The Computer Scientist and The Cleaner
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The Computer Scientist and The Cleaner

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The computer scientist and the cleaner is a parable about gender preconceptions. ...

The computer scientist and the cleaner is a parable about gender preconceptions.

These slides are a draft talk to first year students on gender balance and sexism in Computer Science.

For more details about the context of this talk, visit my blog at

http://iangent.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-computer-scientist-and-cleaner.html

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The Computer Scientist and The Cleaner The Computer Scientist and The Cleaner Presentation Transcript

  • The Computer Scientist and the Cleaner Ian Gent University of St Andrews For more context please visit: http://iangent.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-computer-scientist-and-cleaner.html Thursday, 17 October 13
  • ... or ... Thursday, 17 October 13
  • A short history of sexism in St Andrews Thursday, 17 October 13
  • ... or ... Thursday, 17 October 13
  • The most important problem for computing Thursday, 17 October 13
  • ... or ... Thursday, 17 October 13
  • If you’re not uncomfortable for the next few minutes this is not a good talk Thursday, 17 October 13
  • What is this talk, really? A short talk about gender balance and inclusiveness in computer science. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • What is this talk, really? Not an examinable part of CS1002 in a formal sense, but something I think you should be exposed to Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Part 1: The Computer Scientist and the Cleaner Thursday, 17 October 13
  • The Computer Scientist and the Cleaner • Let me tell you a story. “The computer scientist and the cleaner had a long and happy marriage. One of their few arguments was when she forgot their wedding anniversary. But their marriage was strong and he forgave her.” Thursday, 17 October 13
  • The Computer Scientist and the Cleaner “One of their few arguments was when she forgot their wedding anniversary.” • Let me ask you a question. • • Thursday, 17 October 13 Who forgot the anniversary? Was it the computer scientist or the cleaner?
  • The Computer Scientist and the Cleaner “One of their few arguments was when she forgot their wedding anniversary.” • Let me ask Google a question. • • Thursday, 17 October 13 Who forgot the anniversary? Was it the computer scientist or the cleaner?
  • Unmoderated image search for “Computer Scientist” C Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Unmoderated image search for “Cleaner” Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Who forgot the anniversary? “The computer scientist and the cleaner had a long and happy marriage. One of their few arguments was when she forgot their wedding anniversary. But their marriage was strong and he forgave her.” • • Thursday, 17 October 13 Look inside your brain Did you think the woman was the cleaner?
  • Tell me, was she the computer scientist or the cleaner? • I’m not going to tell you ... • ... it’s just a story • What matters is this... • If you’re a woman ... • ... and you’ve heard “he” for computer scientist your whole life... • Thursday, 17 October 13 ... do you think maybe that might make you think that Computer Science isn’t for you?
  • Part 2: Gender Balance Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Gender Balance CS1002 W o m a n Thursday, 17 October 13 M a n
  • Gender Balance CS Teaching Fellows W o m e n Thursday, 17 October 13 M a n
  • Gender Balance CS Lecturers W o m e n Thursday, 17 October 13 M e n
  • Gender Balance CS Senior Lecturers & Readers W o m e n Thursday, 17 October 13 M e n
  • Gender Balance CS Professors W o m e n Thursday, 17 October 13 M e n
  • Let’s be clear... • The University of St Andrews does not have sexist hiring policies • We have clear non-sexist hiring policies • http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/hr/edi/inclusiverec/ • The gender balance in St Andrews CS • reflects general imbalance in the discipline • and it’s a big problem Thursday, 17 October 13
  • The most important problem for computing Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Why the most important problem? Why should we have more women in CS? I only know of two good reasons, but they are overpoweringly good. • • Thursday, 17 October 13 It’s right Computer Science would be better
  • It’s Right • • If a woman doesn’t want to do CS, that’s fine But ... • • • • Thursday, 17 October 13 CS is an incredibly rewarding discipline That is NOT fine If a woman is put off CS they are potentially missing out Everybody in CS is responsible for making sure this doesn’t happen
  • Computer Science Would Be Better • “Computing's too important to be left to men” Karen Spärck Jones, 1935-2007 • • Karen did a bit more than a cute quote She invented a key technique for internet search ... • • ... 20 years before the World Wide Web Don’t throw away half the world’s talents! Thursday, 17 October 13 Karen Spärck Jones, image Wikipedia
  • Part 3: Sexism Thursday, 17 October 13
  • A short history of sexism in St Andrews • • The University is 600 years old, yet ... Its first female professor was a computer scientist! • • Prof Ursula Martin CBE, now at QMUL • For 579 years we didn’t have a female Prof Yes, a 600 year old University’s first female professor hasn’t retired yet! Image: QMUL • Thursday, 17 October 13 Until 2004, the Rules of Golf for women were made by a male only club in St Andrews • For 595 years we didn’t have a female Principal • Prof Louise Richardson
