Monday, March 31, 2014

The Hidden Reason Women Aren't Making It To The Top

by Susan Clancy, Ph.D.
Originally Published: March 31st, 2014

Last week, the head of an investment bank with a global presence invited me to give a talk to his top leadership team about “best practices in promoting gender diversity.” Such a request is increasingly common.  A fast growing body of new data, collected by leading organizations like HBS, McKinsey, Catalyst, BCG, Goldman Sachs and Deloitte, indicate a clear link between gender diversity in leadership and firm financial performance (ROI, ROE, TRS), across diverse industries.
During the part of the talk where I discuss the impact of gender bias on women’s advancement, he stood up and interrupted.  “You can skip over this part of the talk”, he said.  “HR did a survey.  People here say they are not biased; they treat men and women equally.” As I looked out at the audience, mostly men, all nodding wisely in agreement, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The moment was a crystal clear snapshot of why so many diversity efforts fail; business leaders have no idea what they are up against.
Gender bias is unconscious; you are not aware it’s impacting your judgment.
Let me give you an example. A boy and his father are involved in a car accident. The father is killed, but the boy is taken to the hospital and into surgery. Upon seeing him, the surgeon says, “I can’t operate on this boy because he’s my son.” What sex did you initially picture the surgeon as? If you assumed the surgeon was male, you’re in the majority.  This is not because of any conscious intent to evaluate men or women differently. It is because you have been conditioned to associate certain roles with men.
Thanks to the pressures of natural selection, humans have some cognitive mechanisms built in that allow us to quickly adapt to change. One of them is the ability to learn quickly. According to the law of association by contiguity — first hashed out by Aristotle and then refined by Ivan Pavlov and John Watson in the 20th century — if you repeatedly pair two things together, these two things will subsequently become associated in the person’s mind. The thought of one will elicit the thought of the other.
Since the beginning of most of our lives, when we saw a leader on TV, in the newspaper, movies or history and fiction books we read, it was a man.  Whether we wanted to or not, we have learned, unconsciously, to pair the two.  When we think leader, we think man.  As a consequence, female professionals are evaluated by different standards than men. They have to work harder and better to be seen as capable.
In a recent interview, Jim Turley, CEO of Ernst and Young relayed the following anecdote.  “Three women on the board made individual comments that were similar in direction, which I didn’t respond to.  Not long after they spoke, a fourth person, who happened to be a man, made a comment in line with what the women had been saying and I said “I think Jeff’s got it right,” no even aware of what I had done.  To their great credit, the women didn’t embarrass me publicly.  They pulled me to the side and played it back to me.  It was a learning moment for me.”

How is gender bias playing out right now in the firms you work for? If John and Jane have the same resume, John is more likely to be seen as fit for the job. If they both get interviewed, John will get asked different questions than Jane.  Hers will be more likely to involve her personal life (e.g., is she married?  Does she have kids?  Is she planning to have them?). If they both give the exact same presentation, people will listen more during John’s, and then evaluate it more positively afterwards. If they are both going to be promoted, John’s is more likely to a strategic/direct profit-loss responsibility role, Jane’s to an operational/support one.
How to “work around” gender bias?  There are two critical first steps. First, leaders need to raise organizational attention to its existence. Second, they must implement transparent and objective recruitment and performance evaluation systems to override the unconscious and subtle ways bias impacts talent assessment. Doing so is not a matter of “fairness.” It is one of strategic talent management.
In today’s increasing global, competitive, fast moving global economy, one in which women are 50% of the workforce and 80% of family consumer decision makers, only those organizations that can get both men and women to leadership will remain competitive.

