“…the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and
women diﬀer in part due to biological causes and that these
diﬀerences may explain why we don’t see equal representation
of women in tech and leadership.”
James Damore | http://bit.ly/2wFChdb
damore’s guide to female personality traits
empathizing vs systematizing
less status seeking
James Damore | http://bit.ly/2wFChdb
insuﬃcient explanatory power
“But it is not clear to me how such sex diﬀerences are relevant to
the Google workplace. And even if sex diﬀerences in negative
emotionality were relevant to occupational performance (e.g.,
not being able to handle stressful assignments), the size of these
negative emotion sex diﬀerences is not very large (typically,
ranging between “small” to “moderate” in statistical eﬀect size
terminology; accounting for less than 10% of the variance)”
Professor David P Schmitt | http://bit.ly/2uEy5ZL
7. which hypothesis correlates with % women?
http://bit.ly/2uEzvDx | Sarah-Jane Leslie et al. Science 347, 262 (2015),
“Expectations of brilliance underlie gender distributions across academic disciplines”
14. marketing of personal computers to boys in the 80’s
programming was considered “clerical work” - low status, badly paid
discovered to be hard, became a male-stereotype activity like math
stereotype that women and PoC are less competent
pervasive belief that innate ability or brilliance is required to succeed
history: http://stanford.io/2unppYg | PC marketing: http://n.pr/2vMJWtQ
stereotypes: http://bit.ly/2wrzVza | impact of gender ratio on salaries: http://bit.ly/2wFHzW9
15. diverse teams deliver better results (http://bit.ly/2vLI3g1)
tech jobs are highly paid and high impact
hard to hire people? you’re missing out on >50% of the workforce
sick of working with all dudes all the time
unfairness costs US businesses $64bn annually (http://amzn.to/2vXpDXd)
why should i care?
16. measure salaries by role and correct for gender / racial imbalance
stop perpetuating the innate ability / 10x developer myth
create an inclusive environment and don’t tolerate intolerance
check recruiting & performance reviews for bias
monitor tenure, progression and job satisfaction by gender and race
what can i do?
17. does Damore have a case for unfair dismissal?
should Damore have been ﬁred?
very unlikely (http://read.bi/2uEcq43)
things I don’t have time to talk about
Bridget Kromhout @bridgetkromhout | Nicole Forsgren @nicolefv |
Erica Baker @EricaJoy | Leigh Honeywell @hypatiadotca | Sue
Gardner @SuePGardner | Randi Lee Harper @randileeharper |
Shanley Kane @shanley | Marco Rogers @Polotek | Faruk Ateş
@kuraﬁre | Marie Hicks @histoftech | Cat Swetel @catswetel | Soo
Choi @soosiechoi | Ashe Dryden @ashedryden | Cate Huston
@catehstn | Alice Goldfuss @alicegoldfuss | AnnaLee Flower Horne
@leeﬂower | Yonatan Zunger @yonatanzunger
This is the claim I want to address: biological determinism or essentialism. Also used to justify slavery and colonialism.
This is a model. It erases non-binary people. Gender isn’t in fact a boolean!
Here is an actual bell curve of gender differences in math performance. Based on this, the ratio of men / women would still be near 50%. So differences in gender can’t explain the ratio. Game over.
Damore cites personality traits as a possible cause. Readers of the Quillette article: yes, the differences mentioned by Damore are real and there are neurological differences between men and women. The extent to which they are biologically determined is still under debate, although there is certainly some biological element.
But: some of these traits are actually GOOD if you want to work in teams and create great products. The failure mode in software development is building stuff that people don’t want and ineffective teams, not bad systematizing. Some of the practices that XP advocates - pair programming, continuous integration - correct for stereotypical male behavior. Agile manifesto: people and interactions over process and tools
Damore cites the work of Professor Schmitt. Schmitt responds in the Quillette article (see link). Can personality traits explain the fact that 15% of tech employees are women? No. If these traits lead to only tiny capability differences in math (see slide 4), then software engineering - which is fundamentally social - is going to be an even smaller impact. What _can_ account for the disparity is having to work with people like Damore.
Published in Science in 2016, Sarah-Jane Leslie et al. Examined four hypotheses to explain differences in gender ratio in various disciplines at PhD level. Of these four, only the last one is correlated in a statistically significant way. People _believing_ Damore, even though he’s wrong, is the actual problem.
In this study, identical resumes were sent to male & female professors, who were asked to rate their competence, hireability, the amount of mentoring they would receive, and their salary. When the resume had a woman’s name at the top, both male and female professors rated them lower on all of these measures. This bias - which acts throughout the life of women and people of color - combined with the belief that innate talent is the main requirement for success - explains the gender disparity.
If these characteristics are invariant over cultures and time, why is it that many of the foundations of our field were laid by women? Here are Betty Jennings and Frances Bilas, two of six women who programmed the ENIAC. Not only did they program it, they _figured out_ how to do it.
Joined the Eckhard-Mauchly computer corp developing the UNIVAC. Developed the compiler, worked on CODASYL which became COBOL.
Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson.
Jackson was NASA’s first woman engineer
Vaughan went on to become an expert FORTRAN programmer.
Black women trailblazing in a time and a place that had many, many obstacles. Watch Hidden Figures!
Hamilton basically invented the discipline of software engineering.
Contrast CS with medicine, law, physical sciences. It’s not like women in the 80s suddenly stopped wanting to do hard things. Market segmentation for home computers led to them being marketed to boys. Girls had less access, and so when boys arrived at college to study CS they had a huge advantage. This led to women dropping out because they felt they couldn’t succeed. Note: this also disproves the idea that the current ratio of women to men is somehow “natural”.
Start in the 1960s. Hardware was considered the difficult bit.
NB: As men move into a field, salaries go up. As women move into a field, salaries go down: http://bit.ly/2wFHzW9
common counterargument to point 1: where’s positive discrimination for nurses… or “homelessness, violent deaths, prisons…” (yes he actually says that) - NOBODY WANTS THOSE THINGS
teach boys that biology doesn’t predict ability. I don’t want my daughters to live in a world where they’re working with future James Damores.
I bet every woman in this room has a story about being passed over for promotion in favor of someone less competent, sidelined, paid less for the same work, or sexually harassed. BELIEVE THEM.
The DOJ is already examining Google. So they needed to do this!
I have made many mistakes in my time and held beliefs I now realize are wrong. What I am now is from learning from many brilliant people, some of whom I name here.