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Ask Slashdot: Female Engineers, Could You Please Share Your Thoughts On the Google Memo 694

Reader joshtops writes: The widely circulated memo written by software engineer James Damore has become the talking point across companies in Silicon Valley, and elsewhere. In an interesting take, The Economist on Tuesday argued with the scientific or otherwise assumptions made by Damore. I was wondering what female engineers -- or females in other STEM beats -- think of the memo.
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Ask Slashdot: Female Engineers, Could You Please Share Your Thoughts On the Google Memo

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  • by DuckDodgers ( 541817 ) <keeper_of_the_wolf&yahoo,com> on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @10:42AM (#55025001)
    Maybe you should post the question to a website with fewer trolls. I suggest 4chan.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:23AM (#55025391)

      Shut up sexist. Today I identify as female, and I think the letter was correct.

    • by MSojka ( 83577 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:52AM (#55025723)

      On second thought , let's not go to 4chan. 'Tis a silly place.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @10:43AM (#55025013)

    Many of the more reasonable criticisms of the memo say that it wasn't written well enough; it could've been more considerate, it should have used better language, or better presentation. In this particular link, Scott Alexander is used as an example of better writing, and he certainly is one of the best and most persuasive modern writers I've found. However, I can not imagine ever matching his talent and output, even if I practiced for years to try and catch up.

    I do not think that anyone's ability to write should disbar them from discussion. We can not expect perfection from others. Instead we should try to understand them as human beings, and interpret them with generosity and kindness. Also benis.

  • I'm not female (Score:5, Insightful)

    by redmid17 ( 1217076 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @10:44AM (#55025021)
    What's the % of female users on Slashdot, seriously?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @10:51AM (#55025077)

    https://medium.com/the-mission/im-an-ex-google-woman-tech-leader-and-i-m-sick-of-our-approach-to-diversity-17008c5fe999

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @10:52AM (#55025097)
    Here's the Google diversity training Damore seems to have been reacting to.
    "Google's Bias Busting @ Work | Facilitator Guide"
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yNBCAro6b-S1KifD6PnZWrlyBZ_kEFGWPtUkIpvFljk/edit
  • by Christinagirl1 ( 5046417 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @10:53AM (#55025099)
    I read this article (see bottom of thread), felt like screaming and then felt compelled to write about my experiences and thoughts on the matter. ****I am a women in Information Technology and I have been doing this since 1995. Actually, even before that time since I worked at a computer camp at age 17 teaching BASIC computer language. ****Before there was oodles of money in IT, I rarely experienced prejudice and sexism in my job. I loved what I did and all of the guys in my field were very nice and helpful. They were collaborative and fun to be around. I never felt out of place and I did what anyone else was doing without anyone blinking an eye. When the dollar signs started to increase a lot of men must have thought "Well, I could like Tech if there's money in it." and started studying CS in school. Later, they would emerge into the dotcom time where money was flowing like honey. The boys club moved into my world and it has never been the same. **** I've been marginalized, badgered, stalked, ostracized, been the center of vicious gossip, denied work expenditures, had someone digging into my childhood and family and had IT peers hack into my home PC turn it on and listening to private conversations. Sadly, the list goes on and that last item is more common than you would believe. Note that that kind of voyeuristic behavior would have had someone in jail before the 90s. (Just creepy if you ask me.) But, the good guys are still there and they are somewhat left behind as well. They quietly watch the bullies from the Lord of the Flies and go about their business. ****This hierarchy that these guys have created is brutal. They are each testing boundaries trying to find out where they fit in and the weakest and most insecure pick on women. They pick on women because first and foremost, it bonds them with other men. Secondly, they do it because they can't hack being at the bottom of the pecking order and a woman is a nice target. Woman will often say nothing in a blind attempt to keep the peace. And if they do say something, they become a bitch. Which of course fits in with the first item mentioned, it bonds them with other men. ****So, what does this have to do with Information Technology? NOTHING! Yeah, that's right. Nothing! So, all of your money, all of your private information, all IoT (Internet of Things), all of your Security is exposed to this lot of people! Hence why this guy was fired. Google is smart enough to realize that they hold information about ALL of us. Male, female, straight, gay, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, transgenders etc. And guess what, we all want a say in who has our information and how it is used. We all want them to show empathy with our personal information and lives. And if Google, Facebook and IBM etc. are experimenting with AI, most of us would want them to build a system with agents that are compassionate. How will that happen if all of it is run by men who live like we are all on an island like the Lord of the Flies? So, I beg everyone to think about these ideas. We cannot afford this kind of behavior at the height of an epoch of science and discovery that has the tell tale signs of a change that will effect all of human existence as we know it. As for James Damore and his so called manifesto, his call for the elimination of empathy in IT is so short sighted that I can barely believe it. How can someone with such intelligence be so blind to how dangerous that would be. Hey wait, I answered my own question. He's on the island of The Lord of the Flies, that's how. He's not thinking properly. http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]â¦
    • by butchersong ( 1222796 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @10:58AM (#55025159)
      Could you provide some examples of what he wrote that you found objectionable for discussion? It seems likely you're objecting to him characterizing women as being slightly inclined to more interpersonal roles and empathy but then in your post you say that:

