[Discussion] James Damore and the Google Manifesto


The Manifesto Mr. Damore wrote, it's implications, facts, or opinions, the hostile work environment it creates, the action of Google firing him, and the consequences of all of the above.

Here is a thread to talk about James Damore and the Google Manifesto

I'll start by linking these summaries, if people need to catch up:

NYT: Contentious Memo Strikes Nerve Inside Google and Out

Yonatan Zunger: So, about this Googler’s manifesto.

I am disappointed but unsurprised by the news that an anti-diversity, sexist, manifesto is making the rounds at Google.

A Googler's Would-Be Manifesto Reveals Tech's Rotten Core

From @mcc on Twitter:

• Large faceless corporations (like Google) are years ahead of “nerd space” institutions like cons or open source projects, in terms of supporting non-white-males and dealing with white males who have discriminatory views about non-white-males in their spaces.

• This is largely because large faceless corporations are terrified of creating a situation where the treatment of any employee constitutes “a hostile work environment” for purposes of sexual and racial harassment law. These corporations have to create policies and systems for harassing or exclusionary behavior being reported, identified early, and acted on.

• These systems— HR reporting, etc— are not perfect. They often are not there when minoritized employees need them. However, they’re there, and they’re the baseline for what you can expect when working for a company such as Google. The corporation is required to at least go through the motions of formalizing the policy and claiming that they support it.

• This makes most discussions about open source projects, etc adopting codes of conduct surreal if (as I am) you’re used to spending your time in corporate space. OSS/nerd culture groups— and the online discussion around them— talk about the idea of “if someone is saying exclusionary things about a group, you need to exclude that person before they drive people away from the project” as if it were this weird, alien idea that requires a strong justification. Seeing these discussions, I generally wind up (paradoxically?) feeling like work is a safe place and OSS projects and hobby spaces are unsafe.

• In the last few days, however, the nerd culture discourse— used to talking about excluding-exclusive-behavior as an abstract— has started discussing an actual instance of this kind of behavior occurring at a business (Google), a mature business with a working HR department and subject to employment law, and that business’s HR response (a firing).

* I want to really stress that all the online discussion around Mr. Damore, his “memo”, and his firing by Google, are gibberish. Absolute, total gibberish. You are having a philosophical discussion about first principles of exclusion in a group, while Google is operating in a realm where first principles were established and reified into practice, legislation and case law in the 70s.

* If you are discussing Mr. Damore formerly of Google, Inc, whether defending or denouncing Mr. Damore, your discussion needs to start with awareness of what Google’s internal HR policies likely are, as well as the framework of US harassment/anti-discrimination law that those policies exist in.

* You need to be aware that Google— formally if not in their heart of hearts— understands having people who believe and promulgate exclusionary things within their business is detrimental to the company’s ability to function. You also need to be aware that if Google does not act as if they believe this, they are violating US employment law, and moreover they are violating a law which has a private cause of action, which means that even if the Trump EEOC decides they hate women, individual Google employees can sue Google for not firing him after he sent his “memo”.

* In other words: had Google not fired Mr. Damore, they could have and probably would have been subject to a lawsuit. You should be aware of this. You should be aware that the facts of what Mr. Damore did (did he distribute his writing in official company capacity, using company resources etc? was he in a position of authority over other employees?) alter the likelihood of such a lawsuit. You should also be aware that Google is aware of this, Google has all the facts concerning Mr. Damore in hand, and Google has had all of this reviewed by very good lawyers. (If you think Google should have moved quicker after news articles about Mr. Damore, you should be aware they probably wouldn’t act until they were sure they had properly gathered those facts.)

* Maybe you disagree with this. Maybe you disagree with the 50-year judicial consensus concerning harassment in a workplace and U.S. employment law. Whatever. However, if whatever it is you’re saying doesn’t start with being aware that for the last 50 years American law and American corporations have worked a particular way, it’s gibberish. It isn’t even wrong. It’s just gibberish. “Well wait, I don’t think this is right” doesn’t cut it. Businesses and courts do not make decisions the way that a high school debate club or an internet message board resolves arguments. You need to understand why fifty years ago American anti-discrimination law was written the way it was before you can object to it. Otherwise, whatever you’re saying is simply irrelevant to Google or anything they do.

