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V1 of The Computer Scientist and The Cleaner

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V1 of The Computer Scientist and The Cleaner

  1. 1. The Computer Scientist and the Cleaner Ian Gent University of St Andrews This is a DRAFT talk For more context please visit: http://iangent.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-computer-scientist-and-cleaner.html Sunday, 6 October 13
  2. 2. ... or ... Sunday, 6 October 13
  3. 3. If I can make it here Sunday, 6 October 13
  4. 4. ... or ... Sunday, 6 October 13
  5. 5. A short history of sexism in St Andrews Sunday, 6 October 13
  6. 6. ... or ... Sunday, 6 October 13
  7. 7. The most important problem for computing Sunday, 6 October 13
  8. 8. ... or ... Sunday, 6 October 13
  9. 9. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it Sunday, 6 October 13
  10. 10. ... or ... Sunday, 6 October 13
  11. 11. If you’re not uncomfortable for the next few minutes I’m not doing my job Sunday, 6 October 13
  12. 12. What is this talk, really? A short talk about gender balance and sexism in computer science. Sunday, 6 October 13
  13. 13. What is this talk, really? These are my personal opinions, not based on School or University policy Not a part of CS1002 in any sense, just something I think you should be exposed to Sunday, 6 October 13
  14. 14. 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 borrowed his car and then crashed it. But their marriage was strong and he forgave her.” Sunday, 6 October 13
  15. 15. The Computer Scientist and the Cleaner “One of their few arguments was when she borrowed his car and then crashed it.” • Let me ask you a question. • Who crashed the car? • Was it the computer scientist or the cleaner? Sunday, 6 October 13
  16. 16. The Computer Scientist and the Cleaner “One of their few arguments was when she borrowed his car and then crashed it.” • Let me ask Google a question. • Who crashed the car? • Was it the computer scientist or the cleaner? Sunday, 6 October 13
  17. 17. C Unmoderated image search for “Computer Scientist” Sunday, 6 October 13
  18. 18. Unmoderated image search for “Cleaner” Sunday, 6 October 13
  19. 19. Who crashed the car? “The computer scientist and the cleaner had a long and happy marriage. One of their few arguments was when she crashed his car while borrowing it. But their marriage was strong and he forgave her.” • Look inside your brain • Did you think the woman was the cleaner? Sunday, 6 October 13
  20. 20. If I Can Make it Here... Being appointed Professor at St Andrews is the high point of my academic career Walking around this beautiful town I thought ... Sunday, 6 October 13
  21. 21. If I Can Make it Here... If I can make it here, I can make it in any ... small seaside town with entrenched sexist attitudes Sunday, 6 October 13
  22. 22. 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 MBE, now at QMUL • Yes, a 600 year old University’s first female professor hasn’t retired yet! • For 579 years we didn’t have a female Prof • 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 Sunday, 6 October 13
  23. 23. Gender Balance CS1002 Sunday, 6 October 13
  24. 24. Gender Balance CS Lecturers Sunday, 6 October 13
  25. 25. Gender Balance CS Senior Lecturers & Readers Sunday, 6 October 13
  26. 26. Gender Balance CS Professors Sunday, 6 October 13
  27. 27. 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 Sunday, 6 October 13
  28. 28. The most important problem for computing Sunday, 6 October 13
  29. 29. Why the most important problem? There are many TERRIBLE reasons for having more women in computer science. I only know of two good ones, but they are overpoweringly good. Sunday, 6 October 13
  30. 30. Why the most important problem? Two good reasons we need more women in computer science • It’s right • Computer Science would be better Sunday, 6 October 13
  31. 31. But is it a problem now? • In the past this was a problem • And it still is • An almost random example • Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students • Proceedings National Academy of Science, USA, 2012 • http://www.pnas.org/content/early/ 2012/09/14/1211286109 • The change from the past is that gender biases are now subtle 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’ preex- isting subtle bias against women. We reasoned that pervasive cultural messages regarding women’s lack of competence in sci- ence 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 to- ward 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 sci- ence. 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 gen- der 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 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 Moss-Racusin et al. • Male students were ranked higher in everything • The only difference between the male and female students was the names on CVs Sunday, 6 October 13
  32. 32. The lowest difficulty setting there is John Scalzi, http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white- male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/ • It’s really hard for straight white men to understand the problem • sadly it’s really easy for women to • John Scalzi came up with a brilliant analogy • Being a straight white male is the lowest difficulty setting there is in the game of life “You can lose playing on the lowest difficulty setting.The lowest difficulty setting is still the easiest setting to win on.The player who plays on the “Gay Minority Female” setting? Hardcore.” Sunday, 6 October 13
  33. 33. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it. This is a picture of two computer scientists preparing for an event to get more women into computer science The woman on the right is the smartest person I know Sunday, 6 October 13
  34. 34. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it • Some guy’s computer in a lab was stuck • She tried to tell him that this computer needed to be left alone for 15 minutes • Then it would come back to life • All the regulars in the lab knew this • He kept hitting keys • cos what would she know? • In frustration she said... • “Just leave it alone for 15 minutes ... ... and don’t worry your pretty little head about it” Sunday, 6 October 13
  35. 35. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it • Two lessons to take away from this story • Don’t assume that a woman’s advice is wrong or useless • Don’t say things which are patronising to women Sunday, 6 October 13
  36. 36. 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 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. Sunday, 6 October 13
  37. 37. Don’t be a jerk • This is really simple to understand • Unfortunately being a jerk to women in CS is really widespread • (I mean in the world, not St Andrews) • I’m not going to provide examples • it would take too long Sunday, 6 October 13
  38. 38. Don’t use sexist language • I mean this in two ways • Don’t use language that implies CS people are men • leads to 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” Sunday, 6 October 13
  39. 39. Flip a coin! • Need a user in your report? Should she be a female or should he be male? • Do what I did once... • Use FLORIN-66! • Fast Location Of Random Integral Numbers • My best backronym ever! • do wish it was FLORBN though (Binary) image http://onewebby.com This is a 1966 florin, a pre-decimalisation coin Sunday, 6 October 13
  40. 40. The Hofstadter Analogy • If you’re not sure if language is sexist... • ... swap men and women for black and white • If the result is obviously racist • ... the original was probably sexist • A St Andrews example... • Was it ok that a male only club made the rules of golf, including for women? • Would it have been ok that a white only club made the rules of golf, including the rules for black people? • I learnt this from: • “A person paper on the purity of language” • Doug Hofstadter • http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~evans/cs655/readings/purity.html Sunday, 6 October 13
  41. 41. 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 • Maybe you think somebody shouldn’t be offended when they tell you they are • Tough! Guess what, they were offended! • You only have two options • “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 “Hey, it’s only banter” Sunday, 6 October 13
  42. 42. It’s not “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. Saying "it's only banter" makes you not only an idiot, but an idiot who can't take responsibility for his own jokes. Tom Chivers, http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tomchiversscience/100141906/ if-you-like-banter-you-are-an-idiot/ Sunday, 6 October 13
  43. 43. 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 Sunday, 6 October 13
  44. 44. Not just gender • I’ve focussed on gender today • But same could be said for disability, people with mental health problems, race, sexual orientation, age... Sunday, 6 October 13
  45. 45. Do not get me wrong... If you are a male (straight white or otherwise), ... 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 just want the same for women and other groups at a disadvantage And I want us all to work towards them not being at a disadvantage Sunday, 6 October 13

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