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Lies, Damn Lies, and Tech Diversity Statistics 335

theodp writes Some of the world's leading Data Scientists are on the payrolls of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Apple. So, it'd be interesting to get their take on the infographics the tech giants have passed off as diversity data disclosures. Microsoft, for example, reported its workforce is 29% female, which isn't great, but if one takes the trouble to run the numbers on a linked EEO-1 filing snippet (PDF), some things look even worse. For example, only 23.35% of its reported white U.S. employee workforce is female (Microsoft, like Google, footnotes that "Gender data are global, ethnicity data are US only"). And while Google and Facebook blame their companies' lack of diversity on the demographics of U.S. computer science grads, CS grad and nationality breakouts were not provided as part of their diversity disclosures. Also, the EEOC notes that EEO-1 numbers reflect "any individual on the payroll of an employer who is an employee for purposes of the employers withholding of Social Security taxes," further muddying the disclosures of companies relying on imported talent, like H-1B visa dependent Facebook. So, were the diversity disclosure mea culpas less about providing meaningful data for analysis, and more about deflecting criticism and convincing lawmakers there's a need for education and immigration legislation (aka Microsoft's National Talent Strategy) that's in tech's interest?
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Lies, Damn Lies, and Tech Diversity Statistics

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  • by fche ( 36607 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @07:15PM (#48841467)

    ... becomes subjective bias-reinforcement when using the phrase "even worse" in comparing numbers

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @07:16PM (#48841477) Journal

    The disclosures showed what everyone knew already - there's a lot of white males around, a disproportionately high number of Asian males, not so many Hispanics and blacks and relatively few women. Do you really think picking at the details is going to make things look significantly different?

    And why bring up H-1Bs when talking about only counting employees who have Social Security taxes withheld? H-1Bs ARE subject to withholding for Social Security.

    • by theodp ( 442580 )

      Right, so if H-1B workers are included in the EEO-1 reports, comparing U.S. college populations to Facebook's 15%+ H-1B workforce, as FB's Sheryl Sandberg did, is kind of apples-to-oranges, no?

    • I haven't looked at the report, but from my personal experience, there are some interesting observations that seem to support the notion that gender imbalance in IT is entirely, or at least mostly cultural, and all that talk about "natural differences" is just BS.

      Here's why. While there are few enough female coders around, I do notice a definitive trend that the majority of them tend to be immigrants. Generally speaking, China is best represented, there's a good share of Indians and Eastern Europeans, and e

  • SjwDot.org (Score:5, Insightful)

    by r.freeman ( 2944629 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @07:18PM (#48841491)
    SJW posts on Slashdot.org are getting ridiculous, why it is some tragedy that both genders choose other things to do in their life?
    • Re:SjwDot.org (Score:5, Insightful)

      by russotto ( 537200 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @07:29PM (#48841587) Journal

      The SJW posts will continue until the commenters acquiesce. Not holding my breath. It's not like we don't recognize the SJWs as being the same damn male-nerd-bashers we've dealt with our entire life, only now claiming the moral high ground of "diversity" too.

      • That, and timmah got his plums emptied by Anita Sarkeesian.

        You go timmah, winning!

        • You gotta admit, it's pretty funny when an unknown feminist can just freak the fuck out of these self-described alpha males. I mean, if not for GamerGate setting its own hair on fire, nobody would know who Anita Sarkeesian even was.

          Instead, she's turned into a rock star, gets a book deal, and Intel gives half a billion dollars to encourage diversity.

          And people wonder why the tech sector is so keen to replace white men.

      • Re:SjwDot.org (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @08:17PM (#48841819)

        More seriously though this nonsense is getting crazy. Story after story about gender diversity, why women are being driven out of tech by rapey neckbeards, a resolute refusal to take a long hard journalistically honest look at gamergate (when gamergate should have been the FOCUS of a site like slashdot), it reeks of complicity with the insidious agenda of the demented hate movement known as feminism.

        I'll tell you this "editors", the time for such manipulations is almost at an end.

        • Re:SjwDot.org (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Sunday January 18, 2015 @02:56AM (#48843203)
          Ran across this interesting tidbit while looking up some stats for myself last time one of these articles got posted here.

          Of the 7.6 million STEM workers [ieee.org], only 24% are women [commerce.gov].
          Of the 3.7 million public schoolteachers, only 24% are men [ed.gov].

