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In Response To Anti-diversity Memo, YouTube CEO Says Sexism in Tech is 'Pervasive' (theverge.com) 642

An anonymous reader writes: YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has responded to the Google anti-diversity memo, writing in a column for Fortune that the questioning of women's abilities is "pervasive" in tech and that the memo is "yet another discouraging signal to young women who aspire to study computer science." Wojcicki opens by saying her daughter asked her, "Is it true that there are biological reasons why there are fewer women in tech and leadership?" Wojcicki says no, it's not true, but the question has still plagued her throughout her career. "I've had meetings with external leaders where they primarily addressed the more junior male colleagues. I've had my comments frequently interrupted and my ideas ignored until they were rephrased by men. No matter how often this all happened, it still hurt," she wrote. In the meanwhile, The Guardian reported on Wednesday that more than 60 current and former Google women employees are considering suing Google on the grounds of sexism and a pay gap.
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In Response To Anti-diversity Memo, YouTube CEO Says Sexism in Tech is 'Pervasive'

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  • her first problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @12:27PM (#54976153) Homepage
    is calling it an "anti diversity" memo... .thats not what it was in the slightest.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Rockoon ( 1252108 )
        And here is Jordan Peterson's interview with James Damore [youtube.com] the poor guy that just got fucked by this bullshit.
    • Re:her first problem (Score:5, Informative)

      by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @01:13PM (#54976739)
      She most certainly DID NOT call it an "anti-diversity" memo, that was the work of some editor (downstream from Fortune) somewhere, trying to get clicks. Try READING [fortune.com] what she wrote.
    • Yes it was. Sorry you are too blinded by emotion to see reason on this. Maybe if you were a woman you'd be able to think more clearly and be less emotive.

  • by naubol ( 566278 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @12:28PM (#54976173)

    As I read the memo, it acknowledge that sexism was an issue. Even in the first paragraph.

    I think not rationally responding to someone's point is becoming rampant in tech.

    • by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @12:33PM (#54976255) Homepage
      exactly. as to her complaining about being talked over and people not listening to her questions until "a guy" said them.... well gues swhat? I AM a guy and ive had the exact same thing happen to me by both men AND women!!! Her sexism is showing
    • As I read the memo, it acknowledge that sexism was an issue. Even in the first paragraph.

      I think not rationally responding to someone's point is becoming rampant in tech.

      To be fair replying to articulate points has never been a strength of the PC crowd. They rely on dogma enforced by mobs. Facts are generally inconvenient for them and are best avoided.

    • As I read the memo, it acknowledge that sexism was an issue. Even in the first paragraph.

      So? Acknowledging a problem doesn't excuse you when you prove to be a part of it.

      I think not rationally responding to someone's point is becoming rampant in tech.

      The points have been rationally responded to time and time again. The first few pages (all I read) were bunk. There were a few correct bits, some wild extrapolation from small results and some out right falsehoods.

      The onus is not on everyone to rationally rebut

  • boo hoo (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @12:31PM (#54976225)

    She was ignored and talked over until she became the CEO, what a sad story. :(

  • women who want their voices heard should be in "corporate IT" instead of "high tech". Lots of women crank out boring-but-necessary code all day, then move up to become team leads and higher, or DBAs, etc. (I've not seen any female SysAdmins, though.)

  • by x0ra ( 1249540 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @12:33PM (#54976251)
    "Virtue signaling at its peak in SV ivory tower."
  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @12:35PM (#54976269)

    I've had my comments frequently interrupted and my ideas ignored until they were rephrased by

    While this may be sexism at work and there certainly is sexism in the field, pretty much everyone experiences having their thoughts interrupted and ignored until rephrased by someone else, with someone else getting the credit for those thoughts.

    • by Areyoukiddingme ( 1289470 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @01:18PM (#54976787)

      I've had my comments frequently interrupted and my ideas ignored until they were rephrased by men.