Read the original article from Forbes here: 

Discrimination Against Children of Color Begins in Preschool, Says New Study

by Judy Molland
Originally Published: March 31st, 2014

The racial disparities in American education, from access to high-level classes and experienced teachers to discipline, were highlighted in a report released on March 21 by the Education Department’s civil rights arm. Turns out, black students are more likely than other racial groups to be suspended from U.S. public schools, even as preschoolers.
African-American children represent about 18 percent of children in preschool programs in schools, but they make up almost half of the preschoolers who are suspended more than once, the report said. Six percent of the nation’s districts with preschools reported suspending at least one preschool child.
Minority Students Most Subject to Suspensions
Advocates long have said get-tough suspension and arrest policies in schools have targeted mostly minority students, but much of the emphasis has been on middle school and high school policies. This was the first time the department reported data on preschool discipline.
As The Daily Beast reports:
In 2012, for instance the Department of Education found that blacks accounted for 35 percent of students suspended at least once, and 39 percent of all expulsions. This, despite the fact that African Americans are just 18 percent of the total student population.
And of course, there are particular places where the rates of suspension and expulsion are insane. Of the students suspended under zero tolerance policies in New Orleans in 2009, for instance, all of them were black.
Earlier studies have found that these high suspension rates for black students, and especially males, exist among older students as well, Yale associate professor Walter Gilliam said. The race gap “was bad then, and it’s bad now,” Gilliam said. “You don’t have to be able to split hairs to see how disproportionate it is.”
Not Just Expulsion: Also About Referrals and Remedial Classes
It’s not just about being kicked out. The Daily Beast reports that compared to their white counterparts, black boys are three times more likely to be placed in remedial or “problem” classes, as opposed to receiving counseling or a diagnosis. In 70 percent of school-related arrests, it is black or Latino students who are involved. The same goes for referrals to law enforcement; in one Mississippi school district, for example, 33 out of every 1,000 students have been arrested or referred to a juvenile detention center, the vast majority of whom were black.
This Is All Part of the School-to-Prison Pipeline
Social-justice activists have been raising the alarm for years now about the “school-to-prison pipeline,” which the ACLU describes ”as a disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.” It works like this: students, especially students of color, are hit with outrageous and disproportionate disciplinary measures in the school system.
This causes them to fall behind in their classes, but it can also result in students being suspended or shuffled off to separate classes for troublemakers. This of course results in higher dropout rates and eventually higher imprisonment rates.
There are myriad reasons why this is happening, but at least in some parts of the U.S., more enlightened thinking is taking over.
Restorative Justice
Restorative justice is the name of a program increasingly offered in schools seeking an alternative to “zero tolerance” policies like suspension, expulsion and truancy courts.
Since suspending students, or sending them to court, often leads to academic failure, thereby perpetuating the very behavior it is seeking to address, restorative justice instead provides a way of addressing negative behavior by keeping a student at school and using various means to encourage the offender to take responsibility and make amends.
The approach, which is now taking root in schools in Oakland, Calif., as well as Chicago, Denver and Portland, tries to nip problems and violence in the bud by creating stronger and more open relationships between students, teachers and administrators.
This is an important step forward, but I think we need to look at the statistics about minority preschoolers, and ask ourselves why these young children are so angry? Why do they need to act out? The answer will take us far beyond the education system.

Read the original article from Care2 here: 

