

resource_waste 10 days ago [-]
Idk, I've read b2b contracts that have demands similar to this. They arent explicit, its softer.
DopplerSmell 10 days ago [-]
I have as well, but I'm more of a cynic. Usually you can trace requirements back to either DEI dependent funding or government contract requirements. Less common is an attempt to market or build positive brand association by making a public commitment. With the occasional case where one individual uses their position in a company to sneak their personal agenda in.

Mostly the behaviour is determined by tangible external benefits rather than any kind of real belief that gender ratios should be acknowledged.

draw_down 10 days ago [-]
bdjsiqoocwk 10 days ago [-]
If the problem is solved, the funding disappears.
digging 10 days ago [-]
That would be a complete success, since the funding disappeared anyway
tardy_one 10 days ago [-]
Except in the real world, where the infrastructure to raise money for a previous problem can out compete new infrastructure.
specialist 10 days ago [-]
Funding for many, many worthy orgs crashed with COVID-19, and has barely recovered. From the outside looking in, it seems the whole administrative capacity (ecology) of the fund raising world just dried up and needs to be rebuilt.
cudgy 10 days ago [-]
Perhaps the administrative capacity dried up with the lack of free money once interest rates rose?
mattmaroon 10 days ago [-]
That’s a bummer I was hoping it was more of a “mission accomplished” kind of closure.
glitchc 10 days ago [-]
elric 10 days ago [-]
This is such a difficult topic. When I started my undergraduate in CompSci, the department of 300 students had exactly 3 women. The faculty had way more female instructors than it did students. The Commucation Sciences department, which was on the same campus, had the inverse student population.

I'm all in favour for letting students making their own study (and career) choices, but when the imbalance is this great, I can't but help think that valuable perspectives are lost. And that's just looking at the sexes, that doesn't even take into account what could be gained from interacting with folks with different socio-economic backgrounds, who were equally underrepresented.

Trying to keep barriers for entry low seems worth while. Organizations which help people break into non-traditional fields (for their background/sex/whatever) also seem to be worth while. Funding them seems like a no brainer. This isn't limited to girls in tech. Also boys in nursing, poor kids in law school, brown kids in politics, whatever.

commandlinefan 10 days ago [-]
> Trying to keep barriers for entry low

But the barrier is already low - you need to complete an undergraduate degree in a related field. That's it.

givemeethekeys 10 days ago [-]
It is even lower. You don't need to complete an undergrad in CS to get a tech job.
elric 9 days ago [-]
That might be technically true, but it's definitely not the whole story. Things like socioeconomic background can definitely be a high barrier. I can easily imagine kids (and especially girls) in poor families being severely restricted in their study choices.
ZoomerCretin 10 days ago [-]
> Trying to keep barriers for entry low seems worth while.

With Section 174 (increasing business taxes on SWE salaries) + high interest rates, this is a big ask for US employers who loath hiring at the entry level in the best times.

To me, the real problem seems to be solving US employers' unwillingness to hire anyone without experience, after which the rest (hiring underrepresented groups) will follow. But why would they do this when they have all the experienced and senior engineers they want?

Is this not the exact problem DEI was created to solve, and is now being dismantled?

xpl 10 days ago [-]
> With Section 174 (increasing business taxes on SWE salaries)

It looks like they’re going to fix it:


exadeci 10 days ago [-]
My high school back in France was offering 1000euros each to girls who'd pick STEMs for the last 2 years of their studies and had 12/20 or more on their final exam.

Out of 200 girls 2 picked it, there's only so much you can do but the truth is most women prefer to work with people.

badgersnake 9 days ago [-]
Working with people is pretty important in tech.
fennecbutt 10 days ago [-]
Or completely invisible (well mostly) perspectives based on sexuality, etc as well.

There's pretty much never been a call for more diversity in terms of queer developers that I've seen.

Even at my current job, women in tech is a big thing that we try to do a lot about, but I feel scared to bring up that there's more to diversity than race and gender.

jimbokun 10 days ago [-]
elric 10 days ago [-]
> you seem to have very little curiosity into WHY those ratios are so skewed

That's a weird take. How would you know what I'm curious about? Pardon the strawman, but I'm not interested in handwavy explanations which tend to border on bigotry ("$category simply isn't interested in $topic"). I suspect the fundamental reasons are myriad and complex, but that doesn't mean $field wouldn't benefit from more diversity.

> It's impossible to change these distributions without understanding the underlying causes for how they got that way.

Maybe, maybe not. The ratio is certainly a lot less skewed now than when I was a student over 20 years ago. My understanding (or lack thereof) certainly didn't have an impact, but throughout my career I have always tried to be supportive of people who are in some way different from me. Heterogeneity is a good thing. Monocultures result in weakness.

jimbokun 10 days ago [-]
> ("$category simply isn't interested in $topic").

First link that came up in my Google search:


It is almost certain that differences in interest play a large role in the different distributions of men and women in different occupations. The studies showing this are well known and I have not seen them debunked.

Please note that labelling a claim with strong backing in empirical evidence "bigotry" does not magically change reality to conform with what you would like it to be. You need to produce actual evidence to the contrary.

cauch 10 days ago [-]
I find that interesting because I see more and more successful developers that explain that a successful developer is someone who has good people skills.

If you think about it, there not intrinsic ground to support the idea that computer science activities in themselves are more "things" than "people". They may be more "things-oriented" right now _because_ it is currently male dominated, but it does not mean it is a fundamental characteristic of the computer science activities.

I find it interesting because it shows the vicious circle of bias:

step1: "Computer science is male dominated" + "men prefer X and women prefer Y" -> "Computer science is therefore fundamentally X"

step2: "men prefer X and women prefer Y" + "Computer science is fundamentally X" -> "Computer science is therefore male dominated"

jimbokun 10 days ago [-]
At some point, some one has to sit down and write or debug the code.

It's never going to be as human oriented as something like teaching, being a therapist, or managing people full time.

cauch 10 days ago [-]
But it is as human-oriented as other science fields that are typically considered as more people-oriented and these fields attract a bigger proportion of women.

Also, one of my point is that the "non human oriented" is also part of the image, but not of the reality. I see more and more successful developers that explains that "sit down and write or debug the code" on your own is not a fundamentally big part of the job, but it is in practice a big part because of the current mentality and because some developers want to work like that.

I keep seeing developers thinking that they are "special". But in practice, it is a job very similar to other role in a company. An accountant, for example, also need to sometimes sit down and do careful work that requires not being disturbed. It often feels like developers are talking about "breaking the flow" or "all these useless meetings" or "the managers that invent work to justify their role" or ... as if it is not identical for all the other roles (there are small differences, but nothing justifying that developer is somehow less human oriented than accountant).

Manuel_D 10 days ago [-]
> But it is as human-oriented as other science fields that are typically considered as more people-oriented and these fields attract a bigger proportion of women.

Bigger, sure, but not by much. STEM (presumably what you mean by "science fields") are bigger in aggregate ~25% women. Some of these are smaller (~10% of electrical engineers are men). Some are bigger, biology IIRC is about 50/50. Computer science is about 20% women. This is actually pretty close to the average of "science fields" as a whole.

I agree that developers aren't special. But neither is the gender disparity among software developers. People so often forget that gender imbalances >20% is actually the norm not the exception. If you dig through the Bureau of Labor statistics, most jobs have significant gender disparities. Dog groomer have as stark a gender disparity as developers. So do driving instructors, and insurance adjusters. There's actually nothing unusual about the level of gender disparity in STEM.

cauch 10 days ago [-]
I agree with that.

My comment here is about the idea that the disparity can be explained because "computer science is more thing-oriented and women are more interested in people-oriented activities".

If it was true, we would not see different numbers in different STEM fields.

Personally, I think that the cultural image of the field, rather than it being intrinsically thing- or people-oriented, has a bigger impact. In practice, biology and computer science are both activities where you work on your algorithm. And in practice, I would argue that computer scientists need to have more people skills than biologists, as computer scientists need to interact more between each others and with non-dev people (managers, internal teams that need to have internal tools built, external users giving feedbacks, ...). But biology has an image of "nature and animals" that is associated with women and computer science has an image of "nerd coding alone in his mancave" that is associated with men.

The thing is that these images are cultural, not intrinsic to the activity in itself.

Manuel_D 9 days ago [-]
> My comment here is about the idea that the disparity can be explained because "computer science is more thing-oriented and women are more interested in people-oriented activities".

> If it was true, we would not see different numbers in different STEM fields.

No, this does not track. It could also be that some fields in STEM are more people oriented than others. Psychology is over 2/3rd female. If anything, that inconsistency in representation supports the link between things vs. people and women's representation.

cauch 9 days ago [-]
> No, this does not track. It could also be that some fields in STEM are more people oriented than others.

And I'm saying that I have taken that into account and I cannot see, in practice, how mathematicians, statisticians or biologists, in their day-to-day job life, are interacting more with people. Some of them are only interacting with their like-minded same-field team member, while software developers need to interact with the company business team, the finance team, the user experience team, the research team, ... plenty of teams that are not talking the same language and have different and sometimes opposite interests.

Manuel_D 9 days ago [-]
First of all, most women studying mathematics in undergrad are actually studying to become math teachers. This is a much more people-oriented job. This is why there's a big drop between the share of women undergraduate math majors, and women math PhDs. The latter is 25%, roughly on par with computer science. Lots of women exit academima and start teaching after a master's or a bachelor's degree, thus depressing the representation in later degrees.

My sister majored in biology, and after graduation she worked on managing clinical research trials. She'd visit people testing new medications and interview them about their experience with improved symptoms and any side effects. I'm not sure how representative this is of biology as a whole, but personally I can easily see why biology would be more people oriented than software development.

cauch 9 days ago [-]
Women don't study math to become teachers: if they want to become teachers, they can study literature, language, history, chemistry, ... If they study math is because they like math.

I strongly suspect that the large majority starts in math with not specific plan.

Then, yes, they move away from academia. But it is an error to jump on the conclusion that it is because they wanted to do teaching and not because they saw how academia is for women in math and realized it's not worth the effort.

If indeed the fact that you can do teaching after math studies makes math a people-oriented job, then every studies are people-oriented, because you can always teach any field.

But that's not even the point. I'm not saying math is not people-oriented, I'm saying math is AS people-oriented AS computer science: if you want a people-oriented job, you can have one by doing math or by doing computer science, if you want a non-people-oriented job, you can have one by doing math or by doing computer science.

You are pretending that software developer is intrinsically not-people-oriented. This is incorrect: you need to work in team, both with other software engineers and other totally different teams, you need to build tools FOR other people, listen to them to know what they need and listen to them when they have complains or difficulties. The whole job is "how can I solve OTHER PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS by being the proxy between them and the computer machine instructions". How is that not people-oriented?

Again, there is this very very strange conception that software developer is somehow an extra-terrestrial activity. It feels like software developers have no idea of what other people do. Do you really think that an accountant that spend their whole career working for a specific internal department will meet and interact with more people than what a software developer can potentially? Or the people working in policy? Or the people working in operation and just managing the logistic? What about the cleaners? Is that a people-oriented job? I'm sure they create a lot of interesting relationship when they clean the office when everyone has left. What about a lab technician? What about a restaurant cook? Or an Amazon warehouse worker? (please, don't react to one of these examples, if you don't like one of them, feel free to just swap it to one of the thousand other examples where the employee will have less opportunity to interact with other humans than a software developer)

Sure, not every accountant job does not involve the same level of people interaction, and similarly, there are software development jobs where the dev can go away with not interacting much.

And sure, some developers, who are not people-oriented, find ways to make it work with them avoiding the people-aspect of their work. They usually need a manager to do this aspect of their job for them, and then complain that their manager is useless.

But again, it is not intrinsic to the work of software development. Software development is not a not-people-oriented job. Some people want it to be, they are somehow proud to be not-people-oriented (they are so not-people-oriented that it is very important for them to socially boast about how they are not-people-oriented), and they have big difficulties to admit that their job is not intrinsically not-people-oriented, and because of that, it is a fake image and a distorted reputation (with all the problem it causes: developers that keep moaning when they need to do people oriented tasks as if they are special and should not do it while it totally makes sense that it is part of their role).

jimbokun 8 days ago [-]
Paul Graham explained the software development mind set here:


There is a very significant cost to having a lot of meetings. At some point someone has to take the requirements and turn them into software that does something. And lots of interruptions destroys that process.

There are entire methodologies designed around these constraints. That is why "agile" methodologies introduced the Sprint concept, so there's enough time to focus on building something that the stake holders can interact with, and then give actionable feedback. Which doesn't really happen when you only discuss requirements in the abstract.

Painters need time to paint uninterrupted. Writers need time to shut the office door and type without distractions. And developers need quality, focused time spent with their text editor.

So developers are completely correct in their emphasis in keeping meetings to only those that are truly useful and required, and guarding their focus time. It is what best serves the customers and other stake holders.

cauch 8 days ago [-]
Did you just saw the word "meet" and your brain directly when into the usual rant without understanding at all the message of the sentence?

Firstly, I have a news for you: avoiding interruptions is not something special to developers. It's the case for ALL EMPLOYEES, even the ones that have more contact with people. The complexity of the flow may vary between employees, but it's just ego-inflated bs when devs are painting themselves as such snowflake beautiful minds with their so special workflow. There is a very strange mentality of developers not being able to do what other people in the company are able to manage and they therefore need to invent that they are "special".

Secondly, many devs are shit at being able to tell if a meeting is useful or not. I saw very good dev teams, I also saw dev teams where we reduced the amount of meetings and where they started producing useless code that did not do what was needed, while at the same time, some of those devs were saying "see, less meeting, now we deliver twice faster" without even realizing that the useful outputs were twice slower because of all the things that needed to be redone. Unsurprisingly, the number of meetings re-increased and some adults had to supervise the team more closely to make sure they understood what was needed. And of course, some of those devs were complaining, while being totally incapable to even conceived that their twice-faster delivery did not matter if they delivered the wrong output.

So, yeah, NO ONE HERE IS PRETENDING THAT WE SHOULD HAVE USELESS MEETINGS. Simply, I'm pretty sure that some meetings that you consider useless are in fact very useful but your "I-just-generate-code-I-don't-need-to-exchange-with-people-to-understand-what-is-needed" mentality makes you unable to notice it.

And again, while there is some truth and things to learn behind the "maker schedule interruption problem", a lot of devs complaining about it are just people who are not good at their job because they lack basic skills that are required. I'm a scientist working in R&D for a private company. I'm working with devs, I even sometimes write full modules that end up in production (it should be done by proper devs, but I'm stepping in to fill the gaps). Trust me, I know very well the "maker schedule interruption problem" and it is indeed a tricky balance. But the reality is that I see some devs who are working on things way less complicated than me and having way less meeting than me who are using the "maker schedule interruption problem" to justify that they should not do a part of their job (yes, going to the meeting to align your work with the company needs is YOUR responsibility). I'm doing things that require juggling with complicated things in my mind all the time, and yet I'm able to go to these meetings without much problem. If they cannot, it's not the meeting the problem, it's them unable to manage.

When you suffer from the "maker schedule interruption problem", your first reaction should be: "is it because I should learn to work better with interruptions?" followed by "I should try to understand why these meetings exists, in an intellectually honest way", and not "I'm a developer, I'm special, the world revolves around me and if I don't like it, it means it's useless".

To come back to the subject: this is yet another good example of the divergence of what software development intrinsically is and what the software developers invent it is. Software development requires interacting with people, software development requires to be good at managing interruption. Somehow, software developers have invented, probably based on TV show clichés and teenager nerd mentality, that software development is just limited to them playing around with code.

Manuel_D 9 days ago [-]
> The whole job is "how can I solve OTHER PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS by being the proxy between them and the computer machine instructions". How is that not people-oriented?

It is people oriented, to a degree. But it's less people oriented than solving other people's problems by engaging them directly, without being a proxy between the user and a machine. To say that software development is less people oriented than being a math teacher isn't saying the former has zero personal interaction or nothing about it is people oriented. It's just less people oriented than most other jobs.

cauch 9 days ago [-]
I think you still don't get my point.

Indeed today there is a lot of devs that don't engage directly with people.

But my point is that "not engaging directly" IS A CHOICE of these individuals, not a fundamental characteristic of the role. And that in fact the role itself requires more engagement than what a lot of devs think they should have.

Please stop reducing "math" to "math teachers". Do you even know that teaching math does not require having enrolled in a math major at university? Any STEM degree will do (and sometimes not even STEM). Also, you can also teach computer science (or worse, if you want to teach math, getting a degree in computer science is as much an option as getting one in math). If it's your criteria, then again, computer science is as people-oriented as math, because people doing computer science can become teacher too.

> But it's less people oriented than solving other people's problems by engaging them directly

But, ideally, devs SHOULD engage directly. They don't do it by choice, and it makes the product of their work LESS GOOD. It also creates strange situation where you need plenty of manager and very constraining processes such as scrum or other planned processes where the devs have to be explained what the people need because they devs are not able to simply ask themselves.

Computer science is more people-oriented than math, in very large portion of the user cases, it works better when the dev engages directly with the people they work for, while for math, people who do math for a living, the majority of the roles involves working on research and development with a very much smaller window of potential interaction with people of varied backgrounds.

> It's just less people oriented than most other jobs.

No, it is not. Intrinsically, the role of software development has way more elements that require interacting with people than a lot of other jobs.

In practice, computer science has cultivated a subculture, in which they started painting the picture of the asocial nerd working in their mancave and glorifying this aspect. The consequence is that women are less interested in computer science not because computer science is intrinsically not for them, but because the stupid mentality that is cultivated by to many people in this field. The consequence is that socially inept people will be more interested in computer science because they see it as a good fit for them.

But, again, when you look at it, on paper, there is absolutely no reason to say that computer science is intrinsically a good fit for socially inept people. If they want a brainy work where they can beaver down on their own little universe without interacting with people, math is 100x more suitable for them. Computer science requires understanding what the client want, and the client surface is big and their background is very varied, which means the dev need social skill to interact with them.

jimbokun 9 days ago [-]
Biology is because it’s a prerequisite for medical fields increasingly dominated by women.
cauch 9 days ago [-]
We are talking about the STEM biology field. Biology students don't go to medical fields. There are more people going to medical fields from computer science, due to the need of medical software, or from physics due to radiology.
jimbokun 9 days ago [-]
If you do not think writing and debugging code is an important part of software development requiring specific skills, talents, and experience, I don’t want you anywhere near any software development team I’m working on.

Paul Graham has made multiple fortunes based on the premise that good programmers can learn the soft skills for business much easier than the average business person can learn to code. Mountains of money have been made from this premise.

cauch 9 days ago [-]
Writing code require talent, but writing code itself does not mean you are a good developer. Writing a software and not understanding the business and the partners is just totally equal to not writing any software at all.

A good developer is someone who is talented at writing code, and talented at some "people skills" to be able to use their coding talent usefully.

And, yes, a good programmer can learn soft skills for business more easily than the average business person can learn code, because code is very very hard and learning soft skills for business is "just" very hard. There are plenty of people very good at programming that are just useless because they are good at generating code that does not align with what is needed.

tptacek 10 days ago [-]
It's more human oriented than writing math proofs! Why is the gap between those two fields double digit percentage points?
wmorgan 10 days ago [-]
Math proofs only need to convince other people. Programs need to convince a compiler. If compilers were people and you talked to them for the first time, the only reasonable response would be to call them assholes and find new friends. The field of mathematics doesn’t have an equivalent of the “Norway Problem.”

Here’s my theory. Learning how to write code causes damage to the mind, particularly in the area of how you relate to other people. When we’re learning to code, men and women both notice this happening, but men care less. Women, on the other hand, tend to think, “this is bad and I should stop.”

It’s hard to become a programmer without becoming a weirdo in the process, and women have a lot more to lose by becoming weirdos. If we knew how to learn programming without the mind damage -- if we could figure out how to allow learners to skip the “coal face” of spending long hours into the night talking to a compiler -- then that would solve the gender imbalance.