      I've seen this happen to a female developer at my last job. Superficially it looked like sexism. In actuality, it was merit-based. She would regularly, even frequently, make comments or ask questions that revealed a profound lack of understanding of the language we were all developing in, and she was not new to the language. On the rare occasions when her comment or question had merit, it required a man to rephrase it before anyone would listen to it seriously because she had trained everyone around her to ignore her or discount her input or answer her only to correct her.

      There were half a dozen female developers on the floor. Two of them, including the aforementioned one, were obvious diversity hires who would have been laid off if they were men. The second one didn't even have a technology related degree. Her degree was in English composition, and she did not have an additional one, yet she wrote code all day. It was blatant sexism—in favor of women. The two of them made the lives of the other female developers miserable, just from suspicion and spillover, though they were good developers. It took extra time for new hires to separate their reactions appropriately simply because of those two.

      Having said that, everybody did separate their reactions. No one talked over, ignored, rephrased, or repeated the questions and comments of the female developers who were actually good at their jobs. Merit matters in tech. A lot. Sexist policies that are retaining and promoting women out of proportion to their merit are hurting the cause of women in tech far more than anyone is willing to acknowledge. It needs to stop.

      • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @01:57PM (#54977309) Journal

        . Two of them, including the aforementioned one, were obvious diversity hires

        Yeah because shit male developers never get hired apart from all the fucking time. I love how only the bad female developers are separated out for comment.

        The two of them made the lives of the other female developers miserable, just from suspicion and spillover,

          That's literally sexism in action. No one seems to ever consider "that guy" (you know the one) to some how cast doubt and suspicion on all male developers, yet when you get bad female developers there's suspicion and spillover.

        What the fuck ever happened to merit over gender?

        • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @02:32PM (#54977677)
          Bad developers aren't going to be liked no matter who they are. Bad developers who were specifically hired because of diversity policies are going to be despised more because it's possible that had they not been hired due to some characteristic that has nothing to do with ability a better developer may have been hired instead. There's no guarantee that one would have, but that's not how people tend to think.

          Furthermore, affirmative action policies only further serve to feed notions of racism, because when you try to meet a quota system that requires you to hire candidates in excess of their availability, then you need to do one of the following: 1) Hire candidates from the target demographic with lower skill levels than candidates not of that demographic. 2) Pay higher salaries for quota system candidates in order to lure the most capable away from other offers. 3) Accept lower skill levels across the board and turn away highly skilled applicants who are not in the target demographic.

          The first is going to result in a perception that a demographic is less skilled, the second will result in a perception of inequality based on demographic lines assuming anyone finds out about the pay difference, and the third is just a poor business decision. Never mind that it's not a great feeling if your peers are more skillful than you are because you were hired for characteristics beyond your control and not for your ability. If you have a corporate policy that mandates some kind of quota system or preference towards one, people are going to tend to assume that the people favored in that process are not as good. This sucks even more for the demographic candidates who are highly skilled, because natural human tendency is going to lead people to judge them as being less capable or undeserving.

          All that aside, one would expect female developers to be anecdotally singled out more often due to out-group bias and because in smaller companies, minority individuals stand out more for good and bad. In the case of the first pick any group in any context and if you are a member of it you're less likely to notice poor behavior of people who you identify as being in the same group as you and more likely to identify and remember the poor behavior of the people who you identify as being outside of that group. In the second case, exceptions just stand out more and if you only have a few examples of some mental category you've constructed, you're more likely to draw on those limited observations for future reference and the small number of data points makes it more difficult to have the same broader picture as you would with groups from which there are numerous examples.

          Putting it down to sexism in every instance is just a failure to understand the underlying causes and is just going to piss off everyone else who you invariably lump into the sexism category as part of your brains natural tendency to categorize and generalize.
          • Never mind that it's not a great feeling if your peers are more skillful than you are because you were hired for characteristics beyond your control and not for your ability.

            Ego comes first. What you describe never happens. It's not 'more skillful', it's knowitallmansplainingasshole...

            Strangely, you have to be pretty good at something, just to accept someone is better at anything. The people that can't do shit, are shit at recognizing skill. They project their incompetence far and wide.

        • Yeah because shit male developers never get hired apart from all the fucking time. I love how only the bad female developers are separated out for comment.