      most of us would want them to build a system with agents that are compassionate. How will that happen if all of it is run by men who live like we are all on an island like the Lord of the Flies?

      Which seems like a stronger generalizing statement than anything I saw in the kids manifesto.

    • Long story short: nerds are cool, jocks are jerks?

      • I would complete with: "...and jocks on IT are extra jerks because they want big bucks by playing the nerd. Not even nerd status is safe anymore when you want a man that treats women with the respect they deserve".

        But I would still not generalize it. There ARE disgusting, deuchebaggy nerds and always have been. That's the problem with sitgmas and stereotypes - they're flawed by definition. Christinagirl1 shows a nice view over time of her overview on tech, but you still can't extrapolate universally. Every

        • I get what your saying cloud.pt, I try not to do that but it can be difficult. I do know some misogynists that are nerds too. Overall, the field has changed a lot. I think the whole world has changed in what is being found as acceptable behavior in regards to privacy and just plain manners. I think what really rings true in my head is that these companies are inadvertently paying people to harass one another. And this memo was a way of doing that, though he tried to disguise his point with points from
    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      I am sorry to hear of your experiences.

      As a cis white male in his 30s teaching CS at a university, would you have an opinion of what I can do to help the situation?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Do you believe that your inability to organize your writings into paragraphs may have adversely affected your employment prospects?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@NOSPAM.world3.net> on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:30AM (#55025481) Homepage Journal

      This is a week old account which has only posted on topics about the Google memo. Most of the posts appear to be badly copy/pasted.

      I tried to read it but it's an impenetrable wall of text.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      But, the good guys are still there and they are somewhat left behind as well. They quietly watch the bullies from the Lord of the Flies and go about their business.

      I have seen this happen and as a man it can be hard to speak up. You get accused of political correctness, and excluded from anything remotely fun because you are labelled a killjoy. Sometimes it goes the other way, the guy being a dick ends up ostracised, it really depends on the workplace.

      Hence why this guy was fired.

      I think it was more to do with his unwarranted conclusions. He has been debunked by the authors of the very papers he was citing in the memo. [wired.com]

      "Women as a group score higher on neuroticism in Schmittâ(TM)s meta-analys

  • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @10:53AM (#55025107)

    This topic comes up with my wife fairly often; even more often since we had two daughters. She is a business / data analysis at a smallish multinational manufacturing company, and while it upsets me when I see this behavior directed at my female software engineer counterparts it is even worse when you hear first hand accounts from someone you care about deeply. From being treated like a secretary to having her comments dismissed, it is all behavior any reasonably educated male should notice even without having it pointed out by female coworkers.

