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The problems with equality of outcome, diversity hiring, feminism, and Yoast's new CEO

Articles in Garbage Can | By Hash Brown

Published 8 months agoWed, 30 Jan 2019 15:38:37 -0800 | Last update 7 months agoMon, 18 Feb 2019 23:49:10 -0800

Social Justice is taking over the tech industry at an alarming rate. As someone who works within it, here's what we can do. I can say these things because I identify as an algorithm.

1,629 view, 3 RAMs, and 3 comments

I often spend time on Twitter, as someone who works as an affiliate I follow a lot of SEO/Marketing people and try to keep up to date the best I can. It was just a couple of days ago when I saw that Yoast announced their new CEO.

I am the new CEO of Yoast! https://t.co/jvsc013Cc4

— Marieke van de Rakt (@MariekeRakt) January 24, 2019

 If you’re not aware of this lady that’s fine, I wasn’t either. This is the wife of the founder of Yoast, Joost de Valk who I am sure got the job based on qualifications and not who they are married to. Now you may look at the title of this post and think I am going to shit on a company founder making his wife CEO, nope. He built the company, he can do what he wishes.

This is where I begin to raise my eyebrows at what is not only happening at Yoast, but tech in general.

The management-team of Yoast consists of 5 men and 2 women. That's not equal at all... and I want to change that! I wrote a blog post about it: https://t.co/tnxLP1o9bE
Thoughts anyone?

— Marieke van de Rakt (@MariekeRakt) January 28, 2019

 Let me start by stating, I have no problem with anyone. I believe everyone should have equal opportunities in life. If you want to be a firefighter, soldier, SEO, developer or whatever, if you’re capable you should go and do it.

But this is not what is happening in tech, there seems to be a huge shift to forcing tech companies to pander to ideologies from “progressive” groups and things seem to be getting worse. This is not something unique to the SEO industry, it seems to have infected some of the worlds biggest companies. Some of the most ridiculous examples of this are:

Building systems, websites, businesses, projects or whatever else in tech should be about that and that only. The infiltration of these social activists seems to have hit the world fast and hard, and those who dare speak out against them get ridiculed and dismissed as “privileged”.

These radical ideas have hit people so hard in SEO that standard, non-offensive stock images is enough to set some people off on rants about the “patriarchy”.

Anyone else look at this fairly innocuous picture and see the painful handshake of the patriarchy?! JUST ME? pic.twitter.com/dKOgc0vhQO

— Kirsty Hulse (@Kirsty_Hulse) January 21, 2019

So, why is this an issue?

These moves while designed to eliminate inequality are doing it by introducing inequality. It’s as simple as that.

These ideas are based on the ideas that you can’t offend or act in a negative way to those who are “above” you in the oppression Olympic leaderboard which has become the norm. What I mean by this is people don’t seem to pay attention to racism against white people. People don’t seem to pay attention to sexism against men.

The idea that you can’t be sexist to men is not logical or a way to fix any sexism from the past. Let’s look at Marieke’s tweet again.

The management-team of Yoast consists of 5 men and 2 women. That's not equal at all... and I want to change that! I wrote a blog post about it: https://t.co/tnxLP1o9bE
Thoughts anyone?

— Marieke van de Rakt (@MariekeRakt) January 28, 2019

In what appears to be her first move as CEO of Yoast, she wants to make the management team a 50:50 split of men and women and the company aim to focus their efforts into training women to be competent managers.

On the face of things that doesn’t sound terrible until you look at the implications of such changes, if you’re a male within this company you’re going to be refused promotions in favour of women. Not because they are better than you, but because the CEO of the company you could have worked at for a huge chunk of your professional career just decided it would be “fair” to have more women in management.

This is now the challenge men face in tech, and if you are brave enough to speak out against such changes you are attacked and ridiculed, just like James Damore.

Why are men the majority in tech?

Men do outnumber women in the tech industry making up something around 70% of the total workforce. But is this evidence of sexism or inequality? No.

Men make up 94% of truck drivers, 99% of car mechanics, 99% of electricians… but you don’t see the kind of outrage at these professions as you do with technology for some reason.

Women make up 97% of secretaries and admin assistants, 92% of nurses, 82% of teachers. Feminists (who claim to want equality) don’t seem to be campaigning for men to take jobs in these areas to equalise things.

Gender Bias in technology

Male dominated jobs

You could be forgiven for suggesting that there seems to be preferences based on gender by individuals that leads them to working in different areas, and if you look at science decades of studies completed by psychologists there are some interesting findings that suggest just that.

Gender preferences between men and women does not automatically mean there is oppression or something unjust going on or that we must campaign against it. We are very different and it’s not surprising, hormones are a huge part of this.

