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Reality check - Her Most Regal Majesty, the Queen of Snark
void where prohibited, except by law
Reality check
for anyone who thinks feminism has served its purpose.
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angoel From: angoel Date: January 6th, 2006 11:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that people are approaching this from the wrong end. We need to introduce quotas to ensure that 50% of stay-at-home parents are males. Once this has happened, everything else will follow on.
triskellian From: triskellian Date: January 6th, 2006 11:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree with you. Well, not about quotas, but I think the next big step towards equality in the workplace has to be equality in the distribution of childcare. Regardless of whether they have (or intend to have) children, many women suffer from the societal assumption that it's the woman who looks after the kids. My current favourite scheme to address this would be to abolish the current system of maternity/paternity entitlements and replace it with one unified set of pay and leave benefits to be split between the parents in the way that best suits them. I don't currently have a magic plan to reduce the social stigma of being a stay at home father, but I'm working on it.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 6th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Why stop there? For full equality, we need to give men the ability to actually bear children.
crocodilewings From: crocodilewings Date: January 6th, 2006 11:40 am (UTC) (Link)
But you have to remember that you're working a generation-in-hand. Top-spot jobs now are the result of the social conditions when those people first started their careers some thirty or so years ago.

Also, whilst it's happy to draw attention to the problem, it doesn't really try and explain causes in any real depth, or propose any real solutions.
pickwick From: pickwick Date: January 6th, 2006 12:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also, it's assuming that the only proper equality will mean 50% of every kind of job being done by women, without asking whether women want the same jobs as men do, or have exactly the same abilities. Proper equality means equality of opportunity, not of result.
davywavy From: davywavy Date: January 6th, 2006 12:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Quite so - I was reading some rather interesting research recently which indicates that the average pay disparity between men and women is at least heavily influenced (if not the be all and end all) by of the different career and life choices women make, even when presented with greater equality of opportunity.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: January 6th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
When women are steered away from certain jobs because they're perceived as being 'unfeminine', I'd say that there's definitely a concern in terms of equality of opportunity.

I believe that the central point of this piece is that most "key decision makers" are still men. These are the jobs that have most influence upon how equality is perceived and implemented in our society.
pickwick From: pickwick Date: January 6th, 2006 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure that women are still often steered away from certain jobs any more - or they are by societal norms, maybe, but not by any official means. And just as many men are steered away from certain things because they're not women. I do think we need to change the value of jobs, so that teachers and nurses don't suffer financially because their jobs were historically seen as "women's work", but I think it's the history that's keeping the wages lower rather than because anyone still thinks it's women's work.

See, I suppose it's bad that most "key decision makers" are men, but the thing is, I wouldn't want to be a high-ranking politician or a CEO, and I don't know many women who would. My aim isn't for 50% of them to be women, but for any woman who did want to do it to have the same chance as a man.
From: ex_lark_asc Date: January 6th, 2006 01:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmph; the biggest problem for modern feminism is the fact that 90% of women still won't bloody stand up for themselves because "nobody would fancy me". THERE IS MORE TO LIFE. Fix the education system; bring the boys up to respect and value women's strength, not to be insecure freaks who are scared of women who don't pat them on the head and say 'there there, aren't you a big strong boy' even when they're behaving like idiotic cowards.
ewx From: ewx Date: January 6th, 2006 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

It's very noticable that there's next to no female software developers. The same companies often have women in (say) QA and documentation roles, and indeed in management; just few or none actually creating software.

I keep bringing this point up in this kind of discussion not because I think it's an unusually important part of the question of sexual equality, although the job is traditionally a relatively well-paid one and so not entirely without relevance, but mainly because I'm in a better position to observe it than what goes on in board rooms.

I'd be interested to compare the relative numbers of male and female software developers between with the relative numbers of boys and girls who had a computer in the 1980s (and then a bunch of more sophisticated questions).

bellinghman From: bellinghman Date: January 6th, 2006 05:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yep - few female software developers is right. Though we've a pair in this office, that's still only 20%, and I'm used to seeing a lower proportion than that.