As for research, there's plenty of existing research. Here, this refutes the core idea that the manifesto depends on:

Gender Quotas and the Crisis of the Mediocre Man: Theory and Evidence from Sweden
London School of Economics and Political Science: Gender quotas and the crisis of the mediocre man: Quotas aren't anathema to meritocracy: they increase competence levels by displacing mediocre men, write Tim Besley, Olle Folke, Torsten Persson and Johanna Rickne
Independent: Workplace gender quotas weed out incompetent men and make businesses more efficient, study finds

There have been plenty of other similar experiments; for example a symphony recruiting musicians with a blind test (listening to the performance without knowing if the performer was a man or a woman) resulted in hiring more women. If I can spell out the implication: the non-blind testing was resulting in hiring more mediocre men, blind testing restored some of the balance and let in more highly-competent women. (Who I should note, already went through a lot of hoops to get to that point.)

And, oh look, Google's old interview practices have already been looked at in those contexts, and found wanting: Is Blind Hiring the Best Hiring?

Or perhaps we should look at the biology research?
How does biology explain the low numbers of women in computer science? Hint: it doesn't.

Maybe evolutionary biology?
What differentiates a good engineer from a clueless ignoramus?
I guess not.

Maybe it's just something specific to women and computer science?
Study: Female Coders Better Than Men, But Perceived As Worse
Gender differences and bias in open source: pull request acceptance of women versus men

Our results suggest that although women on GitHub may be more competent overall, bias against them exists nonetheless.

Look, the research specifically in CS directly refutes his arguments!

What about History?
Women pioneered computer programming. Then men took their industry over: How “computer girls” gave way to tech bros
Planet Money: Episode 576: When Women Stopped Coding
A Googler's Would-Be Manifesto Reveals Tech's Rotten Core
A Brief History of Women in Computing
Oh look, the actual history directly undermines his entire premise.

Refusing to Empathize with Elliot Rodger: Taking Male Entitlement Seriously

In 1989, Marc Lépine murdered fourteen women in Montreal for being women and being engineering students. He proceeded to kill himself, having written in his suicide note:

"Would you note that if I commit suicide today 89-12-06 it is not for economic reasons (for I have waited until I exhausted all my financial means, even refusing jobs) but for political reasons. Because I have decided to send the feminists, who have always ruined my life, to their Maker.... Being rather backward-looking by nature (except for science), the feminists have always enraged me. They want to keep the advantages of women (e.g. cheaper insurance, extended maternity leave preceded by a preventative leave, etc.) while seizing for themselves those of men." (quoted by Wikipedia)

Did Lépine and Rodger have some good points? Did they have valid grievances regardless of the regrettable way in which they both chose to express those grievances (mass murder)? I hope you won't have to think too hard before saying "no". Neither Lépine's sense of entitlement to social privileges, nor Rodger's sense of entitlement to sex and racial status, are reasonable.
In Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, Lundy Bancroft (a counselor who co-founded the first program for abusive men in the US and has worked with abusive men for many years) shows that domestic abusers don't abuse because of their feelings, because they're out-of-control or angry, or because they are mentally ill or influenced by substances. They abuse because of their thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes, which create a coherent justification for abuse -- largely through beliefs that they are entitled to something from a woman, and are morally justified in punishing her if she doesn't provide it.
Likewise, Lépine believed that he had a right to a job and that women were oppressing him by being better job candidates than him.
The positions that men have a right to jobs and women do not, and that men have a right to sex and women have a moral obligation to provide it to men who want it, are political opinions. I hope it's obvious to you that these political opinions are wrong.

Not rigorous enough for you? What if it's from the psychology department at Harvard?
Book: Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences

Perhaps IQ?