          I'll start taking all this gender equality stuff being reported seriously when I see at least half as many articles complaining about the latter as I see about the former. If one is a "problem", so is the other. Otherwise I'll take it there's an implicit assumption that women like to teach (or are better teachers) than men. And likewise men like STEM (or are better at STEM) than women.
          • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

            I'll start taking all this gender equality stuff being reported seriously when I see at least half as many articles complaining about the latter as I see about the former. If one is a "problem", so is the other. Otherwise I'll take it there's an implicit assumption that women like to teach (or are better teachers) than men. And likewise men like STEM (or are better at STEM) than women.

            Funny enough, there is a concern. MenTeach is about children's success. We want a diverse workforce, both men and women teac [menteach.org]

            • but there's an inherent distrust that a male teacher will rape all the female students that basically scare off the male teachers.

              Nothing inherent about it, it's a deliberately fostered and carefully cultivated narrative, which like all of these schemes ends up with people unfit for the job being given the job, leading to an epidemic of female teachers raping male and female students [wnd.com]. And that list is by no means comprehensive, Fark used to run a daily piece on the latest female teacher/male student paedophile case. At this point it would be a considerable endeavour to gather and organise the ever increasing mountain of cases.

            • Perhaps 25% of women in STEM is fine, if 25% of them are interested in STEM fields and the 75% are in other areas, then that's perfect representation.

              Umm, no.

              If 25% of the PEOPLE who are interested in STEM are women, than 25% women in STEM is perfect representation.

              Your analysis reduces to "there are 150 million women in the country. If 37 million of them are interested in STEM, then there is perfect representation. Never mind that there aren't 150 million STEM jobs for those 37 million women to take 25

          • Ah the old "everything has to be fixed at once or there's no point fixing anything at all argument".

            Total crap.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

            The lack of men in education is a big issue, but possibly not one that will get a lot of coverage on a tech news web site...

    • ... or that people are actually individuals and their genders are not their direct identities.

      Sure, I am male but that only matters in one situation (due to my handicap of being straight) and we aren't doing that right now so I have no interest in your gender.

      If you can help me work through the design of this idea without resorting to arguments relating to "where the braces will go", then I think this may be the beginning of a beautiful colleagueship.

  • by bugs2squash ( 1132591 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @07:25PM (#48841561)
    29% of the workforce by weight is female.
  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @07:34PM (#48841603)
    I find it unlikely that the tech sector will ever even get close to parity. Too many boys get interested in tech as a reaction to be ostracized from other groups. They develop a culture all their own, and that culture is usually not particularly friendly to people that are different from them, that have not gotten along with them terribly well, or that they don't think measure-up. Girls, and later women, squarely hit all three for the the vast majority of them, and when that's the base to which others entering technical fields through career planning rather than through personal interest have to deal with, that will turn-off people that don't like what they find.

    When one looks at scandals like "gamergate" and other situations where women are finding themselves subject to personal attack when they disagree with other members of the community, you can begin to see the underbelly of the problem. Boys that don't get along with girls, objectify girls because of their own needs, and never are taught to behave otherwise will automatically reinforce an environment that's struggled with gender parity from the beginning.

    The solution is to fix this when boys are in their tween and teen years, but that takes effort and a willingness to deal with the social issues that led to the problem in the first place. Screeching about the problem after it's become established won't fix it.
    • by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Sunday January 18, 2015 @04:39AM (#48843399)

      What's that about gamergate and women you say? Sorry I couldn't hear you over the sound of the actual women [youtube.com] that people like you are busy calling racial slurs [twimg.com] while trying to pin the blame on nerdy men.

      Also women actually IN the tech industry call bullshit [linuxjournal.com] on you too.

  • What is the diversity of the active slashdot user base? Maybe we could have a poll limited to logged-in people only to keep people from tilting the stats?
  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @07:52PM (#48841697)

    If it were, feminists would be beside themselves that by every metric, boys and men are losing out and the system favors girls and women. It doesn't matter what someone says they believe, just watch their actions. By the fruit they bear you will know their true character and priorities. Once you realize it's never been about equality, the only thing that matters is the question of whether some women have been truly unjustly denied opportunities. As a class issue, it's dead on arrival once you realize that equality was never the goal.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      It's about equality of opportunity. The feminist stance has always been the same: if a group (male, female, white, black, asian, oriental, straight, gay, transgender, basically anything the person has no control over) is disadvantaged it's an issue that needs addressing.