Just my theory. For a good long stretch I thought the explanation was that tech compensation wasn't actually all that great compared to what women could earn in other fields, and then the explosive comp growth of the mid-late 2010s happened and I've been wondering about what is the problem ever since.

cauch 10 days ago [-]
> Math proofs only need to convince other people

Wait, what? A math proof does not need to convince anyone: the proof exists or does not exist. If I prove X, then I don't need to convince other people that X is proven, they just have to read the proof.

So, in practice, math is even worst than computer science. In computer science, you have to convince the compiler. In math, you need to convince math. You need to build an algorithm that compiles under the tons of math logic rules.

> if we could figure out how to allow learners to skip the “coal face” of spending long hours into the night talking to a compiler

But learning math and trying to build math proofs is even more "coal face-y". There is no pre-build debugger and you need to check things yourself, by hand, and when it fails it may be because you mess up the algorithm part or the compiler part.

> Learning how to write code causes damage to the mind, particularly in the area of how you relate to other people. When we’re learning to code, men and women both notice this happening, but men care less.

All of that is cultural. The developer mentality cultivates this idea that being burnout and being socially rude is a sign of success and is a manly thing to do.

There is no reason why writing code causes damage, because it does not happen to plenty of other activities that are as grinding. Again, developers are not special, what they do and what they live is similar to a lot of other things.

It feels more like a rationalization: the reason men get worse at relating to other people and become weirdos is because these men are failing at social life because of their mentality.

wmorgan 9 days ago [-]
Thanks for responding. Here’s what I mean about proofs. I learned how to do them in college, and in the early classes we got a lot of leeway on grading, and then as we moved up they expected more and more rigor. But it was still a conversation, like if I got dinged a few points on an exam question, I could take it to my professor and make my argument that my proof was valid, and I might get a point or two back. The proof-as-mathematical-object either exists or does not, but deciding whether my answer pointed to that proof was a social exercise.

Professional mathematicians also cut either other some slack. Most proofs published today have small errors — typographical, skipped steps, etc — and those bugs are never fixed. Despite the bugs, we’re confident in the results, and that confidence is a product of social consensus.

On the other hand, also in college, I had my programming classes, where I would turn in my code and they ran it through a test harness, and my grade was the number of tests that passed. So, if there was a syntax error, I got a 0. This was brutally harsh to the good students who attended every class, took notes, and studied, but who did not conform their minds to writing code. But that’s how we learn programming, because the compiler doesn’t care about intentions and “almost” is worth nothing.

Alan Perlis said “programming is an unnatural act.” It’s not harder than other jobs — in many ways it’s easier — but it’s much weirder, and it makes you weird. Professional programmers write bugs, constantly: why can’t they just write the code, without the bugs? Because our minds aren’t built that way.

cauch 9 days ago [-]
> I learned how to do them in college ...

I have the opposite experience: when learning physics, math was really difficult to negotiate with the professor, because it is mathematically correct or not. They had their table that said "if they have done this, X points, otherwise 0", which is an exactly equivalent system as the one where your grade corresponds to the number of test your software passes. It was easier to negotiate points in the computer science lectures, where I could argue that having used some concepts shown in the lecture (using object-oriented, recursive functions, ...) was worth some point even if I did not finish my algorithm.

I think your experience (and mine) is just because you have been exposed to "beginner tests / optional course" in one field and "higher grade / main course" in the other. Beginner or optional lectures tend to give more leeway.

> Professional mathematicians also cut either other some slack. Most proofs published today have small errors ...

That's just not true: if there is an error, the result is not reliable, and it is therefore extremely important to identify them. It does not mean that the person who made the mistake will be thrown out of the field (of course not, every mathematician has made mistake some time, it's part of the job). And by the way, I wonder how you are in position to know that. You are claiming that "those bugs are never fixed". I've observed math-oriented conferences where some of the talks were all about discussing these bugs. I'm sure if you even have an example of such not-fixed-error, you have absolutely no idea how it was treated later by the scientific community. It's as stupid as saying "firefox 6 has a bug, it never has been fixed (but of course I did not look if they released new version)".

But the problem with this argument is that you are comparing that to a field _that is build around the fact that bugs will always exist_. You have debugger, code review, testing environment, and despite that, every released software always end up have some bug fix updates.

You are arguing that it's different for mathematicians because their publications contain errors (which is at best a very misleading description of the reality), while at the same time, DEVELOPERS RELEASED SOFTWARE WITH BUGS ALL THE TIME, in a way bigger rate and with sometimes way less following (some bugs are even some times considered "will not fix")

wmorgan 8 days ago [-]
Thanks again for responding. You gave me a lot to think about. It seems like there isn’t much daylight between our positions, and in any case I’m sure nobody else is reading, so I’ll wrap it up here for any future spelunkers.

I think I’m on solid ground asserting that it’s common knowledge that most proofs have errors. The reason is that professional mathematicians tell us so. Here’s Terry Tao: https://terrytao.wordpress.com/advice-on-writing-papers/proo.... Notice how Tao acknowledges that papers “full of errors” are sometimes not corrected before publication. What does that mean for proofs which have only one minor error, and referees less exacting than Terry Tao?

Chapter 7 of Simon Singh’s book on Fermat’s Last Theorem is also illustrative (Singh liberally quotes from his sources directly so there is no question about what the mathematicians thought). After Wiles submitted his manuscript to Inventiones Mathematicae, the referees began finding mistakes almost immediately and were in constant communication with Wiles to get them corrected. Wiles worked on his proof for seven years; nobody thought there was anything wrong with his manuscript having a lot of errors. How probable is it that we found every error in the Wiles proof?

Here’s a good MathOverflow question on the topic: https://mathoverflow.net/questions/338607/why-doesnt-mathema.... Lots of good responses, and links. What stands out to me is that none of the top answers say “that’s just not true.” Instead those answers about why math proofs “work” even though they’re not completely, rigorously, “correct.”

My big point is that in math, some mistakes are trivial, and others are serious. The job of determining which is which is a job for humans — as you point out! — because it’s a topic for conference talks. But in programming, humans don’t decide how serious a mistake is — the computer does, by what it does. Typo in a code comment? No worries. Typo in a variable name? Broken program. If you abbreviate Norway to NOR in your YAML file, that’s cool. Abbreviate it to NO, and there goes your afternoon (because YAML translates NO to false). It’s the capriciousness, not the difficulty, that separates how people learn the two fields.

Debuggers, code review, and testing environments are primarily professional tools — they aren’t used by learners. By the time a learner of programming gets those tools, the damage is already done; they’re already weirdos, conditioned to accept the output of the computer no matter how capricious, and rewrite their code however it takes to get their programs to work, even if it doesn’t “make sense.”

> I'm sure if you even have an example of such not-fixed-error, you have absolutely no idea how it was treated later by the scientific community.

I don’t know what you’re trying to assert. I’m part of the scientific community. Yes, I’ve written code based on proofs that turned out to have flaws, and then I went and updated the code. The most fun one to talk about would be this one from 2006: https://research.google/blog/extra-extra-read-all-about-it-n...

Anyway thanks again for reading. I had a lot of fun writing up these comments & reading what folks and had to say.

cauch 8 days ago [-]
Your initial claim is that learning math is more "people oriented" because you can discuss with the professor and "errors" in math are subjective, while learning coding is more "thing oriented" because the debugger will blankly return yes or no.

But now, you are providing article that show that math is not a matter of convincing people. In Terry Tao's article, he does not say: there are what I think is error but it's subjective, he says: there are errors, it's a fact, the article does not pass my "compiler". Same with Singh and MathOverflow: in both cases, the existence of errors is not subjective: when an error is discovered, they are demonstrated, and they exist or not.

You also point to something interesting: there is a lot of undiscovered errors. In this aspect, it's difficult to claim that it is not WORSE in computer science, where bugs and vulnerabilities are discovered YEARS after the software was released, and that we are pretty sure there are plenty of bugs not discovered yet.

The compiler will sometimes crash or complain if there is a logic inconsistency. That's exactly the same with math. All your articles and examples are example of bugs that exist despite the math compiler, the same way tons of bugs still exist after the code has been successfully compiled.

The example of "NO" and "NOR" is pretty good, because despite what you say, developers continue to make such mistake. This example is a type mistake, and you have EXACTLY the same mistake in math if you name 2 different unknowns representing different "type" (for example one is a scalar and one is a function) with the same symbol. What happens is that your equations "do not compile" really early and you discover it yourself quite fast.

> I don’t know what you’re trying to assert.

Well, the examples that you gave demonstrate that you are wrong. You were pretending that errors in math are subjective, they are a people-oriented subject and you can convince the professor it's correct even if it is not. All you have presented demonstrate this is not true.

I know it's difficult for you, you really want that computer science is somehow magically less people-oriented than math. It's cognitive dissonance, it's needed for you because you cannot accept that some data does not fit with your model "there is less women in computer science because there is always less women when it's less people-oriented" (the data in question is that another very similar field, as less people-oriented, is having a statistically significant different proportion of women, so it shows there is at least something more at play here). It would be so convenient to explain that the cultural problem in computer science communities and mentality are just "natural" and "explained" rather than something that could have been avoided. But that is just not the case.

(edit: the last link you provide is also quite revealing, with sentences like: "I was shocked to learn that the binary search program that Bentley proved correct and subsequently tested in Chapter 5 of Programming Pearls contains a bug. Once I tell you what it is, you will understand why it escaped detection for two decades.". They are not talking about a mathematical error: the mathematical logic is correct. They are talking about the fact that it fails if the sum value is higher than (2^32-1). I thought you were saying that computer science is different than math because the compiler would have said "no". What I see is that computer science and math are very similar: some errors don't pass the basic tests, and some errors pass the basic tests)

jimbokun 9 days ago [-]
I was not aware of that and it looks like math is an interesting exception. Any theories on what’s responsible for that difference?
Jensson 10 days ago [-]
Statisticians works directly with managers, almost all math professionals are statisticians and not doing theoretical maths.
cauch 10 days ago [-]
Statisticians are working less with managers than developers. Developers are supposed to be constantly fed back from the product users, and in practice, it means they interact with a bigger surface than statisticians. They may find ways to avoid interactions, but it is not "because developer is not people-related", it's because they want themselves to not be people-related.

So, no, computer science is not less people-oriented than statistics. You may personally interact less with people, but it is just because you are personally less people-oriented, not because your job is fundamentally less people-oriented.

tptacek 10 days ago [-]
In addition to what the sibling comment said, I am referring to academic mathematics.
Jensson 10 days ago [-]
> The ratio is certainly a lot less skewed now than when I was a student over 20 years ago

You mean more skewed? The data shows there are less women now than 20 years ago. There is a lot more talk about women in tech today, but that doesn't mean there are more.

Sinthrill 10 days ago [-]
They can tell you aren't a curious person from your use of punctuation. This is why I always add ;`'([] at the end of every sentence ;`'([]
tptacek 10 days ago [-]
Why do you think they're so skewed? Why are there so many women working in mathematics and particularly in cryptography compared to general computer engineering? Why are women so well represented in other hard science fields, both in absolute terms (especially in fields like biochemistry) and in relative terms compared to computer science and engineering?
nsagent 10 days ago [-]
Having worked with Girls Who Code and been in many DEI discussions with faculty, industry, and current/prospective students, a lot of the disparities in supposed interest comes down to women feeling like they don't fit into the CS culture — they often feel especially alienated in the introductory courses [1].

Basically, students who were previously exposed to CS education in high school excel in the introductory courses and often downplay the difficulty of the concepts. This is a very male-oriented perspective to take.

That's why programs like Girls Who Code try to address the gap earlier in the pipeline, since it's hard to fundamentally change the attitudes experienced individuals have in early CS courses. Other approaches some schools have tried include separating intro CS courses by prior experience.

Interestingly, studies have shown that women who stick with the CS curriculum perform as well their male counterparts in higher-level CS courses regardless of their initial exposure to CS, though women often think more poorly of their own abilities [2].

[1]: https://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/cracking-the-code:-why-are... [2]: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3017771

jimbokun 9 days ago [-]
What’s your theory?
tptacek 9 days ago [-]
The obvious one, right? The one that doesn't require me to make arguments (not that you made one) like "well programming means arguing with a compiler and mathematics means arguing with other mathematicians which is a more humane activity".

I tend towards explanations of things that don't involve software developers being a unique, distinct species of cognitive entity, probably because (like you, I assume) I've spent a long career being a software developer and interacting with software developers.

wmorgan 8 days ago [-]
I thought this thread was dead, and the topic is cursed besides that, but since this comment is obliquely referencing mine, I’ll post this: the two most prestigious white-collar fields are medicine and law, which both used to be more male-centric than programming ever was, and in those fields we see a steady upward trend of participation by women over the past few decades.

I've only talked to 0.001% of programmers. But of them, in my experience, they tend to not look into your eyes when they talk to you. I’m a programmer, and I got a lot worse about eye contact around the same time I really got into programming. If the software developers you work with all make good eye contact, I'm sure I won't convince you that devs are any different, except to say --

All professions affect the body differently! My dad is a chef. He's got the rounded shoulders and the chubby fingers of a chef. Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Gordon Ramsay -- they have all got the same "look," because they spent so much time hovering over a cutting board. My dad makes fun of my "skinny little fingers." What I'm saying is that programmers get the same kind of thing, but on their minds.

I don’t have any axe to grind. I’m as certain that women and men are equally as smart, as I am that programmers aren’t any smarter than any other white-collar profession. But something is making undergraduate women drop CS 101, but that didn't also make them drop pre-law in the 90s, or pre-med in the 80s, even in the face of CS compensation approximately doubling in the mid-late 2010s.

tptacek 7 days ago [-]
Medicine and law both actively and aggressively intervened to increase participation of women. Describing the distinctive things those fields did to address their gender biases used to be one of Rayiner Hashem's beats on this site; if you search his comments, you'll find he can explain what happened here better than I can.

So, no, I don't think this works as an explanation any more than the idea that mathematics is somehow more subjective than computer science.

dpoljak 10 days ago [-]
The reasons for closing haven't really been elaborated on, just commented on as sad and devastating; I haven't managed to glean anything more from the rest of the article.

However, it's incredible to me to keep an organization like this going for 17 years. The landscape is constantly shifting and looking back at the world and technology from 2007, and even 2014, they've survived a lot. Going down now just shows how bad the market is in reality.

itsoktocry 10 days ago [-]
>However, it's incredible to me to keep an organization like this going for 17 years.

Exactly. Say what you want about the state-of-affairs today, imagine what the women in tech landscape looked like almost 20 years ago! I'm sure they accomplished a lot, and that's awesome.

nashashmi 9 days ago [-]
Exactly! I consider this a mission accomplished scenario. And the lack of funding is the graceful curtain call it deserves. (imagine another curtain call filled with scandal!)

the next generation of female diversification initiatives will be more specialized aka more diversified for age, race, geography, and industry. This is good all around. Edit: And could be carried as a side hustle by existing institutions.

netdevnet 10 days ago [-]
How is them going down related to the market? They are a non-profit.

This is pure speculation but I would imagine that they reasons for closing are likely resource related (most likely financial) as organisers and managers can be replaced

jmull 10 days ago [-]
I would guess they get most of their funding from tech companies who support and participate in their programs.
netdevnet 10 days ago [-]
That makes sense
bell-cot 10 days ago [-]
> However, it's incredible to me to keep...

THIS. In feel-good daydreams, every nice-sounding thing lasts forever. (Generally with Imagined Good People Somewhere(tm) paying the bills.)

Vs. in the real world? - I'd guess that they outlasted >99% of tiny tech non-profits founded in 2007. And >95% of all non-profits founded then.

tristor 10 days ago [-]
They outlasted most of the tech companies founded in 2007, not just the non-profits. The average life span of a tech startup is 5 years.
Molitor5901 10 days ago [-]
Just skimming the 2022 990, executive compensation was $285,170. Total expenses $1,904,475 on $2,005,994 in revenue.
asah 10 days ago [-]
Unfortunately this is normal, because running a non-profit is hard enough that suitable candidates command high salaries. I was on an NPO board with a similar ratio and we couldn't get it down.
bitcurious 10 days ago [-]
That comp $ is very reasonable in the abstract, what's not reasonable is comp:revenue. You can't be paying 15% of your revenue to a single individual, because almost by definition they aren't performing well enough to justify that salary.
crazygringo 10 days ago [-]
That's not necessarily true, because revenue can be a poor measure of capturing value and scale in organizations that are mostly volunteer.

If that individual is managing the process of successfully getting 1,000 people who volunteer 15 hrs/wk, which you'd otherwise have to pay let's say $30/hr including taxes, then that would be the equivalent of $22.5 million in annual revenue.

Suddenly $285K in executive compensation looks perfectly fine.

In some mostly-volunteer organizations, you will find that most of the money pays the professionals at the top, because you can't get that necessary expertise any other way.

I worked at one once right out of college, at the bottom of the full-time-paid rung, and I had interestingly conflicted moral feelings about it. I spent a lot of time with volunteers and yet I was being paid. But I needed a job, I needed to pay rent. And the tech skills I was providing literally none of the volunteers could do. It made me question whether it was "fair" that all these people's monetary donations were going to paying my salary. But then again, I wasn't the one who set rents to be as high as they were in the city where the organization put its headquarters, and student debt doesn't get forgiven just because you work for a nonprofit.

cmcaleer 10 days ago [-]
Your job as the top executive isn’t to get labor, it is to run a company (which sometimes involves getting labor). In order to do that you must manage your expenses.

If you overspend on your salary such that you put the company in a position where the company is begging for 4 months of your salary as runway, you have failed at your job and you demonstrably were irresponsible, reckless in your spending and unable to make tough choices to ensure survival. In other words, you were not worth $285k.

crazygringo 10 days ago [-]
That's not necessarily true at all.

Sometimes organizations simply wind up in impossible positions. Funding dries up for macroeconomic reasons that you have no control over, demand patterns change, etc.

There are plenty of failed orgs that would have failed even if they'd had true business geniuses leading them.

You could just as easily assert that paying someone $285K got the expertise that kept the organization going for an extra 3 years than it would have otherwise, because someone with less expertise would have made a bunch of worse choices that it would have run out of money 3 years earlier.

You seem to be demanding some kind of divine level of perfection here.

cmcaleer 9 days ago [-]
If you don’t see paying yourself $285k in Nashville when your non-profits revenues are less than $2MM as anything other than totally reckless (at best), I have no idea what to say to you. She chose to pay herself that with full knowledge of the financial situation of her 17-year long non-profit.
pbronez 10 days ago [-]
Even when that person is the founder? Who created the thing and keeps it going through personal force of will?

Doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. You want high quality people to be able to focus full time on stuff like this.

Workaccount2 10 days ago [-]
Especially when that person is the founder lol
jrockway 10 days ago [-]
I mean, she would make 3x more than that just being a software engineering cog in the machine. To me, a salary of $200k for this position looks like donating $400k a year to it. Plus your time. That seems pretty generous to me.
kelipso 10 days ago [-]
Here we go with inflated salary guesses that a small percentage of programmers get paid. Also I doubt she decided to start a non-profit because she was good at coding.
johnnyanmac 10 days ago [-]
a small percentage of programmers are C class executive. seems pretty apples to apples to me.
cudgy 10 days ago [-]
I’m sure there are pizza delivery drivers that exist that make 100k+ per year. Therefore, all pizza delivery drivers making 36k per year are donating 64k+ to the pizza restaurants they work for. Really?
nothercastle 10 days ago [-]
300k isn’t crazy especially in SF that s not going up get you far
lenerdenator 10 days ago [-]
Perhaps we should stop concentrating so many opportunities in areas with exhausted resources that are needed to host an economic sector.
randomdata 10 days ago [-]
Buyers are free to choose to buy from the company in Poducksville instead, but I suspect that, in the typical case, they'll never learn about said company because it takes strong network effects to get things off the ground.
lenerdenator 10 days ago [-]
Every ecosystem - economic, ecological, or otherwise - has a carrying capacity.

