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Re: Why the Widening Gender Gap in Computer Science?

On 2008-11-25, Lesley Binks penned:
> Well, when I was much younger the question asked at interviews was
> 'what are you going to do when you have children?'.
> That type of question is now illegal and could likewise open up the
> doors for a lawsuit in the UK - if the interviewee really never wanted
> to work in whatever area she was applying for again that is
> and if it could be proved the interviewer wasn't asking male
> interviewees the same question.  While the capabilityy and potential
> is there it can only be exercised at some cost.

Sure, but you'd have to be pretty entrenched in your view of gender
roles to put your company at even minimal risk of a lawsuit, wouldn't
you?  I mean, not that people don't do dumb things all the time ...

If you really didn't want to hire women, I guess you could just never
respond to their resume submissions.  That seems much safer than
asking such a stupid question at an interview.  And less time
consuming for everyone involved.  Anyway, there are much more subtle
ways of doing the same thing, like setting strict rules for
notification of absence, extremely limited sick days, strong penalties
for being late, etc, and making that clear to all employees during the
interview.  It's easy to make it clear that personal lives are not
tolerated without targetting any particular group.

> There has been a lot of debate about the fact that careers are
> constructed and expected to be constructed in a male way - e.g.
> eductaion up til  24 for a PhD and then years of short term research
> contracts at various institutions before finally raising a family some
> 10 - 15 years after graduation.  Fine for men perhaps but not so easy
> for women who also want to raise a family.  I think people have to
> think that strategy through very carefully.

I don't see how this is fine for (all) men.  What about men who want
to raise a family while they are still younger?  Men who want to be
the primary taker for their children, or at least share equally in
both the joy and the work?  Maybe it's just that because of our
accultured gender expectations, we perceive it as less of a sacrifice
than it really is.

> And Anne Sorsda has already pointed out the treacle one steps into
> when moving away from societal norms - disregarding who is happier in
> what role.

Certainly we have a long way to go to see true freedom for both
genders, not to mention all sorts of much more marginalized subgroups
like the LGBT community.


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