          There were two shit male developers. Both of them were even on the same team as the shit female developers. One of them was in charge of the build system. What he created was a clusterfuck of epic proportions. I taught myself CMake in an afternoon just so I could at least partially unfuck it. He got fired as part of a mass layoff six months later. The other one was one of those guys who tried to make himself indispensable by hiding his code, never checking it in to source control. He was in charge of

    • by w1tebear ( 166104 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @02:12PM (#54977471)

      I (female) have been in the software industry since the 80's. My first job was with a small company that made custom printer interface cards. I constituted the entire tech support and software maintenance department (as I said, small company!).

      I would sometimes get calls from customers having problems who would simply not accept what I was telling them. In cases like these I would go down the hall to a male coworker's office and tell him that I had a customer that "needed a deeper voice". He (manager - no technical knowledge) would take the call with me on the extension at the back of the room mouthing the answers to the customer's questions which he would then speak into the phone. The customer would then be quite satisfied with the answers and we would have a good laugh.

      I suspect that things have improved some since then but still run into people who seem to "need a deeper voice".

  • I think a lot of us have wondered, how will the next generation of innovators possibly upset titans like Google? They have unthinkable amounts of money and resources, along with an impressive portfolio of talent, patents and subsidiaries. The answer is that they will voluntarily commit suicide by eroding all trust in their brand, and driving off their most productive people in favor of shit-stirrers, and stifling the creativity and independence of employees who might be able to invent the next big thing --

  • by Idisagree ( 4302481 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @12:51PM (#54976483)

    She says her feelings were hurt due to her experiences...

    coincidentally this vaguely reminds me of a someone who once wrote up a memo about how men and woman can react differently due to biological differences.

    I cant quite remember where or who said it, oh well, I'm sure someone can google it for me.

  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @12:54PM (#54976517) Homepage

    Why is it so hard to admit there is rampant sexism in tech? It's been true for at least 20 years, probably longer. It was definitely true during my time in the industry.

    Just start by admitting there's a problem.

  • by Dlin ( 3867637 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @12:58PM (#54976553)

    Google management is now actively white washing the news never addressing what was in the memo and spreading pure BS, people have to read themselves the memo and compare what Google management is saying, things don't add up at all.

  • Modest proposal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @12:59PM (#54976565) Journal

    The fact that so many men line up to express outrage and hysteria over every single Slashdot story like this is the best proof that there is a serious need for more women in tech jobs.

    • Or... it's annoying and rage-inducing to rational people and we're letting off steam.

      You're not drawing a logical conclusion from the evidence you cite. You're assuming a link without proof because it supports your assumptions, and that's weak thinking.

      • I love how the social injustice warriors attempt to pick apart any study that shows sexism in tech, but when citations are made to opposite sources (see the anti diversity memo) no one of the SIW s here treat them as anything but gospel.

        Double standards.

  • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @01:03PM (#54976607)

    Wojcicki opens by saying her daughter asked her, "Is it true that there are biological reasons why there are fewer women in tech and leadership?" Wojcicki says no, it's not true, but the question has still plagued her throughout her career.

    Or she's just wrong. Choosing not to believe in something doesn't make it go away.

    I'm sure there are plenty of parents telling their children that climate change isn't real, but that isn't going to stop global temperatures from increasing.

    And really it comes down to about the same thing. There are some people who have built their world view around a belief that isn't true, and even when presented with large amounts of evidence to suggest otherwise they will continue to dismiss it. I've found that there are very few people who are scientifically minded and rational and even if they did accept the reality of both climate change and sex-based biological differences, there're just as likely to be off the reservation in some other area like the link between vaccination and autism, GMO food, or even something as laughable as the age of the earth.

    I don't think anyone's really immune and humans have some terrible cognitive inclinations that make us unwilling to let go of view points once we've latched on to them. I was recently at a family reunion and watched some of my relatives get into an argument over some idiotic event in the past for almost five hours. Even after someone got annoyed enough to dig up an old photo on Facebook to prove their point, the other person still wouldn't admit they were wrong and started inventing all kinds of fanciful reasons to explain away the photo. It was kind of surreal, but I've done the same plenty of times myself. I think there should be a class in school about being wrong about whatever and learning to accept new data that challenges our original assumptions.

