Tag: sexism

IT security is still a man’s world darling

A new survey shows that while the IT world is pretty sexist, no part of it is worse than the IT Security industry, which is so backward it makes Neanderthals look like Homo Superior.

A report from the Centre for Cyber Safety and Education and the Executive Women’s Forum (EWF) said that not only do women make up one in ten of the cyber security workforce, they are paid much less despite having a better education than their sexist male colleagues.

The survey of more than 19,000 participants around the world finds that women have higher levels of education than men, with 51 percent holding a master’s degree or higher, compared to 45 percent of men.

Yet despite out qualifying them, women in cybersecurity earned less than men at every level and the wage gap shows very little signs of improvement. Men are four times more likely to hold C and executive level positions, and nine times more likely to hold managerial positions than women, globally.

More worrying is that 51 percent of women report encountering one or more forms of discrimination in the cybersecurity workforce. In the Western world, discrimination becomes far more prevalent the higher a woman rises in an organisation.

Lynn Terwoerds, executive director of the EWF said that companies who under-represent and under-use female talent were facing both a critical business issue.

They were also hindering the development of world class cybersecurity organizations and resilient companies, as well as the nation’s safety and protection.

Women who feel valued in their position are in organisations which provide training and leadership development resources.

Microsoft says sorry for the near-naked schoolgirls

mashable photo

mashable photo

Software giant Microsoft has said sorry for hiring a bunch of dancers dressed as schoolgirls during a promotion.

Vole thought logically that near-naked school-girls were exactly what a games developer conference wanted to see, so used some for its Xbox hosted events itss Game Developer Conference (GDC) afterparty in San Francisco.

Apparently some developers were insulted by the sexism involved Tin Man Games editor Kamina Vincent tweeted:”I like dancing, I like talking to devs. But not at this #GDC16 party. Thanks for pushing me out of this party, Microsoft.”

Microsoft’s head of Xbox Phil Spencer said in a statement that the Xbox-hosted events at GDC this past week, represented Xbox and Microsoft in a way that was absolutely not consistent or aligned to our values. That was unequivocally wrong and will not be tolerated,” Spencer said.

Microsoft had hosted a “Women in Gaming” luncheon at the GDC earlier that day which meant that the two messages were a little inconsistent.


Online harassment meetings closed by IT bullies

Nelson_and_the_bulliesConference sessions to investigate harassment in the computer gaming world has been closed because of the bullying of its organisers.

SXSW Interactive has cancelled two sessions for the 2016 event entitled “SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community” and “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games.”

In the seven days since announcing these two sessions, SXSW has received numerous threats of on-site violence related to this programming.

In a statement the convention organisers said that SXSW Interactive means that dialogue needed to be “civil and respectful. “

“If people cannot agree, disagree and embrace new ways of thinking in a safe and secure place that is free of online and offline harassment, then this marketplace of ideas is inevitably compromised,” the statement said.

Maintaining civil and respectful dialogue within the big tent is more important than any particular session, it added.

So clearly a win for internet terror campaigns. Apparently all you have to do to silence opposition to your backward misogynistic ideas is put in a few calls making threats and your opposition will give in.

Clearly SXSW did not realise that the people running anti-women campaigns like gamergate were bullies. The moment they realised it, they did what any tech people do when faced with bullies – they surrender and turn over their lunch money before they are given a wedgie.

Open source is the last bastion of white supremacy

For those who feel the US white Anglo-Saxon male has become an endangered species, it appearshe has  found a niche where he reigns supreme.

The US open sauce programming movement has opened its eyes and noticed that for some reason there are very few blacks and Latinos in software development positions.

Given that open sauce is supposed to be egalitarian and easy to be involved with, some are starting to wonder why this is the case. Code Switch  poses the question and then makes a sweeping generalisation which explains part of the problem.

“You don’t have to know somebody or have a degree in software engineering or get hired to participate in an open-source project. You can jump right in and start writing some code,” the magazine wrote. In other words, it assumes that blacks and Hispanics do not have the right educational qualifications to enter the programming world, so they can still enter the open sauce universe.

It quoted Betsey Haibel, a software developer in Washington who did not have a traditional computer science degree, but contributed to open-source projects helped her land her current job.

Haibel found that the open-source world is even whiter and male dominated than the world of proprietary software.

If she was right, then the open sauce community was whiter than a KKK rally in Florida. The Bureau of Labour Statistics says that more than 80 percent of software developers in 2012 were white and Asian-Americans, blacks and Latinos are significantly underrepresented. If the open sauce community is worse than that, then there is a very serious problem.

Ashe Dryden, a blogger whose focus is diversity in tech spaces, points out that the overwhelming majority of the most active users of GitHub were white males.

Then Code Switch makes its mistake. It claims that the reason for this problem is that blacks and Latinos are more likely to attend under-resourced schools and are under-represented in maths and science fields at every level of higher education and increasingly so the higher they go, and are less likely than whites to have Internet access outside of the home.

In other words, it is all because blacks and Hispanics can’t provide themselves with a decent education like white folk.

However, if poor education is the problem, why are open source communities less likely to attract the ethnic minority programmers than proprietary software? The suggestion has to be that open source is less attractive in some way.

Dryden thinks that it is all down to time. Time is not a luxury that many people who are lower on the socioeconomic scale have.

He thinks that many marginalised people in tech, women, racial minorities, people with disabilities, LGBTQ people, and others, have less free time because they are worried about dependent care, domestic work and errands, and pay inequity.

However, here is the problem. The excuses are all based on a stereotype of black, Latino, women, and disabled people being poor and poorly educated. In itself, this is a prejudice. Anyway, why are poorly educated white people able to use the Open Sauce community as a springboard to success, but not blacks and Hispanics?

What is more likely is that open sauce community projects form in cliques based around their demographic. Projects are developed with people you already know and are from your demographic. This shuts out people from the wrong side of the tracks.

However, all this does prevent people from dealing with the elephant in the room – is the open sauce community sexist and racist? While people look for the minorities to explain why they are not included then that question will not be tackled.

US whites can always come up with reasons why black people cannot join their club or travel in their buses or why women need to stay at home. Putting the blame at the door of ethnic minorities being too poor or badly educated is a cop out.

If structures within the open source community do not encourage the limited number of ethnic minorities or women into the community then there is something wrong.

There are well-educated and clever programmers from ethnic minorities or women who do have time to work on Open Sauce projects. If there were not, there would be even less in the IT industry generally. The only answer is that for some reason they find the structure hostile to them and they stay in proprietary companies.

It is not up to ethnic minorities to come up with reasons why they are failing to enter the club; it is up to club members to work out why, if they are so egalitarian, they are a bastion for white supremacy. 

Linux developers make tits of themselves

Software giant Microsoft has angered a lot of open saucers by slipping what some of them have dubbed a sexist remark into code that connects the Linux kernel to Microsoft’s HyperV virtualisation software.

The open source community is shocked and horrified that someone at Microsoft inserted the words “Big Boobs” into the code.

Paul McNamara over at Network World thundered from his pulpit that “this kind of juvenile nonsense has no place in the business world”.

He insists that there are those in the programming community that insist on defending “the non-existent right to be just a little bit sexist, even at work, as long as it’s just a little bit and as long as not too many people notice or are offended”.

McNamara got on the blower to Microsoft which promptly apologised for the offensive string and it has submitted a patch to fix this “issue”.

So far the people offended are men and should not have “big boobs”, and if they do they should go to the gym and rethink their diet.

Paolo Bonzini noticed that the Linux kernel support code for Microsoft’s HyperV virtualisation environment ran a magic constant through to the hypervisor was “0xB16B00B5”. This translates in English to “BIG BOOBS”.

In other words it was a vaguely-English string in hex constant which to an ordinary person looks nothing like big boobs.  It is also the same sort of mentality which plays records backwards to find hidden messages that prove that musicians are secret satanists.

“Puerile sniggering at breasts contributes to the continuing impression that software development is a boys club where girls aren’t welcome,” Linux developer Matthew Garrett ranted from his bog.

The argument is this sort of big boobish behaviour is what is keeping women out of IT.

It does seem a little overstated to us. It is based on the somewhat sexist assumption that the coder was male. In some ways the puritans are actually demonstrating a particularly unpleasant form of sexism which is far worse than writing “big boobs” in code.

What they are saying is that women are all sugar and spice and need to be treated differently from men.  They need to be protected. If you want to work with “girls” you have to tone down your language, because they are likely to be offended. In other words, having a woman in your team is like working with your mother.

It is easier to leap from this attitude to the other really sexist lines such as she does not want this senior job because she will want to spend more time with her boyfriend or husband and she will want a family soon and will leave.

One of the reasons that the IT world is attractive to anyone is that it is creative, fun and with a flat heirarchy. Saying that women are not really interested in playing the same sorts of games as men is more sexist and backward than writing “big boobs” in code and is probably the real reason why women are less interested in IT.