The SV/NorCal area is reaching that capacity. There are only so many dollars customers are willing to pay to get a quality product, service, or charitable act before the law of diminishing returns kicks in, and those dollars are what funds the compensation packages of both profits and non-profits. There is no infinite well of value (no matter what capitalism says), which means that there is a ceiling on things like salary and the things (namely residential real estate) that said salary can buy.

If you pay a person $300k to do a job because that's what the local job market dictates in SV, are you really getting the surplus value to cover that salary? Can you keep charging customers that amount? Will you do increasingly alienating things that causes negative externalities (read: regulation) to be passed that impact your business model's ability to pay that much?

You could very well be better off to hire someone at the $150k rate in a place like Kansas City or Minneapolis. Those aren't "Poducksville" but that's the competition the valley will begin to see.

asah 9 days ago [-]
Logic is backwards: most (not all!) high power candidates live in expensive dense cities to take advantage of easy access to other people, both for culture (e.g. art and live performances) and work (e.g. meetings, networking events, 1x1s, etc.

Put another way, there aren't enough qualified candidates outside expensive cities and therefore the salaries typically tend to go up to cover those costs of living.

johnnyanmac 10 days ago [-]
Sure, just ask the investors to move out of SF, Berkely, Stanford et al. to go south for the winter, and the trillion dollar tech barons to move HQ to the midwest.

Do all that and it may start to dissolve a bit.

nytesky 10 days ago [-]
Doesn't CEO and non profit operate out of Nashville?
giancarlostoro 10 days ago [-]
Even so, I'm assuming this isn't like a normal job where you have benefits, if they're paying for all of that out of pocket, the salary makes perfect sense to me.
hiatus 10 days ago [-]
Why would you assume that? If you are company over a certain size (even a non-profit) you are obligated by federal law to offer health insurance.
giancarlostoro 10 days ago [-]
Are they large? I've not heard of them. It has 130 thousand members, but that doesn't mean they're all employees?
hiatus 10 days ago [-]
The law requires only 50 employees. I am not sure of their number of employees though.
s1artibartfast 10 days ago [-]
Certainly less than 50 with revenue of 2m and expenses of 1m.
uberman 10 days ago [-]
A 501(c)3 requires at least 50 employees? That would surprise me if it was true.
uberman 10 days ago [-]
They were based in Tennessee when she made $280k. When they were based in the bay area, she made just shy of $370k.
krageon 10 days ago [-]
This is an absolutely insane amount of money, and that's not changed if you choose to live somewhere where that amount is easy to spend. The answer to that is simple: live somewhere else. I struggle to think of a region on earth that wouldn't define 300k as an incredibly high salary.
giancarlostoro 10 days ago [-]
Also not considered in that amount is the fact that this person has to pay for benefits (healthcare and such) likely directly from this income. This is insanely low when you really think of that.
uberman 10 days ago [-]
Just going to note that all of that was one person's salary. I question why a smaller non-profit based in Tennessee would need to pay their CEO almost 300k. Senior researchers where I work make half that while managing grant projects with twice the funding.
kelseyfrog 10 days ago [-]
Question about the 2022 990 schedule b part 1. The contributors No./amount is restricted. What does this mean? Is it common?
peanuty1 10 days ago [-]
Wow, that's a massive amount of money for just one individual. I'm disappointed to hear that.
johnnyanmac 10 days ago [-]
for a company in tech, is a 280k salary really that surprising? For a CEO it's on the lower side these days.
shrubble 10 days ago [-]
Non-profits closing means there is a financial reason; were there grants monies that ran out? Did another "women in STEM" non-profit get corporate sponsorship instead? The article doesn't say.
Hasu 10 days ago [-]
The (economic) purpose of Girls in Tech is to create more workers in software so that prices for labor will go down.

Given the layoffs of 2022-ongoing, labor costs in tech are dropping enough that interested parties aren't incentivized to increase the supply of labor further.

netdevnet 10 days ago [-]
> so that prices for labor will go down.

I don't think that's the reason (it is a side effect though). What makes you think that?

randomdata 10 days ago [-]
Why else would a buyer invest heavily in increasing the supply?
RIMR 10 days ago [-]
I like that we're not beating around the bush and admitting that businesses only donate money to causes they think will financially benefit them. That there are no altruistic actions by a business entity, everything is either an operational expense or an investment.

This is 100% true in practice, so you're absolutely correct here. I just hope that we're in agreement that this is a bad state of affairs if businesses have completely written off doing the right thing in favor of profit 100% of the time.

As a community of entrepreneurs, we should aim higher. If this is the only reason that tech companies invest in gender equality, then we need to find better advocates, or at least come prepared to counter the exploitation the current advocates have in mind.

johnnyanmac 10 days ago [-]
>I just hope that we're in agreement that this is a bad state of affairs if businesses have completely written off doing the right thing in favor of profit 100% of the time.

Maybe 99% of the time. But sure, the altruistic businesses are usually the first to shutter. Reality is cruel and very few entrepreneurs are so well off they can bleed money for their cause. Those kinds of people lobby policy instead of being customer facing.

>As a community of entrepreneurs, we should aim higher. If this is the only reason that tech companies invest in gender equality, then we need to find better advocates,

best of luck. The mix of having the massive funds for scale, incentive and/or empathy for interest, and altruism to keep the company honest for such an initiative seems to be a unicorn these days.

RIMR 4 days ago [-]
The next 4 years of Trump will be an interesting time then, because we're going to discover which businesses will trade our lives for profit. If doing the right thing comes second to doing what's profitable, businesses with the mindset you describe are the kinds of businesses that will assist in genocide.

If things play out the way I expect, I hope these businesses learn the hard way that doing the wrong thing isn't always profitable, or survivable if you side with Nazis.

eagleislandsong 4 days ago [-]
> The next 4 years of Trump

If he gets re-elected, it might not be only 4 years.

klyrs 10 days ago [-]
Counterpoint: a cynical take posted deep in a comment thread in a random corner of the internet may not accurately reflect the values of an entire industry.
cutemonster 6 days ago [-]
Yes, GP is exaggerating or a bit clueless about humans

> > That there are no altruistic actions by a business [...] This is 100% true

jrockway 10 days ago [-]
I think that companies think they can make $X with 10 engineers, but > $2X with 20 engineers. Thus, allowing more people to be comfortable as a software engineer increases the amount of money they can make.

Right now, with 6% interest rates? Nobody wants to make money that badly. But it won't be that way forever.

randomdata 10 days ago [-]
That is a fair thought, but, of course, depends on a constant (approximately) per-unit labour cost. After all, businesses could poach those 10 additional engineers from the company beside them with a $2Y compensation offer, without the need for any more engineers. But if you need to pay 2x more for each labourer to achieve $2X gross return then the appeal is quickly lost.

However, if you can create 10 new engineers that didn't exist before, then they will be incentivized to fall in line with $Y as well, lowering the unit cost of labour and making adding 10 more engineers to achieve $2X in return much more appealing. The keeping of the price of labour down is exactly why businesses were willing to make such investments.

jrockway 10 days ago [-]
Everyone wants to lower the cost of labor, but you can only get so much blood from a stone. People will do something else if software engineering isn't profitable. That's how things are going in the post-0% interest rates world. Software engineers aren't individually getting paid less, but less speculative software is being written. In 2021, everyone thought that the way to get rich was by throwing 200 software engineers at a shopping cart app. In 2024, the way is to have 10 people making a shopping cart, 10 people making a database, 10 people running HR reports, ... I don't think this makes the size of the industry smaller, but makes "I am sure I will find something interesting to do at this super company" less likely. There are no super companies anymore. (Except Nvidia.)

Anyway, the way we increase efficiency is by automating more things. 50 years ago, you had to have a person come to your house to collect letters from you, then they would be mailed across the country, and another person would deliver it to the recipient. Now we have email, and you can just send someone a letter with no other humans in the loop. That's the efficiency increase that engineering brings, and even if we can't envision what we're going to do tomorrow, it will continue. What that means is that we will always need more engineers, and the scope of our role will increase faster than we make more humans to be engineers.

johnnyanmac 10 days ago [-]
c. 2000's, the reason was much more insidious. It wasn;t about making all the money, it was also about making sure no one else becomes the next facebook to their myspace. Only thing better than 2x engineers making more than 2x dollars, is depriving market value of competition by over 70%. The anti-poaching lawsuits of the early 2010's more or less confirms this intent.

c. 2010's, there's many reasons but the relevant one here is the DEI initaitves. You get tax breaks for diversity, you will hire the right people even if they just sit there. very dishonest, but at least they compensate well. Same logic, if 2x engineers only operate at 0.8x capacity but you save almost half your revenue from not paying taxes, the decision is obvious.

But as you said, we're in the 20's, market is captured, and free money is gone. That era of hoarding technical talent like trading cards is over

10 days ago [-]
jimbokun 10 days ago [-]
Human nature.
strikelaserclaw 10 days ago [-]
because most of these companies are (run by?) sociopaths - as soon as low interest rates dried up DEI initiatives got slashed even though these companies are still making record profits.
cutemonster 6 days ago [-]
Also depends on who's perspective you have in mind: the Girls in Tech founder's, or (most of) the (big) donors'
JKCalhoun 10 days ago [-]
> interested parties aren't incentivized to increase the supply of labor further

It's good when a profit-driven industry decides to stop trying to cut expenses.

autoexec 10 days ago [-]
Also unlikely.
pydry 10 days ago [-]
For the corporate donors, sure. Im sure the people running it were genuine though.
csomar 10 days ago [-]
> Im sure the people running it were genuine though.

The people running it are getting paid to run it. It's a job. There are few people who do charity for charity but for most people I met working for non-profits, it was just a job for them. Doesn't mean they didn't love their work or did their best but at the end of the day they need a pay check like everybody else.

mdgrech23 10 days ago [-]
There was a bootcamp by me. They had a squeaky clean image but were getting big payouts from placing candidates in a local fortune 500. People get used to that money.
nsonha 10 days ago [-]
> so that prices for labor will go down

wut? Any one creating anything is DELIBERATELY driving price of that thing down for you I guess.

randomdata 10 days ago [-]
Yes, anyone who deliberately increases the supply of something does so in an effort to diminish the price of something.
muglug 10 days ago [-]
The creation of computer science degree courses did not push down the price of software engineers.
flyingfences 10 days ago [-]
The popularization of computer science degrees absolutely did push down the price of software engineers on average. The Big Names in SV are outliers; the rest of the industry employs us at wages far closer to other professions than they could a generation ago.
busterarm 10 days ago [-]
This. People really do forget what it was like just before the peak of the dotcom bubble. There were companies that offered perks like a fully paid lease on a brand new Porsche 911. This wasn't just for the software engineers either.

If you could breathe on a keyboard, you could land a high-paying job.

Demand was that high.

That era of tech minted way, way, way more millionaires on average.

netdevnet 10 days ago [-]
Surely, we can all agree that this is not sustainable. Companies basically throwing money at people that might not have the skills you need is a massive waste of money from the companies point of view.
busterarm 10 days ago [-]
Nobody was talking about whether or not it was sustainable, we're just comparing salary potential now to a generation ago.

To the managerial class, tech people used to be literal wizards conjuring the impossible and now we're regular commoditized office labor like any other.

netdevnet 10 days ago [-]
Not sure if comparing salary potentials coming from two different socio-economic periods is useful or likely to mislead.

Tech and people versed in it were not common (to people outside tech) and so the high salaries would reflect that. Now is not the case. It was always going to be temporary. As people become acquainted with tech people, the magic vanishes, you see the code behind the pixels. At the same time, tech people themselves did cause this by making tech easier to understand and manipulate.

It's like a magician, the first few times, it is enticing and mysterious but after a while it becomes ordinary. Tech wizards are just like that.

busterarm 10 days ago [-]
People with wizard-like skills are out there but typically can't command the salaries they used to.

Todays SWEs tend to know far less about how computers operate and how protocols work than in the old days.

netdevnet 10 days ago [-]
The reality is that thanks to those tech wizards, most companies don't need tech wizards to build tech products and most tech workers don't need to know anywhere near as much as you would need to back in the days.

The same kind of "I just love to code" tech wizard that builds an amazing service/library/product, overworks itself while letting big companies extract max value out of it and contribute nothing or extremely little to the open source world.

Every day I think of the Homebrew creator who got rejected by the company that uses his software daily. This should be in the mind of every dev imo.

Tech wizards wrote their fate on code, compiled it and served it to the market. This is the result

randomdata 10 days ago [-]
> Every day I think of the Homebrew creator who got rejected by the company that uses his software daily. This should be in the mind of every dev imo.

To be fair, he does not come across as the kind of person you would want to work with, no matter what kind of software he is able to produce. Once hired, others actually have to work with him in such companies. In fact, Apple did end up hiring him soon after said rejection but quickly determined he wasn't a good fit there either. No wizard is worth having by your side if they make your life miserable.

shiroiushi 10 days ago [-]
How bad could he have been? According to the parent, his software is used daily by that company. At the very least, they could have just hired him full-time and then stuck him in a remote cubicle by himself, reporting to one manager who just keeps tabs on him, and told him to basically just keep working on that, and if he has spare time, think of other convenient projects to work on that customers might like.
randomdata 9 days ago [-]
Perhaps they could have, but why? What would be gained in hiring him to sit there and do nothing just because in the past he wrote some code that a company happened to find useful?
shiroiushi 9 days ago [-]
I thought the consensus was that he was extremely skilled, and he's obviously proven himself at making very useful tools for that system. Why not hire such talent and put it to some use? Not all positions need to have a lot of team interaction.
randomdata 8 days ago [-]
Why? Why hire him when you can just as easily hire someone else with all the same skills and a more suitable personality?
shiroiushi 6 days ago [-]
You don't know someone else has the same skills and can perform. Lots of new hires don't work out (for technical skill reasons) even after passing the interviews; they're always a gamble.
randomdata 5 days ago [-]
Well, we know that the person in question has a low likelihood of working out. As before, other companies, like Apple, tried but were unable to make it work. As his personality demonstrates, and as the testing at Google concluded, he is unlikely to be a good fit for such organizations.

Sure, there is a slim chance that Google could have found the right fit for him in the end with the right accommodations[1], but why take the risk[2] when there are others lined up that are far less risky?

Of course there are no guarantees in life, but when playing the odds...

[1] That would have to be invented. Now you are also relying on the implementer at Google, which brings great risk on the employer getting things right even if the worker somehow magically came risk-free.

[2] Especially when the tests designed to try and estimate that risk raised red flags.

kortilla 10 days ago [-]
>Every day I think of the Homebrew creator who got rejected by the company that uses his software daily.

Why does this surprise you? Google didn’t even employ the chefs that made the food consumed by the employees daily either.

Just because you made a thing that was useful doesn’t mean you have the skills that Google is looking for.

Homebrew was very useful because Mac osx didn’t have a good package ecosystem for one-liner installs. The tech behind it though wasn’t particularly unique or groundbreaking. So the author’s skill here was finding a market with unmet demand for a free package manager. That’s not what Google was looking for.

listenallyall 10 days ago [-]
Identifying unmet demand is probably the most valuable skill any Googler can have, it already has enormous engineering talent. It's the difference between GMail or Android (or Search, obv), vs throwing away hundreds of millions on Google Glass or Google+
kortilla 10 days ago [-]
Engineers don’t pick products anymore. That died a long time ago
listenallyall 9 days ago [-]
Kind of the point - the engineers rejected the guy because (in their perception) he wasn't good enough at leetcode or some esoteric language feature or whatever - meanwhile they were blind to the fact that he possessed a skill that was far more valuable to the company, which they themselves had no ability to recognize or evaluate.
busterarm 9 days ago [-]
Yeah most of Google's successful products are acquisitions, not homegrown.
Workaccount2 10 days ago [-]
The SWE buzz/boom of the last teens into the early 20's was largely fueled by VC's with access to tons of capital at all time low prices. The game was build a company with a shiny exterior and a radiance of hype and hope it got bought out. It didn't matter that you were burning millions on exorbitant salaries and endless perks. It was the cost of shine and radiance. And it drove up the cost of tech labor across the whole sector.

In a really condensed and simplified version: Big money was placing $50-100MM bets everywhere because the house was lending for basically free, and you only need a few hits to come out on top.

But now that money is expensive again, they game has been crashing down.

silveraxe93 10 days ago [-]
You're on a boat with a hole in the bottom. The water is rushing in. You grab a bucket and keep scooping water out, but not as fast as it rushes in.

Throwing water out of boats do not make it more buoyant.

AnimalMuppet 10 days ago [-]
Nonsense. Almost everyone who deliberately increases the supply of something does so in an effort to get paid for creating more of that something. Diminishing the price is at best an unintended second-order effect.
randomdata 10 days ago [-]
simplicio 10 days ago [-]
I mean, that's the effect of increasing the supply, but I doubt its the motivation for most people.
randomdata 10 days ago [-]
It is the motivation when the buyer tries to stimulate expansion of the supply, per the topic at hand, though.
AmericanChopper 10 days ago [-]
> After all, that's why the opposite situation: Collusion – where actors try to deliberately limit the supply of something, thereby causing price to rise – is illegal.

Unless they’re a union.

callalex 10 days ago [-]
From my Bay Area perspective, Girls who Code is still going strong and doing great work. Any reports that all diversity initiatives have died are greatly exaggerated.
mikhael28 10 days ago [-]
There is an expression which I think is fitting, in a weird way - a successful marriage does not have to last forever. For some reason, we always tend to imagine that, once a company or organization is created, it must last forever. That for it to ‘close its doors’ or ‘wind down’ is somehow a failure. And that’s just not true; a professional athletes career does not last forever, and neither does the lifespan of most corporations or non-profits.

The organization accomplished what it set out to do; make the tech industry more inclusive and accessible to women. To a large extent, though it wasn’t a primary factor, it aided that journey nicely with its thousands of events that it organized over the years, according to this announcement.

It didn’t last forever, but it was never meant to - that would mean the presence of women in tech would never become truly equal to the presence of men. While its goal wasn’t ‘achieved’, this organization did what it could to move things in that direction and now, with its energy spent, it leaves the door open for new contributors to take the next step.

The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice. Thank you to everyone who helped organize the events this organization hosted in the last seventeen years.

badgersnake 10 days ago [-]
She says she’s closing it “with a heavy heart”. It sounds like she wanted to continue.
ganoushoreilly 10 days ago [-]
I could read it as either way. It could be a sadness to see it come to and end, but still having full agreement the time has come. It could also be a sadness because financial hurdles or other operation hurdles are making it near impossible. It's hard, but I get it either way.
RIMR 10 days ago [-]
You could read it that way, but she said "with sadness and devastation".

You are taking some extreme liberties with your interpretation of what she's saying. The sentiment she's sharing is clearly quite negative. I don't think she's happily wrapping up her mission, I think she's going out of business and has no ability to continue her mission as she would like to.

mrguyorama 10 days ago [-]
We can still view operating for 17 years to be a success. We can still view helping women in tech for 17 years to have improved the world, even if it cannot continue.
pessimizer 10 days ago [-]
We can consider winning one basketball game a success even when our team is disbanded after one season, but I don't know how that's relevant to whether someone is devastated about closing a group down that was meant to help women, when women still need to be helped.
RIMR 4 days ago [-]
You (a man) can feel fine about a charity that never benefited you going under?

Big shocker that you don't give a shit, Mr. Guyorama. Condolences to the women in your life.

mikhael28 4 days ago [-]
When you go to a funeral, it’s considered rude to personally attack someone wearing black because they aren’t visibly crying.

Have some class.

resource_waste 10 days ago [-]
I had a similar thing happen to me. I did science and posted it on my blog. It helped a few million people, but I didn't monetize very hard.

I hated people would call it blogspam, despite it being science and it being donation based.