Sexism, double discrimination and more than one kind of prejudice

by Laura Bates
Originally Published: March 31st, 2014

In our second extract from Laura Bates's book Everyday Sexism, she explains how sexism intersects with other prejudice and asks what feminists should do about it
Double discrimination is a recurring theme for the Everyday Sexism project.
Double discrimination is a recurring theme for the Everyday Sexism project. Photograph: Jose Jacome
Since the Everyday Sexism Project started, many of the stories we have catalogued have described not just sexism, but sexism intermingled with other forms of prejudice – racism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ageism, disableism, stigma around mental-health problems, and more. Again and again, we've heard from women in same-sex relationships being fetishised and asked for threesomes when they're just trying to walk down the street, trans women mocked and belittled and hounded from public spaces, Asian women being labelled as "easy" or "obedient", sex workers accused of being complicit in their own assaults, disabled women infantalised and patronised, and countless similar stories.
"Double discrimination" (or, indeed, triple or quadruple) has proved to be a major recurring theme within the project and is a crucial focus for modern feminismIntersectionality means being aware of and acting on the fact that different forms of prejudice are connected, because they all stem from the same root of being other, different or somehow secondary to the "normal", "ideal" status quo. So, just as women suffer from sexism because our society is set up to favour and automatically take men as the norm from which women deviate, so the same is true for people who are different from other dominant norms – such as being heterosexual, white, cisgendered and non-disabled. People also often face prejudice as a result of other characteristics, such as age, class and religious belief.
If we are to tackle the fact that women have been historically oppressed because of characteristics that are seen to be different from the male norm, how can we protest such treatment while simultaneously excluding from our own movement the needs and agendas of those with other stigmatised characteristics? This is particularly true in the case of our trans sisters, who some feminists believe should be excluded from some areas of the movement by virtue of not fulfilling required characteristics of womanhood – a deep irony for a group fighting forequality regardless of sex.
There were huge numbers of project entries that clearly demonstrate two or more kinds of prejudice combined. Many women of colour, for example, have described suffering not only from both racism and sexism but also from a particular brand of racist sexism that conflates and exacerbates the two.
"I am Japanese. Frequently told by white men that Japanese, Chinese, Filipina, Asian women are 'better' than the 'feminazis', 'femicunts' in the west and 'know how to treat men'; we will cook and clean."

"I was walking on my university campus with my boyfriend, when we walked past a group of guys, one of whom shouted out 'What did you pay for her then? Is she a mail order?' My boyfriend is Chinese and I'm half Indian."
Writer Reni Eddo-Lodge says that not all women experience incidents like street harassment in the same way:"There's particular fascination with African women's bodies and because of the likes of hip-hop videos – the production of which is controlled by black men in a heavily male-dominated industry – our bodies are rarely equated with innocence and piety and instead are deemed as permanently sexually available." This idea of black women as exotic, hypersexualised creatures can be seen again and again in cultural stereotypes. Try typing "pretty" into Google image search and you are greeted with pages and pages of white women's faces (the fashion industry is notoriously white: of the 75 British Vogue covers since the beginning of 2008, black women have featured on just three, while Kate Moss alone has graced nine); but type in "sexy" and suddenly far more women of colour appear – though they remain far less represented than white women. Sexism impacts hugely on women's lives, careers and success. When prejudices intersect the same is doubly true.
And, as demonstrated by accounts of other forms of sexism, these combined prejudices become evident at a tragically young age. "I reported a boy at school who had been making racial and sexual remarks to me and other girls of ethnic minorities for about a year. Because, even though teachers and other students could hear the disgusting comments he was making about me being a 'black whore who he wanted to put in a cage', a Pakistani girl being a 'bomber' and stating the only attractive females were white, it was dismissed and nobody said a word."
The great effect of media stereotypes on the treatment of particular groups of people – especially those suffering various forms of double discrimination – is a vital part of the problem. According to new figures released in May 2013, just 18% of television presenters over the age of 50 are women. The percentage for disabled women, LGBTQI women and women of colour is likely to be even lower.
The problem is exacerbated and inflamed by two key factors. First, such women are so rarely portrayed on screen as to be considered strange and unusual. Second, when they are present they have generally been moulded into hackneyed caricatures that play to every stereotype in the book and exist solely to satisfy a specific storyline.
"The dearth of any women in the media anywhere near my size (I'm a UK 18) who isn't a) a pathetic lonely loser, or b) the 'before' shot on a weight-loss show."

"As a physically disabled woman, I feel invisible, both in the media and in real life. No one seems to think that I have a sexuality or even sensuality. There seem to be very few characters in films and TV shows who are incidentally disabled and/or queer."

"Next to no programs portray lesbians as just one of the double-discrimination characters, without being a story feature and portrayed to meet (hetero male?) viewer expectations. I'd note that we are a diverse bunch and don't have a 'look' so much!"

"The media's complete failure to be able to cover trans folk in any way that considers them as people first and trans second – instead it is always made to be their entire identity, whether in the rare television shows when a trans person features or in the papers, where they insist on referring to people like Chelsea Manning as 'Bradley' and 'he' irrespective of her own wishes."

