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Discussion on: The Unbearable Whiteness of Coding

miketalbot profile image
Mike Talbot

I hear you, here's my additional clarification. I have women in technology, but that's the leader of our implementation team, 2 out of 3 of our UX designers, all but one of our manual QA team, and my HR business partner. These people are really great, but it's a bit like all (portrayed) nurses in the 1960s being women, isn't it? Are you going to think "that's odd" when you're looking back in 20 years? I know I do when I think about the stereotypes from my early career. So IDK, but I rather hope so. I rather hope we won't be able to guess a tech person's function based on their gender.

It's my recollection from the early 90s that STEM was not a common choice for women and that the desire to change that was nascent. I studied in the 80s, there were certainly brilliant female mathematicians then too, but geekiness was frowned upon and decidedly less cool than it is today.

You are right on families etc, it takes a massive social change over many years to fix.

Look around the rest of my business though and there are women leaders all over the place. Heading operations, heading sales, managing directors, head of legal, etc. My company should be proud it has so many female leaders, but we are still lacking balance universally and hence still have a gender pay gap. I think your point is that people may choose these roles and that families are an interruption to a woman's career path. I hear that, and everyone should have a choice about the importance of career and family, but I just think we have to account for this too - better maternity pay that encourages work/life balance, etc. Other things I haven't figured out for sure.

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stokesm profile image
Matthew Stokes

I see what you mean. And that is definitely the case where I work too. If you scope out to wider roles in the company, there are many more women.

But I find it interesting how HR, leaders, UX and nursing are all mentioned in the same paragraph. I also think it would be great if we couldn't take a guess at somebodies job roll, and be correct a good percentage of the time. But I also want people to be completely free in what they chose to do, and partake in what interests them. The thing I find interesting is that it seems all of the mentioned roles would align to the greater interest in people (as opposed to things) that we see in women.

Social change will definitely be needed. I do worry about how much of it is generated by biological factors though. I think rather importantly though we need some economic change. We don't have a good way of placing value on the work involved around children.

Yes, my point is that choices between men and women will be different, and we need a better way of dealing with childbearing/care. I suppose I just think it is important we really identify:

  1. Is there actually a problem.
  2. What is the real root cause? We can't fix it with incorrect or bad solutions that come from a an oversimplified or surface view which I think too often is the case.
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blindfish3 profile image
Ben Calder

I suppose I just think it is important we really identify:

  1. Is there actually a problem.

Why do "we" need to identify this? Is it not enough to listen to the people who are telling us there is a problem? Or do their voices not matter because "we" are the arbiters of truth?