Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Welcome to Junior High

A remarkable bout of note-passing between two idiots

China: "Do U like me? Yes/No"
KMT: "I like u  but lets not rush, im dating the Taiwanese ppl but they don't know I really like u lol "
China: "4get the taiwanese ppl, they r dumb! u cn b mine haha lol  u"
KMT: "haha yeah lol i dont really care abt them anyway lets be 2gether 4ever"

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Keeping Women in Tech: a worldwide survey

So I've just come back from a wonderful trip to Burma, and am excited to put pictures up. However, I took over 2,000 pictures and haven't even sorted through half of them yet, so it's going to take a few more days before I can make that post (or possibly, series of posts).

For now...

This interesting article popped up in the Washington Post today, and I thought I'd link it here.

I hear a lot of hooey about how there aren't a lot of women in STEM fields because "women jst aren't interested in it", or "it's not as appealing to women" Bullshit. To wit:

"The study finds that gender bias underpins why these women either don’t think they can get ahead or are choosing to leave their organizations. One-third of U.S. women in what the report calls “lab-coat, hard-hat and geek workplace cultures” feel excluded from social networks at their jobs (that number is 53 percent in India). Meanwhile, 72 percent of women in the United States and 78 percent of women in Brazil perceive bias in their performance evaluations."
It's not about these fields not being appealing to women, it's about women feeling pushed out, unwelcome, and purposely stalled/kept back from achieving their best.

I don't think the study included Taiwan, but combining the countries surveyed (including Taiwan's Big Bad Neighbor, China) which are thankfully not all Western, along with my own knowledge and experience interacting with people in the tech industry in Taiwan, I am confident in asserting that this is a problem in Taiwan, as well. 

I've taught classes in which the only woman in that company I've met has been a secretary or HR representative. I've eaten dinner in big-company fabs and office cafeterias where all you see, all around you, is men (maybe a smattering of women in office clothes that hint at their working in a lay department). I've met women in those industries who speak to being the only woman in an office full of men, or who have graphed their performance evaluations to show that there have been dips - despite their best efforts and corporate promises that maternity leave will not impact your performance evaluation - the same years they've taken maternity leave. I've talked to people who admit to doing things like gossiping about new "hot" (or "cute") female hires and using their employee numbers to refer to them (so they, and their employee photo, will be easy to look up). Those same men have not understood why that's undermining to their female colleagues and women in general. When you're judged more on your appearance than abilities generally - and women demonstrably are - and then your appearance becomes a major conversation point (not your abilities), and you're treated differently from male hires, not because you're better or you stand apart based on your work but because of your face, that's a big fucking problem. It further undermines the credibility of your work and puts your appearance, not your work, first and foremost. But that's not something easily understood, and it's taken time for me to get my point across regarding just how big of a problem it really is. 

It's a huge problem, and I'm sick of it being dismissed with "women just aren't interested in STEM." BULL. SHIT. It's time we a.) recognized that the issue is actually one of systemic, institutionalized sexism and b.) did something about it. In Taiwan and around the world.