  • In addition to determining whether faculty expressed a bias against female students, we also sought to identify the processes contributing to this bias. To do so, we investigated whether faculty members’ perceptions of student competence would help to explain why they would be less likely to hire a female (relative to an identical male) student for a laboratory manager position. Additionally, we examined the role of faculty members’ preexisting subtle bias against women. We reasoned that pervasive cultural messages regarding women’s lack of competence in science could lead faculty members to hold gender-biased attitudes that might subtly affect their support for female (but not male) science students. These generalized, subtly biased attitudes toward women could impel faculty to judge equivalent students differently as a function of their gender. The present study sought to test for differences in faculty perceptions and treatment of equally qualified men and women pursuing careers in science and, if such a bias were discovered, reveal its mechanisms and consequences within academic science. We focused on hiring for a laboratory manager position as the primary dependent variable of interest because it functions as a professional launching pad for subsequent opportunities. As secondary measures, which are related to hiring, we assessed: (i) perceived student competence; (ii) salary offers, which reflect the extent to which a student is valued for these competitive positions; and (iii) the extent to which the student was viewed as deserving of faculty mentoring. Our hypotheses were that: Science faculty’s perceptions and treatment of students would reveal a gender bias favoring male students in perceptions of competence and hireability, salary conferral, and willingness to mentor (hypothesis A); Faculty gender would not influence this gender bias (hypothesis B); Hiring These results support hypothesis A. In support of hypothesis B, faculty gender did not affect bias (Table 1). Tests of simple effects (all d < 0.33) indicated that female faculty participants did not rate the female student as more competent [t(62) = 0.06, P = 0.95] or hireable [t(62) = 0.41, P = 0.69] than did male faculty. Female faculty also did not offer more mentoring [t(62) = 0.29, P = 0.77] or a higher salary [t(61) = 1.14, P = 0.26] to the female student than did their male But is it a problem now? • • YES! • Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students Even Scientists judge men higher than women ... for no reason! • • Thursday, 17 October 13 Proceedings National Academy of Science, USA, 2012 Fig. 1. Competence, hireability, and mentoring by student gender condition (collapsed across faculty gender). All student gender differences are significant (P < 0.001). Scales range from 1 to 7, with higher numbers reflecting a greater extent of each variable. Error bars represent SEs. nmale student condition = 63, nfemale student condition = 64. • 2 of 6 | www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1211286109 http://www.pnas.org/content/ early/2012/09/14/1211286109 Male students were ranked higher in everything Moss-Racusin et al. • The only difference between the male and female students was the names on CVs
  • The Petrie Multiplier • • • • Thursday, 17 October 13 A thought experiment Let’s assume no gender difference in sexism • Say 20% of people act like jerks to the opposite sex • And 20% of CS people are women We will see amazing difference in result http://iangent.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-petriemultiplier-why-attack-on.html
  • The Petrie Multiplier Images: Ian Gent • • • Thursday, 17 October 13 Invented by Karen Petrie Senior Lecturer in CS at Dundee And CS graduate of St Andrews
  • Let’s start with 32 men. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Let’s start with 32 men. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Let’s start with 32 men. In pink of course Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Let’s start with 32 men. In pink of course The boy’s colour Thursday, 17 October 13
  • “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls.The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” -- Earnshaw's Infants' Department 1918 Thursday, 17 October 13
  • “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls.” Something to remember next time you catch yourself thinking some gender difference is inherent Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Let’s add 8 women. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Let’s add 8 women. In blue Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Now add 8 more men who act like jerks to women Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Now add 8 more men who act like jerks to women Thursday, 17 October 13
  • And 2 more women who act like jerks to men Thursday, 17 October 13
  • And 2 more women who act like jerks to men Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Remember! Each gender is equally jerky to the other Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Let’s see what happens. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Some man acted like a jerk to some woman. Not good. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Some woman acted like a jerk to some man. Also not good. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Man Lucky Typical Unlucky Thursday, 17 October 13 Woman
  • • 0.35 bad experiences per man • 5.6 bad experiences per woman • 16x as many • Ratio of bad experiences is square of gender ratio • 80% men : 20% women = 4 : 1 Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Petrie Multiplier: Lessons • With women underrepresented • Women experience amazing disparity of sexism • • • With no assumption that men are worse • are not attacks on men Thursday, 17 October 13 So attacks on sexism in CS... ... and statements that women get it worse than men
  • Part 4: Inclusiveness Thursday, 17 October 13
