Author Topic: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.  (Read 70613 times)

terminus and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline julianhigginson

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 693
  • Country: au
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #225 on: August 07, 2018, 09:47:03 pm »

Except that we can only work with the facts presented to us in the article linked by Dave. While the justification presented by you may be perfectly sound in a more general term (and I have seen this happen in a distant past), it was not the same argument presented by the organizer of the scolarship. At least to me, this does not change the issue at hand which is the risk of sending people less interested in place of others.

the issue is that article is ONE LITTLE THING written about a year ago, about a little scholarship that only has two positions (and some really savage other limitations around startup status and personal income) and here we have a bunch of grown men jumping up and down and screaming about just the gender aspect of it, while doing all they can to deny any real evidence presented of real structural discrimination in favour of men.
 
The following users thanked this post: ajb

Offline julianhigginson

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 693
  • Country: au
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #226 on: August 07, 2018, 09:50:59 pm »

When you see more detail of how most studies of this type are conducted, its usually harder to draw any conclusions. For example, as presented the study wouldn't work. If you have a pile of CVs, copy each of them, and put a male name and a female name on each pair, the people given them for review would smell a rat very quickly. They might miss a couple of times that they've seen the exact same CV before, but they won't keep missing this for very long. The description says that instead they had 127 reviewers, gave the male CVs to one half (actually 63) and the female CVs to the other half (actually 64), but these numbers are too small to draw any conclusions from the results. The mix of people in each group could have considerably skewed the results with such a modest sized pool of reviewers.

I find it interesting that they found female and male reviewers were equally biased against a CV with a woman's name on it. Really? No difference at all? That seems a truly remarkable outcome.
[/quote]

the study obviously *can't* send the exact same application with just the names changed to one person! but there's plenty of experiments that need to be done where we can only do the experiment once on one specific setup.. that's why they make sure the study is done across a balanced selection of subjects and CONTROL the study so that statistically the results can still make sense.

and yes the fact that it's men and women doing the discrimination equally show sexism is a social problem ingrained into our society....
 

Offline julianhigginson

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 693
  • Country: au
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #227 on: August 07, 2018, 09:53:05 pm »
Fuck that ... life's not fair, trying to bludgeon it into being so can make life more annoying as well as unfair. Balance in all things.

how convenient, that we should all just ignore any and all structural inequity in society that happens to benefit you.
 
The following users thanked this post: tooki

Offline tooki

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3949
  • Country: ch
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #228 on: August 07, 2018, 09:56:59 pm »
the study obviously *can't* send the exact same application with just the names changed to one person! but there's plenty of experiments that need to be done where we can only do the experiment once on one specific setup.. that's why they make sure the study is done across a balanced selection of subjects and CONTROL the study so that statistically the results can still make sense.
Actually a lot of those experiments DO just change the personal info on the CV and leave everything else unchanged. You think an HR person that receives 200-2000 applications per job opening is going to remember that they saw an otherwise identical CV? They’ll have looked at many from other people who are also essentially identical, too. And most likely, they won’t even have read the cover letters at all until making the short list.

I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about how modern HR works. It’s not nearly the touchy-feely hands-on process that maybe existed in the past. It’s now a brutal, inhuman process of bulk processing until it’s been narrowed a final few.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2018, 09:58:35 pm by tooki »
 

Online coppice

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4606
  • Country: gb
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #229 on: August 07, 2018, 10:00:56 pm »
Actually a lot of those experiments DO just change the personal info on the CV and leave everything else unchanged. You think an HR person that receives 200-2000 applications per job opening is going to remember that they saw an otherwise identical CV? They’ll have looked at many from other people who are also essentially identical, too. And most likely, they won’t even have read the cover letters at all until making the short list.

I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about how modern HR works. It’s not nearly the touchy-feely hands-on process that maybe existed in the past. It’s now a brutal, inhuman process of bulk processing until it’s been narrowed a final few.
If the HR department gets first pass on a stack of CVs you probably won't even see the best candidates, male or female. At least in large organisations they are now so formulaic in their selection processes that anyone creative has a low chance of passing their criteria.
 

Offline IanB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9542
  • Country: us
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #230 on: August 07, 2018, 10:05:27 pm »
Maybe it would be worth asking a bunch of women in other areas of engineering and find out what attracted them to that area or repelled them from others?

