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Hugh Beyer
September 13th 05, 09:07 PM
I get the regular tech news roundup from ACM and nearly fell off my chair
when this item came through:

In her book, "Doing IT: Women Working in Information Technology," Krista
Scott-Dixon describes IT as a blend of both positive and negative that is
alternately stifling, liberating, limiting, and vitalizing for women. "The
mundane minutiae of people's daily experiences with information technologies
have smoothed the cutting edge of the 'information revolution,'" she
explains. "At the same time, the banality of these technologies can conceal
their potential to enable dramatic changes in work practices." Scott-Dixon
reports that women in IT remain a minority, generally earn less and do more
uncompensated work than their male counterparts, and are still confronted
with both subtle and obvious discrimination along racial, sexual, social,
and age-related lines. Few women enroll in technical fields in universities,
and those who do soon drop out; most women end up in IT by accident rather
than by choice. But Scott-Dixon refuses to rationalize the lack of female IT
workers with pat explanations such as an innate dislike of technology,
natural disinterest in the field, or cognitive limitations. She illustrates
her point by noting that many women she has spoken to regard IT as a
stimulating and empowering field, and this observation is backed up by a
Statistics Canada survey in which more than 50% of respondents said their
work has become more interesting since technology was introduced.
Way to go, Krista.

Hugh


--
Exercise is a dirty word. Whenever I hear it, I wash my mouth out with
chocolate. ("Ladi")

Peter Allen
September 13th 05, 11:50 PM
DZ wrote:
> I don't know the extent to which she "refuses to rationalize..." that
> innate differences may be at play as well. When Harvard president
> suggested that genetic differences between the sexes could contribute
> to variation in success in certain fields like mathematics, everybody
> went catty, saying how upsetting it is that bright women of Harvard
> are being led by someone viewing them this way. IIRC, people went into
> tears and rage during his talk. Somebody felt (s)he'd vomit and
> promptly left the room. Later the speaker had to apologize and
> rephrase, and make it all PC, and even get off the curricular review
> process. Some faculty voting ensued labeling him as lacking confidence
> in leadership. I found the story upsetting too, but it left me
> wondering. Was what happened in disregard for the principle of
> academic freedom, which Harvard is supposed to be known for? Was it a
> case of conformism, and do innocent sophistry endeavors like the book
> above contribute to the acceptance of it?

Difficult to know whether mathematics is male dominated due to innate
differences or not. It certainly is male dominated; but if you assumed that
men and women were similarly good at maths but only a few women with the
ability to do maths chose to, then you'd get about the distribution of
ability that actually exists. Problem is that ranking mathematicians by
ability is very subjective (is one interesting paper worth more than 10
run-of-the-mill ones, how much luck was involved?). Then working
mathematicians are the top end of mathematical ability anyway, it's not easy
to tell the difference between the top end of a bell curve with a low mean
and the top end of a bell curve with the mean you'd expect but divided by
about 10.

Fish! - of Arcadia.
September 14th 05, 12:21 AM
In article >,
says...
> DZ wrote:
> > I don't know the extent to which she "refuses to rationalize..." that
> > innate differences may be at play as well. When Harvard president
> > suggested that genetic differences between the sexes could contribute
> > to variation in success in certain fields like mathematics, everybody
> > went catty, saying how upsetting it is that bright women of Harvard
> > are being led by someone viewing them this way. IIRC, people went into
> > tears and rage during his talk. Somebody felt (s)he'd vomit and
> > promptly left the room. Later the speaker had to apologize and
> > rephrase, and make it all PC, and even get off the curricular review
> > process. Some faculty voting ensued labeling him as lacking confidence
> > in leadership. I found the story upsetting too, but it left me
> > wondering. Was what happened in disregard for the principle of
> > academic freedom, which Harvard is supposed to be known for? Was it a
> > case of conformism, and do innocent sophistry endeavors like the book
> > above contribute to the acceptance of it?
>
> Difficult to know whether mathematics is male dominated due to innate
> differences or not. It certainly is male dominated; but if you assumed that
> men and women were similarly good at maths but only a few women with the
> ability to do maths chose to, then you'd get about the distribution of
> ability that actually exists. Problem is that ranking mathematicians by
> ability is very subjective (is one interesting paper worth more than 10
> run-of-the-mill ones, how much luck was involved?). Then working
> mathematicians are the top end of mathematical ability anyway, it's not easy
> to tell the difference between the top end of a bell curve with a low mean
> and the top end of a bell curve with the mean you'd expect but divided by
> about 10.
>
>
>


How dare anyone suggest differences between sexes. Look as violent
crime, or serial killers. It's an outrage that women are not doing
their gentic best to keep up with their male counterparts.