    It is often hard to give advice to my wife because I simply don't have to deal with the same obstacles. She cannot really complain about misogynistic behavior without being branded a trouble maker, and she has to walk a very fine line between being assertive or just a bitch.

    A quote from Bob Thaves about Ginger Rogers sums up the plight of women in the workforce in general, and women in STEM field especially. "Sure [Fred Astaire] was great, but don't forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards and in high heels."

    • by Christinagirl1 ( 5046417 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:03AM (#55025219)
      You're a good man. Thank you for caring about us enough to write on our behalf. Most of these we are discussing don't respect women in the first place, so they will never listen to our cries for equality. It takes men such as you, to make a lasting change in their thought patterns.
    • by Pentium100 ( 1240090 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:15AM (#55025317)

      Did you read the memo?

      Did it say anything about women being inferior to men and that they should stay in the kitchen?

      No. What it did say was that it may be biological differences that women ON AVERAGE have different interests than men and that it is unwise to try to get 50% of employees be women.

      Do women ON AVERAGE have different interests than men? Yes. Does this mean that all women are inferior to men at "men fields"? NO. This is the same as with physical strength. There are lots and lots of women who are stronger than me and could kick my ass in a fight. But, if I was forced to choose between fighting a randomly selected man or a randomly selected woman, I would choose to fight the woman, because on average, my odds would be better.

      But no, men and women are equal in all things, including their interests and if only 5% (made up number) of girls are interested in fighting each other with fists when 30% (made up number) boys do the same it is only because of discrimination in our culture not encouraging girls to settle their differences with a good fistfight. Right?

      So, in an effort to not discriminate people based on their gender or race we ... discriminate people based on their gender or race. Girl-only programming classes are celebrated, where if one made a boys-only programming class it would be chaos. White-only dormitories are bad and racist, but black-only dormitories are an awesome symbol of non-racism. Right?

      So now we have gender quotas. There is an open position in a company. 10 candidates apply - 9 men and one woman. The woman is average qualified for the position - out of the 9 men there are better and worse ones. But she gets hired anyway, because the company does not have enough women in that department.

      Then again, the government of my country is incredibly sexist. Men are forced to serve in the army after school (not all of them, there is a lottery), but women only get to serve if they volunteer. So far I have not seen any feminist protest against this obviously sexist policy though. Actually, I remember feminists speaking out against forcing women to serve in the army. Weird, isn't it?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 )

        Because women at google are in no way different from the average.

        There's no selection process at all at google. .

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Did it say anything about women being inferior to men

        Yes. To quote directly: "higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance"

        There is no qualification. He takes that as a simple statement of fact and proposes solutions based on it.

        The author of the source he cites to back it up says that the conclusion is unwarranted: [wired.com]

        "Women as a group score higher on neuroticism in Schmitt's meta-analysis, sure, but he doesn't buy that you can predict the population-level effects of that difference. "It is unclear to me that this sex difference would play a role in success within the

        • That's just as well, since it isn't about success at google, it's about wanting to work there in the first place.
      • by ljw1004 ( 764174 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @12:04PM (#55025851)

        Did you read the memo? Did it say anything about women being inferior to men and that they should stay in the kitchen?

        Did you read the post to which you replied? It didn't touch on the points you raise.

        The point instead is that lots of women face daily or weekly put-downs due to misogyny. They see and experience it ALL the blasted time in their professional lives. It's a constant source of extra stress and career battles. This is a very plausible reason for there being fewer women in IT, and it's very plausible that it's a more significant reason than the biological reasons that Damore implied.

        (And actually it's pretty frustrating to face this kind of challenge daily or weekly, and see first-hand what a *significant* impact it has, and then have an outsider write a memo that purports to examine the reasons for the gender gap but then completely fails to notice this significant factor. That said, I grant that the Damore memo was more focused on ideological echo chamber, and its attempts at explaining the gender gap were only a small part of it.)

        • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @12:29PM (#55026179)

          The point instead is that lots of women face daily or weekly put-downs due to misogyny.