That's an interesting idea. There are about 9 women engineers in my professional circle at work (immediate colleagues or working in the same office on other projects). I might take a quick straw poll and report back sometime in the next week or two.

Plenty might be an exaggeration.

I dare say you are right. But it's more than just a few.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Online coppice

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4606
  • Country: gb
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #231 on: August 07, 2018, 10:08:06 pm »
When you see more detail of how most studies of this type are conducted, its usually harder to draw any conclusions. For example, as presented the study wouldn't work. If you have a pile of CVs, copy each of them, and put a male name and a female name on each pair, the people given them for review would smell a rat very quickly. They might miss a couple of times that they've seen the exact same CV before, but they won't keep missing this for very long. The description says that instead they had 127 reviewers, gave the male CVs to one half (actually 63) and the female CVs to the other half (actually 64), but these numbers are too small to draw any conclusions from the results. The mix of people in each group could have considerably skewed the results with such a modest sized pool of reviewers.

I find it interesting that they found female and male reviewers were equally biased against a CV with a woman's name on it. Really? No difference at all? That seems a truly remarkable outcome.

the study obviously *can't* send the exact same application with just the names changed to one person! but there's plenty of experiments that need to be done where we can only do the experiment once on one specific setup.. that's why they make sure the study is done across a balanced selection of subjects and CONTROL the study so that statistically the results can still make sense.

and yes the fact that it's men and women doing the discrimination equally show sexism is a social problem ingrained into our society....
If they were honest investigators why wouldn't they send half the male and half the female CVs to one group, and the rest to the other group, with them thoroughly mixed up in the pile? That would mix things up a lot more, and provide at least a basic mechanism to compare the level of similarity between the two groups of reviewers. As described the whole thing would seem weird to a reviewer. Who ever took a pile of CVs for a science or engineering position, other than in the life sciences, and found they were all female. It would clearly be a set up job if that stack were handed to you.
 

Offline tooki

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3949
  • Country: ch
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #232 on: August 07, 2018, 10:08:25 pm »
This is why I am firmly of the belief that the first step in any hiring process, literally before ANY applications are looked at in any way, never mind discarded, should be to completely anonymize all applications.

Employers will wait till the interview to weed out young women if they want to do so (whether for rational reasons, ie. maternity costs, or prejudice). How about reference checking and personal referrals? Do you want to create mechanisms for that to be done anonymously with penalties to ensure adherence?

Fuck that ... life's not fair, trying to bludgeon it into being so can make life more annoying as well as unfair. Balance in all things.
Obviously I wasn’t restricting my comments to just gender. But honestly, I think that jobs should be given on merit: who is best for the job. And for that, you don’t need to know the damned applicant’s sex, age, race, ethnicity, etc!!! If you have concerns about somebody leaving for maternity leave (or paternity leave, in a civilized country), then say “we are looking for someone who is going to be here without significant absences in the coming 3 years. Is that you?”

I think many good candidates, who would make it through interviews if they got the chance to interview, are weeded out by prejudiced HR people long before making it to the actual decision makers. So yes, if this means employers who don’t want people must wait until the interview stage to learn their applicant is an [insert prejudiced class here], so be it.

As for your crap about the world not being just: So just because it’s not, we shouldn’t try? BULLSHIT. It’s only “annoying” to those who benefit from the injustice. For those disadvantaged by it — and for those of us who aren’t affected but are kind enough to stand in solidarity with them — it’s damned well worth trying for.
 

Offline tooki

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3949
  • Country: ch
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #233 on: August 07, 2018, 10:10:39 pm »
Actually a lot of those experiments DO just change the personal info on the CV and leave everything else unchanged. You think an HR person that receives 200-2000 applications per job opening is going to remember that they saw an otherwise identical CV? They’ll have looked at many from other people who are also essentially identical, too. And most likely, they won’t even have read the cover letters at all until making the short list.

I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about how modern HR works. It’s not nearly the touchy-feely hands-on process that maybe existed in the past. It’s now a brutal, inhuman process of bulk processing until it’s been narrowed a final few.
If the HR department gets first pass on a stack of CVs you probably won't even see the best candidates, male or female. At least in large organisations they are now so formulaic in their selection processes that anyone creative has a low chance of passing their criteria.
Abso-fucking-lutely. You couldn’t be more right. My disdain for modern HR practices could hardly be larger. It’s like it’s literally designed to weed out good candidates and promote those who lie and simply cut-and-paste the keywords from the job listing.
 