  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @01:05PM (#54976639) Homepage Journal

    When she was 3-4 she started playing minecraft.
    When she was 6, we assembled her first PC.
    When she was 9, we upgraded her video card.

    She's 11 now. She understands underlying components, she understands basic TCP/IP networking. She understands partitions, how to install an OS. She knows what to not click, and how to keep her computer free of crap. At 11, she's got an equal understanding of tech from when I started at 20. Yet she doesn't want to do it. She wants to be an artist. She thinks all babies are super cute. People call her "Mini-me" because she looks like me, and is good with computers like me. There's nothing wrong with saying, "She's biologically predisposed to not go into an engineering role"

    She never played with dolls or barbies. Always computers, her choice. Yet she does not want to go into an engineering role like her mom and dad. (Actually, her mom moved onto management years ago)

  • The cult of Equality of Outcome for STEM occupations and various high paying jobs, irrespective of ability, interest, desire to work, or other factors, is a noxious beast. Just like the cult of Identity Politics Victimhood

    We're getting wise to you though. Each time you push a regressive campaign against science, or discriminate against merit in favor of identity, we see evidence. When you push Feelz not Realz speech codes and protest again truth, we see machinations.

    Please, keep it up.

  • So, in the previous threads on this one, quite a few people were saying things like, "A number of scientists have come out and said, 'No, he's right about the things in his letter'", or words to that effect.

    So... Who are these scientists?

    Anyone have some names? And fields of science for those names?

    • Four seconds later [quillette.com]...

      Weak dude. No wonder your mind cannot handle advanced concepts like "biological differences are different".

      • Quilette is blocked at work, 'dude'.

        I've no idea why. The blocker says "games", but I have to think that's a mis-classification.

      • Oh, and my request about wanting to know who was saying this wasn't, as you suppose because my mind can't handle certain things.

        It's because I wanted to make sure it wasn't like you see so often in other debates where someone with a PhD in a completely unrelated field (i.e., an electrical engineer PhD talking about climate change) is saying you should believe them because they've got a PhD.

        Because, lord knows, we've ~never~ had that sort of thing happen on Slashdot before.

  • Why lie? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @01:21PM (#54976843)

    I think there are probably some very good and legitimate criticisms that can be made of this memo. I am not even necessarily opposed to this engineer being fired.

    But why lie about the contents of the memo? I am very sympathetic to the idea that diversity is a good thing (as apparently the author of the memo was as well), but I am completely turned off by the fact that the strategy utilized by "the other side" (not the other side from me... yet) is to lie about what's in it.

    It is not anti-diversity. Maybe it's wrong. But it being wrong doesn't make it automatically anti-diversity. Redistributing this falsehood is intellectually dishonest.

    I don't want to be on a side that's wrong. I also don't want to be on a side that's dishonest.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by superwiz ( 655733 )
      Unless the memo is right. In which case, this is a witch hunt that the memo itself predicted.
    • Re:Why lie? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Yosho ( 135835 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @03:29PM (#54978247)

      But why lie about the contents of the memo?

      Discrediting your opposition is much easier than refuting them, especially if they actually have a valid point. The vast majority of people aren't going to read that memo; if you can just convince them that the author is a far-right misogynist who hates diversity, then there are many, many people who will jump on the bandwagon against him without doing any research. This is basically the same thing that happened with GamerGate, if you recall that.

  • Man-hating post-modernists are doing their level best to destroy any business or entity that doesn't elevate women to the point of female supremacy and doesn't toe the line. Any entity that even questions their claims, or doesn't kow-tow to their claims. They despise any attempt to curb their sadly growing power and their institutionalization of blatant, open sexism. This group tells blatant lies and relies on round tables of repeated misinformation through media outlets to spread their insidious philosophy
  • by snarfies ( 115214 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2017 @01:43PM (#54977135) Homepage

    You need to pick a less obvious mouthpiece. Nice try, though, Google.

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