Demyx wrote:
the Left tends to deny science
concerning biological differences between people (e.g., IQ8 and sex differences)

Please tell me more about these IQ differences I'd love to hear them

The memo doesn't cite any sources, but the one usually referenced as disproving "the Left" on IQ is The Bell Curve, which seems to be what the memo is alluding to. And, well:
Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ

But perhaps writing a memo like this doesn't cause any real harm?
Mistreatment is main reason people leave tech jobs, costing companies $16B per year

What would you do if your colleagues continually shared offensive and stereotypical racial jokes? How would you respond if the same managers who continually made sexist comments also unfairly critiqued your work contributions, while you watched others being fast-tracked for promotions? Or if your co-workers questioned your legal status to work,your English skills, or your ability to do your job?

And, of course, women have heard this all before:

Which is one reason why there's been a lack of people digging into the gish gallop in the manifesto: he's not even original in his wrongness:

Women in the Workplace: A Research Roundup
Why Is It That Women Are Seen As Less Competent?

Thank you for those quality write ups, Gremlin.

In the prior discussion ( in another thread) there was the question of, in essence, should this action make Damore unhireable.

I think, regardless of the specifics of his manefesto*, that someone would publicly act against the stated policies of there employer should give any other employer pause.

Just by the nature of his actions it makes me believe he would have a chance of being a toxic employee. Would he fire up his manefesto machine at other percieved slights like not getting promoted or the soda machine being out of his preferred beverage.

* I am not making light of his specific topic and the discussion of hostility towards women in STEM or more specifically CS is warranted. I just wanted to weigh in that his actions portent a larger red flag as a potential employee.

Garrcia wrote:

Just by the nature of his actions it makes me believe he would have a chance of being a toxic employee. Would he fire up his manefesto machine at other percieved slights like not getting promoted or the soda machine being out of his preferred beverage.

I don't really want to get into an extended discussion about him, given that I don't think it's worth it, but the evidence that's been showing up as reporters talk to people who knew him points to a history of entitled behavior that people have been apologizing and cleaning up after for a while: Fired Google Memo Writer Took Part in Controversial, 'Sexist' Skit While at Harvard for Which Administration Issued Formal Apology. He's been misrepresenting himself as having a PhD and so on, so I'm not going to be surprised if there's more bad behavior in his past.

Also, the one graph he included in the memo used the gamergate colors.

Garrcia wrote:

In the prior discussion ( in another thread) there was the question of, in essence, should this action make Damore unhireable.

It is a risk automatically now: 1) he identified himself as a risk for some sort of human resources enforceable action such as harassment and 2) it can deter hiring good employees. I'm not sure that is "right" (second chances and all) but it is the reality.

I'm sure he has a future as a reporter for some far right publication.

I was just thinking about the comparison between unemployed felons and this guy and have decided that there really is no comparison. A felon after being released from prison has already paid the consequences for whatever crime was committed and are transitioning into a new life without the previous criminal behavior. They are not planning to get honest employment and then brag about their weekend bank robbing sessions on Monday morning. Because they aren't going to *have* bank robbing sessions over the weekend, because they aren't actually going out and robbing banks at all, even if that's what put them in prison to begin with. That was in the past and they aren't doing it anymore, don't want to do it anymore, and agree that it was wrong for them to have done it.

This guy though...he's still robbing banks, wants to rob even more banks, doesn't see any problems whatsoever with robbing banks, and in fact, thinks that people who don't also rob banks like he does as inferior. In fact, he's advertised to everyone that he's robbing banks, informed the authorities exactly when he would be at a bank to rob it, and then when he is inevitably caught robbing the bank (duh!), claims that he had the right to rob it and is going to sue the police for removing him from the bank.

Based on what I already know about his past history and extrapolating from there, I'm willing to put money on him already being on his "second chance" or maybe more like his sixteenth chance. Not to mention that the dude created a PR disaster so big that the CEO of one of the biggest companies on the planet had to cut his family vacation short. He's not a hill you want to die on for second chances.

