[OSGeo-Discuss] Code of Conduct in Real Case

Pat Tressel ptressel at myuw.net
Thu Jun 25 01:07:17 PDT 2015

I hesitate to step into the "sexism in tech" debate, but...  There may be
some recent events that folks aren't aware of, that may be relevant -- some
specifically have to do with conferences.  This list is not R-rated, so
rather than directly describe the relevant events, I'll just give you
search queries that will bring them up:

"PyCon donglegate"
"TechCrunch sexism"
"Pax Dickenson brogrammer"

Those are only tips of the iceberg -- they are specific symptoms of a more
general attitude.  I've listed them in order of seriousness.  I expect that
these will get the "that's just PC" objection, but are threats of rape and
murder really just "for fun"?  And if the objection is that women just just
force their way into tech, I have two words for you:  hiring manager.  And
no, not all of us have the resources to start our own companies.  Venture
funding is rarely offered to women.

When I worked as a software engineer for Digital Equipment Corporation
(DEC) in the 90s, the group I was in was half women.  No, not secretaries
and support staff -- engineers.  But there was a difference in attitude,
which one can see in the fact that although DEC ceased to exist in 1998
(sold to Compaq), we *still have reunions* and active social networks.  The
switch to deliberately provoking competition and infighting between
employees, via stack ranking and similar management fads, is exacerbating
the rise of sexism in tech -- there is now an aspect of "us against them".
Because employment is a zero-sum game, (re)entry of women in tech would
mean fewer positions and less money for men.  (Competing against other men
doesn't trigger the same level of response since men are already in the
pool -- it's the thought of the pool *doubling* that is causing this
fear.)  Since this style of management (stemming from Jack Welch) is taught
in b-schools, it will take some time to turn the ship around.  But there
are some signs of light:  Microsoft recently cancelled stack ranking, and
is making a significant effort to reestablish teamwork and cooperation.
That took being publicly shamed (see the article in Vanity Fair, titled ~
"How Stack Ranking Killed Innovation at Microsoft") and a new CEO (Satya
Nadella, replacing Steve Ballmer).

There's also plain old bias.  This research by Google HR is fascinating:
Watch especially where ~ the entire audience, men and women both, fails the
test, right there on camera...
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