"Working-class women are rarely portrayed in a good light in the media, and equality of opportunity rather than focusing on women at the top is something feminism needs more of."
The battle can feel endless – because it is a far more complex issue than just achieving representation in itself. Before trans people can even begin to fight for equality, for instance, they first have to overcome enormous ignorance and lack of understanding about their experience.
"A close friend of mine is a trans man and has been told many times by people who knew him before his transition (which began towards the end of his time at high school) or have seen pictures of him as a child that 'it's a shame such a pretty girl wants to look like a guy,' implying that hisgender identity is a choice and deliberately neglecting the duty of anyone born with female organs to look feminine."
One of the reasons why it is so important to let members of oppressed groups tell their own stories in their own ways is that it's so easy to think you're getting it when you're not. In much the same way as many of the men writing to the project said they thought they knew about sexism when they imagined a catcall or a wolf whistle but had no concept of how it actually impacted on women's lives, living it every day, influencing every choice and thought. Because it isn't just about the individual incidents; it's about the collective impact on everything else – the way you think about yourself, the way you approach public spaces and human interaction, the limits you place on your own aspirations and the things you stop yourself from doing before you even try because of bitter learned experience.
As the writer John Scalzi brilliantly and simply put it on his blog,Whatever: "In the role-playing game known as The Real World, 'Straight White Male' is the lowest difficulty setting there is." Of course, this is not to discount the difficulties faced by, for example, heterosexual white men from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds but it's a ballpark starting point that helps us get the general idea.
This sense of instantly being judged and condemned purely as a result of others' preconceptions also comes across painfully clearly in the entries we have received from disabled women.
"Strangers saying: 'You're hot ... for a girl in a wheelchair."

"I was once assaulted by an older man twice my size getting onto a bus because he thought I looked too young to be using a walking stick so I had to be a 'scrounging lazy little bitch'."
Feminists [need to] include these varied priorities and experiences within the movement for equality. As blogger Dee Emm Elms, who writes Four-Color Princesses, says: "That person on the bus being harassed is still being harassed whether he's being harassed for being religious or for being an atheist or being black or being a woman or because of her clothing or because of her body language or because of her appearance or because of her handbag or because of her accent. That's all the same problem. It's not recognising the basic humanity of a person."

Read the original article from The Guardian here: 

Let's talk about gender and race equality

by Walter Williams
Originally Published: March 31st, 2014

There are several race and sex issues that need addressing. Let's look at a few of them with an ear to these questions: Should we insist upon equal treatment of people by race and sex or tolerate differences in treatment? And just how equal are people by race and sex in the first place?
According to the National Institutes of Health, male infants 1 to 3 months old should be fed 472 to 572 calories per day, whereas their female counterparts should receive 438 to 521 calories per day. That's an official sex-based caloric 10 percent rip-off of baby females. In addition to this government-sanctioned war on women, one wonders whether the NIH has a race-based caloric rip-off where they recommend that black newborns receive fewer calories than white newborns.
Anyone who watches "Lockdown" on television will see gross racial segregation inCalifornia prisons -- such as Pelican Bay, Corcoran and San Quentin -- where prisoners are housed by race. Colored signs have hung above living quarters -- for example, blue for black inmates, white for white, red, green or pink for Hispanic, and yellow for others. Sometimes inmate yard times are racially segregated. Being 78-years-old and having lived through an era in which I saw signs for white and colored water fountains, waiting rooms and toilets, I find California's racial segregation practices offensive.
Prison Law Office, a public interest law firm that seeks justice for prisoners, criticizes such flagrant racial segregation policy, but I question its sincerity. Criticizing racial segregation while not uttering one word about flagrant prison sex segregation is at the minimum, two-faced. In my book, if the all-male military bastion is being eliminated, it stands to reason that prison segregation by sex should be eliminated. No decent American would accept the idea of a prison for blacks and another one for whites. If we value equality, we shouldn't accept one prison for men and another for women. There should be integration.
Speaking of sex segregation, there have been recent calls to end the ban on women in combat units, but there's no mention of the Army's sexist physical fitness test. For a male 17-21 years of age to pass, he must do 35 pushups, do 47 situps and run 2 miles in 16 minutes, 36 seconds. His female counterpart, who receives the same pay, can pass the fitness test by doing a mere 13 push-ups, doing 47 sit-ups and running 2 miles in 19 minutes, 42 seconds. How can anyone who values equality and self-respect tolerate this gross discrimination? You say, "Williams, what's your solution?" I say, we should either force women to come up to the physical fitness standards for men or pass men who meet the female standards of fitness. Maybe we should ask our adversaries which is better -- raising female fitness standards or lowering those of males.
There are a couple of other inequalities that cannot be justified, much less tolerated, in a society that values equality. Jews are only 3 percent of the U.S. population, but they take 39 percent of U.S. Nobel laureates. That's a gross disparity, for which there is no moral justification. Ask any academic, intellectual, or civil rights leader and he'll tell you that equality and diversity means that people are to be represented across socioeconomic lines according to their numerical representation in the population. The fact that Jews are 39 percent of U.S. Nobel laureates can mean only one thing — they are taking the rightful Nobel laureates of other racial groups.
Jews are not the only people taking more than their fair share of things. Blacks are 13 percent of the population but have taken nearly 80 percent of the player jobs in the National Basketball Association. Compounding that injustice, they are highest-paid NBA players. Blacks are also guilty of taking 66 percent, an unfair share, of professional football jobs.