To pivot a bit, I think one enduring thread that ties this stuff together is fragile masculinity: a widely misunderstood topic, but I think one that's at the root of men writing stuff like the manifesto in question.

The not-a-jock-nerd is particular form of performative masculinity, either too smart or too soft for sexism: in both cases this is a lie.

(That male entitlement article I linked to above goes into a bit of it. I can easily dig up more if the concept isn't clear.)

This particular performative masculine culture shows up a lot in tech:

Which leads me to point to the Tyranny of Structurelessness. Which is a classic feminist piece.

Feminism actually has developed a lot of thought about masculinity, though you wouldn't know it if you just listened to MRAs.


Malor wrote:

It is not up to you to decide that. It is up to the company in question. You have zero business getting into his relationship(s) with his employer(s). It's not your job to punish him. You have neither the responsibility nor the right to do so.

Everyone is entitled to have whatever f*cking opinions they want, and to arrange their lives however the f*ck they want. Him writing an opinion on paper that got some traction in Google is merely expressing an opinion you don't like, and you want to see him punished.

So let me get this straight.

You think it's perfectly acceptable for Damore to publish a 3,000 word unhinged rant about women in technology and the fact that his flavor of alt-right politics aren't embraced at Google, but my having the opinion that he should be fired for those views is "appalling behavior."

If you think it's not up to me to decide that Damore should be fired (something Google thought was completely appropriate and justified) then why, by extension, don't you also consider that it's not up to Damore to decide, based on his screed, that the approximately 22,000 women that work for Google should be marginalized or pushed out in favor of, in his opinion, more competent men?

Why do you consider his views "just an opinion," but my opinion is an appalling and authoritarian behavior?

Also note that I never said that Damore should be punished. I said that he should own his screed and be made to defend it in the light of day. The consequence of that would be that he would be all but unemployable.

That's not me punishing Damore. That's Damore facing the consequences of his own thoughts and opinions. That's because any company with a functioning HR department and moderately competent in-house counsel would consider Damore to be a walking hostile work environment. Just like Google did.

Malor wrote:

In this regard, leftists are tremendously worse than the people on the right. It is appalling behavior. If you think they're wrong, it's fine to say so. It's fine to write another paper rebutting his. It's fine to argue.

It is not okay to try to stick yourself into his other relationships. You don't have the f*cking right to do that. It's control-freaky and extremely authoritarian. "People like you don't belong in Our Just Society".... and by imposing your viewpoint, you're making it a different form of unjust society.

Two things.

One, you're making it sound like I personally led a campaign which, thanks to my tireless efforts and my deep, personal connections with the leadership team at Google, got Damore fired.

But I didn't do anything but make a post on a gaming forum that said he should be fired for his views and that those views would make him unemployable at other companies.

According to your own words, that's a completely acceptable for me to say. I'm allowed to have the opinion that Damore should have been fired and that I think other tech companies will--and should--view him as too toxic to hire.

Two, and this is getting into a broader discussion, I don't care in the least that by "imposing" my viewpoint it's making a different form of unjust society. That's because it would literally take hundreds of years of sustained effort to move the societal needle from where things are today to the lefty dystopian world you have in your mind. I'm much more concerned that we get from where we're at to an actual Just Society more quickly.

I'm not the slightest bit sympathetic to a marginal white male college applicant who loses out to a woman or a person of color (or both). Why? Because that candidate is just getting the barest whisper of a taste of how the deck has been stacked against anyone who isn't a white dude since, well, practically forever.

You don't create a just society by admitting that one group of people has historically gotten all sorts of advantages and perks, but moving forward everyone should be treated the same. That doesn't address the fact that that one group is lightyears ahead other groups because they've gotten a leg up for generations.

