Thursday, August 24, 2017

Google Memo, redux

It's been nearly a month since the memo heard round the world (Twitter) dropped off the front page, but it's made me rethink a few things that I'd been taking for granted too long. I'm not one to shy away from criticizing feminism, especially when it collides with the internet outage industry, but this one left me particularly disappointed as people retreated to familiar corners. The majority of women I follow, and fair number of men, interpreted it as "women are less capable" instead of "women, compared to men, are less interested in stem and that might contributed to their lack of representation." Maybe my interpretation is charitable, but when anything less than "SEXISM! ALWAYS! ALL THE TIME!" is viewed as heresy, speaking up is social suicide.

I still don't think he should have been fired.

But something else started bothering me. I'm not about to deny that sexism exists, or that it's not a huge problem in the tech industry, but not even considering that there might be other factors at play does a disservice to those women who are outliers. High-status things coded as "male," like good paying jobs in the tech industry, garner more attention when they fail to reach gender parity than, say, road work or firefighting. For someone without a college degree, they pay well, better than service industry jobs where women dominate. Granted, those jobs are physically risky and less likely to appeal to women, but there aren't a whole lot of think pieces written about their lack of women.