Any American sharing the value of race and sex equality and diversity should find these and other differences offensive and demand that the liberal and progressive elements in society eliminate them.

Read the original article from The Washington Examiner here: 

New Poll Shows Support For LGBT Equality Growing

Originally Published: March 31st, 2014

Americans For Equality, a new bipartisan coalition has formed with the support of the Human Rights Campaign and on March 27 released a new and in depth poll on marriage equality. The poll's release marked the one year anniversary of oral arguments in United States v. Windsor that resulted in the defeat of DOMA and Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Supreme Court case which ended CaliforniaÕs Prop 8 ban and took place March 26, 2013.
With more than 50 cases filed in 27 states, it remains illegal for gay couples to marry in 33 states, 29 of which still have state constitutional bans on marriage in effect. The coalition's press release described the work ahead as "the next phase in the campaign to win marriage equality nationwide."
The results of the bipartisan study of likely 2016 voters was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and TargetPoint Consulting. The study shows that as support for marriage equality continues to grow, voters' attitudes toward the LGBT community and the implications of marriage equality have also shifted.
Key findings
This survey probes deeper than previous polls on marriage equality, exploring which groups have evolved on the issue, voters' assumptions around marriage equality, and what voters believe a country where marriage equality is legal would look like.
The survey shows a huge shift toward social equality, with favorability ratings for "gay and lesbian" people increasing and the number of people who know a gay or lesbian person reaching 75 percent.
The poll shows a 55 percent majority supports marriage equality with young people at the vanguard of change. The survey also shows increased support among older voters, Catholics, non-college educated voters, and Republicans.
Rather than uniform opposition, marriage equality now splits the right, with younger conservatives disagreeing with older conservatives.
Pro-marriage equality forces are winning the fight over kids, culture, and even faith, the issues that have traditionally inhibited support for marriage equality.
But the most important findings in this survey are some of the assumptions voters draw about what the country would look like if gay marriage were legal in 50 states. Nearly 8 in 10 voters believe there would be less discrimination, it would be easier to grow up gay, and same-sex families would have more protection.
The study of 1,000 likely 2016 voters was conducted March 9 through March 16 with a margin of error of 3.1 percent. The pollster over sampled likely voters under 30 and reached 38 percent of respondents by cellphone in an effort to accurately sample the full American electorate, the study said.