          No, they face those because some people are dicks. When I cut my hair short I couldn't claim 'misogyny' when some unfiltered co-worker pointed out my window's peak, "Looks like balding runs in your family" or when a peer grabs an extra doughnut and someone goes 'Really need that extra one?'.

          I'm not picketing the grocery store's misandry because some old ladies don't think I could be the one shopping with my son.

          "Where's your mother at?". She's at work grandma.

          "Baby sitting today?": No. I'm his father. It's parenting.

          "Wow, cooking for your wife?" Yeah. Like I normally do. As we split household tasks depending on who is home and who is working.

          "How can you let your wife go back to work so soon after birth?" She's the one that picked up shifts because she likes to work.

          When individual A and individual B interact and there is a negative outcome, for the most part, the outcome is limited to something internal to A & B. From all of my experiences in the engineering industry and from reading this junk online it usually boils down to one of the individuals is an asshole and the other needs thicker skin.

      • Did it say anything about women being inferior to men and that they should stay in the kitchen?

        My wife (MD) and I (Engineer) have been discussing the memo off and on since it came out.

        And this is the straw(wo)man that they keep building.

        Within a paragraph Sheryl Sandberg showed that she didn't even grok the memo:

        They prefer working with people (and animals) rather than objects or abstract concepts.

        One approach is to blame the culture, which Google and other prominent tech companies may be doing. Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, lays out this view: “Inequality in tech isn

      • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @12:27PM (#55026169)

        Did you read the memo? Did it say anything about women being inferior to men and that they should stay in the kitchen?

        I have read the memo, and you don't have to think a group is inferior in order to stereotype them.

        His paper does often say women on average have differences from men. But the important thing is not whether there are differences, but the extent of those differences. When he says "women on average are more prone to anxiety" it is both a very true and very inflammatory statement without context. Women indeed do have higher rates of anxiety, but then again individuals from Euro/Anglo cultures on average have higher levels of anxiety than average women.

        The reality is that this study [wiley.com] found about 7 in 100 women suffer from anxiety as compared to 4 in 100 men. Sure it is nearly double, but how useful is it to even discuss this when bringing up gender in the workplace? Especially when in most cases there is medication to remove most symptoms. Where is the research to show to what extent anxiety affects a person's career? The mere fact he brought up higher anxiety rates at all is inflammatory and worthy of derision. It is a way to be discriminatory while maintaining you are only being fair. It is intellectually dishonest.

        Any time people complain about SJWs wanting a 50/50 split in any given profession, it is nearly guaranteed everything else they say will be full of crap. Some of what they say may be factual, but only in an attempt to distract from the ignorant core of their argument. No one is fighting for a 50/50 split in STEM fields, since there are real differences between the genders and a real biological reason why childbearing affects women careers more than men. But a 60/40 or 55/45 split is likely attainable in a more discrimination free culture, and none of the minute differences between genders will inhibit that goal.

  • To even ask the question to females only acknowledges that men and women are in fact different, with different views driven by biology. Well done Slashdot.
    • by Scarred Intellect ( 1648867 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:06AM (#55025261) Homepage Journal

      To even ask the question to females only acknowledges that men and women are in fact different, with different views driven by biology. Well done Slashdot.(emphasis mine)

      While I agree in principle that men and women have different views and there are biological differences, I don't think this post is emphasizing those biological differences. It's asking for the same reason I often ask female coworkers the same thing: they have different experiences than I do. I want to better understand the problem, but I can't do that until I know what it is, and I can't know what it is myself because I can't experience it.

      These different experiences can be attributed to different views that can then be ascribed to being based on gender, but that's an indirect relationship. This post is asking women, not because of their biology, but because they're the ones with the experience. That difference is important.

      Asking for views on a matter specifically from the group most directly affected does not acknowledge any differences directly. It only admits incomplete knowledge on the part of the person doing the asking, an admission of ignorance.

    • Only if you think that opinions are driven exclusively by biology.
  • by Space Grrrl ( 1552385 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:01AM (#55025199)
    I read the memo and found it well written and I think it pointed out how the SWJ and left leaning bias at Google isn't good for anyone including the class of people that the wrong headed policies seek to help. Google is clearly all about respecting everyone's opinion so long as they are the "correct" ones.
    • by Nite_Hawk ( 1304 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:21AM (#55025379) Homepage

      Hi,

      I'm a white male software engineer. I'm having a really hard time trying to separate out my own biases and the biases of others in reaction to the memo with actual factual discourse about the science. In almost all of the reaction commentary, even some of the better discourse, people keep wielding any ammunition they can find to defend their point of view on both sides. I worry that I am inclined to do the same thing.

      I've been trying to read as much research as possible in the last couple of days as science feels like the only bastion where I can try to come to a reasoned conclusion about all of this. That path has lead me to some unusual places, like wondering if there is a biological explanation for higher average verbal intelligence in women that allows them to have greater selection in careers (Ref 1) and differences in brain anatomy where men have thinner average cortical thickness than women but higher variability. (Ref 2)

      Given that you are a female engineer directly affected by all of this, do you think it's reasonable to explore these kinds of questions? Does it diminish the effects of the real sexism and bias that face women in tech to examine other potential explanations for the gender gap?

      Ref 1: http://journals.sagepub.com/do... [sagepub.com]

      Ref 2: http://www.sciencemag.org/news... [sciencemag.org]

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@NOSPAM.world3.net> on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @12:17PM (#55026023) Homepage Journal

        It's reasonable to explore them, but it has to be in an informed way. If Damore had actually asked the people who wrote the sources he thought he understood, they would have told him that he was wrong [wired.com].

        That's the basic problem here. It's called the incoherence problem. Smart people read these sources, think they understand them, combine them all together than reach an unwarranted conclusion.

        So in order to have a good debate about these issues, we need to first accept that we need to ask questions of the experts who write these papers, and not try to infer too much from our own reading or interpretation.

  • the whole point was there aren't that many women to speak up.
  • But please read the full memo with links [documentcloud.org] before settling on an opinion. I was listening to NPR just two days ago and they resorted to straw man arguments and condemnation without being truthful about what it's contents were. Also keep in mind it was written as an internal reply in response to a specific request by google for controversial thoughts on improving workplace diversity practices.
  • by Roger Wilcox ( 776904 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:13AM (#55025305)
    It's the new perpetual frontpage story!
  • by FeelGood314 ( 2516288 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:22AM (#55025385)
    Note this is a biased sample*. They are the 6 current or former engineers that I associate with, they are very confident and assertive. They all agreed with Demore. They have experienced minimal sexism from other engineers. 3 of them don't mind working as the only woman at a location. They all thought women on average had different job preferences than man. They also thought job security was more important to women than men and that if they were not so good at what they did and guarenteed to always have jobs they might not have been in their current careers.
    *Sample - 5 CS and 1 mechanical engineer. 1 is now in finance and 2 are software managers.
  • by richrz ( 1624799 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:25AM (#55025425)
    Well, they ALL want to come here, trust me. Through a system of evil and well-thought out artificial barriers Slashdot has managed to keep them at bay by blocking all female engineers with user imperceptible OSI layer micro-blockers.
  • Economist (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Major Blud ( 789630 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:33AM (#55025507) Homepage

    I started to read that post from The Economist until I got to this section:

    Have you ever noticed how no one takes sentences that start “I’m not a racist, but” at face value? Here’s why, in the words of Jon Snow in “Game of Thrones” (season 7, episode 1). When Sansa Stark tells him: “They respect you, they really do, but,” Snow laughs and comes back with: “What did father used to say? Everything before the word ‘but’ is horseshit.”

    Seriously....they argued with the science, but quoted Game of Thrones.