I switched to b2b.

I'm happy there are people who use business to make the world a better place. I'm never doing that again, profit first.

autoexec 10 days ago [-]
Yeah this terrible article doesn't explain why it's shutting down and doesn't link to the source (a newsletter I guess, so maybe it's not available online) so people can find more answers, but I also go the impression that this wasn't what she wanted.
gramie 10 days ago [-]
In fact, we consider a marriage successful if it ends in the death of one of the partners.
mikepurvis 10 days ago [-]
There are lots of possible definitions for success— making it until death parts you is the obvious one, but "success" can also be producing fruit in terms of community, family, or even career.

And there are of course marriages that make it until death, but the partners and everyone around them spend the whole time miserable; that's hardly a success either.

AlchemistCamp 10 days ago [-]
There are definitely multiple failure modes, for sure.

That said, if you take vows to spend the rest of your life with someone and then don't do so, then at least the marriage itself failed, though the years you spent with your spouse may not have been a total failure.

shiroiushi 10 days ago [-]
>And there are of course marriages that make it until death, but the partners and everyone around them spend the whole time miserable; that's hardly a success either.

Maybe according to your personal opinion, but the general opinion of society at large has been, for centuries if not longer, that these miserable marriages were in fact "successful" because they kept the two people married which was apparently much more important for various reasons (like religion or social stability) than whether the people involved were actually happy or not, which was not considered important at all until recent years.

I think society is going through a lot of "growing pains" now because of this change in attitude and the idea now that people's happiness is of prime importance in a relationship.

mikepurvis 9 days ago [-]
Yes, that is a good point. I don't think it's my "personal opinion", but yes, the rise of people breaking up marriages because they aren't happy or fulfilled enough is definitely a phenomenon of the last hundred years or so; there's much less of a sense of duty to family, community, or God in any of it, and there's arguments to be made there around gender roles as well.

That said, I think another factor that's stressed modern marriage is longer life expectancy arising from better diet, healthcare, and working conditions. Even a few hundred years ago lots of marriages might last only a decade or two on account of a partner falling fatally ill or dying in childbirth in their thirties or forties. Nowaways a couple in their thirties are staring down the possibility of five more decades together and it's a lot more reasonable to feel like your whole life is ahead of you still and maybe you want to do the corresponding soul-searching around who will be your companion for such a long period of time.

microtherion 10 days ago [-]
That's certainly a theory that Bluebeard would subscribe to.
mikhael28 10 days ago [-]
I learned something new thanks to your comment - never heard the story of Bluebeard before.
xattt 10 days ago [-]
Qualifier to the GP poster is not deliberate
DonHopkins 10 days ago [-]
Maybe that's that Hans Reiser thought, but an amicable divorce also has its advantages.
CalRobert 10 days ago [-]
Is this still true? If I knew a couple that had a great ten years but then decided that it was time to part ways on friendly terms for whatever reason, maybe continue being great coparents, I'm not sure I'd consider it unsuccessful.
ndriscoll 10 days ago [-]
This roughly describes my parents. Speaking from the perspective of the child, I'd say that is probably not success. It's probably closer to lots of acute behavioral issues along with some lifelong damage.
CalRobert 10 days ago [-]
Sorry to hear that. My own parents divorced and it was very much for the best, but their marriage wasn't great beforehand (hardly a surprise given that they got divorced of course!)
ndriscoll 9 days ago [-]
It was perhaps for the best, but I'd still call that "a failure that could've gone worse" as opposed to "success".
muglug 10 days ago [-]
This was my attitude when I stopped maintaining a large open-source project that I had created.

None of us last forever, in life or even just in this industry. To have brought about some sort of positive change is more than good enough.

Melomololotolo 10 days ago [-]
When I look around my peers, not a lot has changed in the last 10 years for woman in tech
ilickpoolalgae 10 days ago [-]
I don't feel the same. The last decade or so has seen an explosion of women show interest in joining the tech community. Ratio's on teams I've been on has greatly increased throughout my career. I've been on several teams now where women have outnumbered men. In my experience, the ratio is now flipped when you look at the team as a whole (XFN, etc). I may be biased though as I've only worked at "premier" large tech companies and they are probably in a better position to do DEI at scale.

That being said, true senior roles in engineering (VP+) is still very male dominated. Part of that is the pipeline catching up and part of is that I see women leave engineering for other roles more often. For example I would say, in my experience, I've seen more women have an interest and engage in transitions to PM, designer, etc.

gizmo686 10 days ago [-]
> they are probably in a better position to do DEI at scale.

Slight tangent, but most large tech companies DEI programs were never really great at doing DEI at scale. They were mostly funnelling the existing pool of diverse candidates into them. The result is that companies without an active DEI program end up less diverse through no fault of their own.

leetcrew 10 days ago [-]
what is the mechanism for that "funneling" though? intentional programs to make diverse candidates feel more welcome? more money? if big tech is actively working to attract diverse candidates and other companies aren't keeping up, it doesn't sound like it's through no fault of their own that they can't retain those people.
gizmo686 10 days ago [-]
Corporate DEI can be split into 3 broad buckets:

1) Recruitment

2) Retention

3) Sponsorship

Retention improvements are generally a net positive for industry wide diversity. If someone leaves your company for harrasment reasons, they are more likely to leave the industry all together.

Sponsorship is generally net positive as well.

The funnelling I am talking about is entirely in the "recruitment" bucket. If you hire a woman software developer, they were already looking for a job. They already made a significant personal investment in getting the job. The industry is still enough if an employees market that they were probably going to get a job. You did nothing to bring that women into the industry. All you did is increase the chances that they end up working for you in particular. On the margins, this is still probably a net positive for industry wide diversity, but that is a much smaller effect then the chair shuffling effect.

Of these three buckets, the most effective way of increasing your diversity numbers is in recruitment (unless you have horrid retention). In the current environment, there is no way for a large company to get anywhere near 50/50 without a significant investment in the recruitment bucket.

jimbokun 10 days ago [-]
More money.

Smaller companies can't compete with FAANG salaries. So when FAANG prioritizes hiring women, and there are still many fewer women than men in tech overall, smaller and poorer companies can't compete with the offers women are getting from FAANG.

pas 10 days ago [-]
... sure, on the other hand way less competition, and smaller companies can also simply go ahead hire promising juniors and do on the job training.
johnnyanmac 10 days ago [-]
>hire promising juniors and do on the job training.

I chuckled. I yearn for these days, but this isn't the experience I had (late millenial/early Gen Z). No one trains, you get maybe a week to adjust, expected to go full steam ahead, and leave or are laid off 2-3 years later.

simonsarris 10 days ago [-]
We train juniors for years (we accept interns as young as junior year of high school) and its been pretty great. I really don't understand why more companies don't do it.
Jensson 10 days ago [-]
> and smaller companies can also simply go ahead hire promising juniors and do on the job training.

Not before FAANG hired the promising juniors first, FAANG are very willing to give on the job training. Or at least were a couple of years ago.

pas 6 days ago [-]
That seems to imply that they singlehandedly (or fivehandedly) exhausted the promising pool and kept it dry since! But that's not the case, right? So whatever they did - while definitely important at the margin does not completely change the bulk of the market.

We can look at their employment numbers, they did not hire millions of people, yet there are millions of capable juniors globally eager to jump head-first into software development.

Bootcamps closed because hiring slowed down. (Because ZIRP ended, everyone doubted that the Fed can do a soft landing, and on top of that the certified bubble of AI-mania meant that companies increased spending on buzzword driven development, and ... on top of all this increasing cloud costs and slowing growth meant that no one felt the need to hire juniors.)

Oh, and of course due to the amazing tech demos where this or that LLM created a site/game in React in a few minutes, or even issued a PR, the meme of end of coding led to a pretty significant belief about the end of juniors.

jimbokun 10 days ago [-]
"way less competition"?
pas 10 days ago [-]
excuse my phrasing, I meant fewer applicants for the position, so less competition for job-seekers
ilickpoolalgae 10 days ago [-]
This may be true. As I noted, I've only worked at very "desirable" companies so my views are potentially skewed. That being said, I can't imagine that DEI has gotten significantly worse across the industry while vastly improving at the top end but I have no data to back that up.
Jensson 10 days ago [-]
Sounds like you went into more and more female spaces, as the field as a whole has barely changed, and if you compare to 20-30 years go it is worse.


jimbokun 10 days ago [-]
DATA! Thank you!
burutthrow1234 10 days ago [-]
It's been a change in the past 10 years but I would say women are still systemically under-compensated, under-levelled, and encouraged to move into less prestigious roles like product, design, etc. The perception that women are better at "soft skills" means that we get pushed out of technical tracks into coordinating work, managing people, and sometimes just straight up babysitting male devs. Those career paths lead to lower lifetime comp and less "impressive" titles.
riehwvfbk 10 days ago [-]
There is a great book (written by a female engineer, Tanya Riley) called "The Staff Engineer's Path". I've learned a lot from the book, but one part of Tanya's experience that I could not relate to was having mentors who would encourage me and provide "you can do this" kind of pep talks. For a male engineer the usual experience is the opposite: we are expected to be competitive, and if we display any doubts then the only advice we'll get is "are you sure you want this promotion enough?" and "are you cut out for this?"

It appears to be much easier to advance in one's career as a self-doubting woman than a self-doubting man. This is probably because women are expected to have a high degree of self doubt and there is no assumption that they are defective if they admit to it.

And management is absolutely more prestigious and better compensated than IC work, despite what some may claim.

jimbokun 10 days ago [-]
> This is probably because women are expected to have a high degree of self doubt and there is no assumption that they are defective if they admit to it.

A simpler explanation is that there is a perceived need to increase the number of women in management positions.

riehwvfbk 10 days ago [-]
That would imply that women aren't deserving of the promotion, and that aggressive posturing is somehow a requirement for the job (and women get a free pass).

However, if the book is any indication, Tanya is a great staff engineer, probably among the best of any gender.

This of course begs the question: could it be that discriminating against men who don't display the stereotypical behaviors is detrimental to diversity? And increasing the number of women may actually help here: they may be able to empathize with people who don't fit the traditional mold.

jimbokun 9 days ago [-]
Maybe this, maybe that, no data.

It’s not clear that people incapable of being assertive or direct would make naturally more effective managers.

And assuming that women drawn to management positions will be more empathetic to the neuro diverse is a gigantic reach. I have no idea why that would be the case.

Aperocky 10 days ago [-]
Maybe better compensated, but not sure about more prestigious.

I have no interest seeing the day to day of that job.

riehwvfbk 10 days ago [-]
Organizing apes to do things is always more prestigious than a single ape doing the work. The organizer ape gets to claim that they did the work of the group.

Think about a plaque on a bridge. Who does it say built the bridge? The guy who never touched a shovel after the ground breaking ceremony.

Aperocky 10 days ago [-]
You're mistaking the chief engineer/funder (likeliest candidate on that plaque) with the management of the construction company/contractors.
ilickpoolalgae 10 days ago [-]
YMMV, but my experience is very different from what you mention above. Every company I've been at has paid very close attention to ensure that women are treated fairly with the understanding that these biases exist.

But there's some truth to what you're saying. I do think women tend to be the "babysitters" on the team. I've noticed this often on teams I've been on. They're usually the ones that are the "cultural heart" of the team and organize all the events. Sometimes I've been their manager so I've asked and I'd say it's about 66/33 they legitimately enjoy doing it vs they felt pidgeon-holed into it because they volunteered once.

As for the transitions into other roles, I think it's impossible to tell if it's bias and or a natural inclination. There's no way to look at the data empirically and determine this. In my experience though, I think women are often encouraged to take these roles not because there's a bias towards "women are good at soft skills" but that these are generally the roles that provide better career advancement and visibility. It has always seemed to be a somewhat mis-guided outcome of allyship.

Jensson 10 days ago [-]
> and encouraged to move into less prestigious roles like product, design, etc

Women tend to seek out such roles all on their own, there is no encouragement needed. Just adding "design" to a job title massively increases how many women applies, even if the job itself is unchanged.

Just rebrand software engineers to software designers and suddenly you get many women, even though they do the same thing.

petsfed 10 days ago [-]
I wonder if the perception of engineering as a "men's field" factors into that.

Like "every engineering role I've ever had, I was condescended to by some other engineer who though he knew more than me because he was a man, maybe the culture is different around 'designer'". Likewise for "technologist".

More broadly, it seems to me that a lot of engineers' perception of inequity within their field basically devolves to "well, there's nothing about the material that's sexist, I don't understand why more women don't want to do it". It reveals a staggering lack of imagination and empathy, especially within a group that stereotypically was subject to a lot of bullying as young people.

bwigfield 10 days ago [-]
>I was condescended to by some other engineer who though he knew more than me because he was a man In my experience this isn't "because he was a man" but because he was an engineer. And from what I've seen it also has nothing to do with you being a woman. Engineers tend to be condensing, and will do so indiscriminately. Or said different being "condescended to by some other engineer" means they are treating you equally, if you're not then you are getting preferential treatment.
petsfed 10 days ago [-]
Perhaps, but I've seen it directed towards numerous female engineers, from less senior engineers who were noticeably deferential to male engineers, at or below the seniority of the female engineer.

I think there's this perception amongst male would-be engineers that starts in college or earlier that women in that space are not sincere enough in their desire to become engineers, are physiologically incapable of doing the work at the same level as men, or that women have entered the space by means unrelated to the mastery of the materials.

lyu07282 10 days ago [-]
I think your comment is a good demonstration why this is still such an issue, despite the overwhelming evidence of gender based discrimination in tech, people are dismissing the experiences of the majority of women in tech. Can't really improve if people are still in denial about it.

I don't know what to do, you can't teach people empathy or not to be sexist. Given how weirdly conservative young people are nowadays I don't see it getting much better in the future either.

lyu07282 10 days ago [-]
> stereotypically was subject to a lot of bullying as young people

There is actually evidence [1] that suggests that victims of bullying often develop long term psychological issues / depression, and depression leads to a lack of empathy.

[1] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/254192616

10 days ago [-]
ygjb 10 days ago [-]
That's a pretty bold claim to make without data to back it up.
Jensson 10 days ago [-]
The comment I responded to didn't have any data either, not sure why I'd need data for a similar kind of comment while they don't?

The university I went to did that and they said it was to get more women, and easily got over 50% women into engineering fields just by adding design to the name of the degree. It is a well known trick, names matters.

anal_reactor 10 days ago [-]
As a student I have personally experienced "sorry, you cannot join the event, you're a boy we're looking for a girl" and instead of me they picked a girl whose only job was to stand, smile, and tick the box "yes I'm a girl, this makes the team diverse". Having such an experience makes my brain heavily biased against all actions supporting gender equality.

Which are many. And they're almost always about improving the position of women. "Gender equality" is rarely ever about improving the position of men. The social consensus is that it's impossible for a situation to exist where a man is discriminated against, and even discussing this idea is a very much taboo topic. Which is not true, because such situations exist, and the number of people who have this opinion but are afraid of voicing it is growing.

I'm deeply convinced that a societal shift is on the horizon, and what we see as "modern feminism" will be, in the future, considered one of those things that aged like milk. The only question is whether this change will result in a society where people feel equal, or the pendulum will simply swing back and it's going to be taboo to discuss the hardships of women.

This change isn't very visible in western societies yet, but we're starting to see it in South Korea. This movement is going to grow and spread.

johnnyanmac 10 days ago [-]
It's not visible on the outside in western societies because outright saying "you're a boy and we're looking for a girl" is outright illegal (in 99% of roles). They need to be a bit more subtle than that. e.g. make a "women only/highly encouraged" event that happens to have a job fair.

I guess in Asia there is no such barrier. So the results and backlash are equally more explicit.

Melomololotolo 10 days ago [-]
The problem is that for you personally it feels shitty.

But you know what? For a lot more woman it feels like this compared to man.

It's your duty if an educated person to see thisaccept it and move on for equality sake. And I do not mean this ironic.

We are not changing our society without some people having less chances for having a highly undermined group of other people.

I would prefer for all of us just sitting down and actually talking how we all want to life but this mental gymnastics is too much for most people

anal_reactor 10 days ago [-]
> for you personally it feels shitty. But you know what? Woman.

This pretty much illustrates why more and more men reject feminism as a way of achieving gender equality.

vundercind 10 days ago [-]
Product is a lot more prestigious at most companies. Design is too, at quite a few, in that it’s often a better stepping stone to product, though that depends on the org.

In general, programming jobs are low-status. High pay, but low status.

brailsafe 10 days ago [-]
People like to think programming is a purely luxury job, and in some ways it is, but not compared to something where you often have more agency in the direction of a product. Programmers at lower levels probably take more bullshit and have less influence than anything with a title that conveys a higher level of abstract problem solving.

Being a freelance website designer likely pays less but is more rewarding as a practice than being a random cog

Kye 10 days ago [-]
Positives are diminished when the paths you wanted to pursue are closed off. Things that look like privilege when you don't have it can be a prison when you're stuck in its boundaries.
jimbokun 10 days ago [-]
> women are still systemically under-compensated, under-levelled, and encouraged to move into less prestigious roles

Do you have actual data to support this claim?

> into coordinating work, managing people

So promoted into management. Are you saying managers are systemically making less than the engineers they manage? Which would be interesting, as management is generally seen as a more prestigious role than individual contributor.

judahmeek 10 days ago [-]
> Do you have actual data to support this claim?

You can easily search "women in tech statistics 2024" and make your own conclusions.

My conclusion is that the gender gap in tech is not completely resolved.

jimbokun 9 days ago [-]
Every time I’ve looked into it, pay gaps for same role and same experience are very small, sometimes favoring women. And if anything, women are promoted faster in an attempt to diversify the management ranks.
petsfed 9 days ago [-]
There's basically two kinds of pay gap:

1. Group A is literally paid less than Group B, for the same work. This is much less of an issue today than it used to be, but its still an issue.

2. Members of group A are promoted much less often than members of Group B, so while a Group A member in a high-earning position has commensurate pay to a member of Group B in the same position, there are simply fewer Group A members reaching that position. This is the more common, and frankly more pernicious, problem.

The very first link in the recommended google search says that only 25% of C-suite members are women, yet women make up 35% of all tech employees. In other words, a smaller percentage of women are even reaching the highest levels than men. That's pretty clearly the 2nd kind of wage gap. Now, that might because of selective promotion practices (which you discredit), but it might also be that women are laid off 60% more often than men, so they have to restart their seniority journey at a different company.

jimbokun 8 days ago [-]
Women under represented at the highest management level is not specific to tech industry. It's seen across all industries.
petsfed 8 days ago [-]
So your argument has changed from "there is no pay gap" to "the pay gap is not unique to tech"?

Got any feelings about what true Scotsman do?

mixmastamyk 10 days ago [-]
Management often leads to better compensation.
thatsnotreally 10 days ago [-]
Engineers viewing design as a 'less prestigious' role is laughable. The compensation for these tracks is pretty much equal. I would love to hear you spell out why exactly you perceive design as less prestigious.
ilickpoolalgae 10 days ago [-]
In general, the compensation is much less than engineers at the same level but the potential for career growth beyond senior is much easier.
thatsnotreally 10 days ago [-]
I would agree on the junior side of things. There is a higher threshold for the starting line for engineers, but for higher levels, design is by no means seen as a less prestigious role. Not in any sense of the word.

For salaries – see e.g. levels.fyi for quick comparison. Even Google – a company not really known for valuing design that highly: SWE L6 avg. = 520K USD. Product Designer L6 avg. = 515K USD.

ilickpoolalgae 10 days ago [-]
Yeah no argument on prestigious, just noting the comp differences.
johnnyanmac 10 days ago [-]
I won't speak on engineering vs design. but compensation doesn't necessarily correlate perfectly with prestige. Teaching is the easiest example in the opposite way.
Volundr 10 days ago [-]
> Ratio's on teams I've been on has greatly increased throughout my career.