Read the original article from Pride Source here: 

The Morning Pride: March 31, 2014

by Zack Ford
Originally Published: March 31st, 2014

Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT’s daily round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here’s what we’re reading this morning, but please let us know what stories you’re following as well. Follow us all day on Twitter at @TPEquality.
HRC Poll - Gay vs Evangelical
- Same-sex couples began marrying this weekend in England and Wales: check out picturesand video.
- President Obama did not discuss LGBT issues with Pope Francis.
- The Department of Justice has launched a new initiative to educate local police departments about how best to serve transgender people.
- A new Human Rights Campaign poll finds that the American public actually more highly favors gay and lesbian people than it does evangelical Christians.
- One of Newsweek’s new owners seems to believe in ex-gay therapy.
- Missouri state Rep. Mike Colona (D) has introduced a constitutional amendment to undo the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying.
- A Catholic high school in Charlotte, North Carolina is facing controversy for inviting Sister Jane Dominic Laurel to speak, who proceeded to claim that homosexuality can be caused byabsent fathers, masturbation, and porn.
- A Taiwanese court has ruled against a same-sex couple seeking recognition of their marriage.
- Italian Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco believes that teaching kids not to bully people for being gay will “corrupt” them.
- Kyrgyzstan is considering legislation that would make it illegal to promote any “positive attitude to unconventional sexual orientation.”
- Seven of the dozen Nigerian men who were arrested for being gay have been released on bail.
- Radical Orthodox Christians in the nation of Georgia are warning that they will respond to any recognition of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) with violent retaliation.
LOGO and GLAAD have responded to the use of transphobic slurs on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
- Elton John and David Furnish have announced that they will marry now that it’s legal in Britain.
- Cameron Diaz has come out more about her sexuality, announcing that she believes “all women have been sexually attracted to another woman at some point.”

Read the original article from Think Progress here: 

Developing diversity: Will IT ever fix its gender problem?

by Rohan Pearce
Originally Published: March 31st, 2014

Statistics confirm that the IT industry still has a long way to go when it comes to dealing with gender inequality.

IT has a diversity problem. And despite being widely acknowledged for a long time, it's not going away in a hurry. Although it's hardly confined to gender, it is the startling gap between men and women in tech — in terms of representation, income and treatment — that has been best studied and documented.
For instance in figures included in the Australian ICT Statistical Compendium 2013, published by the Australian Computer Society, women represented 23.7 per cent of the work force across all IT occupations.
In some segments, it was even worse: Just 17 per cent of software and applications programmers were women. Nine per cent of computer network professionals were women based on figures gleaned from the 2010-11 income year.
"Female taxable incomes are below those of males in every significant ICT occupation," the Compendium notes.
"When looking beyond the IT leadership roles to the proportion of women in IT generally, for 14 per cent of organisations there are no women in the IT department at all, for almost a third of organisations women make up less than one in ten of IT employees, and only four per cent of CIOs indicate their IT teams are made up of a gender balance of 50 per cent or more women employees," the 2013 Harvey Nash CIO survey states.
(This unequal representation extends all the way to the top: "There is only a very marginal change in the percentage of women in IT responding to the Harvey Nash CIO survey in 2013. This year, eight per cent of respondents are female compared with seven per cent in 2012 and 2011," the report also notes.)
Although the existence of statistical studies like these gives an indication that the under-representation of women, at least, is considered a problem by some in the IT industry, it doesn't capture fully the problems of sexism in the tech community.
There is a shameful record of sexual harassment and sexual assault at technology conferences; the grim irony is that if a woman has the temerity to speak up about (or even acknowledge) this kind of culture, rape and/or death threats are not uncommon.