Offline IanB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9542
  • Country: us
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #234 on: August 07, 2018, 10:11:13 pm »
If the HR department gets first pass on a stack of CVs you probably won't even see the best candidates, male or female. At least in large organisations they are now so formulaic in their selection processes that anyone creative has a low chance of passing their criteria.

Fortunately it is still possible to work in places where the HR department doesn't do the filtering. We try to find candidates by networking and direct recommendation if possible. If not, we may get resumes from an agency, but in my experience that is hard work and not highly successful.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 
The following users thanked this post: tooki

Offline Marco

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4360
  • Country: nl
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #235 on: August 07, 2018, 10:29:38 pm »
As for your crap about the world not being just: So just because it’s not, we shouldn’t try?

Yes, sometimes you shouldn't try.

You see all these replies about people who want to work around HR, hell you seem to appreciate them even though it's hard to get farther from anonymous assessment ... your anonymised process will guarantee a regimented red tape system guaranteed to go through HR. Too much bother, too little gain.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2018, 10:31:55 pm by Marco »
 

Offline tooki

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3949
  • Country: ch
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #236 on: August 07, 2018, 10:33:57 pm »
There’s no question that it’s a bother. But no gain? Bullshit. There’s a lot to be gained a) by the people hitherto disadvantaged by the existing system, and b) by the companies, who might actually end up with better candidates.

And no, it doesn’t require an HR department. Nearly all larger companies already use software to filter resumes. It’d be trivial to have the software remove applicant personal info. (A few companies apparently already do this.)
 

Online langwadt

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1433
  • Country: dk
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #237 on: August 07, 2018, 10:46:04 pm »
snip

If you have concerns about somebody leaving for maternity leave (or paternity leave, in a civilized country), then say “we are looking for someone who is going to be here without significant absences in the coming 3 years. Is that you?”


that is great way to land a discrimination lawsuit and any consequences for someone lying on that question would be a guaranteed lost lawsuit

 

Online EEVblog

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 29656
  • Country: au
    • EEVblog
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #238 on: August 07, 2018, 10:47:23 pm »
Actually a lot of those experiments DO just change the personal info on the CV and leave everything else unchanged. You think an HR person that receives 200-2000 applications per job opening is going to remember that they saw an otherwise identical CV? They’ll have looked at many from other people who are also essentially identical, too. And most likely, they won’t even have read the cover letters at all until making the short list.

I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about how modern HR works. It’s not nearly the touchy-feely hands-on process that maybe existed in the past. It’s now a brutal, inhuman process of bulk processing until it’s been narrowed a final few.
If the HR department gets first pass on a stack of CVs you probably won't even see the best candidates, male or female. At least in large organisations they are now so formulaic in their selection processes that anyone creative has a low chance of passing their criteria.
Abso-fucking-lutely. You couldn’t be more right. My disdain for modern HR practices could hardly be larger. It’s like it’s literally designed to weed out good candidates and promote those who lie and simply cut-and-paste the keywords from the job listing.

Yep, nothing good comes from HR filtering. They aren't able to detect "the vibe".
 
The following users thanked this post: blackfin76, tooki

Offline james_s

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9181
  • Country: us
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #239 on: August 07, 2018, 10:49:26 pm »
Abso-fucking-lutely. You couldn’t be more right. My disdain for modern HR practices could hardly be larger. It’s like it’s literally designed to weed out good candidates and promote those who lie and simply cut-and-paste the keywords from the job listing.

I wonder if companies will ever realize how utterly worthless all these automated applicant tracking systems are? They heavily favor people who are adept at gaming the system by keyword spamming their resume and embellishing their skillset. We are on the way toward having whole companies full of people who more skilled as BS artists than in the job they are hired to do.
 
The following users thanked this post: tooki

Online EEVblog

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 29656
  • Country: au
    • EEVblog
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #240 on: August 07, 2018, 10:57:41 pm »

Except that we can only work with the facts presented to us in the article linked by Dave. While the justification presented by you may be perfectly sound in a more general term (and I have seen this happen in a distant past), it was not the same argument presented by the organizer of the scolarship. At least to me, this does not change the issue at hand which is the risk of sending people less interested in place of others.

the issue is that article is ONE LITTLE THING written about a year ago, about a little scholarship that only has two positions (and some really savage other limitations around startup status and personal income) and here we have a bunch of grown men jumping up and down and screaming about just the gender aspect of it

Err, the entire point of the thing is gender. There is no other aspect.