If you were going to list the worlds best 100m sprinters, it wouldn’t be sexist to list the top few thousand athletes as 100% men, it’s a fact.

More women work in education than men, it’s not sexist or a sign of inequality. More men work in trades like plumbing than women, it’s not sexist or a sign of inequality. More men work in tech, it’s not sexist or a sign of inequality.

Equality of outcome vs Equality of opportunity

When CEO’s, twitter users, feminists or the media call out for 50:50 splits based on gender they are calling for equality of outcome.

The premise behind this seems fair on the base of it but if you’re asking for and trying to set up a split of 50:50 at management level of a company where employees are 80% men you can quickly start to see where things become unfair.

People should be given opportunities such as management based on their past record and ability. Things like race, gender or political views really shouldn’t come into consideration when picking candidates for managers within tech jobs.

This quickly leads to situations such as:

  • People being overlooked based on race or gender. This is racism and sexism.
  • People feeling they have no chance of career progression based on race or gender.
  • Quality of managers drop as people are hired based on gender over ability.

We should also look at things from the perspective of the people being promoted based on their gender also, how bummed out would you be to discover you were only selected for the role because you’re a woman rather than impressing management through your ability or hard work?

If you are a male and you work in tech for a company that suddenly introduces such ambitions as Yoast did, it’s in your best interest to leave and find another job. If you’re looking to climb the ladder and progress you don’t really have much hope. Over time I think this will end up damaging these progressive companies as talented men leave and go join their competitors which don’t have these internal ideologues.

There doesn’t seem to be a logic reason for fighting for 50:50 employment in tech or 50:50 management teams, other than for egotistical CEO’s to feel like they are changing things because they believe in these progressive ideologies.

And ultimately, if this became the normal approach to business in the tech industry… How would it help?

The problem people seem to want to fix is the 70:30 male:female ratio of the tech industry workforce. If women made up 50% of management teams how does it actually do anything towards fixing the gender ratio of the workforce?

In summary, companies that adopt equality of outcome over equality of opportunity are going to face:

  • Weaker management staff as people are picked on attributes over ability.
  • Those being discriminated against will leave and presumably join competitor companies that don’t have these rules.
  • Those being discriminated against will feel over looked, it will affect morale.

There doesn’t seem to be any benefit to this approach, other than fitting the progressive narrative.

How do we encourage women to enter tech?

If it’s decided that the gender ration in the tech industry workforce is a problem (and I don’t think it is and there is no evidence to suggest this), I believe there are better ways fix it than discriminating against men and fast-tracking women to management jobs based on gender.

Women and men are different, how they operate and think mean they are suited for different things. There doesn’t seem to be a reason why using these differences in gender can’t work in attracting women to tech.

Women are more interested in people, men are more interested in things. To make software engineering more attractive to women, altering how it’s done in certain roles with more collaboration could encourage more women to join the industry. This couldn’t be done throughout every role, but it could help encourage women to enter the industry.

Tech companies could also offer more part time roles. There are studies that suggest women look for good work/life balance in jobs, while men seek status. While management jobs are looked at as higher status and are paid more money the competitive nature of men will mean they are more likely to want these roles.

Women are also more prone to anxiety. Reducing stress in all roles would be positive for everyone (including men). Having a plans in place to support those feeling the strain of their job could make tech more inviting to women.

There doesn’t seem to be any benefit in just changing the industry to attract equal ratios of men and women. I think we as an industry need to identify the benefit and reasons to make such changes. Diversity is beneficial for teams, but pushing it over ability, dedication and hard work when picking team members to promote is not going to benefit anyone.

This is something that needs to be stamped out.

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Posted by Hash Brown 8 months ago

Edit History

• [2019-01-30 15:38 PST] Hash Brown (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-30 15:38 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-30 15:38 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-30 15:38 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
🕓 Posted at 30 January, 2019 15:38 PM PST

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Right on point Hash dear

Download more RAM. 🐏 ⨉ 0 Posted by Huevos Rancheros 8 months ago 🕓 Posted at 31 January, 2019 04:59 AM PST
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If WP spent less time making a hipster editor and more time adding like two fucking fields to the default installation to allow <title> and <meta name="description"> tags and Yoast would be out of business

- World-renowned autist

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Posted by eeeeeeee 8 months ago 🕓 Posted at 31 January, 2019 10:44 AM PST

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what if i dont believe n equal opportunities in life and am sexist tho

Download more RAM. 🐏 ⨉ 0 Posted by CarrotKun 8 months ago 🕓 Posted at 10 February, 2019 13:49 PM PST


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