Instead, you have to tilt the scales in favor of groups that haven't gotten those historic advantages and keep them there until we, as a society, actually have a level playing field and not just "equality of opportunity," which is just another way of saying "I want to keep the massive head start I got by f*cking over your ancestors."

Is that "unjust" for the white guy who got passed over for a promotion and now has a new female boss? Maybe.

But society--and, by extension, that white guy--has been very comfortable with the unjustness of keeping women outside of the workforce, then outside of all but certain "feminine" jobs, and then outside of management positions over the years.

Any suffering and disadvantage that white guy thinks he's experiencing absolutely pales in comparison to the real suffering and disadvantage other groups have experienced throughout our history. He is literally a snowflake that's on top of an iceberg of social injustice.

Malor wrote:

You desperately want to punish opinions, but his opinion didn't hurt anyone. We discover truth by looking at all of them, not trying to turn someone into a f*cking unemployed pariah for disagreeing.

Others have covered this better. You're simply wrong in this.

And, again, I haven't turned Damore into an unemployed pariah. He did that all by himself.

Malor wrote:

What the hell happened to, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it?" We lose those values at our deepest peril. There has to be room for everyone. You're trying to drive out the racists and sexists, to shut them the f*ck up, because goddammit, you are right and they are wrong and they cannot be allowed to exist.

They don't have to tolerate you, either.

That quote is an expression of social privilege. It's literally "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it because what you're saying really doesn't affect me in the least."

Damore's horrible ideas about women weren't just an opinion that didn't hurt anyone. There were plenty of tweets and media coverage of women being harmed by what he said. There were fantastic explanations by women here about how, specifically, Damore's "opinion" was bullsh*t and harmful.

As a society we don't lose anything in the least by making the next Damore think twice about saying that women are biologically inferior to men or that they're too neurotic to be managers. In fact by coming down hard on him gets our society closer to one of its actual core values: that everyone was created--and should be treated--as equals.

And there is room for everyone in "Our Just Society." For sexists and racists that room is chained up in the basement or locked away in the attic. They're free to believe and say whatever they want. But that right to freedom of expression isn't also a right to be free of the social consequences of said expression.

You said that we discover truth by looking at all opinions. It's 2017.

Can't we agree that the opinion that women and people of color are somehow inferior to white men is simply untrue? How much longer does our society have to coddle white men and pretend that their sexist and racist opinions are something that needs to be treated with respect and serious discussion? When can we, as a society, finally say "we've already endlessly discussed this and you're simply wrong"? When can we also say "it's not our job to hold your hand and explain, in excruciating detail, why you're wrong because you're an adult and can read"?


I think it's also important to clarify the difference between free speech in society and free speech in the workplace. You absolutely have the right in this society to say and believe whatever crazy, repugnant thing you want. I may not agree that the world is flat or vaccines cause autism or that women are biologically inferior in the tech workplace. But you should not be legally punished or censored for expressing those crazy beliefs in your own home or the street corner for that matter.

That right certainly doesn't extend to the workplace where you don't have the right to not be fired from your job for speech that makes others feel threatened or marginalized. And that doesn't give you the right to not be hired by other companies in the industry who can find equally competent employees who don't carry your baggage. There are multiple instances of people being fired for racist or offensive comments that they've made on social media in their private lives. This was actually sent directly to co-workers at the place of employment. Hard to imagine how that can be viewed as defensible in any circumstance.

And I don't think Google's response is particularly unique. In the private practice where I worked, if one of the physicians had sent out an email to the rest of the docs explaining that there were biologic reasons justifying the fact that there were fewer female physicians in our group, he would have either sent out an apology and retraction followed by lots of counseling and coaching or been fired immediately. And no one will ever accuse our docs of being lefties.

Malor wrote:

What the hell happened to, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it?"

An aphorism coined by a correspondent of Voltaire's when referring to the governmental condemnation and public burning of a book Voltaire didn't care for hardly applies to the current situation, but what the hell.

A lot of us realized that we were being suckered into dying in the defense of people who couldn't give a rat's ass about us, if they weren't actively trying to create a society where we were further marginalized than we already are.