  • What can we do? • We can’t change today the gender imbalance • We can make CS a much nicer place for women to be • We can do three simple things... Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Three Simple Things 1. Don’t be a jerk to women in CS 2. Don’t use sexist language 3. Understand that it’s not you who decides if you are doing 1 or 2. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Not just women 1. Don’t be a jerk to disabled in CS 2. Don’t use ableist language 3. Understand that it’s not you who decides if you are doing 1 or 2. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Not just women 1. Don’t be a jerk to non-whites in CS 2. Don’t use racist language 3. Understand that it’s not you who decides if you are doing 1 or 2. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Not just women 1. Don’t be a jerk to people from deprived backgrounds in CS 2. Don’t use classist language 3. Understand that it’s not you who decides if you are doing 1 or 2. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Not just women 1. Don’t be a jerk to mentally ill people in CS 2. Don’t use mentalist language 3. Understand that it’s not you who decides if you are doing 1 or 2. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Not just women 1. Don’t be a jerk to transgendered people in CS 2. Don’t use cissexist language 3. Understand that it’s not you who decides if you are doing 1 or 2. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Not just women 1. Don’t be a jerk to older people in CS 2. Don’t use ageist language 3. Understand that it’s not you who decides if you are doing 1 or 2. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Not just women 1. Don’t be a jerk to gay people in CS 2. Don’t use homophobic language 3. Understand that it’s not you who decides if you are doing 1 or 2. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Not just women 1. Don’t be a jerk to religious people in CS 2. Don’t use religionist language 3. Understand that it’s not you who decides if you are doing 1 or 2. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Not just women 1. Don’t be a jerk to tall or short people in CS 2. Don’t use heightist language 3. Understand that it’s not you who decides if you are doing 1 or 2. Thursday, 17 October 13
  • None of the above? • • Thursday, 17 October 13 Even if it was ok to be a jerk to a ... • Straight white privileged non-disabled non-mentally-ill cisgendered male of about your age, height and religion • (it’s not ok to be a jerk to him) How do you know he’s all those things? • • e.g. I’m obviously older than you... is it so obvious I’m on antidepressants? • http://www.depressedacademics.blogspot.com
  • Back to Women • Going to return to focus on women • Not because other groups are not important • Just to make it easier to talk specifically Thursday, 17 October 13
  • 1. Don’t be a jerk • • This is really simple to understand Unfortunately being a jerk to women in CS is really widespread • • Thursday, 17 October 13 I’m not going to provide examples it would take too long • seriously, it’s almost unimaginable how long it would take
  • 2. Don’t use sexist language • • • Thursday, 17 October 13 I mean this in two ways Don’t use language that implies CS people are men • remember the Computer Scientist and the Cleaner • • leads to females feeling excluded and subtle biases as in the PNAS paper Don’t engage in sexist “banter”
  • 3.You don’t get to decide... 3. Understand that it’s not you who decides if you are doing 1 or 2. • • This is really hard to understand • • Tough! Guess what, they were offended! Maybe you think somebody shouldn’t be offended when they tell you they are You only have two options • • Thursday, 17 October 13 “I’m sorry, but I deeply believe that X is true so I stand by what I said” “I’m sorry, I’ll try harder not to say things like that in future”
  • • Never say “It’s only banter” "Banter" is apparently a free pass: I can insult you, but you're not allowed to be insulted, because "it's only banter". I can be obscene, but you can't be offended, because "it's only banter". No. If you're a grown-up, you know that your offensiveness may offend, and you either accept that or you apologise and don't do it again. Tom Chivers, http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tomchiversscience/ 100141906/if-you-like-banter-you-are-an-idiot/ Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Allies • We need male computer scientists to be “Allies” • Men who think it’s important that both women and men are treated right in Computer Science • http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Allies • But ... crowding around the only female in a lab “helping” her is not being an ally Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Part 5: CS in St Andrews • CS in St Andrews does not have a bad reputation for sexism or other badisms • though we must try harder • and it’s up to all of us in this room Thursday, 17 October 13
  • University Links and Resources • Thursday, 17 October 13 University Policies and Links • • • • • • Advice and Support Centre University Harrassment and Bullying Policy Student Non-academic Misconduct Policy Disability Equality Scheme Policy on Trans Students & Staff How to Lodge a Complaint
  • Do not get me wrong... Whether you are disadvantaged or privileged or both... I want you to have a fabulous time at St Andrews I want you to get a first I want you to have an amazing career in or out of computing I want the same for every member of groups at a disadvantage And I want us all to work towards them not being at a disadvantage Thursday, 17 October 13
  • Thanks to... Many people at St Andrews, a historian at the University of Dundee, two Readers, a software engineer and a postdoc from Edinburgh University, the former chair of BCS Women, the first female professor at St Andrews, a New York Times bestselling children's author, an antiques dealer in Wales, the Oxford University Student's Union LGBT officer, a high school teacher in Denmark, a postdoc at Liverpool, a freelance photographer, a beer researcher from Heriot Watt, my wife and daughters, a rocket scientist from NASA, and the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Scottish Government. Thursday, 17 October 13