  • by Rydia ( 556444 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:37AM (#55025561)

    Considering how forceful and near-universal condemnation from women and women's groups in and out of tech has been to the memo, it is extremely difficult to believe that this Ask Slashdot was submitted in good faith. Particularly in light of the extreme ease of finding high-profile responses. Here is a (small) sample from a simple google search:

    https://www.vox.com/the-big-id... [vox.com]
    https://www.vox.com/first-pers... [vox.com]
    http://fortune.com/2017/08/09/... [fortune.com]
    http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]
    https://patch.com/california/m... [patch.com]

    If you really are that out of the loop, that should inform you pretty well. If you're begging the question, then the quantity of vile reactions in these comments have likely confirmed that it was worth it. I hope it is the former.

  • When less than 50% of the responses to this question are female, we should investigate what slashdot can do to make the site more balanced, with an equal number of male and female users.

    Because obviously any disparity is due to the inherent sexism of slashdot.

    Maybe refuse to add male accounts until we have an equal number of females?

  • by WrongMonkey ( 1027334 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:44AM (#55025637)
    I am not a female engineer, but I work in a scientific field (biomedical research) that is at gender parity. Medicine is at gender parity. Chemistry is at gender parity. Women are even well represented in the computational subdivisions of these fields. These are not the "soft" sciences they might have been 20 years ago; this is quantitative, computationally intensive research. I know women who can put together an fMRI from scratch and write the algorithms for novel data analysis. There is no question that women can and do excel in technical and scientific fields. The only question is why the CS and IT, particularly the Silicon Valley start up culture, actively drive women away.
    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @01:27PM (#55026929) Journal
      The obvious answer is that women aren't enrolling in computer science in college. It doesn't matter how good your hiring procedures are if women don't choose programming as a career.

      Harvey Mudd (university) did some good work on the question. They increased women in their CS program from 10% to nearly 50% [qz.com]. The made several changes, but the main thing they did was change introductory CS classes from being "filter" classes (trying to get rid of all the people who can't do it), into helping classes that help people get over that first bar.

      Let's be honest, the first leap into programming can be tough, and this is true for men as well as women. Having the first class be a "filter" class was a bad idea from the beginning.
    • The only question is why the CS and IT, particularly the Silicon Valley start up culture, actively drive women away.

      IMO if you're looking at the job market, you're not looking far back enough. I'm a Georgia Tech CS graduate, and all the girls I spoke to while I was at Tech who tried the intro to CS classes seemed to hate it with a passion. Obviously I didn't ask a statistically significant number of girls, but when 10 out of 10 girls said the same thing, it seemed pointless to keep asking (it's not like I was a psych major). When I asked what they hated about it, it was always the programming itself (not the teachers, no

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:55AM (#55025753)
    The hypothesis Damore argued against is that all gender-differences in workplace representation are due to discrimination. You only need a single counter-example to disprove this hypothesis, and Damore provided several. The Economist article doesn't even try to tackle these (in fact it seems to avoid acknowledging them except implicitly).

    Instead, the Economist brings up counter-points to Damore's memo. e.g. That there are statistical differences between men and women which favor women, to counter his point that there are statistical differences which favor men. In other words, it is written as if the hypothesis in dispute was "there is no gender-based discrimination." Which AFAIK nobody is arguing except those using it as a straw man to try to justify draconian anti-discrimination measures.

    Basically, the SJW crowd argued "all wood floats." Damore pointed out "hey these types of wood sink." And the Economist in response argues "well these types of wood float." Well that's nice, but it doesn't really support the original argument nor counter Damore's point.

    This whole debate boils down to using gender ratio in the workplace as a measure of discrimination. All Damore is arguing is that there are other reasons than discrimination which cuase the ratio not to be 50/50. The SJW crowd doesn't want to give up this disproven hypothesis because it makes it easy to justify their anti-discrimination measures. Anyone who's published any real paper using statistics knows it's never this easy - that is why statisticians have jobs. There are always caveats and other factors you have to try your best to control for.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @12:17PM (#55026025)
    Here's a long interview with an actual female engineer at Google [businessinsider.com]. Some of the best quotes:

    During an internal discussion about the memo, "One of the women put her hand up and said, 'Look, I’m a conservative. I completely disagree with everything he said, but I’m still a conservative. And I don’t feel like I can’t voice that opinion here'... Google really does have an open culture of debate, I think."

