Author Topic: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.  (Read 39036 times)

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Online Howardlong

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #125 on: July 31, 2018, 09:31:28 pm »
Is gender disparity in STEM really "a problem", and if it is, why?

I changed my mind on this in recent years.

While I still continue to encourage everyone into STEM, I used to be of the opinion that lack of gender diversity in STEM was somehow "a problem" that needed solving. Indeed, the Stack Overflow survey sees it as "a problem" but doesn't explain why. (https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2018/#demographics)

I now don't see it particularly as a problem, other than from my own selfish perspective that I would love to see more women in STEM fields, but if women tend to choose to do something else, that's fine by me.

My view now is that it is much more of a problem if you try to manipulate individuals, whatever their gender, to do something that they don't want: that's the very definition of oppression.

Whether women tend to avoid STEM careers for innate or non-oppressive social conditioning reasons, frankly I don't think matters, just as long as we all have the same opportunities. Anecdotally, in my experience all other things being equal, women actually have a better chance of landing a STEM job precisely because of their gender.

As I stated at the head of this post, I changed my mind on this relatively recently, but I am equally open minded to be persuaded it is "a problem" with the right evidence.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #126 on: July 31, 2018, 09:37:23 pm »
I agree with the sentiment but is there a need to discuss this again?

These threads often result in an argument. I'm disappointed to see another one.  :palm:
Agreed. No need to wade into the knee-deep bullshit again.

That said, the past few years have seen a surprising amount of publicity from  female "engineers" trying to create physically impossible products. |O

In fairness, there are plenty of male ones, too.
Idiocy has no favourite gender, nor does dishonesty.
 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #127 on: July 31, 2018, 10:20:35 pm »
While I still continue to encourage everyone into STEM, I used to be of the opinion that lack of gender diversity in STEM was somehow "a problem" that needed solving.
I now don't see it particularly as a problem, other than from my own selfish perspective that I would love to see more women in STEM fields, but if women tend to choose to do something else, that's fine by me.

I've changed my opinion on this too.
I used to support all these "woman only" courses et.al, but now I think it's the wrong approach. We don't need more discrimination, we just need more people doing cool stuff, and perhaps highlighting more females if they do something cool as encouragement for younger girls, but that's about it. The rest is equality of opportunity and the usual speaking up and stamping out real discrimination when it happens.

Quote
Whether women tend to avoid STEM careers for innate or non-oppressive social conditioning reasons, frankly I don't think matters, just as long as we all have the same opportunities. Anecdotally, in my experience all other things being equal, women actually have a better chance of landing a STEM job precisely because of their gender.

Exactly.

Quote
As I stated at the head of this post, I changed my mind on this relatively recently, but I am equally open minded to be persuaded it is "a problem" with the right evidence.

Me too. But I haven't seen any, just lots of assumptions and hot air that isn't backed up by data. In fact the data shows opposite if anything.
So IME we are in the negative evidence territory.
 
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Online BillB

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #128 on: August 01, 2018, 01:32:54 am »
...Idiocy has no favourite gender...

Actually, it does.  Men are more likely to be idiots.  Men are more likely to be geniuses, too.     

 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #129 on: August 01, 2018, 02:21:05 am »
...Idiocy has no favourite gender...

Actually, it does.  Men are more likely to be idiots.  Men are more likely to be geniuses, too.     
That's always interested me some what. Go to any special school and you'll see there are significantly more boys, than girls and the same is true for the brighter pupils who have been moved on a year or two: more boys than girls.
 

Online langwadt

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #130 on: August 01, 2018, 02:32:09 am »
...Idiocy has no favourite gender...

Actually, it does.  Men are more likely to be idiots.  Men are more likely to be geniuses, too.     
That's always interested me some what. Go to any special school and you'll see there are significantly more boys, than girls and the same is true for the brighter pupils who have been moved on a year or two: more boys than girls.

https://i.imgur.com/UuSYPe9.jpg
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #131 on: August 01, 2018, 02:43:18 am »
...Idiocy has no favourite gender...

Actually, it does.  Men are more likely to be idiots.  Men are more likely to be geniuses, too.     
That's always interested me some what. Go to any special school and you'll see there are significantly more boys, than girls and the same is true for the brighter pupils who have been moved on a year or two: more boys than girls.

https://i.imgur.com/UuSYPe9.jpg
That image greatly exaggerates the real effect. Unless you are looking at the top or bottom 0.1% of the population you shouldn't see a big skew between men and women. A special school, which generally deals with several percent of the less able population, should show only a mild bias towards men.
 

Online BillB

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #132 on: August 01, 2018, 03:09:39 am »
That image greatly exaggerates the real effect. Unless you are looking at the top or bottom 0.1% of the population you shouldn't see a big skew between men and women.

That's just it, however.  It's the extreme tails that drive the advancement (or lack thereof) of society.  The large majority of truly great thinkers throughout the ages, those eccentric geniuses, anti-social mad scientists, singularly-driven masterminds have had the combination of traits (emotionally and cognitively) more likely to occur in the men's right-tail distributions.

Strangely, there aren't many complaints about the over-representation of men at the left-tail; the preponderance of men in prison for violence and in institutions for cognitive deficiencies don't make great candidates for postage stamps or statues.

     
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #133 on: August 01, 2018, 06:49:16 am »
That graph is crap. It doesn't show a proper scale.

There are lots of geniuses in prison, as well as those with learning difficulties. Running a gang takes brains.
 

Online langwadt

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #134 on: August 01, 2018, 07:27:17 am »
That graph is crap. It doesn't show a proper scale.

There are lots of geniuses in prison, as well as those with learning difficulties. Running a gang takes brains.

better? https://cdn.psychologytoday.com/sites/default/files/styles/image-article_inline_full/public/blogs/54311/2011/01/54391-45191.gif
 

Offline blackfin76

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #135 on: August 01, 2018, 06:05:06 pm »
That graph is crap. It doesn't show a proper scale.

There are lots of geniuses in prison, as well as those with learning difficulties. Running a gang takes brains.

Are you really a genius when you find yourself imprisoned? Leading a gang may require you to be a little smarter than most other members but it also requires other 'qualities' like the willingness to use violence and a lack of empathy.
 
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Offline TheAmmoniacal

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #136 on: August 01, 2018, 06:20:24 pm »
There are good evolutionary explanations for why women show a narrower distribution in most traits, nature simply play a far more conservative gambler in the genetics of the most important sex.
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Offline razberik

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #137 on: August 02, 2018, 07:10:58 am »
When I was at elementary school (9years) I had only two male teachers. I was angry about that when I was a boy.

Should't we encourage men to apply for teaching field ? The vast majority of my elementary female teachers had low empathy into boys topics.
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #138 on: August 02, 2018, 09:11:37 am »
When I was at elementary school (9years) I had only two male teachers. I was angry about that when I was a boy.

Should't we encourage men to apply for teaching field ? The vast majority of my elementary female teachers had low empathy into boys topics.
Interesting point - K-12 teachers do seem to be mostly women. Maybe because historically, they were generally the ones to care for kids?
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Offline james_s

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #139 on: August 02, 2018, 09:44:56 am »
I actually had almost as many male teachers as female in primary school, no real correlation between quality of teaching and gender, I had some good ones and less good of both.

My observation is that nobody cares about gender ratios in a particular field until it's something with unusually high wages.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #140 on: August 02, 2018, 10:12:27 am »
Quote
Err, the entire narrative of the "gender equality in STEM" movement is predicated on the assumption that when women are more "free" to chose, or more encouraged to chose it, they will chose it. The reverse seems to happen. That tells you something at the very least, which is a long way from nothing.

Engineering is pretty shitty work, in the end. The overall big picture is interesting. But the details are nothing but tedious and soul crushing. And nothing gets finished without a lot of details. The reason anyone does it is for ego and a paycheck. Well, it might not start out that way, but that's where it ends up fairly quickly. :)

I don't mind if women take over this work. The area where woman (and men) should actually care about gender distribution is in business and politics. No one (with real power and privilege) really cares by whom or how the details are sorted out. It's thankless, mindnumbing work. If you want more women to be interested in thankless, mind-numbing work, you have to increase the paycheck. And then you get more men lining up to apply. It don't work. You can change the cart and hope that changes the horse, but it will probably take many generations to see a lasting effect on that horse.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 11:34:32 am by KL27x »
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #141 on: August 02, 2018, 01:29:14 pm »
Engineering is pretty shitty work, in the end. The overall big picture is interesting. But the details are nothing but tedious and soul crushing. And nothing gets finished without a lot of details. The reason anyone does it is for ego and a paycheck.


I'd have to disagree with part of that. Yes it can be tedious and soul crushing at times, but what work isn't? I still find the sense of accomplishment worthwhile, and it says something that most of my hobbies involve engineering of one sort or another. The thing I like about hobbies is I can set a project aside when I get burned out and work on something else instead.

The number of women I've encountered throughout my life who are into engineering at the same level as guys like me I can count on one hand. I wish there were more but there just aren't very many.
 
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Offline Jeroen3

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #142 on: August 02, 2018, 04:27:16 pm »
I actually had almost as many male teachers as female in primary school, no real correlation between quality of teaching and gender, I had some good ones and less good of both.
Yes, that is an problem. Actually quite the opposite from engineering, especially if you look at the generation currently studying for this career, 15% males.

Yet the split isn't this big for special education. (learning difficulties/autism)

Perhaps, this is a cause of the difficulties for getting girls motivated for engineering? Maybe if more men choose typical women fields, more women will choose typical men fields?

Due to this, there is a campaign, "is your boy enough boy" since typical boy behavior was noted to be suppressed. There are multiple reasons listed, lack of male role models t school and home. (divorces) Too quickly labeling an energetic kid with ADHD for no valid reason. But that is beyond the scope of this discussion.

 

Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #143 on: August 02, 2018, 04:37:33 pm »
Me being vintage (as one thread defined my age) makes me reflect back to when I was young. The female role back then was over patronized and treated as if females could not ever do male work, so the bias was real and obvious. I for one did not like it when I saw a male berating a female simply because she was female and could not possibly do a man's job. I remember seeing this often and, living with 3 sisters and having worked manual jobs, I fell into the same thought train: women (of that era) could not have done some of the long hard back breaking jobs that I did. They simply did not have the strength as men, it was biologically true. However, as I grew older and started using my mind more to do my job, it became very clear to me that women were capable and I eventually lost this stigma in my mind. However, the fact remains that women have their strengths and men have theirs. I no longer have gender bias in my mind and have started looking at life in a more egalitarian way.

With that said, later in my career, I saw few women in my field. I kept asking myself if this was because of male gender bias or simply nature at its' finest. I no longer saw or heard men patronizing or belittling women. Women, in general had changed drastically from the females I knew in my youth. Females at that time seemed confident and competent, in general. SO I kept wondering why weren't there more females in my field. It as true that there were more than when I was young, but still only a few. The few seemed to really be able to hold their own in the engineering field and had a toughness about them that females of my youth did not seem to have. Overall, nowadays, I find women to be very outgoing and generally speaking, confident and competent. The female engineers that I knew were good at their jobs and added a slightly different view of how jobs could be done and I applauded that because we need diversity of ideas in our field. This is so helpful to innovation.

I, like others who have commented, relished the idea when I would here that a female engineer joined the team. In my younger days, with all of my nerdiness, women did not like to talk technical at all. When I married my wife, and yes she had that same female attitude of females in my youth, and we fell in love and married and immediately made a family with children, I played my part and she played hers. She later started working when the kids were a bit older and her demeanor also changed into a more confident personna. I liked this, so I encouraged her to work if that is what she wanted. After our children were grown, after 30 years of marriage, however, we both realized how little we had in common outside of the family and eventually divorced. The point that I am trying to make here is if she had any interest in technical stuff and we could share this interest, we would still be married. I guess the same could be said of me, if I had interests in the humanities as much as her, we may still have stayed married. She is a kind and giving and caring person who is very outgoing, where I am more introverted and want to stay in my inclusive group (engineers, lol). We are still very close, even though she is re-married, we often get together for family events, such as holidays and birthdays.

I find it very exciting and stimulating to talk to someone of the opposite sex who is an engineer and likes to talk technical stuff. This is why I am on this forum. This is probably why there are not that many females on this forum. This is all my personal experience, yours may vary, or you may even make up a world where this isn't so, but anecdotal evidence, no matter how not scientific it is, is somewhat valid in this type of reflection. If someone thinks differently, then that is tantamount to saying that all of us are irrelevant and what we say is completely biased. To that I call BS.  :bullshit:

This is only my opinion, but my opinion matters to me... just sayin'
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Offline thermistor-guy

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #144 on: August 02, 2018, 05:18:53 pm »
Just open a toy booklet and you will see that girls are supposed to wearing pink, play with dolls, dress like princesses and play with mini kitchens. The boys all have tech stuff, tools, weapons (horrible on its own) and other typical "man stuff".
One could heavily argue if that is not already putting and teaching some prejudices to kids.

Oh dear. You appear to have confused cause and effect.
Toy companies want to make a profit and must have found that this approach maximises that.

No, there's more to it. I once attended a course that covered the statistical differences between Men and Women. The instructor did the same thing he did every year: he told his office staff to print the statistical handout on Men using pink paper, and the statistical handout on Women using blue paper.

The office staff used blue for Men and pink for Women, contrary to his instructions. Apparently, the staff had done this every year he'd been running the course, without fail. No profit motive, here.
 
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Online IanB

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #145 on: August 02, 2018, 05:25:00 pm »
The office staff used blue for Men and pink for Women, contrary to his instructions. Apparently, the staff had done this every year he'd been running the course, without fail. No profit motive, here.

About a century or more ago the cultural norm was to dress boys in pink (a "strong" colour) and girls in blue (a "weak") colour. Somehow, over time the convention flipped and we have what we have today. But it wasn't always that way.
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Offline Rerouter

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #146 on: August 02, 2018, 07:59:58 pm »
These topics always feel a little shallow in the media, many times they point out there is a problem, but don't convey why, or what corrective behaviors could begin to resolve this,

E.g. with equality in the workplace, I get yelled at by various customers on site across the year for some grievance that they did not specify at the beginning of a project, I'm still here because the pay is good, and I don't see them as discriminating against me, just them not being emotionally controlled enough to direct there emotions at the root cause of there problems. However as a young engineer, It terrified the crap out of me, and genuinely made me think of leaving multiple times,

I cannot say how a female would approach this kind of situation, however I assume there priorities may be different than "grin and bear it for the money"

To better give context to my opening comment, I regularly see surveys and studies finding that women are afraid to walk home at night, and personally noticed single or pairs of women crossing the road to avoid me at night (not all, but some). My question is what about me the stranger walking at night that changes the way you behave? How can I appear a neutral party, when I am viewed as negative? In this same context, what about interacting with men leaves you feeling they are putting you down?

I have caught a few moments where people crossed the socially accepted line and seen people picking on others for no good reason, but until I a generic male know what to look for, its difficult, and I could use some perspective, without it immediately turning into "your wrong because!", explain some examples, let a generic man see from your point of view without generalizing about all men. As the moment those generalizations appear, my lizard brain sees it as an insult/attack towards me and tries to tune out. I don't want that to happen with these discussions.
 

Online Marco

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #147 on: August 02, 2018, 08:30:32 pm »
How can I appear a neutral party, when I am viewed as negative?

Appear as unthreatening as possible as far as fashion and behaviour is concerned. Other than that you can't and you shouldn't want to. They have no oracle, they are working off the priors they can observe and imperfect statistics. But it's generally still better than nothing. A little caution and a small detour to avoid a relatively common ruinous experience for women, pretty rational ... even if it signals sexism/racism don't take it personal.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 09:04:11 pm by Marco »
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #148 on: August 02, 2018, 10:13:19 pm »
I actually had almost as many male teachers as female in primary school, no real correlation between quality of teaching and gender, I had some good ones and less good of both.

My observation is that nobody cares about gender ratios in a particular field until it's something with unusually high wages.
When I was at school in the 60s my primary school had a fairly balanced mix of male and female teachers. My high school had far more male than female teachers. That was the general picture across the UK, and I believe across many other developed countries. Now women dominate in both primary schools and high schools.

Your observation seems plausible, but consider this. For most engineers their pay sucks, and some people are making an increasing noise about it being male dominated. For most doctors, after some difficult early years, the pay is pretty good and pretty stable. Medical schools now have considerably more female than male students, and nobody is championing the cause of evening this up.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #149 on: August 02, 2018, 10:53:26 pm »
There's a lot of perceived discrimination, when there is none in reality, so much so, that people are paranoid about saying the wrong thing.

My sister, her children and me were at the park yesterday. She watched a five year old mixed race (half white/black) boy on the monkey bars and commented on how he looked like a little monkey, was doing so well, swinging uphill. Fortunately his parent wasn't there and he didn't take offence, so nothing happened. A little later, when no one was there, we discussed how some may have viewed her comment as racist, but she would have said the same about any child, regardless of colour/race/gender etc. doing so well on the monkey bars.
 


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