How to Hire Women

1. Hire women.
2. Actually it’s harder than that, sometimes. Etsy wanted to hire more women engineers, and so they were like, okay, we’re going to do this thing … and then a year later they hadn’t hired any. So then they were like, okay let’s send a bunch of new women engineers to this hacker camp and we’ll pay for it and then we can give them their first job basically and it’ll be great,” and that did work. Thinking outside the [] WELL DONE.

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17 Comments / Post A Comment

Megano! (#124)

Yeah I feel like in certain fields (especially tech fields) fostering and educating women and providing opportunities is more effective than just waiting for them to come to you. Because 1. there aren’t a lot of female engineers in the first place, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that a lot of women are steered away from math, science and tech because of like a million reasons.

Sallymander (#3,159)

@Megano! Ah! The Billfold is baiting me, I just know it! Anyways, I think what you are saying is interesting because most people kind of know or accept that women somehow in some way are being turned off science/math/tech, but it’s hard to identify how and why. Certainly it’s rare anymore for people to explicitly say, “NO MATH FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE A GIRL.” I wonder if some smart, inquisitive researchers can tease out why these attitudes develop?

Megano! (#124)

@Sallymander In my experience, it was never really overt. Most of my experience is with women in tech, but I also used to hang out with a lot of male programmers, and there was a lot of inherent, not even intentional sexism going on there that made me never want to touch a piece of code.

craygirl (#63)

@Sallymander

Ahh this is something I care/research about a ton, as a woman in a STEM field! I think at this point, there’s a few major factors which researchers see affecting this:

- Women are subtly discouraged, or at least not encouraged, to participate in STEM fields due to pre-existing gender biases
- Girls tend to view their math skills as lower than boys who have equivalent skills (due both to the gender biases mentioned above and women in general having lower self-evaluation scores)
- Girls can have lower inate spatial skills (though this are easily corrected with a relatively minimal amount of teaching, it seems like many primary/elementary schools don’t offer the necessary training)
- As @Megano! mentioned, low numbers of adult women in STEM fields means less mentors/advisors for younger women.

Some good links to research on these topics:
http://www.aauw.org/learn/research/upload/whysofew.pdf (long as hell, but there’s an executive summary in the first few pages)
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/09/14/1211286109.full.pdf+html

craygirl (#63)

@craygirl

Wowwwww sorry to get so rambling! Clearly an issue that I have a lot of capital-F Feelings about, hope it didn’t end up preachy.

Safari (#3,209)

@Sallymander It’s actually not all THAT rare for people, especially parents and educators, especially male parents and educators, to say “no, STEM is for boys.”

Also there’s the factor, which women are reluctant to talk about and men reflexively dismiss, that gendered harassment, ranging from microaggressions to sexual assault but usually hovering right around “this place reeks and everyone has porn pinned up in their workspaces and all the men talk constantly about their dicks and ask me really pointed, aggressive questions about being a girl and make awkward NiceGuy(tm) passes at me and challenge every opinion I state as if I just made it up to impress them,” is something that makes many women go “You know what, fuck this, this is not what I want to spend my life surrounded by” That can happen as early as middle school, and the men who triggered it will always be completely oblivious to the role they played and get incredibly indignant if anyone ever suggests they’ve created an environment women don’t feel comfortable in, or that blame for the outcome of that situation lies with anyone but the woman.

Sallymander (#3,159)

@craygirl Meee toooooo I am a female computer programmer. In my personal experience I have never felt discouraged because of my sex, but that is kind of an obvious thing to state I guess since clearly I am speaking from the perspective of having already pursued this field etc etc.

@Safari I don’t know who you are or where you come from, but your understanding of the world seems to be not unlike that of the people you criticize. You are painting people with some broad, stereotyping strokes there, my friend. It’s one thing to have a thoughtful discussion about gender imbalance in the workplace and another thing to proclaim, “ALL MEN ARE WALKING PENISES.” The former is thoughtful and constructive; the latter is not. You seem to have some awfully cruel assumptions about men in tech, in particular.

@Megano! I am so with you about unintentional sexism, and I would wager most men would be uncomfortable in a group of unfamiliar women as well. But, I’m sorry it made you never want to look at code! I mean, maybe you wouldn’t like it anyway, but maybe you would! And for what it’s worth, I’ve made plenty of excellent male friends in this field.

Megano! (#124)

@Sallymander I do know they exist, just not so much at the school I was at, methinks.

Sallymander (#3,159)

@craygirl One more thing!!! So, I am definitely a loner-type, but even I found a lot of value in the social interactions I had in school. It’s definitely motivating and inspiring to have friendly discussions about technology and one’s latest personal projects, and that’s something that classes alone can’t provide. So that’s one area where girls who only make female friends might have a harder time. At its root though, that same-sex friendship preference is itself a product of gendered ideas that children are raised with, i.e. that little girls should play with little girls and boys with boys.

craygirl (#63)

@Sallymander

OMG, me too! Programmer love! (The ‘cray’ in my username is for the supercomputer!)

I haven’t noticed much of it, since I started CS in college and most of my professors were hippie liberal types (<3) who were very interested in promoting women in STEM. I did notice it more in the attitudes of my male TAs, though, who probably had less experience with female students since they were only a few years older and hadn’t taught much.

Sallymander (#3,159)

@craygirl Weee! Hugs all around!

Now that you mention it, I did a quick mental check and all my CS TAs were in fact male. They were also all above-and-beyond awesome instructors, but seems I got lucky! Ironically the one time my female-ness was a source of discomfort was when I had a female professor who was over-the-top rah-rah about women in tech, and any time a female student volunteered a correct answer in class, she’d be all like, “OMG GUYS DID YOU SEE HOW A GIRL ANSWERED THAT QUESTION???” Haha I’m guessing that was mayyyyybe not the right way to go about it. She meant well, though!

@Sallymander Another female STEM professional checking in, and while no one ever told me I couldn’t go into science and my parents were really supportive, there was definitely a bunch of tiny little obstacles I experienced that I wouldn’t have as a man. It’s been everything from elementary school teachers ignoring my interest in science while pushing my interest in writing, to TAs and profs who behaved professionally but distantly towards female students but who would joke around with their male students, to coworkers being surprised that a woman who wears makeup can also life heavy fieldgear.

Obviously, none of those have stopped me or the large number of women I work with, but when they add up I can see them making a difference for some people.

Brunhilde (#78)

@Megano! oh, is this where the felmal STEM professionals hanging out today? Sorry I’m late, my database was being a bitch earlier.

sintaxis (#2,363)

Ha, I love that the banner photo is the CTO giving the presentation to a bunch of dudes. Doesn’t really look like a lot of women were invited to that talk.

annpan (#3,219)

“One more pro-tip: Etsy’s seen the most success when there’s either zero or two women engineers on a team…because if there’s only one, she’s a woman engineer as opposed to just an engineer.”

:(

Megano! (#124)

@annway :( :(
Also it’s so easy to get ganged up on in that situation!

Safari (#3,209)

@annway Reminds me of the study of women in TV writing rooms that discovered that the number of female staffers it takes for the male writers to start thinking “whoa, there’s way too many women here, we’re starting to be outnumbered” is… two.

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