Maybe instead of breaking ourselves to appease the sensibilities of people who prized the status quo over our well-being, we realized that the hypothetical people we were being asked to defend to the death had rights plenty secured as it is, and we decided to start telling them where to shove their bigotry.

Just a thought, but what do I know, I'm a free-speech hating leftist.

Damore sounds like someone took the negative characteristics of all the male characters in The Big Bang Theory and consolidated them into one insufferable little turd.

I'm also going to point out that there's a difference between a punishment and a consequence.

You can certainly make the case that Davore deserves to lose his job as a punishment for what he did, but I'm not going to do that here, because you can very easily make the case for losing his job as a natural consequence.

With his manifesto, he showed:

  • He can't be trusted to work effectively with female colleagues
  • He has a severe misunderstanding about the job requirements of a software developer, considering he thinks collaboration skills and people skills are not necessary for all or most developers
  • He blithely took an action that caused a major PR incident and that will likely have legal repercussions

All of these and more show that he is not fit to be an employee of Google, and perhaps not fit to be a software engineer at all.

Great post, Demyx.

Wired got hold of screen caps of some of the internal Google chats about the Damore's memo, including his responses.

"I didn't extend my '(white) men are superior' argument to non-whites because I think I'm more knowledgeable about gender issues than I am about racial issues."


"By 'open and honest discussion' I meant only say something if you agree with me."


And, surprising no one, Damore considers himself a libertarian. And, like every good libertarian, Damore's now turning the to evil government and their unjust and restrictive rules and laws to fight the fact a corporation fired him.


Also, it's come out that Damore penned his screed during a 12-hour flight to China after attending a Google diversity training program:

Los Angeles Times wrote:

"I went to a diversity program at Google and … I heard things that I definitely disagreed with,” he told Stefan Molyneux, a libertarian podcaster and author. Damore said he had some conversations at the program, but “there was a lot of, just, shaming — ‘No, you can’t say that, that’s sexist’; ‘You can’t do this.’… There’s just so much hypocrisy in a lot of the things that they’re saying."

He said that after the training, he wrote the memo to clarify his thoughts.

SallyNasty wrote:

Great post, Demyx.

As usual.

I don't really want to discuss Damore more than necessary, because he's only one example of a type. But maybe it's illustrative. I'd venture to guess, based on the accounts of people who knew him previously, that he's had this stuff explained to him before and he dismissed them then, too. I've known people like that: it's a sadly common pattern.

Plus, well, if you're continually having people explain to you that something is sexist, and you persist in not understanding why, they'll often throw up their hands and tell you that it's a professional environment and you're expected to conduct yourself accordingly even if you don't understand it. (And he, like other Google employees, signed their code of conduct when they were hired, agreeing to abide by the rules.)

A lot of the time that behavior pattern stems from a basic insecurity. As I mentioned above, the fragility of performing masculinity easily turns toxic. He even touches on that in the manifesto--complaining how men are having difficulty living up to expectations. Only, instead of fixing his expectations and working to redefine masculinity in a healthy way, he would rather we just change the entire environment around him to suit him better.

The current 4chan line on the memo, picked up by some pundits, is that it wasn't 'anti-diversity', solely based on him claiming in the text that it wasn't and ignoring all the ways the then proceeds to undermine that statement. Also, his "I'm-not-talking-about-individuals" dodge is super disingenuous.

(Based on how quickly he jumped on the Molyneux and Peterson bandwagons, not to mention the things he linked to in his manifesto, I'm also guessing he already had a lot of familiarity with the alt-right spaces.)

Gremlin wrote:

Also, his "I'm-not-talking-about-individuals" dodge is super disingenuous.

Yeah, if he thought "well women are worse programmers, statistically, but Google is only hiring the women that are N numbers of standard deviations up the sh*tty female bell curve, so everything is fine" he wouldn't have written his manifesto. Just writing the manifesto shows that he thinks "well women are worse programmers, and Google isn't taking that into account enough, so we've hired a bunch of women programmers that are worse than the men".