I don't have data on this other than my own anecdata, so big grain of salt, but I think it's varies pretty widely by company and/or industry. In my last few jobs I've had several in which the engineering teams were overwhelmingly male, while in my current role it's more balanced. Further anecdata but in my most recent job search the engineers interviewing me were overwhelmingly male with only a few women.

johnnyanmac 10 days ago [-]
It's hard to say, to be honest. In that same decade we had some of the most vicious backlash to POC/women yet. Maybe that's always been there and the awareness at least help clear 5% of the swamp. But in many ways the situation feels (in my perception) even worse. If anything, this is the time such orgs are needed the most.

But yes, it's definitely a large company thing. I could count the number of female programmers at my first job (~150 staff, maybe 80 programmers) on one hand. 2nd was a huge conglomerate and a better mix, even if older personell skewed male. 3rd was a ~150 startup (more like 100 programmers) and back to the "on one hand" situation. I completely agree with more of a shift to management and design for women compared to being "in the field" as programmers.

makeitdouble 10 days ago [-]
FWIW remote work has opened the door to many women who would have left the field otherwise, so they might be less visible.

It's still not great in my opinion, but I think there's more senior engineers and managers and an overall better situation than a few decades ago.

lolinder 10 days ago [-]
This is an effect of remote work that isn't discussed nearly often enough: it nearly completely removes any non-work-related "culture fit" filter from the equation for hiring and promotions. Without the happy hours, shared lunch breaks, or even the water cooler conversations "fitting in" isn't nearly as important remote as it was in person.

This benefits everyone who struggles to fit in with the traditional tech bro class: women, but also the neurodivergent, the deaf, the blind, teetotalers, and many more who would otherwise end up subconsciously perceived as less of a team player.

Aeolun 10 days ago [-]
The only place I see/hear a lot of female devs is in India. In Japan the ratio might as well be zero.
bookaway 10 days ago [-]
The reasons for the numbers in the global south are different. It's not necessarily a preferred choice through empowerment, more so a profession taken up to propel oneself from poverty.
maeil 10 days ago [-]
> In Japan the ratio might as well be zero.

Interesting, in Korea it's not nearly as bad. CS students are about 1/3 women, and the large majority of them does end up in tech. Of course still overrepresented in front-related roles and underrepresented in back-related roles but I don't think that's different anywhere really.

johnnyanmac 10 days ago [-]
>In Japan the ratio might as well be zero.

may change in the coming decade or 2. Late 2010's had Japan's version of the US 70's where women entered the workforce in droves. But COVID may or may not have stalled that phenomenon. I imagine they will bring in more women before they loosen their immigration policies.

shiroiushi 10 days ago [-]
Loosen them how? By importing poor, uneducated people and putting them to work as software engineers?

Japan is already stupidly easy to immigrate to if you're an experienced software engineer, probably easier than any country in the world. The main obstacle is the language barrier, but there are a fair number of companies recruiting foreign engineers and offering workplaces that use English, because there's a huge shortage of software engineers here, which largely stems from how software has traditionally been treated very poorly compared to other more traditional engineering disciplines here.

johnnyanmac 8 days ago [-]
> if you're an experienced software engineer

I am in a discussion about tech, but I was talking more in a general sense. They basically only let highly skilled personnel in and there's still quite a few stipulations with their Visa program.

shiroiushi 6 days ago [-]
Like what exactly? And what's wrong with focusing on skilled workers?
johnnyanmac 6 days ago [-]
>Like what exactly

Most stipulations basically requiring to be highly educated and experienced already. If you don't have those, you need to have some Japanese proficiency.

If you are in one of those categories, the work visa is relatively lax if we're comparing to the process to immigrate into the US or UK. Only real issue is their economy isn't doing great right now, so you'll find it harder than normal to find roles hiring unless you're extremely specialized (so, no different from the US right now).

> And what's wrong with focusing on skilled workers?

Same thing that's happening in tech as we speak. You only look for Purple Squirrels and you may as well not have a job ad. Meanwhile, most squirrels aren't moving abroad to a country to take a huge pay cut unless they are very satisfied with their savings/stock.

maeil 9 days ago [-]
Has that shortage actually been driving up salaries? From what I know, Japan has the worst "SWE Salary:Cost of living" ratio anywhere in the developed world.
shiroiushi 6 days ago [-]
Citation needed. My salary here is great by local standards. If you're comparing to the US, don't. Salaries in the US for SWE are much higher than anywhere else.
maeil 6 days ago [-]
I was intentional when I said "the developed world", so including Western-Europe, South Korea and so on, not just the US. The fact you're on HN speaking perfect English already means you're likely to be very much above the median, salary-wise.
5 days ago [-]
commandlinefan 10 days ago [-]
> not a lot has changed in the last 10 years

Then maybe what we've been doing for the last 10 years wasn't the right thing?

matt_s 10 days ago [-]
Even though I feel similar and don't have any large data to look at, an unfortunate thought is that their efforts helped keep status quo. Or to put it another way, without that organization's efforts, things could have gotten much worse maybe?
RIMR 10 days ago [-]
My thoughts exactly. It's one thing to close your doors feeling like you made a difference. It's another thing to close your doors feeling like you have just as much you need to do as you did when you started.
dangus 10 days ago [-]
Who are your peers and where do they work?

What I’m getting at here is, maybe they're at stagnant companies that aren’t making a positive change. What I’ve noticed is that there are companies that care to be inclusive. It’s an active undertaking, not a passive one.

I started my career working with all men in a toxic echo chamber, and now I’m on a team that is almost completely balanced.

It’s also on me to not join teams that have a curious lack of women. E.g., if I interview with a DevOps team that had 10 people and zero women, there might be something wrong with hiring. Statistically there should be at least one or two.

jimbokun 10 days ago [-]
> Statistically there should be at least one or two.

Of course not. Women make up a minority of people working in tech, and are highly recruited by the large companies able to pay the highest compensation. So it's very difficult for other companies to find women willing to work at the lower salaries they can offer.

So there likely is a problem with hiring. They don't have enough money to afford hiring more women.

dangus 9 days ago [-]
When I say that statistically there should be one or two women on the team, that is already taking account the fact that women are the minority in tech.

Women are about 23% of software engineers. So if you have a team of 10 with zero women, that is somewhat suspicious to me as an applicant.

Is my prospective future team hiring the best talent or are they letting their biases creep in to their hiring process?

Source: https://www.celential.ai/blog/percentage-of-female-software-...

jimbokun 8 days ago [-]
You did not address the point about the large, wealthiest software companies hiring up all the best women candidates.

You are probably correct these companies are not hiring the best talent. But the reason is not necessarily bias. It's just as likely that they can't afford the best talent, including women who the top companies are competing for to improve their diversity metrics.

dangus 4 days ago [-]
I didn’t address that point because I think it’s pretty weak. The little regional companies who are “behind the times” where I ended up on teams of all men were mostly apathetic to their hiring process and had no formality involved nor any incentive to change what little process they had.

Imagine a regional bank or insurance company that hires you off of a couple of pulse check interviews and your general vibes. Those are the worst for bias hiring. (I’ve worked at two or three of those).

You don’t get your foot in the door to interview at Google or Amazon unless you pass a rigorous technical challenge. Tech companies need people who are as efficient as possible since that’s their core business. Companies that write software but aren’t tech companies just need passable technology, they need a butt in the seat.

So I don’t really agree with the premise that the wealthy tech giants are scooping up all the women. They’re scooping up top talent.

scottyah 10 days ago [-]
I've heard a lot of women say they won't join a team with only men. Not exactly the most productive feedback loop.
com 10 days ago [-]
There is a proverb: once bitten, twice shy.

If we want our teams to be broadly representative of our communities and recruiting the best people for the roles, it’s clear that we cannot put the weight of solving the problems that lie behind such experiences and choices on the underrepresented individuals themselves.

I’ve been reading the comments and it seems clear to me that many of the commenters are either unaware or dismissive of the reasons that a woman might say that she would not join a team that was otherwise only men.

Without acknowledging the data, and failing to provide any useful hypothesis for why it is the way it is (apart from “it’s not called design” or some kind of gender-based competency model or perhaps a hand-wavey “but we shouldn’t discriminate; it’s their preference”), resistance to whatever we as professionals and leaders choose to do about it will be the norm.

And it’s hard to force people to deploy critical thinking when they believe they benefit from not doing so.

My own theory is that many men benefit from single gender bro spaces (where other forms of diversity are also highly constrained) and this rather than genuine lack of empathy or creative thinking lies at the bottom of gatekeeping and making teams and working environments toxic enough to drive women who dare to enter away.

The guys who early on in my career were dismissive of women in tech roles who have changed their tunes significantly tend to have had a daughter with an aptitude for STEM. Perhaps they’ve got skin in the game and somebody who shares what it’s like coming into difficult study and work environments?

9 days ago [-]
bookaway 10 days ago [-]
>Statistically there should be at least one or two.

Well, if the statistics takes into consideration the notion that a lot of women don't even apply to certain jobs thinking they're under-qualified should we be surprised if there are less than we initially expect?

I appreciate the point of being proactive, since the point above can be somewhat mitigated by HR reaching out to prospects instead of relying on the existing applicant pool. But it seems everyone involved in the hiring process should be as convinced as you about the mid/long-term benefits of having women on the team, otherwise it's a uphill battle passing up perfectly acceptable candidates when there is so much work to get done. It's much easier when everyone believes that the X factor of having a women on the team far outweighs the delays and the accumulating negative effects of business in the short term.

dangus 9 days ago [-]
The statistics say that 23% of software engineers in the US are women.

That’s what I’m referring to. If there are no women on a team of 10 I start questioning whether the team is hiring for their biases or if they’re doing a good job of setting them aside.

I’m not really sure what you’re getting at with your last paragraph. Do you believe that women being hired on a software team causes delays and negative effects? Because I do not and that has never happened in my experience. I would hope you wouldn’t similarly falsely claim that male teachers and nurses are less qualified than their female peers.

Jensson 10 days ago [-]
> What I’ve noticed is that there are companies that care to be inclusive. It’s an active undertaking, not a passive one.

That is a failure, you don't need to actively be inclusive if the problem is solved. See doctors for example, in my country kids ask if men can be doctors since they see them so rarely, the "women aren't doctors" thing has been solved, there is no need to do anything at that point except try to ensure it doesn't tip to the other side.

> Statistically there should be at least one or two.

That isn't how statistics works, statistically there would be 2-3, 0 is perfectly normal just by random chance. If you intentionally try to only join teams with more than average women then of course you see more and more women, even though the field as a whole hasn't changed.

Edit: And given that SRE often have lots of on-call I'd bet there are much less women there than regular SWE roles. Men tend to be over represented in roles that sacrifices free time.

dangus 9 days ago [-]
The best SRE team I was ever on beat the industry averages for gender equity. We had 50% women, including a Black woman, and a trans woman.

Our hiring practices actively surfaced people who had difficulty being considered and retained on other teams and at other companies.

This concept of being inclusive is a lot different than having biases. We didn’t reject men or anything like that, we just made ourselves more visible to underrepresented candidates and hired on very specific personality traits on top of the technical requirements. We also made it clear to candidates that our team was accepting and empowering to people in minority groups as they relate to our industry.

For example, we would use specific interview questions to screen out people who were selfish, egotistical, and closed-minded. There would be a zero or low chance of hiring someone who would make our minority team members uncomfortable and lead them to quit because those people would have been screened out.

Another example was being open to diverse backgrounds, like transitioning from a different team within the company or having a resume that lacked formal schooling.

I remember a conversation that stuck with me where the Black woman on our team told me about how she tended to job hop because she could only stay at a company so long before she started to have difficulty tolerating how she was treated by everyone else in the company. As someone who isn’t a minority in my industry it was a very eye-opening thing to hear. I had never once quit because of the way people treated me on a personal level! I had always quit for job reasons like pay, quality of my projects, effectiveness of my managers.

So, you’re right about random chance and statistics, but in my opinion a good team won’t allow random chance to dictate their candidate pool. In my opinion a good team that approaches 10 people will notice the fact that there are zero women and question whether they have made their team a good place for women to work for in the first place.

Let’s not forget that diversity is a proven dollars and cents benefit to corporations. Conservative media right now is using “DEI” as a substitute for racial slurs, but their intended audience for those insults isn’t corporate board rooms. No, Disney isn’t a liberal corporation, they just have a policy of inclusivity to the point of being perceived as overdoing it because they know that including everyone means a larger employee candidate pool and a larger customer pool.

When you say “You don’t need to actively be inclusive if the problem is solved,” the problem with that argument is that the problem is so obviously not solved. You can’t look at various outcome statistics for the racial demographics of the US or the gender pay gap statistics and tell me with a straight face that the problem is solved.

The people who have the power to make those outcomes more equitable are institutions like schools and employers. That’s why I prefer my employer to be active rather than passive.

(I have a hard time believing on-call is a reason why women don’t join SRE teams, especially considering that nursing has the opposite gender bias and also has far worse scheduling woes than any SRE on-call schedule I’ve ever witnessed or heard of)

osackle 8 days ago [-]
grobbyy 10 days ago [-]
At the risk of posting a reflexive comment, what should we be doing here? It seems like everything has unintended consequences (not on a cost-benefit basis):

- Minority affinity groups pull people from majority groups and decrease integration.

- Anti-discrimination/sexism/etc. movements often add social barriers to interactions (e.g. things I do within my identity group would be misperceived if done across)

- Affirmative action makes minorities feel like they don't deserve to be there (and often leads to resentment and other consequences)

Progress in the past few decades has been limited, so it seems like we're taking the wrong approach, but I'm don't have a better approach to propose.

Green fields, blue sky, what should we be doing to resolve the historical issues we have around sex, race, socioeconomic status, etc.?

I think looking to countries which made better progress might be helpful....

next_xibalba 10 days ago [-]
I have seen data presented multiple times showing the relation between a country’s wealth and/or economic freedom and women’s participation in stem fields. It’s a negative correlation. I often wonder if we should just be focused on maximizing individual freedom and let the chips fall where they may. This will result in some professions with extreme sex imbalance, and we should accept that outcome.
cultofmetatron 10 days ago [-]
> I have seen data presented multiple times showing the relation between a country’s wealth and/or economic freedom and women’s participation in stem fields.

This lines up with my experiences as well. I know plenty of eastern european women, asians and latinas working as programmers. on top of that I've talked to many that didn't know how to code but would ask me to teach them as soon as they heard I was a programmer. yet I have met only a small handful of white women from america that are software engineers. furthermore, the ones that aren't engineers (in general) seem more dismissive of my line of work as if its somehow beneath them.

Der_Einzige 10 days ago [-]
If those folks from outside of the USA had been from economically prosperous backgrounds, they too would try to become nurses or caregivers instead of programmers.

Gender parity in STEM is a sign of the economic desperation of a countries people. This is a sociological fact which ruffles feathers when it’s stated out loud.

callalex 10 days ago [-]
Do you have any citations to back up this “fact”?
rsanek 10 days ago [-]
take a look at the gender breakdowns for employment in the Nordics. probably the best social support structures / 'equality' in the world, and yet the ratios are among the most extreme anywhere.

when you're taken care of, you do what you like. when you have an economic need, you'll take the job that pays and will pull you out of poverty, even if you don't care for it.

ivan_gammel 10 days ago [-]
This argument is pretty common, but blaming the victim is wrong. It is not like Nordics solved the problem but women still choose different jobs.


Manuel_D 10 days ago [-]
The bigger question is whether there actually is a "victim". Imagine governments started a lottery, where a random selection of women were forced to work in STEM regardless of their preferences. That'd solve the gender disparity overnight! But is that a good thing for women?

The reality is that most people want men and women both to be able to freely choose their profession. The underlying debate is whether the disparity is due to choices or some sort of discrimination. Many people - including some in this comment section [1] - insist that anything other than parity is proof of some sort of discrimination.

1. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=40929639

ivan_gammel 10 days ago [-]
>The underlying debate is whether the disparity is due to choices or some sort of discrimination.

It doesn’t look like a debate though. Pro-choice exclusively male crowd pulls the same argument with the stats from nordics again and again without going deeper into what do those numbers mean. There’s no plausible theory explaining why there’s no victim. On pro-discrimination side there’s plenty of arguments (usually coming from people who actually study the subject).

Manuel_D 9 days ago [-]
> Pro-choice exclusively male crowd

It is by no means exclusively male. This is a completely baseless claim on your part.

> There’s no plausible theory explaining why there’s no victim.

Why is "women enjoy things other than technology" not a plausible theory? The percentage of women working in tech matches the percentage of women who major in it. The percentage of women who major in it matches the percentage of high schoolers and middle schoolers who say they're interested in technology.

> On pro-discrimination side there’s plenty of arguments (usually coming from people who actually study the subject).

It's always entertaining to see people who insist that there's plenty of arguments, but aren't bothered to make any. What do people who study the subject find?

When researchers send out resumes and measure differences in call-backs, women are called back sooner and more frequently than men: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3672484

Studies measuring hiring preferences in universities found a 2:1 preference in favor of women: https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.1418878112

The pro-discrimination side has to cite non-existent studies: https://www.vox.com/2019/2/20/18232762/gender-diversity-tech...

ivan_gammel 8 days ago [-]
> Why is "women enjoy things other than technology" not a plausible theory?

Because it doesn’t explain anything, stopping at that conclusion. It’s just “it is the way it is” sort of argument.

When you quote the statistics you are simply looking in the wrong direction. Thanks to anti-discrimination laws and affirmative action problem in recruiting isn’t that big as before. It was the most obvious and the easiest to fix.

Imagine a thought experiment: a group of people since childhood is taught that cats are better for them than dogs. They learn to love cats and stay away from dogs which are “for others”. In adulthood they are presented the opportunity to own a dog. There exist dog lover meetups and you can even get a puppy for free. How many people from that group will try to have a dog? Not many probably, because they just enjoy cats more.

This is what happens with gender inequality. Girls get dolls and join cheerleading teams. Social pressure requires them to learn about makeup and fashion, to socialize and to participate in housekeeping. Popular culture maintains stereotypes, social media define the acceptable behavior and punish those who don’t fit. Same happens to boys, of course. Not everyone who is subject to such pressure can grow as a person able to make a free choice. If we deprive children of the free choice, what is it if not gender discrimination?

And then there exists also drop-off possibility. Just today I learned about yet another case of harassment on the workplace in some big company. The victim complained to her manager about the behavior of their D-level superior but nothing happened, despite all the laws etc. Many women are subject to this regularly. How many of them will remain in the workforce for long despite such experience? How many will get promoted if they complain about such things? #metoo was a good start, but we are far from workplace being fixed. This naturally reduces the share of women on senior and management positions.

(Edit) necessary note: please do not expect me to explain it in full detail and with references. It is a huge topic, there exist books and numerous resources about it. I won’t be able to cover everything I know from learning or personal experience in a comment. Do your own research and try to dig deeper.

Manuel_D 5 days ago [-]
It looks like you agree with the notion that it's not discrimination leading to lower representation of women in tech, but rather that women choose not to enter tech fields? If so, then nothing you're writing here contradicts my previous comment.

If you think that some cultural factors are causing women not to choose to enter technology, that's a separate claim from discrimination happening within the tech field. Go ahead and abolish cheerleading if you think that's going to increase women's representation in software above 20%. But until that happens, we're going to see most companies hiring female developers at a rate of about 20%.

> This is what happens with gender inequality. Girls get dolls and join cheerleading teams. Social pressure requires them to learn about makeup and fashion, to socialize and to participate in housekeeping. Popular culture maintains stereotypes, social media define the acceptable behavior and punish those who don’t fit. Same happens to boys, of course. Not everyone who is subject to such pressure can grow as a person able to make a free choice. If we deprive children of the free choice, what is it if not gender discrimination?