Open source

And sadly, gender inequality in open source communities is widely acknowledged to be even worse than in the proprietary software world. Figures are hard to come by, but a 2009 keynote at OSCON Alex Bayleycited a 2006 EU survey that found only 1.5 per cent of contributors to open source are women.
A survey for a study published in Journal of Information Technology Management, Volume XXI, Number 4, 2010 on open source found that half of the women who participated had experienced online or offline harassment.
However, there are people who are fighting to change the status quo and build an industry that is not just less misogynist, but also more welcoming for queer, transgender and gender diverse people, and under-represented groups generally.
For example, the Ada Initiative founded in 2011 by Valerie Aurora and Mary Gardiner runs projects aimed at increasing women's participation in open source and open culture including conducting 'allies workshops' that can help organisations create women-friendly organisations and workplaces.
And at the start of this year US feminists launched Model View Culturelaunched: A publication that describes its mission as aiming "to present compelling cultural and social critique, highlight the work and achievement of diverse communities in tech, and explore the use of technology for social justice".
Ashe Dryden is the author of The Diverse Team: Healthy Companies, Progressive Practices and frequently presents (including this year at on steps that companies and communities can take to build a culture that is more welcoming of people from diverse backgrounds.
Dryden's book makes what could be described as the 'business case' for putting efforts into increasing diversity. "The book is geared specifically at businesses and people who want to improve the culture and the diversity within their businesses," she explains.
"There has been a lot of research that has shown that the more diverse the internal structure of a company, the more creative they are, the more quickly they're able to solve problems. They tend to have a larger market share, more customers, their customers pay more and they tend to have a higher profit compared to competitors that don't have as much diversity."
"There's a lot that we get just from exposed to different viewpoints and different ideas and different ways of thinking about things that we don't necessarily realise without always being exposed to that," Dryden says.
"Businesses directly benefit from the amount of diversity that they have and if a business' job is basically to make money for shareholders, then that should be something that we're thinking about."
Dryden says there is a growing movement that is seeking to tackle technology's diversity problem. "I think that because the people that are looking at the problems of the lack of diversity are getting much more loud; so too are the people in opposition," she adds. However she believes that "on the whole, things are pushing forward".
"Any time that we've made cultural shifts and are looking at positive progress — you see a lot of push back. This conversation is happening a lot more frequently than it was before. I don't necessarily think that, for instance, the harassment and assault that we have at conferences and that kind of thing are increasing.
"I think that the number of people that are coming forward and reporting them are increasing, which raises awareness and also puts the people that have traditionally had the power in tech in a place where they feel like they have to be on the defensive."
An issue with increasing diversity in open source, in particular, is that the majority of contributions tend to be from people who are either paid by their employer to work on a project or who contribute in their spare time.
"Women and people of colour are far less likely to work at businesses where they pay you to contribute to open source or use your work in contributing to open source and also spend a lot more time [taking care of children] and other dependents, running errands, taking care of other people that are sick, doing more housework — they have far less time to actually do those things," Dryden says.
"The statistics that we do have about [diversity in] open source are almost exclusively regarding gender. So we know that only 1-3 per cent of all open source contributors are women for instance." "A lot of it comes down to a couple of different things," Dryden says. "One is money, another is time, and the last one is professional networks."

Building diverse communities

The starting point for tech communities to increase diversity can be education; for example, people being need to be aware of the relative privileges they enjoy by being part of a majority or dominant group: "Taking the time to educate ourselves about what it's like to walk in somebody else's shoes as — clichéd as it is — and getting to know people who are different to us so we can empathise with other people better," Dryden says.
People also need to be willing to speak out about the discrimination, harassment and worse that take place in the industry.
"When these kinds of things happen, one of the worst things is the people that are supposed to be your friends or your colleagues don't speak up and stick up for you," Dryden says.
"We have a big problem where a lot of people who are coming forward to report publicly the kind of harassment or discrimination they face, and by doing so publicly they now open themselves up to so much more harassment — because 'How dare somebody speak out against these things!'
"Being vocal supporters of the people who have gone through these really horrific things and doing what we can to improve our communities and improve the way that we individually do things is extremely important."
There are "pockets of good and pockets of bad" in most tech communities, Dryden says. "It's also important to note that anybody is capable of making these mistakes where they exclude somebody or remove opportunity from somebody without necessarily realising it," she adds.
"I'm personally part of the Ruby community and one of the things I like about the Ruby community is that we have a lot of these discussions in public, so a lot of people can learn from the discussion and be a part of it," Dryden says.
"I think that the Python community is also doing a really good job trying to push forward diversity initiatives and inclusivity initiatives from the leadership level.
"I think that to make any kind of real lasting progress, we really need more buy-in from people who own businesses, who run open source projects, who run conferences and we're not necessarily seeing that in every community."

Read the original article from Tech World here: 

Why female techies in the 21st century face stone age work culture

by Zoe Williams
Originally Published: March 31st, 2014

“You constantly hear the pipeline argument: there are no women here because there are no women over there. VCs [venture capitalists] blame industry, and industry blames universities, and universities blame schools and schools blame the parents.”
Anne Marie Imafidon is a 24-year-old tech genius and founder of Stemettes (a charity to get girls into science, technology, engineering and maths). She was talking on Thursday night about the dearth of women in the tech industry, in all these industries, in the lead-up to International Women’s Day.
Sixty per cent of all graduates are women, but only 17 per cent of computer science grads are, and only 20 per cent of people studying physics. Only 13 per cent of those working in the tech industry are female.
International Women’s Day used to be the day we spent arguing about what the most important issues should be for International Women’s Day. Is it OK to talk about feminism in rich nations while women are being raped in the Congo? How can you rank the importance of the glass ceiling against the threat of domestic violence?
What I never saw coming was this bizarre situation in which the fields that you’d think of as the most modern, the most cutting edge tech, physics, engineering were replicating working conditions so sexist they make Mad Men look like Spare Rib. Not only are there no women to start off with in this area, but the ones there are leave.
“Isn’t that just because they’re having children?” I ask, with my dumb, humanities, 90s sensibilities. Imafidon and Cate Huston, a software engineer at Google, laugh in my face. “No, it is not because they’re having children. It’s because of the way they’re treated. They’re not hired, they’re not listened to and they’re not promoted.”
To go back to the beginning: does this start in schools? Charles Wallendahl, a young Teach First ambassador who teaches at a Archbishop Lanfranc, in Croydon, thinks not. “Homophobia is a problem in schools. Sexism is not a problem in schools. Most teachers are women. The number of times I get called “miss” when I do the register But kids spend most of their time at home, they pick up these things from their parents.”
And yet, whatever the source of it, it’s definitely at school that the gaps open up. Boys and girls are equally keen on maths at the age of five. By the time they’re eight, girls have internalised the message that they can’t do it. Nimish Lad, from the Wootton Academy, was at a workshop on Friday about stamping out sexism in schools, and said: “I was just speaking to a girl who’s one of our Oxbridge candidates, and she said she didn’t want to do physics, because that’s not how her mind works.”
Dr Anna Zecharia, from Science Grrl (set up to get more girls into science), thinks there’s been a change in gender stereotyping; things are moving, fast, in the wrong direction. “If you look at the gender marketing of toys, sexual objectification of all women, boxing people in to very narrow, old-fashioned gender models, everything in my culture values my physicality above all my other attributes.”
Paradoxically, science itself which I think of as smooth and polished like a test tube, impervious to the emotional demands of prejudice is often the source of this re-domestication drive.
Gina Rippon, professor of cognitive neuro-imaging at Aston University (whom I also met at the schools workshop), said: “There’s this constant drumbeat of biology as destiny, which doesn’t help. People are driven by what they can get published, and what gets published is positive results. So maybe 2 per cent of studies will show differences between men’s and women’s brains, and those are what will be published.”
It’s hardly surprising, then, that girls persistently underperform in what they call “self-efficacy tests” (how good you think you are), compared to their performance in, well, everything else.
Universities have a case to answer, too. Huston tells me a story about how the computer science teams had to be allocated handicaps, and were given one AI student and one girl. In Edinburgh university, this century. A geophysicist (who wished to remain anonymous) said: “When you’re a female science student, it’s a bit like being a professional woman in the Middle East. You’re neither male nor female. You’re a third sex, to them.”
Imafidon (who, just by the by, took her maths and IT GCSEs while she was still at primary school), says: “Look, I don’t get hassle. If I can see something’s happening, and I look at you, you will shut up. The other thing is, I have a reputation. They expect everything I say to be golden.”
Nevertheless, as Huston says: “I still spend all day every day surrounded by dudes.” Imafidon laughs. “Yeah, it’s a weird situation, being the only person in the room who can understand why their girlfriend got upset.”

Read the original article from Gulf News here: