Thoughts on the day...

So it would seem that there is a huge push to get girls/women/ladies/female persons into STEM and programming specifically. There are people working on "scholarships" or "free tickets to cons" and such for them as underrepresented class of persons. I am wondering the actual specific reasons? Is it because we have an actual shortage of programming persons? Or because this class of persons desires to be in programming, but is somehow being shut out? There doesn't necessarily seem to be lack for this class of persons in other STEM fields. Could it also be due to the fact that this class of persons is traditionally paid less than their boy/man/dude/male person counterpart performing the same job as an attempt to lower the cost to businesses employing such? I am curious of the pushes that are being done, because I never trust the motivation given for anything that affects so many aspects of something.

Without turning this into an essay, I want to raise a few more questions?
Does the industry gain anything in the field from diversity itself? Does a programming team benefit from having a person of a specific gender, race, religion, national origin <insert the rest of the eoe protected classes> from the fact that they are in fact a member of that class.
Should the industry and its players change itself, (customs, culture, mores, language, and so on) to allow for such integration, or would the marriage of such new culture to an existing culture naturally change it organically?
Is this done in other industries where they are made up lacking a certain class of person and strong encouragement, support etc. is made to interest, entice, or otherwise bring members of that lacking class into it?

@Absinthe From a "for the good of the world" perspective, it's because we still see things like vice.com/en_us/article/mgb3yn/ which wouldn't have happened if more women were involved in the creation of various technology products.

As for from a "because society still has immoral biases built into it" perspective, I seem to have forgotten to copy the post with all the citations into my reference-back bin, but here's the gist of how I understand it:

1. While it's true that we see a skew toward women *wanting* non-STEM jobs that exercise other skills (eg. language) in nordic countries where factors such as pay are reduced or eliminated as biases, studies show that even the nordic countries still have fewer women in STEM fields than they should when controlled for that. (ie. In a properly fair world, studies show there should be fewer than 50% women in STEM fields, but more than we have.)

2. Our school system is partly to blame because, while girls and boys develop differently and arrive at the same point eventually, the current development curves tend to result in math being taught in a way that better harmonizes with the boys' development curve and English (and, I'd assume, other native languages) being taught in a way that better harmonizes with the girls' development curve.

3. Biasing factors can be *very* subtle, such as parents allowing male babies to cry longer without realizing it, or being more concerned about little girls getting dirty or hurt during play that might help to develop their curiosity about the natural world... again, without realizing it. (eg. Balancing on a rock in the middle of a stream)

@ssokolow

The article seems to suggest that artificial heart fit men better because men are more susceptible. That makes perfect sense, if you make a calculation of the size with the goal to fit as many susceptible people as possible, the result will be biased towards the more susceptible group. This calculation will be the same regardless of whether it is done by a woman or a man. Suggesting that a woman will disregard that and instead do a 50-50 split based on sex alone, is first of all stupid, but also sexist, both of that woman and of the one suggesting. This is true for many other things. For example most combat equipment is designed for men, not because they are designed by men, but because there are significantly more men in combat, and as long as that is the case a woman designer would make similar choices.

Cell phones are fashion items and they are not designed to be fit for any purpose. They are a pain to use for any size human hand, unless it was specifically trained. There are plenty of small cameras designed for the exact purpose of taking quick photos or videos and can easily be used singlehandedly by anyone, even children.

@Absinthe

@namark @Absinthe So you're arguing that I can use an iPad as if it were an iPhone if I train my hand enough?

There is such a thing as "too big to be usable one-handed" for a given hand size.

I could also argue that it's sexual discrimination to expect women to pay for a separate camera when they need to buy a smartphone anyway. (Not to mention that, in some cases, it's important to use software which will upload your photos/video as they're captured so they can't be confiscated.)

@ssokolow

No, I'm not sure how you arrived at that. I'm arguing that phones are not designed to fit any hands or be usable one handed, or be usable at all, they are designed to be fancy fashion accessories. They happen to be small computers with various gadget including cameras attached for no particular purpose other than pop culture. Being able to use them effectively requires training and is a feat of dexterity. You are arguing that something that was not designed for the purpose is not be fit for the purpose for woman specifically, and blaming that on designers.

There is no reason a camera cannot have such an uploading functionality. Anyone wanting to take photos comfortably and reliably has to buy a camera.

There is a lot of sexual discrimination in any culture I've come in contact with or ever heard about. It is done by men against women, women against men, men against men and women against women. When you foundation is failing renovating the top floor is pointless (and phone size isn't even that, phone size is window handles in this analogy, if anything at all).

@Absinthe

@namark @Absinthe Ahh. That explains our point of miscommunication.

I assumed (and still believe) that the idea of a smartphone being "not designed to fit any hands or be usable one handed, or be usable at all, they are designed to be fancy fashion accessories" to the degree you seem to support is outside the range of plausibility.

Beyond that, I'm getting a sense from your writing that the point of divergence between our worldviews is either deep enough, or sufficiently emotionally rooted, that it wouldn't be worth my time to try to change your mind, given the amount of time and energy I'm willing to expend, so I'm just going to tap out and ask that we agree to disagree.

(I don't feel like investing the same kind of energy I'd have to spend to compile a meta-analysis with sufficient rigour to submit it to a scientific journal, and I get the impression that's what it would take to convince either of us to change our minds.)

@ssokolow

Even if you do not agree with my absolute disgust of most modern phone designs, you have to agree that they are not(and were not) designed for any other purpose than suiting and driving pop culture, in particular not designed for taking photos comfortably and reliably in extreme circumstances. The market is driven by people who buy the new shiny, without any consideration of utility. That's the main point of one minor sub-point you decided to focus on.

I don't see any deep rooted disagreement. In case my, perhaps, abrasive manner of writing is draining you emotionally, I apologize.

@Absinthe

@namark @Absinthe Possibly.

As for your argument, I don't dispute that phones are driven far too little by utility. Just look at fashion's effect on battery life, the removal of the SD card slot, the dying-off of the headphone jack, physical "slider" keyboards, and so on.

There's a reason that, for my mobile computing, I seek out alternative devices like the OpenPandora.

What we seem to disagree on is the *degree* to which this effect is allowed to override the designers' conceptions of how large a phone a given market will accept.

I've been watching smartphones develop for a long time and, to my eyes, the growth in size seems to have tapered off.

I *suppose*, to be fair, the segment of the market with smaller hands could be willing to bear "just beyond ideal, but no further", but it seems like an implausible line to draw in the sand during the period when smaller and larger models coexisted.

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@ssokolow @namark what about other things too? Have you tried to buy a Glock lately? To my large glove male glove sized hands it is akin to holding on to a brick. And if I complain to the salesperson, asking for something a little more comfortable to my hand, they start to show me the hazy pink "Lady Smith". :)

@Absinthe @namark True. There is a *lot* of bad design in the world.

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