(Emphasis mine). It's preferences. Girls get dolls because they play with dolls way more than trucks, and parents buy toys accordingly. Companies do indeed try to build and market trucks and mechanical toys to girls, and dolls to boys but those efforts aren't very fruitful. Social norms are emergent behavior from innate preferences. It's not society pressuring girls to play with dolls. It's girls exerting their own preferences, and society reacting to those preferences. You can't just assume that it's the preferences that are downstream from society and not the other way around.

Furthermore, we can test your hypothesis that it's society creating preferences. If disparities in behavior were not innate, then children raised in carefully-curated environments to avoid any hints of gender roles should produce boys and girls with the same distribution of interests. But experiments to achieve this fail: https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/swedish-preschools...

Again: the assumption that any differences in behavior between the genders is due to discrimination or social pressure isn't the antidote to gender-essentialism. It's just a different flavor of gender-essentialism.

jimbokun 10 days ago [-]
I believe affinity of boys for interacting with "things" and affinity for girls for interacting with "people" has been demonstrated pretty well in studies.

(This falls into category of "something I read on the Internet")

Manuel_D 10 days ago [-]

It's conjecture as far as what's actually driving this trend, though. Some posit that STEM is "nerdy" in Western countries but not in Asia and the Middle East. Others speculate that gender-egalitarian countries tend to be wealthier, and the disparity in living standards between STEM and non-STEM professions are lower. Basically there's equal interests, but practical necessity is pushing more women into STEM. But both of these are just speculation based on the observed negative correlation between gender-egalitarianism and STEM representation.

10 days ago [-]
itsoktocry 10 days ago [-]
>This will result in some professions with extreme sex imbalance, and we should accept that outcome.

We do accept it, for the most part. I don't see many Men-as-Teachers or Men-in-Nursing advocacy groups.

simplicio 10 days ago [-]
There's a lot of Men-in-Teaching advocacy, in part because its thought having male teachers tends to be beneficial for male students[1].

I think stuff like that is the main reason to be worried about gender imbalances. A 40-60 imbalance probably isn't a big deal, but once you get to like, 90-10 or worse, as is the case with early education, you start to get a bunch of secondary social problems. Kids who associate learning as a woman only thing, or the culture around engineering or software becoming "boys clubs" that become uncomfortable for the women who do want to work in those fields


mike_hearn 10 days ago [-]
Your link isn't men-in-teaching advocacy, it's specifically about:

> adding 1,000 male teachers of color into the teacher pipeline

White men need not apply. If they were actually trying to solve a gender imbalance they wouldn't impose that criteria.

jimbokun 10 days ago [-]
> There's a lot of Men-in-Teaching advocacy

There are pundits saying this should be supported. Are there programs with real dollars behind them making actual changes?

simplicio 10 days ago [-]
The one I linked to? But that was just the first one that came up on google, seems to be a fair number of similar programs in other states.
jimbokun 9 days ago [-]
Sorry, missed the link.

I hope those programs make a difference.

cultofmetatron 10 days ago [-]
>or Men-in-Nursing advocacy groups.

thats been changing. mostly because there are more obese people now so you need male nurses to help them move around.

Der_Einzige 10 days ago [-]
Ozempic solves this problem in 10 years.
KittenInABox 10 days ago [-]
There's literally an American Association of Men In Nursing. Just googling "male teachers" gives me a ton of articles about the importance of hiring more men in teaching. Apparently NYC recently announced a huge investment into hiring more black/latino men in teaching or something?

I'm always suspicious of "you don't see much of x" in spaces where x isn't the demographic being catered to. This isn't Nursing News or Teacher News, not to say that Nurses and Teachers can't also be hackers, technologists, etc. but this is clearly not a space oriented towards all things teaching or nursing, so questioning community advocacy within their communities strikes me as the wrong place.

goalonetwo 10 days ago [-]
That's because their woman advocacy is really a not-so-hidden lobby to have woman making more money under the pretense of equal representation in all jobs.
marcosdumay 10 days ago [-]
The idea that social sciences can pinpoint a single cause on something as full of confounding factors as this... it's extremely arrogant.

But then, the same applies to the people that immediately explain it as discrimination.

ivan_gammel 10 days ago [-]
It is important to understand the reasons for that negative correlation. If you do, your conclusions would be quite the opposite - sex imbalance is not something to accept, but rather to fix. Many authoritarian regimes are expanding their economic base by enabling women to pursue professional careers. In some developed countries there’s no such pressure, so they are simply stuck in the past. They are not doing better because women are enslaved in the kitchen or take only stereotypical jobs. It’s just ideological and/or religious trap.
ndriscoll 10 days ago [-]
My wife spends around an hour a day in the kitchen. I spend close to eight chained to my computer. If one of us is a slave, it's not her. She's not attending daily stand-ups to report how teaching our daughter the alphabet is going; she chooses how to spend each day with no external pressures at all. Her work taking care of the kids is still more exhausting than mine, but it's also obviously more fulfilling and engaging. When we meet all of our financial goals, we'll both be full time parents. As it is now, I make more than enough for her to take care of the kids full time and still make progress toward our goals. Why wouldn't she take that deal?

Consider that when you talk about women doing what makes them happy and what they see as important work (because it is) as being "stuck in the past" or in a form of slavery, it might be you who's devaluing them. We both received a lot of that rhetoric growing up, and it took until well into adulthood to really understand how wrong and harmful it is.

spookie 10 days ago [-]
Hey, I know you know best (talking plural here), but make sure that your wife feels accomplished in her own line of work and/or getting her dream job. Raising kids is great, but as age goes by, she might feel sad about not accomplishing other things.

This is coming from someone with a dysfunctional family, I don't have much context about your life nor do I want to sound as if I'm assuming things. I'm just trying to warn you about that possibility.

autoexec 10 days ago [-]
> make sure that your wife feels accomplished in her own line of work

"make sure that your wife feels accomplished" sounds very strange to me. Ultimately it should be his wife's responsibility to make sure that she feels accomplished right? I get that it's not a bad idea to talk with your spouse about what the two of you want in life and to consider other options from time to time though.

> Raising kids is great, but as age goes by, she might feel sad about not accomplishing other things.

I think this happens to almost all people no matter what they spent the majority of their life doing. Everyone thinks about how things might have worked out if they'd done something different. As long as people are free to make their own choices, and they have the opportunities to pursue what they want in life, then people are entitled to their own regrets down the road. We each only get one chance at life. It's very rare for someone to look back and not feel sad about not accomplishing other things.

ivan_gammel 10 days ago [-]
> Ultimately it should be his wife's responsibility to make sure that she feels accomplished right?

No. In a healthy relationship partners care about each other. This means also enabling them to pursue their dreams. It’s not just talking, it’s also doing something, e.g. taking parental leave or sacrificing your own opportunities so that your wife could use hers. Without this kind of support she won’t have much choice.

autoexec 10 days ago [-]
> it’s also doing something, e.g. taking parental leave or sacrificing your own opportunities so that your wife could use hers. Without this kind of support she won’t have much choice.

Even in a relationship, you have to own your own choices and be responsible for your own happiness. Seems like an ideal situation at least. As one of the few couples who can afford to live a good life on a single income, she'd already have far more opportunities than most. All choices involve sacrifices. If she wanted to work or they wanted to hire someone to come in to help take care of the house/kids it wouldn't necessarily change much for him.

ivan_gammel 10 days ago [-]
> All choices involve sacrifices. > If she wanted to work or they wanted to hire someone to come in to help take care of the house/kids

This comment is perfect illustration of sexism. You don’t even consider the option of father taking parental leave while the mother works. Why is it woman who must do the sacrifices? And of course the idea of hiring someone to come: this is not efficient and not scalable, so not a solution for entire population that would empower women.

autoexec 10 days ago [-]
> You don’t even consider the option of father taking parental leave while the mother works.

Given what little we know of their situation, that would likely be a very stupid thing for them to do. Because most people do not make enough money to support a family on a single income, and he is fortunate enough to be making that much money now, it's unlikely that she would be able to do the same. It's also reasonable to assume that they discussed their options a long time ago, likely before a child was even involved. It's a good idea for couples to talk about that sort of thing before they start a family, and for those couples who could realistically have a parent at home with their child, whoever is making the most money is the natural choice for the one who continues working.

As it happens, I do consider stay at home fathers to be a perfectly valid option. Again, every choice is a sacrifice. The parent who goes to work for 40+ hours a week is making a sacrifice. The parent who stays home with their child is making a sacrifice. There is no difference. If people didn't need to work in order to support themselves and their loved ones, I doubt that many parents (mothers or fathers) would choose to abandon their kids for most of their waking hours during the most formative and remarkable time of their children's lives. At least not to the extent that most of are forced to currently.

It's very odd that you seem to consider only the parent who stays home to be "doing the sacrifices" without due consideration for what parents who are forced to work long hours give up. In most families, both parents have to make that sacrifice. It's a rare gift for there to be an opportunity for one parent to have the ability to be with their family.

You are correct that hiring someone to help keep up the home and care for children is not a solution for the entire population. That's alright though, because we're discussing just one person's family situation and that person's situation is exceptional. When it's an option, bringing in outside help is extremely efficient which is why most families resort to it at least some of the time, even if only by hiring a babysitter for a few hours occasionally, or by enlisting the help of a relative.

If I were looking for a solution that would apply to the entire population, I wouldn't be interested in solutions that specifically "empower women" either. I'd be looking for ones that empowered all parents, both men and women, because both should be equally afforded the opportunity to pursue their own interests and find work they feel is important, meaningful, and fulfilling. I'm really not sure what that solution would look like though. UBI perhaps? Maybe a requirement that every last job pay enough that a person could support themselves and a modest family on a single income? It'd take a massive departure from our current culture in any case.

ivan_gammel 8 days ago [-]
> I'm really not sure what that solution would look like though

I‘m living in the country where it more or less exists, though things are getting worse now. America is a very special country that is called developed despite many gaps in welfare system, but there are more successful examples. Let me enumerate the necessary policies:

1. Universal healthcare, tax-funded or statutory insurance - doesn’t matter. 2. Parental leave allowance of minimum 2-3 years for each parent, tax benefits for businesses to hire temporary substitution. 3. Parental leave benefits covering at least 12-18 months that are higher if both parents take the leave, defined as a percentage of salary. Ideally must cover the period until the child goes to kindergarten. 4. Free kindergarten at walkable distance (ok, for America could be reasonable travel distance), free full day schools, free university education (German style) that does not require students to work a lot and allows for parental leave. 5. Labor code that enforces 35-40 hour work, sufficiently high minimum wage and disincentivizes overtime/second work for parents. 6. Most importantly, cost of living must be primary KPI for the government. Property prices and rent contribute a lot to it, so the investment bubble must be accurately deflated (that’s a separate story how, and America is again very special here, so it’s more like a long term idea).

Overall, the policies must be designed with the lifetime journey of a typical family/couple/single professional in mind (CJM is a good tool). Observe. Analyze. Identify and eliminate barriers. Don’t break what works, don’t impose certain ways of living etc.

spookie 9 days ago [-]
I get all of your points. But it is difficult, specially early on, to recognise that some sacrifices do limit your life quite a bit. From not being in a social environment outside of your house more often, to having other efforts bear other fruits and feel like you're capable of more things.

I didn't want to sound as if the wife doesn't have a say already, it's just that it's very difficult for her to question the current way of doing things given the sacrifices that the other one is making. The same is true for the male! Don't get me wrong! And this is why it becomes surprisingly difficult for both to start discussing if they're happy with this "contract".

OP seemed to be happy and his wife too from another reply, so I guess it's all good. It's just that I know that this contract can have very bad effects long term.

ndriscoll 10 days ago [-]
She does accomplish other things/have hobbies. Her squat is in the "exceptional" tier on Symmetric Strength. She's good at cooking a variety of meals. We've gotten compliments from neighbors that live a couple streets away about our yard. She generally takes credit for transforming me from a video game nerd into a weightlifting Chad, and I don't disagree. She majored in math and did a couple programming courses in college, but by the end she had had enough of those things.

By contrast, I know for a fact that about 2 years of my work were for nothing (building products that ultimately failed), and another 3 or so had a large amount of unnecessary work from way overly complex designs that I didn't have the political capital to prevent, which added a lot of stress to my life as I still cared enough to try. There's been times where I've presented management with an analysis showing that some project they want me to lead is going to have negative ROI, but the reality I've encountered is a lot of "engineering" in software runs on vibes and doing what's currently cool/sounds impressive, so the conclusion may already be foregone. Knowing you did your due diligence to present that analysis and then did a good job executing on the delivery is fine I guess, and you'll get your raises and promotions for doing it, but it's still somewhat hollow.

If someone is really internally motivated by ambitions of career ladder climbing, then they should go for it. If economics make it a necessary practical choice, then do it (though if they are on a path to a STEM career, chances are they are in a social circle that enables them to find a high-quality spouse on the same path so that only one of them has to do it). But in general I'd advise young people who don't yet know what they want that they should have their prior be that their family and personal accomplishments (or lack thereof) will be more important to them than their career accomplishments.

spookie 9 days ago [-]
That's good to hear! As long as you're happy and you discussed these things with eachother it's all good.
daseiner1 10 days ago [-]
This dovetails with my central critique, which is that the current state of feminism, in my opinion, tends to insidiously subscribe to the tenets of the “late stage capitalism” that many self-proclaimed x-wave feminists (again, in my experience) claim to denounce, as it is oriented around viewing people first and foremost as economic agents. Yes, individual income affords freedoms to both men and women, which is not to be discounted. But then you hear criticisms of women such as your wife, essentially demeaning them for not striving to be the fittest individual economic agents possible. As if being an AE for Yelp is the pinnacle of the human experience.

Again, by no means a black & white issue. I have simply have a distaste for such an individualist philosophy and fear it inevitably leads to an “us v. them” mentality.

autoexec 10 days ago [-]
> But then you hear criticisms of women such as your wife, essentially demeaning them for not striving to be the fittest individual economic agents possible.

to some extent I think that pressure is put on everyone. There's a lot of pressure to always be making/spending more money. There's also a lot of jealousy. Almost every person I know with children, man or woman, would rather be with their kids, and be there for their kids as they grow up. Very few couples are fortunate enough to be able to afford a good life on just one income.

That leads to people being resentful that they are missing out on what they want for themselves and their children. They're stuck missing all the once in a lifetime experiences they could be having because they are chained to a desk for 8-10 hours a day 5 or more days a week. That can cause people to resent the few men and women who do get to stay home and be with their family. They'll make others feel bad for not spending their time working for someone else because misery loves company. It's crab bucket mentality.

ivan_gammel 10 days ago [-]
> My wife spends around an hour a day in the kitchen.

I don’t want to jump to conclusions about your life, but cooking meals for the whole family usually takes more than an hour a day if you are not just putting frozen pizza in the oven. I often spend twice as much. Maybe she’s very efficient. Maybe you don’t really know her.

> As it is now, I make more than enough for her to take care of the kids full time and still make progress toward our goals. Why wouldn't she take that deal?

I have already spent one year on parental leave and I can say with confidence that if you have passion for work and enjoy what you do, it is not a “deal”. It is sacrifice for your children and for your partner. All families are different. Maybe your wife enjoys working as housekeeper and fulltime mother and doesn’t really care if several years are taken from her career path elsewhere. Not everyone wants life like that. You say it yourself that the circumstances of your life pushed you into this split of responsibilities. Would you do it differently if your wife wanted to get back to work even if that meant less money? Would you let her pursue her passion?

ndriscoll 10 days ago [-]
Frozen pizza takes like 2 minutes. You literally just put it in the oven, go do something else, then take it out and slice it. Normally lunch takes about 15-20 minutes. Dinner takes ~45. We usually have overnight oats for breakfast which takes ~5 minutes every 3 days to prepare. Our older one is usually happy to get some combination of cut up fruit, toast, sausage, and cottage cheese for breakfast, which takes like 2-5 minutes to throw together. The time sink is hounding her to actually eat!

My wife never worked a career and never wanted to, so there'd be no "going back", but yeah we were happy on a small fraction of my current salary when we were younger, or half my current salary just a couple years ago. I'm not particularly interested in status or materialism; if I didn't have my family, I'd already be done with my career. There's an endless list of other things to do. Even programming is quite a bit more enjoyable when you're doing it for yourself. I've actually told my last few managers that I'm not specifically trying to get to the top of the career ladder with the extra stress and responsibility, but they inevitably push you toward it anyway. Modern corporations don't seem to know how to deal with someone who isn't motivated by status (or I guess they just need someone who can do the stuff, and I'll do it if they need me to). One of my managers actually told me he thought I was having self-confidence issues when it was exactly the opposite! I think a couple years later he's moved closer to my perspective for himself.

I've also taken all of my paternity leave including the unpaid portions. No regrets there. I feel super fortunate for having had the opportunity and would obviously recommend everyone in tech to do the same.

ivan_gammel 10 days ago [-]
So you are lucky one to have happy family. Do you think your example is a good argument in gender equality discussion? Why my comment above triggered your response?
ndriscoll 9 days ago [-]
I think saying women like her are enslaved is itself misogyny. She has agency. She's the one who pushed for our setup (I probably would've done grad school for math or physics and tried to go the academic route if we hadn't met). My reply is to illustrate that you're thinking about people like us wrong: she didn't make a sacrifice to be a homemaker; she's not pining to go work in an office. I make the sacrifice by working so she doesn't have to. In fact during our 20s she had no responsibilities at all and could pursue any passions she wanted to knowing I had the money handled.

I don't know how relevant our situation is in the wider scope. I'm only speaking to the way people think it's fine to second guess her in a way they wouldn't if she had a job they'd like her to have. Jira isn't going to bring fulfillment to her life. Most businesses aren't curing cancer; they just have some kind of boring work that they need someone to apply a generic solution to. It's not very intellectually stimulating either; you're not doing particle physics.

To the extent that it is relevant, I'd speculate that most guys pretty much don't care at all about a potential spouse's career prospects while most girls do. So if a girl is in a social circle with lots of guys with high paying career potential (e.g. engineering class), she can probably marry one of them and pursue whatever she wants. Guys will generally not do as well in the dating market if they have their mind set on being a househusband. They might find someone, but it will probably be quite a bit more difficult. I have no idea how much of an effect that would have and obviously there will be multiple reasons for the discrepancy. I know I wouldn't be doing software as a job if I had that option though, and I like programming! Like another commenter said, if "campground manager" paid as well, they'd probably do that instead.

ivan_gammel 8 days ago [-]
> I think saying women like her are enslaved is itself misogyny

Fully agree. I would not change anything in my comment above nevertheless. It is not about the women who have and make the choice. We are not in the world yet, where this would be the default assumption.

ndriscoll 8 days ago [-]
At least in the US, according to [0], around 67% of women with children under 18 who are not employed prefer that. Among women with children, a higher proportion of women who do work would prefer not to than the proportion of women who do not work and would prefer to. It appears that most women with children have the working status that they prefer, but if you had to guess that someone was unhappy about their situation, it would be a working mom. Additionally, most moms do not have a preference to work outside the home.

Keep in mind this is after decades of messaging of the type I'm pointing out and people are exemplifying in this very thread after I pointed it out where women who stay at home are questioned about whether they're "accomplished" and generally looked down upon by the middle/upper middle class.

[0] https://news.gallup.com/poll/267737/record-high-women-prefer...

ivan_gammel 8 days ago [-]
> Among women with children, a higher proportion of women who do work would prefer not to than the proportion of women who do not work and would prefer to

1. Just a reminder: women who stay at home with children do work and it is wrong to say otherwise.

2. As I pointed out already numerous times here in other comments, those polls are just numbers. You cannot simply draw a conclusion that if there exists some gender-based preference, it’s ok. Without answers and analysis why it’s just another bad research. And there’s A LOT of reasons, why those numbers may not reflect happiness and accomplishment, but rather a safe choice and avoidance. Please, do the proper research. I don’t think you are adequately informed on this matter.

ndriscoll 7 days ago [-]
That sentence had a complicated enough structure as it is and the meaning is clear. My direct experience with such a woman is that in most contexts she says she "doesn't work", and it's understood that that means labor force participation. You'll find up thread that I said "her work... is still more exhausting than mine".

The statistics agree with our lived experience. There's also lots of reasons why those numbers would reflect happiness and accomplishment, which I've tried to provide some color to. They're not slaves, and in fact the stats show they have almost 50% more free time and get more sleep[0]. So they actually have more time and energy to pursue their interests, and they have pretty much complete autonomy in their work in the home. Because of that increased autonomy, their accomplishments are also more directly attributable to them.

Staying at home is not the safe choice. If you're middle class, you'll face all sorts of microagressions for it (e.g. people acting like raising bright, well-adjusted kids is not a substantial accomplishment while writing CRUD software is). You also don't have a career to fall back on if the marriage fails or your spouse dies, so it's actually high risk and requires trust and planning. But it can also carry substantial rewards, and the type of person who would be high achieving in a STEM career is also the type of person who is likely to be a high achieving parent, so they are likely to see those rewards.

Without more info, why would you assume women's stated preferences are wrong? Especially if you restrict to women who are capable of a STEM career? Based on my direct experience with a woman who got her MRS in math, I'd expect that actually they are quite intelligent and self-aware, and are quite good at achieving their goals.

[0] https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2014/04/08/chapter...

ivan_gammel 7 days ago [-]
> The statistics agree with our lived experience

The statistics without explanation mean nothing. They are just numbers. You need to show causal link before making any conclusions from that data. Interestingly, the same research you quote includes some information about it with indication that stay-at-home life is dictated by circumstances:

> The recent rise in stay-at-home motherhood is the flip side of a dip in female labor force participation after decades of growth. The causes are debated, but survey data do not indicate the dip will become a plunge, as most mothers say they would like to work, part time or full time.

Apparently, this is the stated preference. Your personal situation is also mentioned there (highly educated and affluent "opt-out" mothers are said to be "relatively few").

>Especially if you restrict to women who are capable of a STEM career? Based on my direct experience with a woman who got her MRS in math, I'd expect that actually they are quite intelligent and self-aware

Sounds pretty much sexist. 99% of population are capable of STEM career, it is only a matter of motivation, education and avoiding prejudice. Intelligent and self-aware women can spot toxic environment faster and make career choices where they can avoid them. Being "opt-out" mother is often such a choice. I have seen examples of it many times.

ndriscoll 7 days ago [-]
You're suggesting there is not a casual link between having a work situation and reporting that they prefer that work situation? Obviously some situations are dictated by circumstances; the Gallup poll indicated ~1/3 of women don't have their preference in both directions. But most women report preferring their situation in both directions. Why is their stated preference under question? And especially why is it only under question on one direction?

The link you quoted didn't seem to actually mention that part-time bit, but it does say:

> Marital status is also strongly linked to views about the ideal work situation, and the gap in views between married and unmarried mothers has widened significantly in recent years. Among unmarried mothers, about half (49%) say working full time would be their ideal. This is up dramatically from 26% who said the same in 2007. Only 23% of married mothers today say their ideal situation would be to work full time, basically unchanged from 2007.

Which seems even more suggestive to me: the wider stats are muddled by single moms where it wouldn't make sense to stay home. When you focus on married moms, only 23% want full time work. Basically, they don't actually want to climb the career ladder.

Saying 99% of people are capable of a STEM career is totally out of touch with reality. 15% would be optimistic (and would probably require an inclusive definition of "science"). For a large portion of the population, technical subjects are actually quite difficult.

Someone who would counterfactually be in a highly compensated career is generally going to be in the highly educated affluent bucket almost tautologically. They are also going to have a similarly situated social circle where they can meet a spouse. They're exactly the demographic that's capable of being in the "opt-out" group, which was my point up thread: girls in STEM have the option of marrying a guy in STEM and living an affluent life as a homemaker.

ivan_gammel 7 days ago [-]
>The link you quoted didn't seem to actually mention that part-time bit

It does. I copied the text. Full report consists of multiple pages, not just the one you quoted.

cm2012 9 days ago [-]
Lol at assuming you know this guy's life better than he does from a couple comments.
cm2012 10 days ago [-]
The countries with the most female empowerment and equality in the nordics have some of the smallest percentage of women in STEM in the world.
ivan_gammel 10 days ago [-]
And? Have you looked at any research why this is happening? Out of context this can tell anything.
ghaff 10 days ago [-]
Of course, there are a variety of roles that are heavily female-weighted: nurses, K-12 teachers, executive assistants, etc. So there are at least some forces driving gender preferences for roles that probably can't/shouldn't just be wiped out in the West.
gspencley 10 days ago [-]
> It is important to understand the reasons for that negative correlation.

Agreed 100%

> If you do, your conclusions would be quite the opposite

This is where you lose me. Your statement here suggests the following:

1. That you know, for a conclusive fact, what those reasons are

2. That the reasons suggest something ominous

Furthermore, you haven't explained what you consider to be the reasons, let alone offered explanation or citations that would support why you think those are the particular reasons. You implied that the reasons are sexism and discrimination, but you left that quite open for interpretation.

Moving on, you then suggest that minority groups that do not pursue careers in STEM are "stuck in the past."

I have two daughters who are in their early, going on mid twenties. My youngest daughter is one of the smartest and brightest people that I have ever met. Obviously I'm biased, but this is a kid that found ways to get herself into all sorts of trouble as a toddler by solving problems that I would have thought no toddler was capable of.

In her late teens she had no idea what she wanted to do, but she expressed some interest in learning to code. Being a software engineer myself, I gave her all of the support and resources that I could. I offered to teach her myself. I bought her Udemy courses and books. I invited her to sit with me at work to see what what life as a coder is like. I made it as accessible for her as possible.

What has she decided to do with her life? She works in a professional kitchen and is on the career path to becoming a chef and possibly a restauranteur.

People with your attitude would snub your nose at her life choices, look down at what she's passionate about and claim that she is a 'slave' living in the 'past' because she's currently working in a low-paid service industry. You would then blame sexism or classism despite the fact that she was raised in a progressive, well to do family that gave her every opportunity to succeed at whatever she chose to do.

Of course, one anectode does not refute statistics. But you have not offered statistics. You came out with assumptions, accusations and a snobbish attitude towards people who would make personal life choices that you don't understand or approve of. The beautiful thing about freedom, however, is that no one needs your approval or understanding.

em-bee 10 days ago [-]
She works in a professional kitchen and is on the career path to becoming a chef and possibly a restauranteur.

which to my knowledge is a male dominated profession. so good on her!

rysertio 10 days ago [-]
Both boys and girls from Asian countries tend to be more interested in STEM.
LargeWu 10 days ago [-]
Because it's a commodity job where they can provide value to western corporations without having to be physically located there, and there's huge demand for them because of their low cost.
Jensson 10 days ago [-]
Japan isn't low cost.
10 days ago [-]
ivan_gammel 10 days ago [-]
How about calming down and keeping your emotions in check? Your whole comment is triggered by a wrong idea of what I meant and who I am. It is also ignorant of all the data that exists about gender inequality and the root causes. It is not something that you can learn from a single link to statistics. You need to do your own research, read some books and meet gender equality advocates to understand better the world in which your daughter lives.

Individual free choices are valid and as a father you did a good job showing the opportunities you know about and then not pushing towards certain career. A woman absolutely can and should be able to choose to be an engineer, a nurse or a fulltime mother and housekeeper, as long as this is free choice. All those jobs are important and respected.

However I’m not talking about them or diminishing them. I’m talking about the society as a whole and sexism so deeply rooted in the culture that even with proper education it is still not easy to uncover and combat all biases. Gender discrimination starts very early when metaphorically speaking boys get cars and girls get dolls. Children are programmed by the society to have certain interests and play certain gender roles. The share of girls who will choose a profession traditionally dominated by men is already lower because of that. Then it extends to university and first career steps. Women too often have to deal with sexism and harassment in academia or on workplace. Too often they are told (still!) that men can do better. Choosing a more traditional role they avoid it, but is it really a freedom of choice? And we even have not started talking about childcare where exists institutional disparity forcing to make a choice between the family and career. For example, how long was your parental leave compared to your wife? Freedom for all but white men in countries like America is only theoretical. On practice the circumstances of life do not leave many women a choice. The outcomes are speaking for themselves. There are many women who are perfectly fit for the most sophisticated jobs, yet there are only few who make it there. In Germany we at least had Merkel. America, the so-called leader of the free world, never had a woman as a president. Fortune 500 CEOs? Startup founders? Billionaires? Nobel prize winners? You can easily find those numbers. There’s no genetic predisposition for women to not being able to get there. There’s only ignorance of people like you who think that they have done enough and it’s the matter of choice.

em-bee 10 days ago [-]
i don't know the real reasons, but i have the impression that in those countries STEM careers give women more freedom, and that would be why they pursue them. the added freedom makes it worth the potential downsides.

in the west they already have more freedom, and so the downside of having to endure sexism does not make it worth the effort.

not sure if that is true, but it makes sense to me

ryandrake 10 days ago [-]
> in the west they already have more freedom, and so the downside of having to endure sexism does not make it worth the effort.

This is a great point. I think a lot of HN simply takes as given that tech is a great, pleasant industry to work in, for everyone. Let's say that it isn't. If it isn't, then that might explain why people who have a good degree of financial/employment freedom would not choose to work in tech, leaving people with not a lot of financial/employment freedom (but good tech skills) as the ones who grin and bear a tech job.

vundercind 10 days ago [-]
I dunno about everyone else, but if “campground manager” had comp as good as tech, that’s sure as shit what I’d be doing instead.

Goes for a lot of other options, actually. Clerking a small store is often way more pleasant (depends on the store) than even relatively-good tech jobs, at least to me. But the pay’s not there.

ivan_gammel 10 days ago [-]
It depends. In some countries (eg Iran) this is probably true from what I remember, in others there are other reasons.
samatman 10 days ago [-]
To tackle your question somewhat obliquely: 67% of veterinarians in the US are women, according to this link. https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/reports-statistics/mark...

The imbalance is even more acute than that, because the profession has been trending towards a women-dominated workforce for several decades. There aren't as many veterinarians as there are software developers, but it's a well-paying job.

Does this situation strike you as one which needs correcting? I'm fine with it, personally.

39896880 7 days ago [-]
I suspect you are fine with it for the same reason I am:you understand that women historically were kept out of the workforce.
jmull 10 days ago [-]
Your points draw the tension between two "competing" points. But none of these are black and white. There's a wide middle ground between each one... people can belong to multiple groups. A-holes will take any opportunity to be a-holes, but anti-discrimination doesn't have to be exclusionary and punitive. Affirmative action can work more at the opportunity level, not the handout level.
commandlinefan 10 days ago [-]
> Affirmative action makes minorities feel like they don't deserve to be there

Does it? I see a lot of affirmative action victims saying that it _ought_ to make them feel that way, but I never hear that from affirmative action recipients.

em-bee 10 days ago [-]

in this video here sabine hossenfelder explains the problem. the statement could be applied to any other marginalized group

"I am against programs or positions that are exclusively for women.I think that treating women differently just reinforces the prejudice that women are less capable than men"

autoexec 10 days ago [-]
I have multiple friends who've told me that they very much wondered if they got a job just because they were a "diversity hire" and even more who were afraid that others would view them that way and resent them for it. I don't think that fear was irrational. None of them were ever confirmed "affirmative action recipients", but the fact that affirmative action and diversity quotas exist at all is enough to make them doubt themselves and be doubted by others.
influx 10 days ago [-]
You’ve never heard anyone in those groups have imposter syndrome? It’s very common.
digging 10 days ago [-]
Isn't imposter syndrome just... pretty common in any STEM field? Maybe especially in anyone who isn't a neurotypical cishet white man.
Jensson 10 days ago [-]
You don't think affirmative action has anything to do with that? Affirmative action means you and everyone else there knows you had to pass a lower bar, of course that makes impostor syndrome worse.
digging 10 days ago [-]
Calling it a lower bar is a completely disingenuous interpretation, when the reason for such policies in the first place is that the bar for entry is much higher for minority groups to be hired.
em-bee 10 days ago [-]
true but the problem here is how the programs are perceived.

even if i had to pass a higher bar to get into university, when i realize that the bar is lowered to get a job, then how i got into university doesn't really matter anymore to me or to my new colleagues. so all the problems that come with the bar being lowered still do apply

Ferret7446 10 days ago [-]
It's not though? Discriminating based on minority status is illegal, and affirmative action is an explicit exception to allow discrimination (at least in education; in the private sector it should in theory still be illegal but it's not/rarely enforced).
Slyfox33 10 days ago [-]
"Discriminating based on minority status is illegal" Are you actually suggesting that there isn't discrimination in hiring? If its not a company policy then you wont be able to prove that you were discriminated against. I don't know how you can sit here and say it doesn't happen.
digging 9 days ago [-]
> It's not though? Discriminating based on minority status is illegal

Hm, then I guess nobody does it.

commandlinefan 9 days ago [-]
Well, no... they do the opposite and they aren't exactly subtle or circumspect about it.
commandlinefan 9 days ago [-]
> the bar for entry is much higher for minority groups

... no, it isn't - the entrance requirements are the exact same for everybody.

digging 9 days ago [-]
> the entrance requirements are the exact same for everybody.

What a beautiful fantasy, where humans don't make biased decisions.

lins1909 10 days ago [-]
> Affirmative action means you and everyone else there knows you had to pass a lower bar, of course that makes impostor syndrome worse.

No, it doesn't. But if that makes you feel better, I hope you continue telling yourself that.

commandlinefan 10 days ago [-]
Wait, what? That's literally the definition.
Larrikin 10 days ago [-]
That's the made up definition of affirmative action, not the actual one.
jrflowers 10 days ago [-]
> Anti-discrimination/sexism/etc. movements often add social barriers to interactions (e.g. things I do within my identity group would be misperceived if done across)

Can you give a specific example of a thing you do in your identity group that could be misperceived if done across your identity group

grobbyy 3 days ago [-]
Gender and physical contact.

I am at close to zero rush within group (creepiness, leading on, sexual harassment, etc.). Same type of casual physical contact across gender groups, and it's a trip to HR or a cancellation.

A lot of language takes on different making across cultures, and there are literally textbooks about how white casual language is perceived as disrespectful in many African American cultures. The reverse is casual African American behavior incorrectly perceived as aggressive in white culture.

I like looking at this in international studies since there is not the baseline baggage of racism or sexism, and Meyer is a good study.

nradov 10 days ago [-]
Before selecting an approach we would first have to agree on the goal. What would success look like in a few decades?
10 days ago [-]
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ramesh31 10 days ago [-]
>Minority affinity groups pull people from majority groups and decrease integration.

Integration === subjugation for minorities

>Anti-discrimination/sexism/etc. movements often add social barriers to interactions (e.g. things I do within my identity group would be misperceived if done across)

Indeed that's the point. You should be more mindful of things you do and say in this context.

>Affirmative action makes minorities feel like they don't deserve to be there (and often leads to resentment and other consequences)

And it pays their rent and provides social mobility for themselves and their families. We can get over the imposter syndrome; everyone has it for one reason or another. We can't get over being unemployed due to systemic biases.

Ultimately yes, for the prevailing group, DEI efforts will always feel like a personal attack. Levelling the playing field has that effect.

kjhfd9gh9ut 10 days ago [-]
matrix87 10 days ago [-]
Just fyi, Supreme Court has an upcoming case on affirmative action


j45 10 days ago [-]
I wish sustainability planning that was more a part of community initiative.

While it's absolutely the right of the organizers putting in their time to decide their participation - where regret is expressed about something ending - it would be interesting to know any coulda/shoulda/wouldas for others to learn from.

Baking it into the bread, early, of "why we do it this way" and learning it together, helps create a culture of ensuring things can be entrusted a little easier to the next group "who gets it" and then can grow it.

The job of equality isn't done yet. Where equally capable and competent people both in potential and actualized to the table that normally aren't there is critical.

It would be nice if something could take it's place, or continue it's work, and not start from scratch, or maybe someone can step forward to continue some of the work under the brand.

Quite often new things end up re-learning the lessons of the past to get to a point of effectiveness again.

Clay Shirky has a great essay about a group being it's own worst enemy, and I wonder if some of those themes in that essay were present at one point or in hindsight.

givemeethekeys 10 days ago [-]
Manuel_D 10 days ago [-]
> Cullen White, AnitaB.org’s chief impact officer, said in a video posted to X, formerly Twitter, that some registrants had lied about their gender identity when signing up, and men were now taking up space and time with recruiters that should go to women. “All of those are limited resources to which you have no right,” White said. AnitaB.org did not respond to a request for comment.

Someone ought to fill Cullen in on employment laws in the US. Men have equal right to those resources as women. Anything less is illegal discrimination.

lupire 10 days ago [-]
Enforcing gender discrimination is too hard these days.
bufferoverflow 10 days ago [-]
Because it's illegal.
Ferret7446 10 days ago [-]
But it's so widely tolerated in society, it may as well be de facto legal.
glitchc 10 days ago [-]
Running out of money is a common cause of business failure, non-profit or otherwise. Seems like their donations dried up with the economic slowdown.

I'm sure they'll be back up and running once things pick up. Orgs such as these are easy to restart.

netdevnet 10 days ago [-]
Easy is relative. And just because it might be feasible to do it in 5-8 years, it does not mean that the founders will be in a position to start it
knowaveragejoe 10 days ago [-]
What/which economic slowdown?
glitchc 10 days ago [-]
COVID of course. And then once the economy recovered circa 2022 given all of the stimulus pumped into it, markets became soft again due to escalating interest rates in an effort to curb inflation. Just have to look at the long term trend for DoW Jones, NASDAQ and S&P. You can see the patterns reflected in the curves. If I could attach annotated screenshots to the message, it would become very clear. In lieu of, if you look at the 5 YR S&P value [1], you'll see the drop in Mar 2020, followed by a recovery until Jan 2022, and then a cooling effect as interest rates start ratcheting up. 2024 is looking better, but that ~2 year soft period from Jan 2022 to Nov 2023 is enough to tank any business operating at margin.

[1] https://www.google.com/finance/quote/.INX:INDEXSP?sa=X&ved=2...

10 days ago [-]
newsclues 10 days ago [-]
Good, less gender division!

Hopefully in the future programs to encourage the future generation of tech workers won’t be prejudicial and will help anyone with interest and talent regardless of their gender.

thrownaway561 10 days ago [-]
Although you'll probably be flagged for such a statement on HN, you're absolutely right. If there was an organization such as "Men in Tech", it would be criticized and shutdown in a week. the fact that even such organizations like "Girls in Tech exist" is biased.
dang 10 days ago [-]
[stub for offtopicness]
lkdfjlkdfjlg 10 days ago [-]
Very interesting.

At my company (tech) I've noticed that for the past 2-3 years grads are almost 50% women.

Now, I have absolutely nothing against this outcome. But I do wonder - instead of optimizing for a specific distribution of employee features shouldn't we be optimizing for hiring the best?

And you could say "they are the best, 50% of the best are women".

That's a possible explanation! However.... 5+ years ago when grad were roughly 100% men, weren't we hiring the best then? Surely back then they also thought they were hiring the best. Surely 5 years ago if you'd told the hiring manager "hey from those 20 people you hired, 10 aren't the best, 10 the best are these other people and they happen to be women", the hiring manager would've said "no way, we don't look at gender when hiring, we just hire the best".

My point is that we didn't understand why back then we were ending up with 100% men despite the fact that 50% of the population are women. We just mandated that 50% should be women. This is like you believe you have a bug and so you tweak something at random. Now it's different and you think it's fixed.

Anyway, they don't pay me enough, so I don't care :-)

busterarm 10 days ago [-]
At least in the US, men dropped out of college during COVID in record numbers. Many have not returned.
keb_ 10 days ago [-]
newsbinator 11 days ago [-]
dang 10 days ago [-]
"Eschew flamebait. Avoid generic tangents. Omit internet tropes."