    "It’s hard because I think he couches so much of his document as if it’s fact, when it’s actually not. There’s so little evidence in there. And it’s all really opinion. And the whole argument is couched as, 'Well this is fact.'"

    "there were parts of my Google existence internally that I was like I’m going to have to delete this for the fear that someone is going to take this and post publicly and screw me for speaking out against this."

    "I just really want us to think about why we’re not asking the women at Google how they feel about it because that to me is the root of misogyny right there. We’re not even asking them to participate in the debate about an issue that directly affects them."
    • It's a great interview with a woman from Google. But she puts the same words into Damore's mouth that all the media doing. He never said they were not as good at their job, or that they don't deserve to be there. He is saying that trying to go for 50% won't work because they don't want to be there. When people can actually understand the conversation, then things might be able to be discussed correctly.
  • by whitroth ( 9367 ) <whitroth&5-cent,us> on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @12:18PM (#55026039) Homepage

    I start scrolling, and all I see are the usual suspects.

    Guys, a) shut up, or b) you prove the point of shutting down women.

    Oh, and one of my daughters is a better programmer than you.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @12:53PM (#55026505) Journal

    ....can we please be sure we're actually talking about what he wrote, and not what "everyone says he wrote"?

    It seems there's a pretty sizable difference.
    Gizmodo stripped all links, charts, footnotes, and data from the document before tearing it apart. Other sources (including the Economist & the BBC) blithely go with the 'he stated women aren't capable of doing the work' which is complete bullshit.

  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @02:41PM (#55027609)

    Let’s assume for the sake of argument that men and women do have different interests that may account for gender disparity in tech. (Even if you only look at research cited by Damore, plenty of research has shown that more fundamental gender differences can only account for PART of the disparity, but let’s put that aside for a moment.)

    Question 1: Let’s say that, all OTHER things being equal, we’d still have fewer women in tech jobs. This would just be a statistical bias. What women are interested in, on average, is not really relevant to the individual women who decide to go into tech, despite perhaps a majority of other women not wanting to do the same. *How could this have any impact on recruiting women into tech?* What could possibly be wrong with encouraging women to get into these professions (even aggressively)? I’m not talking about biased hiring or career advancement, just going out there and making it not difficult for women who ARE interested in tech to apply for those jobs and demonstrate their competence.

    Question 2: Based on Damore’s memo and things he cites, I infer that workspaces have evolved to suit the needs of MEN. (And based on some other recent discussions about ageism at Google, they have evolved to better accommodate YOUNG men.) *But what could possibly be wrong with giving employees the ability to adapt their work environments to better match the needs of WOMEN?* Ideas in the memo touch on things like making the environment more social, and pairing people up to do coding together instead of always giving people isolated cubes or offices. Not only might this benefit women, but I know plenty of very social men (such as myself) who might enjoy doing pair-coding and other kinds of more cooperative approaches to engineering. Ultimately, it may be best to approach workspaces in a way that facilitates *anyone* adapting the space to their needs, and the fact that current work environments are statistically less suited to women is only a vehicle to highlight a more general problem with cookie-cutter workspaces. (At the same time, we should not try to generalize women out of the discussion. Men have dominated for a very very very long time. It’s about time women got the chance to make some demands and mold things to their tastes.)

    Question 3: Finally let’s put gender bias back into the discussion. We’re not denying it exists. It’s just that people like Damore are tired of feeling accused of having unconscious biases and being made to feel bad about them. But what Damore’s memo does is cast doubt upon the extent to which bias is a factor in disparity relative to other factors. Ok, so there are lots of factors besides bias. *Nevertheless bias exists, so what could possibly be wrong with working to eliminate the bias?* Even if it were only 25% of the problem, it still sucks!

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