[TUHS] Women in computing

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Fri Feb 15 09:40:27 AEST 2019

> > There's a theory that sounds superficially plausible to me, which is that
> > women leave the field because they're more responsible than men.  The theory
> I was REALLY hoping gender essentialism wouldn't be enlisted in this
> thread. Oh well.


Politically correct(?) thoughts that attempt to counter facts aren't
helpful to *any* discussion.

Yeah, there are always going to be people that buck the norms, that
doesn't change the fact that most members of both genders are going show
traits found in their gender.  The exceptions don't break the rules.

You might be educated by listening to what transgender people who are
on hormone therapy have to say.  MtF will tell you they lose a ton of
upper body strenght.  Hormones are a thing, backed by lots of science,
and men and women have different hormones and are, as a result, different.

You'll notice I never used the terms "better" or "worse".  Just different.
I'm all for more women in CS, if they want to be there (and the people of
CS, the dudes, have work to do to make the women want to be there).

I fully agree that both genders should be encouraged to try to succeed at
whatever they want.  To a point.  Pushing people to do something that 
they'll never be good at is mean.  Figuring if they will/won't be good
is sometimes tricky, sometimes obvious.

I just wish people wouldn't bring political correctness into discussions,
it doesn't help.  I also get that people don't like being put in neat
little boxes.  But taking away those boxes for the exceptions is not
always the right thing.  Are you fine with fire departments changing the
physical fitness rules so women can join?  As in full on join, not be put
on the radios or driving, stuff that they can do just fine, but full on
fire fighters?  I dunno about you, but 100 pound woman is not who I want
to see when my 200 body needs to be carried out of a burning building.

Rather than try and make everyone fit into the same boxes, why not sort
them into the boxes where they can excel?  If some buff woman can meet
the requirements to be a fire fighter, go for it, go her.  But don't
change the requirements so woman without the necessary strength can get
the job, that's just putting her in a position where she won't succeed.
And that's not helpful at all.

We're CS people, we know how to optimize, and I can assure you it won't
work by saying everyone is capable of everything.  

I coached roller hockey and it is the exact opposite of saying everyone
can do everything.  You learn each person's strengths and their
weaknesses, play to the strengths, figure out which weaknesses can be
turned into strengths, and leave the ones that can't in the locker room.
I've seen women at the adult level of hockey that can blow away 99%
of most men but that's an exception.  Here's the norm: the US Women's
National team practices against high school boys because they are evenly
matched, the national men's team would crush them.


Same thing in tennis:


Putting everyone in one box is unfair to one gender or the other, depending
on the box.


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