      Never had anything to do with a 50/50 mix or any nonsense like that, it's simply about opportunity and people being able to do the things they want to do without undue barriers.

  • Gender studies, diversity etc, are made up pseudoscience that do far more harm than good.

    Brainwash 1:7 - The Gender Equality Paradox [vimeo.com]
  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @08:03PM (#48841749)

    ... or they'll choose to do something else. There is no institutional sexism. No one has been able to find it.

    All you have is a stat that shows women don't statistically pursue this career. There is no evidence that universities are discriminating and there is no evidence that companies are discriminating.

    So what you are really upset about is women CHOOSING to not go into tech.

    You apparently don't like people having choices. You want everyone to statistically fall into perfect little patterns and do things according to your numbers.

    Only one way to do that. Force women to and men and any other arbitrary group your stupid statistics think are relevant... and force them into tech... or else... scorpions? I'll leave that up to you.

    Absent that, people are not going to fall into these statistical patterns. More men are going to get into some careers. More women are going to get into others. How many male kindergarten teachers are there? How many men work at maternity wards in hospitals? Women like small children and babies. They just do. And so that is ONE example of a career women tend to be happier in then men. I am not saying they should be pushed into it or that they should do it. They personally choose to do it because they like it. It is a choice.

    And men often like solitary complex tasks working long hours often for no more reason then because it is hard and if they don't do it no one will.

    Men like jobs that no one else will do. We gravitate to that stuff. We like being the guy that signs up for a couple years in the Merchant Marines seeing land no more then a couple days out of a month for years. Our contacts with civilization basically being a bar crawl climaxing with a trip to a brothel. Deal with it.

    Men and women are not the same. They're not. We like different things. Pretending it is all socialization and otherwise women would love action movies and guys would be crying on the couch eating ice cream while watching romantic comedies is the opinion MORONS have.

    I am not a moron. However, there are clearly a lot of morons running around and quite a few people don't seem to be able to tell the difference between morons and normal people. Because the morons are being treated like they're smart.

    I think part of it might be that what the morons are saying doesn't make any sense. And we tend to associate things that do not make sense these days with something so smart that it is just beyond us. Except, sometimes things that don't make sense actually don't make sense... because they're stupid.

    This whole feminist kick that the media is going on these days is dumb. You are embarrassing yourselves and you're not helping women.

    If you actually won, the best you'd have accomplished is cause the competency of women for a generation to be questioned because no one would know if they earned their job or if they were some sort of diversity hire.

    Stop being stupid. No really. Stop eating the lead paint chips which I am assuming is a popular ingredient at jamba juice.. and just stop. It is your job to write articles and talk. I don't want you to starve.

    Just try harder to not literally have the opinions of literal idiots. Not saying you are idiots... just that you happen to be thinking in much the same way and it is not acceptable.

    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

      There is no institutional sexism. No one has been able to find it.

      The thing is -- I read your post, and I think "that's institutional sexism right here".

      I agree with most of what you wrote. But other bits are a sort of weird distorted view of the tech industry, or a picture of an undesirable workplace that should be changed. For instance, "men often like solitary complex tasks working long hours" -- (1) as a married man with a child, I'm delighted that I don't have to work long hours; (2) the successful senior folks are those whose work is accomplished through meetings li

      • You literally just claimed the lack of evidence of something existing is ipso facto proof of it existing. That's a textbook example of a complete failure of logical validity.

      • First, there is no evidence you can point to in my post of sexual discrimination. Simply claiming you FEEL that there is can at best be put down to you not liking my conclusion but lacking any rational objection. I can neither respect nor credit your position as valid on this issue absent evidence.

        Second, as to your personal feelings about working long hours you must realize we're talking about statistics that average literally millions of people together. Your personal opinions are not even a drop in the b

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      There is no institutional sexism. No one has been able to find it.

      Yes they have. You must not have been listening, it's been well documented.

      Example 1. Manager has a post to fill. Puts out a message on networks like LinkedIn and other watering holes for people in the industry. Problem is that because most of his contacts are male most of the applicants will be male too. He could make an active effort to expand his contacts, or ask people with more female contacts to pass details of the job along. In the end he still picks the best candidate, but this way he has a bigger p

      • Your example is not sexism. There being a lot more men and tending to thus hire men does not mean anyone is against women.

        You have fundamentally misunderstood what sexism means. One would need to be intentionally biased towards women to be sexist. Without direct intent you've got nothing.

        As to example 2, that is no more sexism against women then it was sexism against men when I joined a design course and I was the only male in the course. All women but me. It was also taught by a woman. Were they discrimina

        • You have fundamentally misunderstood what sexism means. One would need to be intentionally biased towards women to be sexist. Without direct intent you've got nothing.

          Now you'rejust making shit up. Unconsious bias which causes people to discriminate against women is also sexism. Just because you don't want to admit sexism exists doesn't mean you get to alter the definiton in order to maintain your world view.

          Well, you can pull a Humpty Dumpty and go around using your own private meaning but if you try to co

    • There is no institutional sexism. No one has been able to find it.

      Yes they have. There's a nice article in PNAS about a technical job in biosciences. They randomly assigned a gendered name to CVs. CVs with female names got fewer job offers and a lower salary offer than male ones.

      http://www.pnas.org/content/10... [pnas.org]

      TL;DR: people were biased against applicants they believed to be female. That is pretty much the dictionary definition of sexism. And that paper is pretty much out right proof of sexism at an insti

      • Rationalizations are not required.The study applied to a single organization and a university apparently at that. With such a tiny sample size it is impossible to conclude anything.

        What is more, I'll note just for giggles your study showed that female managers were as likely to rate female applicants as being less competent given equal information.

        I will conclude with the observation that increasing affirmative action policies will further damage the impression that women are not credible because you will c

  • by jackspenn ( 682188 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @08:05PM (#48841759)

    How does being diverse help a company or team?

    Why stop at Microsoft?

    Let's look at the NBA Portland Trail Blazers. No women, not enough south-Americans, Asians, native-Americans or even whites!

    Doesn't the NBA realize they would be so much better off if they focused on diversity instead of their narrow minded goal of getting the best basketball players?

    That Paul Allen guy is a performance and results bigot. Just look at what he is doing with the Seattle Seahawks.

    I see anti-diversity examples all over Allen's successful investments, with a clear focus on talent, skill, work ethic, etc. instead of a person's race or sex.

    What kind of world will this result in, if people are rewarded for what they contribute instead of what they look like and whether or not they have any balls?

  • you know what? most stylists are women or gay men. Oh no, I'm being discriminated against! And women plumbers are totally under represented (though the ones who are doing it are freakin rich).

    Perhaps its time to consider whether anyone has asked the question: do women really really want to work in IT? Or do they prefer other professions? Accounting? Sales? Something else?

    • you know what? most stylists are women or gay men. Oh no, I'm being discriminated against! And women plumbers are totally under represented (though the ones who are doing it are freakin rich).

      Perhaps its time to consider whether anyone has asked the question: do women really really want to work in IT? Or do they prefer other professions? Accounting? Sales? Something else?

      Five digit slashdot UID.

      And one wonders why there is so much interest in making tech less of a white boys club. It's because this is the

  • Why we need $400 million to teach K-12 CS [seattletimes.com]: 1. [code.org] "Only 10 percent of schools teach it [CS]." 2. [slashdot.org] "No Girls, Blacks, or Hispanics Take AP Computer Science Exam in Some States." 3. [nsf.gov] "Currently, only 25 states allow computer science to count as a mathematics or science credit towards graduation."

    • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Sunday January 18, 2015 @02:57AM (#48843211) Homepage Journal

      The very best engineers, programmers and wizards are not school taught - they are autodidact.
      To the point that many have a CS education, that is only pro-forma so they fulfill employment requirements.

      Anyone who takes CS to learn CS is already behind. If you actually learned something you didn't already know, you probably didn't have much of an interest or a knack in the first place.

      To get more [insert favorite minority] into STEM/CS, the members of [insert favorite minority] have to take an interest in it. Schools can't teach you the drive and curiosity that makes you worth keeping as an employee. They can only teach you what you can pick up in a fraction of the time by reading and playing around.

      To expect to be a successful engineer because your parents sent you to UCB is as silly as expecting to be a successful musician because you took music classes. Without an inner drive and interest, it won't do much good.
      And the problem is that women in general don't take a personal interest in maths, science, engineering or similar. That has to come first.

  • The company I work for (roughly 300 employs, fairly major UK national insurance broker) had to hire a new web dev last year. We put the feelers out in June, ended up interviewing throughout July and August, eventually hiring someone in September.

    The job went out to all the usual boards, the HR dept (two women) hunted for candidates on LinkedIn, and we were also passed résumés by several agencies.

    We saw well over 100 résumés in that time, with Indian and Chinese candidates massively over represented. How many résumés did we see from women for the position? Not one. Not a single, solitary one.

    So yes, gender diversity sucks in tech, but when women aren't applying for the jobs, how can we diversify?

    • So yes, gender diversity sucks in tech, but when women aren't applying for the jobs, how can we diversify?

      This is the real issue: women just aren't as likely to want to be programmers as men.

      I work at a company where almost all the programmers are male, while QA is probably close to a 50/50 mix or even majority-female. Seeing the (female) QA person on my team write some SQL during the course of her testing and being obviously competent at it, I asked her if she'd ever want to be a programmer instead of QA.

      S

  • by Teckla ( 630646 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @08:47PM (#48841963)

    How come there are never any reports on the fact that elementary and middle school teachers are overwhelmingly female? How come there are never any reports on the fact that nurses such as LPNs and RNs are overwhelmingly female?

    What's being done to close these gender gaps? Why is it never reported? Why is it not important? Wouldn't it be good for kids, who spend a lot of their life in school, to also have male teachers as role models?

    What about college admissions? Female admissions have been much higher than male admissions for quite a while now. Why isn't this being reported? Shouldn't we be discussing what to do about that?

    Forgive me, but I've seen this "gender gap in technology" thing reported over, and over, and over and over and over and over and over and over ad nauseum, the last few years. It's a discussion that's worth having, to be sure, but it astonishes me how gender gaps in other, probably much more important areas, are completely ignored.

    Why is that?

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      Why is that?

      Because technology jobs are better paying.

      The "equality" is asymmetric.

    • The thing you need to remember is that when feminists talk about the 'gender gap' these days what they MEAN to say is the gap is not large enough.

      Women have more choices, more opportunities, better health, longer lives, more social stature, and more support than men.
      And THATS NOT ENOUGH!

      Once you understand that, things become clearer.
      Sad, isnt it.

    • Simply put it's because all of this is a dog whistle [linuxjournal.com] for attacking nerdy men. Before they were bullied openly for being nerds, now they're bullied under the justification that they're "misogynerds".

  • So (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Saturday January 17, 2015 @11:44PM (#48842647) Journal

    Is there a way to reclaim Slashdot from this constant barrage of psychological assault on IT professionals by outsiders?

    I'm a bit of a nerd and I'm an IT professional. This place used to be a place to find news of interest to nerds and IT professionals. Now it's a place where there's going to be a daily article about how shitty a person I am and how shitty my industry is.

    Is this what the rest of you guys come here for? To get shit on daily? It's kinda feeling like Slashdot has just become a bad habit I do when I'm bored because I've done it so many times before.

    Is your target audience people who are nerds, or is it people who are envious of nerds? It's kinds feeling like this place has become the latter.

    • To quote Dr. Hoff-Sommers: "In early 90s, my side won all the arguments. But the other side quietly assumed all the assistant professorships." Despite an overwhelming majority of even women rejecting the SJW's toxic branding they have disproportionate clout due to actively seeking out media influence.

    • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

      Is there a way to reclaim Slashdot from this constant barrage of psychological assault on IT professionals by outsiders?

      Yes, it is called "stop being misogynistic whiny manbabies if you're called on some of your misbehaviour".

      The other way is of course time. There is a movement for more diversity, and it will win eventually when said manbabies die out. Given their obnoxious whinging, they are not recruiting faster than they are dying out, and every flare-up into uglyness like GamerGhazi throws off more mode

      • by dwpro ( 520418 )
        calling us "misogynistic whiny manbabies" throws cold water on the argument that a "toxic" environment exists in tech. If you're at all interested in convincing thinking people that you have a point, try some logic and evidence, not name calling.
    • I'm serious. This is happening because of Democrats being in control of the regulatory apparatus of the federal government. No shocker there. If you want to stop being harassed about identity politics issues, elect Republicans. You get a different basket of annoyances there, but you'll stop hearing about this, at least.

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