Tech Jobs and Female Privilege

Women, who outnumber men in college and are more likely to graduate, are underrepresented in computer science fields.  That’s female privilege, unless we condescendingly presume they are making the wrong choices in college. 

Overall, women received 18 percent of Computer and Information Sciences undergraduate degrees in 2013, yet were 26% of the computing workforce in 2014 (PDF). Women make up 30% of the workforce at tech giant Apple; at Intel, they represent about 24%; 22% of leaderships positions at Google are held by women. 

Compared to their rates of participation in STEM majors in college, women also receive disproportionately higher job offers in IT, engineering and physics. 

What should we do about their overrepresentation?  Well, Intel is upping the ante, adding additional incentives including referral bonuses that are double for women candidates than male.   25% of Intel’s workforce is female; moreover, 35% of its recent new hires were women, both well above the rates at which they are awarded computer-related degrees. This affirmative action decays into reverse discrimination when they introduced a quota system to draw 40% of recruits in 2015 from underrepresented groups.

It’s female privilege to choose to major in English, literature, communications and gender studies in college.  These curricula, it should be no surprise, lead to work in areas like social services, health care, education, and public administration. 

What’s wrong with that?   The market will decide what those professions are worth.   Nevertheless, Google knows best, and is dumping money into programs steering women and minorities into STEM programs -- which implies away from the humanities.  But we could all use a bit more humanity, and women should be applauded for pursing the “helping professions.”  Besides, there’s also a shortage of healthcare workers, and we could always use competent teachers.  Maybe Google should divert resources to free teachers from the yoke of self-serving unions; then we could evaluate their performance and pay a premium for the best.  Presumably, paying competent teachers more is okay with Google.

Facebook requires the applicant pool for many jobs to contain at least one minority.  Sounds reasonable… until a spokeswoman invoked the Rooney Rule as justification.  The Rooney Rule requires teams in the NFL to interview minority candidates for head coaching and other senior roles.  The minority coaches hired under this regulation have indeed been successful, and the main reason is they have spent their lives around football and are well versed in its intricacies.  Conversely, women are relatively ill-prepared for computer jobs.  It’s their privilege to choose other fields.

A main justification for this obsession with forced diversity is the oft-repeated bromide that you get better solutions from more diverse teams.  The research on this is not absolutely settled.  “Perhaps the most popular prescription for creativity and breakthroughs is multidisciplinary collaboration,” writes one prominent researcher. “Companies should go for depth, not breadth, when assembling a diverse team.” It’s the “depth” of ideas and creativity that produces better solutions, and this can emanate from cultural, geographical and perhaps socio-economic diversity – not just the liberal diversity paradigm that foments discord between gender and races.

One of mankind’s greatest adventures was landing a man on the moon.  With profound deference to Margaret Hamilton, the genius chief architect behind the lunar module’s guidance software, the Apollo mission personnel were not exactly diverse by today’s standards.  Total devotion was required -- there was little time for the work-life balance.   

NASA provides another example that finding better solutions doesn’t always require the type of diversity proselytized by liberal orthodoxy.   Consider Apollo 13, which was fraught with many doomsday scenarios after the explosion and rupture of an oxygen tank in the service module.  One was a dangerous buildup of carbon dioxide.  Using only the type of equipment and tools the crew had on board, the NASA engineers developed a contraption that absorbed carbon dioxide and then guided the astronauts in replicating the “square canister in a round hole.”  Take a look at a picture of them -- not much “diversity” there, even though “failure [was] not an option.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook, it should be no surprise, also relishes diversity:  “If you believe as we believe that diversity leads to better products…then you obviously put a ton of energy behind diversity.”  Wait a second, Apple’s workforce, as of last year, was 30% female.  Essentially the same workforce that produced “i”conic products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.  Products that brought huge fanfare, huge demand and, as some have estimated, noticeably boosted U.S. GDP.  All without much diversity.

Getting those products to market rapidly without sacrificing quality was imperative.  Could it have anything to do with the fact that men generally work longer hours and are more disposed to travel and working on weekends?  This is well known as the gender-hours gap, and in addition to their academic preparations, helps explain why men thrive in high-tempo operations at the forefront of technological change.

Women are outperforming men in many other endeavors. They are also the glue that holds families together and inject some civility into society.  Thank goodness they are predisposed towards the helping professions.

Female privilege should not be contravened by the liberal technocracy, or by Silicon Valley’s limousine liberals who overwhelmingly support Democrats (not much diversity there).  These groups drink from the trough of divisive identity politics; they are all too happy to perpetuate the gender pay gap myth in trying to dissuade brilliant women from professionally pursuing their nurturing instincts. 

Female privilege should be celebrated.