(This comment is all 3, and in fact is the ultimate cliché of this topic, and has been for many years. We're trying to avoid repetition here, and especially ultrarepetition and indignirepetition.)


newsbinator 9 days ago [-]
I accept the removal of my comment. Perhaps it is highly repetitive, and worthy of removal even on those grounds alone.
another-dave 10 days ago [-]
> There's a gender gap in waste disposal and kindergarten teaching, but there's no "Girls in waste disposal" or "Boys in Kindergarten teaching".

* Building a Gender-Balanced Workforce: Supporting Male Teachers — https://www.naeyc.org/resources/pubs/yc/sept2019/building-ge...

* NYC Men Teach — https://nycmenteach.org/

* Men in the Early Years — https://miteyuk.org/

* Women of Waste — https://www.iswa.org/women-of-waste-new/?v=79cba1185463

* Biffa (UK waste management company) outreach to women — https://www.biffa.co.uk/biffa-insights/iwd-biffa-women-waste...

strikelaserclaw 11 days ago [-]
every group tries to fight for equality and once thats achieved or close to achieved, they try to fight for an advantage, it is unfortunately rooted in the selfishness of human beings. Women seem to be attending college in greater numbers than men, soon we'll need programs to help men get a boost.
worthless-trash 10 days ago [-]
n4r9 10 days ago [-]
"another-dave" posted some in an adjacent comment:


Or did you mean something different?

worthless-trash 10 days ago [-]
I must have .. posted oddly.. i thought it was inline.. thanks. I did mean something else, i'm not sure how that ended up in the state it is in.. now the whole thread is gone.
subjectsigma 10 days ago [-]
A better example is nursing. Growing industry, decent pay depending on where you work, very beneficial to society. Also highly gendered, in some cases there’s even a stigma against men in the field, and people largely don’t care about correcting the gender imbalance.
grugagag 10 days ago [-]
Closing the age gap feels like an artificial goal. It’s like forcing 50-50 on a group. Id much rather see incentives that change behavior and whoever the heck is inclined to be in the group feels welcome and isn’t spooked.
b3ing 11 days ago [-]
They don't want the dirty or manual jobs, only the high paying ones.

I've seen studies on this before and women tend to go for more social jobs, maybe its upbringing, but I think part of it just there nature.

strikelaserclaw 11 days ago [-]
i don't think women should be discriminated against in whatever profession they want to go to if they have the ability but i also believe men and women are different in terms of interests and women and men will never reach 50-50 parity in engineering type professions.
InDubioProRubio 10 days ago [-]
I actually think - there should be. There are tons of woman who study to become a vet, for small pets. Nobody wants to be a vet for large animals. So, the good grade woman outcompete the boys who want to become vets, thus no vets for cows and other farm animals. The market should not have to put up with your preferences and if it has to it should lower your wage, due to oversupply.
didgeoridoo 10 days ago [-]
Most large animal vets make substantially less money — I’d guess because ultimately most farm animals are disposable, while some people will pay tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars to keep their pet alive.

I bet the large animal vets who work on champion race horses are well-paid, though.

Der_Einzige 10 days ago [-]
Many farm animals are not disposable. The right bull or horses seman is worth more than your house.
InDubioProRubio 10 days ago [-]
They do. And still its a job that needs to be done and the markets demand for people willing to do the work, should not be hampered by the basically hobbyist luxury choice of the individual making the education necessary for that demand a rare ressource.
ellisv 10 days ago [-]
Just because a gender gap exists in Y, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also try to minimize it in X.
knorker 10 days ago [-]
You skipped a step, though. Why is the assumption 50/50? Yes, there's the null hypothesis, but the null hypothesis shouldn't survive too much contradicting evidence.
shrimp_emoji 10 days ago [-]
We shouldn't try to do anything. Social engineering doesn't work, and you're being racist/sexist/etc. while you're at it, making everyone rightfully resent you.
weard_beard 11 days ago [-]
Well, computing is a profession where historically women were not only good at it, they were nearly exclusively occupying the industry.

When pay went up it inverted and that is really the problem. Men colonized computing and pushed women out only when it became a source of good income and respected as a profession.

jordanb 10 days ago [-]
I've heard this before but I read a book called "Computing in the Middle Ages" which was a memoir of a man who worked on the SAGE, LINC and Xerox Parc projects.

According to him, programming especially in the batch era was a highly social and manpower intensive activity with a large community of support staff and operators around the computer. People who wrote the actual instructions did so on coding sheets, which they would hand over to punchcard operators who would punch them out, and then they would be given to computer operators who would feed them to the computer.

The majority of the operations staff in these computing centers were female, but the majority of the people writing the instructions on the coding sheets were male.

The rapid decline of women in computing pretty much corresponds to when a lot of these support roles were going away with the rise of interactive computing.

That being said I've personally met a lot of really excellent female programmers. I do think there is a tendency to steer women out of the industry or into product or planning roles. Based on that book though I think the narrative of "computing used to be mostly female before they were pushed out by spergy males" misunderstands the structure of the early computer industry and how it changed with evolving technology.

bena 10 days ago [-]
Also, I believe they’ve flipped cause and effect. They claim that pay went up then men moved in, but they’ve actually found the opposite.

When men begin to dominate an industry, pay overall rises. When women begin to equal the number of men in a field, pay overall falls.

So there’s not a single issue, but really a whole host of interconnected issues that are hard to untangle.

imiric 10 days ago [-]
> When pay went up it inverted and that is really the problem. Men colonized computing and pushed women out only when it became a source of good income and respected as a profession.

You're using some loaded terms there. How exactly did men "push" women out of computing?

Women were just as free as men to create their own tech startups. Yet in the past 50 years most tech startups and today's tech giants were created by men. Some women are tech entrepreneurs today, but the field is highly male dominated. We see the same ratio in engineering education, and in most companies not actively discriminating against male candidates.

The idea that there is some systemic discrimination against women in tech is ridiculous. There are specific cases of wage gap some companies need to address (which is a general problem not exclusive to tech), but most companies would hire capable women if they applied. Yet they rarely do.

10 days ago [-]
ben_w 10 days ago [-]
You're conflating entrepreneur with engineer. Different skills entirely, which is why Jobs was never famous for his code and Wozniak isn't famous for his reality distortion field.
imiric 10 days ago [-]
Is there a distinction between them as far as "women in tech" goes? The ratio of both compared to men is pretty much the same.
ben_w 10 days ago [-]
> Is there a distinction between them as far as "women in tech" goes?

One involves being good at software engineering, the other involves being good at running a business.

Getting good at either involves very different experiences, schools, colleges, and mentors.

The stereotype* for software engineers when I went through my degree was introverted nerds with undeveloped social skills. The stereotype* for business people is cocaine orgies.

* to complain that the stereotype is inaccurate is to miss the impact of the stereotype on what choices people make when deciding which subject to do a degree in and hence where they go after graduation

> The ratio of both compared to men is pretty much the same.

The percentage of software developers who are women varies from 8-22% depending on my source.

Even if they were identical, correlation doesn't mean causation — this range of "% of x who are women" also overlapps with the percentage of furries who are women, and it should hopefully be obvious you can't answer that by asking anything about how many women are entrepreneurs.

SideQuark 10 days ago [-]
> they were nearly exclusively occupying the industry

That was true when computing was running tabulating machines. That led to the early ENIAC programmers (all 6 of them) being women since they had traditionally run the tabulating machines. However men had been programming before this (e.g., Zuse, others developing hardware and testing it).

Once "computing" became what modern people think of as programming, men dominated, not because of sudden sex discrimination or exclusion in computing, but because the input pipeline of what a programmer did changed to people coming from academia instead.

The first computer science degree in the world (Cambridge 1953) drew students of math and engineering. The first in the US (Purdue, 1962, first MS degrees 1964, first PhDs 1966) did the same.

So it's likely as the field expanded women were not pushed out as much as more men joined in.

defrost 10 days ago [-]
Sad to see you downvoted for a comment that's true to history.

The pre personal computer days had an army of women in computing.

The UK had “Steve” Shirley, she built a billionaire dollar tech company in the 1960s https://www.computer.org/publications/tech-news/research/dam...

Growing up it was largely women that taught me how to fly and maintain aircraft, how to set the timing on shot holes to take apart square kilmetres of iron band mesa, to build robots (long before Boston Dynamics), to write exploration geophysics software, serious combinatorics, etc.

ta1635547 10 days ago [-]
Everything else aside, sounds like a cool history/life.
defrost 10 days ago [-]
Started with being raised by a few former-WAAF pilots out of Australia who returned with heavy bombers to Truscott|Mungalalu airbase to take out Japanese oil supplies in WWII and stayed on.

Learnt a bit about shock waves from C Morawetz, some combinatorics from C Praeger, robotics from R Owens, etc.





arunharidas 10 days ago [-]
dang 10 days ago [-]
Please keep flamebait like this off HN. It leads to tedious internet tedium that inevitably turns nasty [1].


[1] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&sor...

blueflow 10 days ago [-]
dang 10 days ago [-]
It can be both, no? But the issue here is the predictable effect that certain kinds of comments have on internet threads.
hi_dang_ 10 days ago [-]
Unbefleckt 10 days ago [-]
ecmascript 10 days ago [-]
surume 10 days ago [-]
throw092309 10 days ago [-]
dang 10 days ago [-]
We detached this comment from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=40926353 and banned this account for using HN primarily for ideological/political/national battle. Not what this site is for, regardless of which ideology/politics/nation you have issues with.


nytesky 10 days ago [-]
Since it's founding, we've seen Gamergate, the rise of Brogrammers (https://www.cnn.com/2012/05/07/tech/web/brogrammers/index.ht...), and Changs book on Brotopia.

I could see it if stakeholders feel they are engaged in a quiotic endeavor...

As a father of 3 daughters, I still see a push for women in stem, but anecdotally my youngest is often the only girl in such activities.

cchi_co 10 days ago [-]
The legacy of Girls in Tech will live on through the successes of the women it supported
aristofun 9 days ago [-]
I don’t see any problem with that.

Doors into tech are (and has always been) open to women.

If there is no real problem to solve — how did anyone expect an organization to last long?

theyknowitsxmas 10 days ago [-]
cat_plus_plus 10 days ago [-]
Judging by current distribution of interns, coding is becoming a female dominated field. I think this has more to do with pragmatic mindset of asian parents and less with any DEI efforts. How many other fields:

- Are not dangerous or unreasonably physically strenuous

- Pay good money

- Keep you surrounded by respectable, educated people

- Can be mastered in 4-6 years rather than running risk of getting old while still in college

Not saying it's a negative, those are rational factors. We do need to make sure that young men are also able to become successful and equals of female SWEs.

rsanek 10 days ago [-]
latest data still only has them at 21% of cs graduates https://ngcproject.org/resources/stem-statistics-higher-educ...
Sohcahtoa82 10 days ago [-]
That would be an improvement over my anecdata of my final project class for my CS degree in 2014 having ~30 men and exactly two women.
Jensson 10 days ago [-]
Then your class had lower than average women for the time. The overall numbers hasn't changed since then.
deathanatos 10 days ago [-]
The numbers here are "and mathematical scientists"¹, so it's not (as upthread implies) CS grads, it's CS grads + other studies. I lived with a physics major; she did some code, would she have been counted?², but she was not a SWE in the making³.

My gut would not think other math degrees would necessarily be more women heavy. But like upthread, my class was 2 women in a class of ~160, or <2%. Around that time I recall seeing a Stanford T-shirt with their ratio at something like 1:16, and they're prestigious enough one would expect their ratio to be above average.

Not sure what to say, aside from I cannot reconcile it with experience, and the numbers being used here aren't the ones we need.

(¹as this is how the source for the data, "National Survey of College Graduates", has uselessly lumped them together. The "mathematical" portion includes degrees such as statistics, "Mathematics, general", and other unspecified-by-the-methodology degrees. Even the "computer sciences" portion isn't just CS degrees, they've also lumped, e.g., IT in there.)

(²no, probably not; when I wrote that I was looking at a graph another poster posted, but that graph seems to munch the category names. Likely physics would be under "Physical and related scientists", but also I can't find the methodology of then what a "mathematical science" is…)

(³and in lecture, the in-lecture ratios changed rather dramatically once you got past the point of "other degrees require 2 courses of CS cross-training")

Jensson 10 days ago [-]
This chart isn't lumping them, it has never been close to single digit percent for the past 50 years. Any class with sub 10% women is a big outlier. And as you can see from the graph, things hasn't really improved, classes used to have way more women, the single digit percent examples are low outliers at a time when things had already gotten really bad from where they used to.


deathanatos 10 days ago [-]
That graph (which is from here: [1]) lists [2] as its data source; none of the tables under "326 Completion and…" match the data they're graphing; it never breaks it out by degree+sex, AFAICT; there are a lot of tables, and I did not exhaustively search them, nor did the article include enough information on their methodology.

The phrasing of "Over the weekend, I…" implies some exogenous data source, but it's not shared. One can't even begin to replicate the conclusion reached.

> Any class with sub 10% women is a big outlier.

You claim, but what is being asked for here is evidence to support such; Occam's razor implies that not only should it not be, that it would be an outlier in the other direction. Hence the desire for something that lays out its methodology well enough that we can tell that it's not in that lovely third category of "statistics".

[1]: https://www.aei.org/carpe-diem/chart-of-the-day-the-declinin...

[2]: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/current_tables.asp

10 days ago [-]
Spivak 10 days ago [-]
Where? The experience of being the only woman in your math/cs class doesn't seem to have changed among the women we interview. Is it the non-uni "bootcamp" path? We don't get very many of them for whatever reason around here. I imagine because our in-state college is both good and affordable but obviously can't prove that.
10 days ago [-]
footy 10 days ago [-]
This is interesting to me, because it runs so counter to my own experience with young/early career developers. I run into more female devs close to my own age than younger (relative to male developers specifically).
10 days ago [-]
cchi_co 10 days ago [-]
The increasing number of women entering the tech field is a positive development
diebeforei485 10 days ago [-]
Why are they in Nashville?
10 days ago [-]
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Neonlicht 10 days ago [-]
The idea of spending all day with tech bros was enough to make me suicidal so I went into the healthcare industry.

I am from a culture were people don't just work for money or status.

Ekaros 10 days ago [-]
I thought there would be lot more in healthcare that are in it for money or status? Or is that just doctors?
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wetpaws 10 days ago [-]
ManitobaForMe 10 days ago [-]
myth_drannon 10 days ago [-]
Tech industry is imploding, there is no need whatsoever to push women (or men) into a career in tech that has very limited opportunities at the moment.
Rinzler89 10 days ago [-]
More like easy tech careers that pay big from the get-go after a bootcamp are imploding. Those workers with a lot of experience and those with the skills, passion and patience, willing to push through the rough tides will be rewarded in the end.

However, SW dev is still a tough career, requiring constantly learning the new things in your free time if you want to stay employable, that's not to be understated, especially considering the ageism in this racket, and how quickly things become obsolete compared to other credentialed professions where you're basically set for life once you get that piece of paper and not have to go through rounds of hazing interviews and take homes every time you want to switch jobs. It's not for everyone.

taylodl 10 days ago [-]
I've been developing software for a living for 40 years now (even longer if you include when I wasn't developing software for a living) and I feel that the pace of change has dramatically slowed down in the past 10 years:

- We've stabilized web front ends

- Mobile application development has stabilized

- Architecture patterns are well-known and there are plenty of (now legacy) products with which to implement them

- Ditto with integration patterns and APIs

- We finally have security figured out (OAuth) and I now have the means to identify and authenticate a person who's not even in my own repo

- We have tools such as Copilot taking the grunt work out of coding - leaving developers to work only with the most interesting bits

- I could go on with lots of stuff that has now matured

I feel like it's easier than ever to develop software, and like I said, the pace of change is rapidly diminishing. I think software development has finally become a mature practice. Admittedly, that takes some of the fun out of it, but we knew that day was coming anyway, right?

Rinzler89 10 days ago [-]
>I feel like it's easier than ever to develop software,

It's also inversely proportional more difficult to get hired nowadays in those fields though.

Back then when (for example) mobile dev was just getting started you could get hired with absolutely zero experience since nobody had any experience, but now there's a laundry list of requirement even for junior positions which are few compared to senior positions and the strict requires there in terms of experience.

Good for those who already had 10 past years of experience and learned the necessary background knowledge, bad for those entering now when the bar has been raised.

taylodl 10 days ago [-]
Isn't that how all mature industries work?

Now that things have settled down and have been standardized, there's a set of things that all developers are expected to know. It was easier to "wing it" back when that wasn't the case. People used to evaluate you based off your aptitude and ability to learn new things and stay abreast with the industry, nowadays those skills aren't so valuable as is someone who knows how to do the work and get things done on time.

randomdata 10 days ago [-]
That's how it works when an industry is flush with candidates. Software development is the "in thing" right now, so software businesses have endless people to choose from, and thus get to be picky. All that goes out the window when you start having difficulty finding people to hire, though.
vdqtp3 10 days ago [-]
> it's easier than ever to develop software

I agree that there are a lot more solved problems, but I find it much more complicated to develop software now than in the past. You used the example of web front ends, but how large is that toolchain? How many different steps and tools do you need to be familiar with to take a project from concept to end user?

taylodl 10 days ago [-]
I do wonder how much of my finding everything so simple today is a function of my having done this work for 40 years? OTOH, there are solutions that can be easily built today that would have been nigh impossible to have built in the past.

I think the problem now is a pedagogical problem. I don't think we need nearly as many computer scientists as we do people who are practiced in the craft. We need more tradesmen than experts, more blacksmiths than metallurgists, so-to-speak. But I don't think the typical "software bootcamp" is a good trade school. We need some kind of trade school and apprenticeship solution where after a couple of years you're a solid developer with real-world experience.

marcosdumay 10 days ago [-]
Alternatively, we are in a lull period and tumultuous times will come back as soon as somebody makes something good in a higher layer than we use now.

Personally, I think we are due for some collapse of the fundamentals.

netdevnet 10 days ago [-]
I feel saying that the industry is imploding is an exaggeration. We are just having a room cleanup period.

- Crypto/ML startups built on promises

- Companies built on the latest buzzword (LLM startups will have their Judgement Day by 2027 latest)

- Companies giving crazy high salaries to inexperienced people straight out of bootcamps

- Companies spending crazy money on "perks" such as free food and in-office entertainment

- Companies paying big bonuses to all tech employees

- Companies overhiring so that the competition remains understaffed

Money is not free anymore. Everyone is looking where the pennies go. Companies have behaved like your average Amazon customer and have filled their companies with subscriptions they don't really need (see overhired employees, perks, high salaries). Belt tightening is the mood.

lenerdenator 10 days ago [-]
From my purely anecdotal experience, it's not imploding. It's just not a way to get a salary that's $250k+ as easily as it was.

If you enjoy software engineering and are willing to take a job in some place that's not SV, NYC, Austin, Seattle, etc. you can still find jobs that will allow an above-average salary and comfortable living. It's just not going to be at FAANG or Evil Omnicorp LLC.

analyst74 10 days ago [-]
Since a few years ago, especially as layoffs started at big name companies, there have been a massive investment in funding and talent into modernizing traditional industries. This effect will be felt by IT departments that built in-house software and small product or consulting shops.
imglorp 10 days ago [-]
It sure feels like it, yeah.

But is there an objective time series measure somewhere?

imglorp 9 days ago [-]
Answering my own question, one source is https://layoffs.fyi where there are some time domain data.
oldpersonintx 10 days ago [-]
bdjsiqoocwk 10 days ago [-]
> Without explanation, Gascoigne said in closing, “Though Girls in Tech is closing its doors, the movement we started must and will continue.
sciencesama 10 days ago [-]
Ai took software out so no more need for more software engineers so the funding for such programs from companies dry up !! Corporate want cheap labour that's all !!
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