Gender Bias or Biological Differences? What's Really Going On With Women in the Workplace
The Multiversity Project discussion here:
Jumping right in, here are my notes while watching this mentally stimulating discussion:
After Chris brought up low percentage of females in the crypto community, Katy mentioned women encountering harassment. I'm curious about this because my assumption based only on my own observation is that females are highly treasured in the crypto community, probably for similar reasons as they are in many fields where females are rare. I'm thinking of a semi-related community; game developers and game players, where you also find females being rare and - to me - far more highly treasured and well-treated (socially) than males.
A question that comes up for me: how exactly do genetics and biology relate to behavior? For example, is there a correlation - *in general* - between testosterone and math? And how does math relate to various physical pursuits that men seem to dominate? You may call the following anecdotal and at the same time I see it as relevant and perhaps informative: In my 20+ years of martial arts practice, having been a black belt (teacher level) for ~3/4 of that time, I found that the females were most often not as strong, fast, coordinated, or "reflexively skilled" as equally ranked males. Of course, there were outliers, some just exceptionally strong/fast/etc females and/or females who worked much harder than their male counterparts to get at that same level of physical effectiveness. I will assert that - in addition to males having far more testosterone - the male brain is "tuned" for the above physical traits than the average female brain. Of course, we can assume this is left over from pre-civilized times. To be sure to avoid assumptions I'm some kind of misogynist, heh, I'll say that I also believe that females have equivalent cognitive advantages, such as being more likely to - as ya'll mentioned - have traditionally male *cognitive* abilities (when they desire to hone them) in addition to being more often superior at people-related, psycho-related, and language-related cognitive abilities. That all said, I'd like to put out another hypothesis relating specifically the innate male advantage in terms of hand-eye coordination, spatial perception, and math:
IF we concede that THE AVERAGE man has better hand-eye coordination than THE AVERAGE female, AND if you are okay with seeing spatial perception the same way (I am, but open to arguments, of course!), then I'd say this relates very much to math skills. In case the relationship I'm talking about is not obvious, here is an example to hopefully make it clear: Every time a person throws a ball (think spear in caveman days), their brain is automatically making some arguably complex mathematical calculations. I'd love to hear ya'lls thoughts on that! Finally, on that subtopic, I wonder/suspect that a convergence is occurring here in terms of these generalizations becoming less accurate. In other words: As time moves on, it SEEMS like the genders are less distinct in all the ways I've mentioned here. IF that is happening, in terms of evolution, it's not logical. UNTIL we consider epigenetics. And that is whole other topic!
Back to ya'lls discussion:
Chris & Arielle touched on this: programming vs tech support in terms of rewards. Of course, we see why one pays more. But what I'd like to add: tech support is more subjective and thus more difficult to measure results and performance.
And regarding Arielle's experience with trying to get a coding job but being relegated to tech support. I acknowledge her assertion that all the tech support personnel at that company were female. I do want to point out that from my perspective as a 26 year contract coder that experience seems to trump education in this industry. That said, I can see how bias may exist in many males.
Regarding Arielle's assertion about there being discrimination with regard to the experiment where they took a resume and changed the name to female and floated the same resume and found that hiring managers were far more likely or just more likely - I don't know - to hire the male, what if that's okay? How would you look at if somebody was looking to hire somebody to do something like hunting alligators or bodyguard, for example? This leads to: ARE males, on average, better at strength and hand-eye-coordination based pursuits?
Whether any of us consider human actions to be rational or irrational, isn't it necessary to assume they are because - at least the way I interpret rationality, it is a person making a choice they see as a benefit to themselves. The case I'm making is that we may wish to look at this more subjectively, as Chris brought up. In other words, it is not necessarily fair or accurate to judge another person's actions as rational or not. Regarding Katy's assertion that someone made an illogical and thus irrational decision, this is an example of what I'm talking about. In some ways I see how this comes down to semantics. Again, looking at what Katy is talking about here where a person is making a decision based on faulty information or faulty interpretation of information, the person is still acting rationally because they are adding up their preferences, AS THEY UNDERSTAND THEM, and making - as Chris said - "the course of action they see as best for them." I'm in full agreement with Chris here. Part of my agreement comes from the idea that being able to call other peoples' decisions rational or irrational is based on too many assumptions for my comfort, and would seem to lead to an opening for tyranny. How would the world look if we believed we could judge the rationality of others based on some objective standard or rule? I also want to point out Katy seems to be conflating logic and rationality.
Now, speaking of bias, I'm noticing the two females in this discussion seem more likely to entertain the idea that there may be less gender-based preferences than the males in this discussion seem to believe. In other words, it seems to me the females here *seem* to be more into the idea that nurture has more power, where the males seem to be more into the idea that nature has more power. I wonder if ya'll are considering that the two females here, Katy & Arielle, may be - at least slightly, but I suspect more - the "type" of person who is more "balanced" in terms of life preferences. And here, when I say "life preferences," I'm pointing to the whole "men prefer things-oriented work and women prefer people-oriented work" generalization. Your thoughts? Mainly, I'm asking the females here: Do you look around at your female peers and see... what? Ah. Just as I finished writing that above sentence, Katy spoke up about a test where she was rated based on "male/career" vs "female/family" but I didn't grok what Katy's results were? In other words, did the test determine that she was more male/career oriented? And by how much?
Finally, I'd like to share a perspective I've been thinking about. The easiest way to express this idea is to first ask you to look into your past and ask yourself if there are events in your life you see as painful or damaging in some way and if you would change those events. Before answering, please consider if those events perpetuated any positive changes in you, like growth, etc. And in case it isn't obvious what I'm getting at, what if humans seeking fairness might too often ignore the potential positive effects on an individual when they are subjected to hardship?