Oddly, one is from New Zealand, and the other from mainland China.
naath From: naath Date: January 7th, 2006 12:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Prof Baron Cohen would tell you that this is because more men (% wise) have the traits required to be a good programmer (by which I mean boarderline autistic spectrum absobtion in the art of programming) he has numbers. Like, actuall research. How much of it is social conditioning and how much the way brains are wired is unknown.

The broader category of 'jobs where you decide things' is diverse enough that you can't say that it needs a specialised type of thinking common to all important-decision-making-jobs... the lack of women progresing from a job that they (individually) are good at to the next step up the ladder *in the same field* is much more distressing than the fact that Bill Gates is a man.

Also there is the important point that it takes 30 or 40 years to get to the top and that 30 or 40 years ago women were not as well educated (on average) as men because of (much more serious than current) bias in the educational system. Improvements made *now* take time to percolate.

I think that the reason, given the current law, that women don't get these jobs is because they don't ask and that their not asking has severall reasons, many to do with people saying 'but women are stupid' one too many times but also because such high powered jobs are much harder to fit arround raising a familly which is something many women want to do and when they chose to do it often find themselves doing it alone *and* earning a living because most men don't help enough but they like their job or can't afford to leave it...

I don't want a job like that. I don't want the pressure or the stress, much though I would like the money (maybe if they would pay me lots to translate geek into English...)
ewx From: ewx Date: January 7th, 2006 12:26 am (UTC) (Link)

The question about kids having computers in the 80s is far from idle; it's widely thought (rightly or wrongly) that that's where the current generation of computer programmers in their 20s and early 30s started out, perhaps especially so in Britain, and my memory of the time certainly points to them being "boys' toys" and not "girls' toys". And here we are, with most of the programmers raised during those years being male.

Now that was a couple of decades ago and, we might therefore imagine, a less egalitarian society than today, but (i) it plenty of time after notions of sexual equality first surfaced, so you'd have hoped for some improvement, from the baseline of rampant gender stereotyping, among young parents, i.e. precisely the people in the best position to push the children of the 80s one way or another and (ii) computers were a fundamentally new thing, and we might reasonably ask why they ended up as boys' toys and not girls' toys, given the distinction plainly remained.

Those of us who were kids in the 80s aren't now at the top - well, most of us aren't, at least! - and most of those of us who are going to get there have a decade or two yet to go. If women are already under-represented in some classes of well-paid jobs then isn't it too late? (Sure, some will catch up, but there's nothing like getting ahead of the pack for winning the race.) The inequality has already happened, the women among us have already been pushed to the back, by whatever means it was, at some point in the last three decades.

I know many women who can drive a computer perfectly well, so I don't believe it's some inherent sexual difference. So I lean towards the view that it's some kind of social conditioning, whether from parents, from schools, from the media, or whatever. And I worry that some of these are likely to be incredibly difficult to fix - at worst, if it's parents, then we could be talking many generations to wipe out the more harmful memes.

naath From: naath Date: January 7th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I know many women who can drive a computer perfectly well,

You have a selected sample... many women I know don't know where the on switch is. Most men do. It may be to do with playing with the things as children though, as early indoctrination is clearly the best way to learn!

(The point about statistical studies is that you can say that 10% of women and 40% of men love to programme but you can't say anything about *that* woman or *that* man from the results unless they were a test subject and you look them up, the existance of some women who love computers no-more disproves the hypothesis that more men than women love computers than the existence of women born with penises disproves the hypothesis that most women were born with vaginas. Study as mentioned was one performed by scanning people's brains so not inherantly biased BUT one's brain function may well be altered by early childhood education and parental shoving in 'the right direction')
ewx From: ewx Date: January 7th, 2006 11:00 am (UTC) (Link)

many women I know don't know where the on switch is. Most men do.

Perhaps; years being directly or indirectly involved in IT support suggest there's quite a lot of people who use computers in their jobs who just do not have the first idea.

early indoctrination is clearly the best way to learn


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