Gremlin wrote:

The current 4chan line on the memo, picked up by some pundits, is that it wasn't 'anti-diversity', solely based on him claiming in the text that it wasn't and ignoring all the ways the then proceeds to undermine that statement.

This should surprise no one.



bandit0013 wrote:
Demyx wrote:

He blithely took an action that caused a major PR incident and that will likely have legal repercussions

Actually he posted it on an internal discussion board. The person who caused the major PR incident was the one that leaked it to the public. Should they be fired?

Whether the leakers will face consequences depends entirely on Google's internal policies; looking over their code of conduct they have a specific exception for whistleblowers. I don't know if it applies here. If you're asking if they should have leaked it, making it a moral question, that's slightly different.

The PR issue, at its core, is that he was actively, albeit indirectly, harassing women and doing the exact kind of thing that causes $16 billion dollars in losses from valuable people leaving the tech industry. And Google's already under federal investigation for extreme gender pay discrimination.


bandit0013 wrote:

As a Woman in Tech, I Realized: These Are Not My People - Bloomberg View
by Megan McArdle
The Google memo, saying women aren't very into engineering, reached a similar conclusion.

Yeah, uh, I'm not going to take one anecdote from a woman who is self-described as not being interested in tech. Not when I can find you dozens of women I know personally who would happily spend their weekends building fiber-channel networks or robots or the DirectX libraries that run your games.

Not to mention the socialization that prevents women who are interested from having the opportunity to experiment. One cause that's sometimes pointed to in why the gender shift in CS happened was that before the '80s young men and women both entered college with approximately the same hands-on computer knowledge (i.e. none) but once boys were expected to have extensive personal computer practice that was denied to girls that affected the incoming students.

And sexism has been embedded in the industry a long, long time. Partially in hardware/software divide, where software was seen as a woman's job. And stuff like when Margaret Hamilton was at MIT and had to put up with the hackers there screwing around on the weekend and making undocumented changes that she had to debug because they were preventing her from getting actual work done.

Which also points to a deeper problem here: the assumption that a good engineer has no work-life balance and will labor for free.

And, of course, India and Russia do a vastly better job of getting women into CS. It's just the US and UK and similar places that have a problem this bad.

Look, there's a ton of research about this stuff, and most of the pundits are going off first principles without realizing that there's a huge body of existing work that already covers most of the easy arguments.

(Edit: I've read McArdle's stuff dating back to the early years of the century. I'm glad for her that she's found a job where's she's happier. Not so glad that she's chosen to use it to make arguments like this.)

Maybe it's because I'm a lowly government tech writer, but who the F in tech has time to write a 3k word manifesto? Seriously, I'd fire his ass just for wasting time, much less all the other stupidity.


jdzappa wrote:

Maybe it's because I'm a lowly government tech writer, but who the F in tech has time to write a 3k word manifesto? Seriously, I'd fire his ass just for wasting time, much less all the other stupidity.

He said in a recent interview he wrote it on a 12 hour flight back to the states. So it doesn't seem to have been written on company time.

Some of it is a pipeline problem. Some of it is women knowing that they're more likely to be harassed in some industries and avoiding them. (In which case this manifesto contributes to the problem.)

Some of it is because the women were murdered in terrorist attacks to prevent them from becoming engineers (the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre).

And, of course, the huge problem with the manifesto is that it's specifically targeted at chasing off the women who have already overcome all of those barriers.

bandit0013 wrote:

This in particular is highly amusing to me because the IT crowd is really big on complaining about the hours, unreasonable expectations, lack of overtime pay, etc and at the same time are the most anti-union people you'll come across. I'd join an IT union in a heartbeat.

Yeah, a union would eliminate most of the employment stuff we've been talking about in these two threads. Not that it would solve the other problems, necessarily--though I suspect that women would be in a far better position in Google with a union.