I even hear that they live longer, and are able to bare children.

--

"Cocaine's a hell of a drug" - Rick James

Seth Breidbart
September 14th 05, 03:15 AM
In article >,
Fish! - of Arcadia. > wrote:

>How dare anyone suggest differences between sexes. Look as violent
>crime, or serial killers. It's an outrage that women are not doing
>their gentic best to keep up with their male counterparts.
>
>I even hear that they live longer, and are able to bare children.

Men can do that, but they get arrested for it.

Seth
--
this is called missing the forest for the trees.
Or just 'being a moron', your call. -- Lyle McDonald

Hugh Beyer
September 14th 05, 01:06 PM
DZ > wrote in news:[email protected]
127102878.1265329553.7120.23022.20555:

> Peter Allen > wrote:
>> DZ wrote:
>>> I don't know the extent to which she "refuses to rationalize..." that
>>> innate differences may be at play as well. When Harvard president
>>> suggested that genetic differences between the sexes could contribute
>>> to variation in success in certain fields like mathematics, everybody
>>> went catty, saying how upsetting it is that bright women of Harvard
>>> are being led by someone viewing them this way. IIRC, people went into
>>> tears and rage during his talk. Somebody felt (s)he'd vomit and
>>> promptly left the room. Later the speaker had to apologize and
>>> rephrase, and make it all PC, and even get off the curricular review
>>> process. Some faculty voting ensued labeling him as lacking confidence
>>> in leadership. I found the story upsetting too, but it left me
>>> wondering. Was what happened in disregard for the principle of
>>> academic freedom, which Harvard is supposed to be known for? Was it a
>>> case of conformism, and do innocent sophistry endeavors like the book
>>> above contribute to the acceptance of it?
>>
>> Difficult to know whether mathematics is male dominated due to
>> innate differences or not. It certainly is male dominated; but if
>> you assumed that men and women were similarly good at maths but only
>> a few women with the ability to do maths chose to, then you'd get
>> about the distribution of ability that actually exists.
>
> I agree. Note that nowhere I mentioned ability. "Innate differences"
> should not exclude differences in preferences, behavior, motivation,
> which already show in children at early age. BTW that observation was
> particularly upsetting to some attending the talk, who'd like to write
> everything off on gender oppression and its "both subtle and obvious"
> (quoting from 2 posts up) interactions with race, age, social status,
> looks, and what not.

The stupid thing about the Harvard president's comment is that not only
should the question be allowed, but the suggestion is so obviously true.
Of COURSE there are innate differences between the sexes in how they
approach the world, and it would be surprising if that didn't show up in
aptitudes and career choices.

Just consider the cultural cliche of the little boy that takes his watch
apart to find out how it works and can't put it back together, We tell
that story about boys, not girls, and 30 years of gender-neutral
upbringing haven't changed it. It's no surprise if the attitude that leads
to taking watches apart later leads to an interest in hard science and
mechanics.

And bias may be (probably is) present in the hard sciences but it was just
as present in, say, psychology 50 years ago. Women were able to overcome
existing bias in psychology, sociology, and many other fields; that they
haven't in hard science, IT, and math suggests something else is going on.

The trouble is that people think that any of this should change behavior,
and it shouldn't. Saying women as a class are less interested in hard
science doesn't mean that there won't be the individual woman who is a
genius at it--there have been plenty throughout history, and we need all
of them we can get. You could even argue that because they are likely to
remain a minority, we have to do extra work to ensure they don't get
overlooked. But we don't have to angst if we never achieve parity.

But I haven't read Krista's book. Maybe she addresses all this.

Hugh



--
Exercise is a dirty word. Whenever I hear it, I wash my mouth out with
chocolate. ("Ladi")

Jim Janney
September 17th 05, 05:47 PM
Hugh Beyer > writes:

> DZ > wrote in news:[email protected]
> 127102878.1265329553.7120.23022.20555:
>
>> Peter Allen > wrote:
>>> DZ wrote:
>>>> I don't know the extent to which she "refuses to rationalize..." that
>>>> innate differences may be at play as well. When Harvard president
>>>> suggested that genetic differences between the sexes could contribute
>>>> to variation in success in certain fields like mathematics, everybody
>>>> went catty, saying how upsetting it is that bright women of Harvard
>>>> are being led by someone viewing them this way. IIRC, people went into
>>>> tears and rage during his talk. Somebody felt (s)he'd vomit and
>>>> promptly left the room. Later the speaker had to apologize and
>>>> rephrase, and make it all PC, and even get off the curricular review
>>>> process. Some faculty voting ensued labeling him as lacking confidence
>>>> in leadership. I found the story upsetting too, but it left me
>>>> wondering. Was what happened in disregard for the principle of
>>>> academic freedom, which Harvard is supposed to be known for? Was it a
>>>> case of conformism, and do innocent sophistry endeavors like the book
>>>> above contribute to the acceptance of it?
>>>
>>> Difficult to know whether mathematics is male dominated due to
>>> innate differences or not. It certainly is male dominated; but if
>>> you assumed that men and women were similarly good at maths but only
>>> a few women with the ability to do maths chose to, then you'd get
>>> about the distribution of ability that actually exists.
>>
>> I agree. Note that nowhere I mentioned ability. "Innate differences"
>> should not exclude differences in preferences, behavior, motivation,
>> which already show in children at early age. BTW that observation was
>> particularly upsetting to some attending the talk, who'd like to write
>> everything off on gender oppression and its "both subtle and obvious"
>> (quoting from 2 posts up) interactions with race, age, social status,
>> looks, and what not.
>
> The stupid thing about the Harvard president's comment is that not only
> should the question be allowed, but the suggestion is so obviously true.
> Of COURSE there are innate differences between the sexes in how they
> approach the world, and it would be surprising if that didn't show up in
> aptitudes and career choices.
>
> Just consider the cultural cliche of the little boy that takes his watch
> apart to find out how it works and can't put it back together, We tell
> that story about boys, not girls, and 30 years of gender-neutral
> upbringing haven't changed it. It's no surprise if the attitude that leads
> to taking watches apart later leads to an interest in hard science and
> mechanics.
>
> And bias may be (probably is) present in the hard sciences but it was just
> as present in, say, psychology 50 years ago. Women were able to overcome
> existing bias in psychology, sociology, and many other fields; that they
> haven't in hard science, IT, and math suggests something else is going on.
>
> The trouble is that people think that any of this should change behavior,
> and it shouldn't. Saying women as a class are less interested in hard
> science doesn't mean that there won't be the individual woman who is a
> genius at it--there have been plenty throughout history, and we need all
> of them we can get. You could even argue that because they are likely to
> remain a minority, we have to do extra work to ensure they don't get
> overlooked. But we don't have to angst if we never achieve parity.
>
> But I haven't read Krista's book. Maybe she addresses all this.

You might be interested in reading "The Inequality Taboo" by Charles Murray.

<http://www.commentarymagazine.com/production/files/murray0905.html>

--
Jim Janney

The Bill Rodgers
September 17th 05, 09:15 PM
I f'ed her.

On Sat, 17 Sep 2005 10:47:36 -0600, Jim Janney
> wrote:

>Hugh Beyer > writes:
>
>> DZ > wrote in news:[email protected]
>> 127102878.1265329553.7120.23022.20555:
>>
>>> Peter Allen > wrote:
>>>> DZ wrote:
>>>>> I don't know the extent to which she "refuses to rationalize..." that
>>>>> innate differences may be at play as well. When Harvard president
>>>>> suggested that genetic differences between the sexes could contribute
>>>>> to variation in success in certain fields like mathematics, everybody
>>>>> went catty, saying how upsetting it is that bright women of Harvard
>>>>> are being led by someone viewing them this way. IIRC, people went into
>>>>> tears and rage during his talk. Somebody felt (s)he'd vomit and
>>>>> promptly left the room. Later the speaker had to apologize and
>>>>> rephrase, and make it all PC, and even get off the curricular review
>>>>> process. Some faculty voting ensued labeling him as lacking confidence
>>>>> in leadership. I found the story upsetting too, but it left me
>>>>> wondering. Was what happened in disregard for the principle of
>>>>> academic freedom, which Harvard is supposed to be known for? Was it a
>>>>> case of conformism, and do innocent sophistry endeavors like the book
>>>>> above contribute to the acceptance of it?
>>>>
>>>> Difficult to know whether mathematics is male dominated due to
>>>> innate differences or not. It certainly is male dominated; but if
>>>> you assumed that men and women were similarly good at maths but only
>>>> a few women with the ability to do maths chose to, then you'd get
>>>> about the distribution of ability that actually exists.
>>>
>>> I agree. Note that nowhere I mentioned ability. "Innate differences"
>>> should not exclude differences in preferences, behavior, motivation,
>>> which already show in children at early age. BTW that observation was
>>> particularly upsetting to some attending the talk, who'd like to write
>>> everything off on gender oppression and its "both subtle and obvious"
>>> (quoting from 2 posts up) interactions with race, age, social status,
>>> looks, and what not.
>>
>> The stupid thing about the Harvard president's comment is that not only
>> should the question be allowed, but the suggestion is so obviously true.
>> Of COURSE there are innate differences between the sexes in how they
>> approach the world, and it would be surprising if that didn't show up in
>> aptitudes and career choices.
>>
>> Just consider the cultural cliche of the little boy that takes his watch
>> apart to find out how it works and can't put it back together, We tell
>> that story about boys, not girls, and 30 years of gender-neutral
>> upbringing haven't changed it. It's no surprise if the attitude that leads
>> to taking watches apart later leads to an interest in hard science and
>> mechanics.
>>
>> And bias may be (probably is) present in the hard sciences but it was just
>> as present in, say, psychology 50 years ago. Women were able to overcome
>> existing bias in psychology, sociology, and many other fields; that they
>> haven't in hard science, IT, and math suggests something else is going on.
>>
>> The trouble is that people think that any of this should change behavior,
>> and it shouldn't. Saying women as a class are less interested in hard
>> science doesn't mean that there won't be the individual woman who is a
>> genius at it--there have been plenty throughout history, and we need all
>> of them we can get. You could even argue that because they are likely to
>> remain a minority, we have to do extra work to ensure they don't get
>> overlooked. But we don't have to angst if we never achieve parity.
>>
>> But I haven't read Krista's book. Maybe she addresses all this.
>
>You might be interested in reading "The Inequality Taboo" by Charles Murray.
>
> <http://www.commentarymagazine.com/production/files/murray0905.html>

TBR

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and
more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day
the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the
White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)
"Anyone with degrees from Yale and Harvard is presumed to be intelligent,
but George W. Bush has managed to overcome that presumption."

spodosaurus
September 17th 05, 09:24 PM
Peter Allen wrote:
> DZ wrote:
>
>>I don't know the extent to which she "refuses to rationalize..." that
>>innate differences may be at play as well. When Harvard president
>>suggested that genetic differences between the sexes could contribute
>>to variation in success in certain fields like mathematics, everybody
>>went catty, saying how upsetting it is that bright women of Harvard
>>are being led by someone viewing them this way. IIRC, people went into
>>tears and rage during his talk. Somebody felt (s)he'd vomit and
>>promptly left the room. Later the speaker had to apologize and
>>rephrase, and make it all PC, and even get off the curricular review
>>process. Some faculty voting ensued labeling him as lacking confidence
>>in leadership. I found the story upsetting too, but it left me
>>wondering. Was what happened in disregard for the principle of
>>academic freedom, which Harvard is supposed to be known for? Was it a
>>case of conformism, and do innocent sophistry endeavors like the book
>>above contribute to the acceptance of it?
>
>
> Difficult to know whether mathematics is male dominated due to innate
> differences or not. It certainly is male dominated; but if you assumed that
> men and women were similarly good at maths

There are gender differences in performance as well as many other
measurable psychological variables. In most cases the differences are
not significant, but in a few they are significant. If you look at the
absolute pinacle of performance in a field, you're going to find those
top positions occupied by people who are at the right hand end of the
bell curve. In this case, there are more men in the last few standard
deviations of the normal curve than there are women due to innate gender
differences as one contributing factor. To deny this as a factor is to
deny science altogether, in which case I would hope the people uttering
such nonsense like 'gender differences do not exist' would stick to
politics and social engineering and leave the science to those better
qualified.

> but only a few women with the
> ability to do maths chose to, then you'd get about the distribution of
> ability that actually exists. Problem is that ranking mathematicians by
> ability is very subjective (is one interesting paper worth more than 10
> run-of-the-mill ones, how much luck was involved?). Then working
> mathematicians are the top end of mathematical ability anyway, it's not easy
> to tell the difference between the top end of a bell curve with a low mean
> and the top end of a bell curve with the mean you'd expect but divided by
> about 10.
>
>


--
spammage trappage: remove the underscores to reply

I'm going to die rather sooner than I'd like. I tried to protect my
neighbours from crime, and became the victim of it. Complications in
hospital following this resulted in a serious illness. I now need a bone
marrow transplant. Many people around the world are waiting for a marrow
transplant, too. Please volunteer to be a marrow donor:
http://www.abmdr.org.au/
http://www.marrow.org/