Quote
, while doing all they can to deny any real evidence presented of real structural discrimination in favour of men.

Only that wasn't the reasoning given by the scholarship person in question.
 

Online EEVblog

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 29656
  • Country: au
    • EEVblog
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #241 on: August 07, 2018, 11:04:48 pm »
I wonder if companies will ever realize how utterly worthless all these automated applicant tracking systems are?

No. Because there is an entire department within companies who will want to protect their jobs. And those people will never really have the skills to evaluate a resume like an experienced engineer (and the person they would be working for) would.

I actually had the opposite problem once. I made it through the hiring agency, through HR, and through two levels of engineering interviews, only to be knocked back by the company VP because I worked on stuff outside of work (the horror!), and he didn't like that one bit. He forgot to inform HR about that one. Silverbrook Research for those interested.
 

Offline james_s

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9181
  • Country: us
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #242 on: August 07, 2018, 11:10:05 pm »
here we have a bunch of grown men jumping up and down and screaming about just the gender aspect of it, while doing all they can to deny any real evidence presented of real structural discrimination in favour of men.

Which real structural discrimination in favor of men are you referring to? I see overwhelming evidence of active discrimination *against* men in the hiring practices of the tech industry, and having interviewed quite a few people myself I can say with absolute certainty that women who applied were brought in for an onsite interview at a far higher percentage than men who applied. Women who were hired made up a much higher percentage of the company than the gender ratio of applicants. So precisely what discrimination are you referring to? What companies are turning down women who apply in favor of hiring less qualified men?

Where exactly are all these mythical women who want to be engineers, who have the qualifications, yet cannot seem to get hired? Believe it or not I actually like working with women, and I have worked with a few talented female engineers, but the number of women I've met in my entire life with a genuine passion for electrical or electronic engineering I can count on my fingers. If you're going to claim discrimination then I want to see some examples, because looking at the gender ratio working in a given field says absolutely nothing.

I've also asked repeatedly about female-dominated fields, and to those who think a male dominated field like engineering is a problem, female dominated fields like nursing and early education are obviously also a problem so what are/should we be doing to fix that?

Or is it all just a bunch of people looking for something to be outraged over?
 
The following users thanked this post: blackfin76, tpowell1830

Offline james_s

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9181
  • Country: us
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #243 on: August 07, 2018, 11:14:26 pm »
I actually had the opposite problem once. I made it through the hiring agency, through HR, and through two levels of engineering interviews, only to be knocked back by the company VP because I worked on stuff outside of work (the horror!), and he didn't like that one bit. He forgot to inform HR about that one. Silverbrook Research for those interested.

Wait, what?! I'm not sure I've ever met an engineer who didn't work on stuff outside of work. I'd be highly suspicious of hiring anyone who didn't, it would suggest to me that they're only in it for the paycheck. I mean yeah, I enjoy camping, hiking, boating, and various other "normal" interests but by and large my life revolves around engineering of one sort or another and has since I was a toddler. If I didn't have a bunch of projects going on outside of work I wouldn't know what to do with myself.
 
The following users thanked this post: tooki

Offline Marco

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4360
  • Country: nl
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #244 on: August 07, 2018, 11:29:46 pm »
that's why they make sure the study is done across a balanced selection of subjects and CONTROL the study so that statistically the results can still make sense.
How did they control for the predicted average loss of productivity and additional costs for pregnancy? What is the average cost of menstruation related productivity loss to employers and how did they control for it?

Somehow it all equals out with lets say men's greater propensity to have hobby/diy accidents, it has to, because the universe demands equality to be fact. No evidence required, no common sense allowed.
 

Online BillB

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 553
  • Country: us
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #245 on: August 07, 2018, 11:31:00 pm »
What is interesting about the linked PNAS study, is that the most significant factor, perceived competence, drove hire-ability and starting salary, not other factors such as like-ability.  This perceived competence factor was derived from the perspective of expert evaluators given a purposefully designed ambiguity of qualification for the position.

What are these expert evaluators, having had extensive experience in dealing with the typical applicant pool (grad students) and a lab assistant/manager workforce, using to fill in the blanks about qualification?  The study suggests subtle (subconscious) gender bias. 

What about the performance of the labs that are under the expert evaluators' control?  That is, what is the predictive validity of the methods the expert evaluators used to arrive at their conclusions?

What if this subtle gender bias produces a more effective lab workforce? 
             
 

Offline james_s

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9181
  • Country: us
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #246 on: August 07, 2018, 11:38:11 pm »
How did they control for the predicted average loss of productivity and additional costs for pregnancy? What is the average cost of menstruation related productivity loss to employers and how did they control for it?

Somehow it all equals out with lets say men's greater propensity to have hobby/diy accidents, it has to, because the universe demands equality to be fact. No evidence required, no common sense allowed.

Let's forget about pregnancy for a moment here, by and large I haven't seen that to be a big issue. The last place I worked we had a couple of women have babies around the same time and it took some effort to work around it, but there was plenty of advance warning so it wasn't the end of the world. Once they had the kid and the dust had settled they were back at work and picked up the slack. We also had a guy have a heart attack which knocked him out of work for several weeks and some time back another guy had a brain aneurism with similar effect. Personally I think men should get paternity leave as well but that's another matter. Fact is, things can come up that can require people to take extended time away from work, but that possibility has never been something I've considered when deciding whether or not to give a thumbs up on hiring them.
 

Online langwadt

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1433
  • Country: dk
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #247 on: August 07, 2018, 11:55:50 pm »
How did they control for the predicted average loss of productivity and additional costs for pregnancy? What is the average cost of menstruation related productivity loss to employers and how did they control for it?

Somehow it all equals out with lets say men's greater propensity to have hobby/diy accidents, it has to, because the universe demands equality to be fact. No evidence required, no common sense allowed.

Let's forget about pregnancy for a moment here, by and large I haven't seen that to be a big issue. The last place I worked we had a couple of women have babies around the same time and it took some effort to work around it, but there was plenty of advance warning so it wasn't the end of the world. Once they had the kid and the dust had settled they were back at work and picked up the slack. We also had a guy have a heart attack which knocked him out of work for several weeks and some time back another guy had a brain aneurism with similar effect. Personally I think men should get paternity leave as well but that's another matter. Fact is, things can come up that can require people to take extended time away from work, but that possibility has never been something I've considered when deciding whether or not to give a thumbs up on hiring them.

It might not me a big issue for a big company, but for a small company having to hire and bring up to speed a replacement which
you then have to get rid of when the other employee comes back and has to be brought back up to speed is an issue


 

Offline Marco

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4360
  • Country: nl
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #248 on: August 08, 2018, 12:17:01 am »
Some employers find it burdensome. Especially long leaves are bad for employers, the cost of the replacement is combined with the complete crapshoot of whether they will return. Not only because of them becoming full time homemakers, a big risk even with short leaves, but also because the long leave is an excellent opportunity to look around and job-hob. As I said before, the Swedish model which grants long leave to the father as well is a decent way to mitigate this ... by making men worse employees too.

Another way is to get out of the way and let employers and employees negotiate without government involvement, better for female employment than forcing costs on the employer.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 12:36:45 am by Marco »
 

Offline james_s

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9181
  • Country: us
Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #249 on: August 08, 2018, 12:27:21 am »
There are ways around this that don't involve discriminating. If leave is given to both genders then that makes it fair, and time one spends out on leave now is time they can't take leave later. Taking leave does not make someone a "worse" employee, it's something that should be accounted for in the staffing and compensation. If everyone gets the same amount of leave then nobody is paid extra for time they are not available to work. There is also the option of bringing in temporary labor, this is what temp agencies exist for. It's a simple fact that circumstances come up that can require someone to take extended time off work, that's just life and it could happen to you too. In a civilized society we find ways to mitigate the effect whenever possible. For small companies there are exceptions so it is easier to replace someone who is unable to work during the times required.

For the most part this discussion is focused on larger companies though because they are most often the target of accusations of discrimination against women. When was the last time you heard anyone complaining about a tiny company with 10 employees not hiring enough women or minorities? When they're small enough for one person taking maternity leave to be a big concern then nobody cares.
 
The following users thanked this post: julianhigginson


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf