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This is is why women can't have nice things. Apparently it is dirty pool to keep men out of the room when it comes time for women to form their own groups. According to attorney Al Rava, who claims to have filed 150 sex discrimination lawsuits against California businesses, women-only technology groups and networking events are inherently "anti-male."

To which I cry bullshit.

I agree with the basic premise that women's rights isn't going anywhere until we get buy-in from the boys' club. It is an unfortunate fact of life that just decrying our lack of resources and opportunities will not get us those things until men are willing to fight alongside us. There are just too many male-oriented obstacles in our collective paths. Look at the U.S. Army Rangers, for instance. Women didn't get to go through Ranger school until after a male U.S. President supported the idea of women in combat-related jobs and a male U.S. Defense Secretary told the military to open up Ranger school applications. And even now the two women who graduated this month are going to spend their Army careers sitting around doing non-Ranger jobs until another man (probably a group of generals) says it's okay for the women who passed the training to be allowed in the group itself.

But the point of all-women tech groups and all-women conferences and all-women networking events is not to shut the men out of the process. It is to create a safe space where women can teach themselves and other women how to get into technology and how to fit into a male-dominated field. Technology has far too few women in the industry today. We get called names and lose promotion opportunities when we (doing as the guys do) advance our ideas and assert our ambitions. We don't get hired if we negotiate too hard for our salaries (but the guys do), and we miss out on opportunities if we play the nice girl card. Now, I'm exaggerating a little bit, but the trends are there.

Why shouldn't we have these safe spaces (for a little while at least)? Why shouldn't we take advantage of building our own networks (the Good Ol' Boys certainly have their own) and supporting each other?

On the other hand, we should remember that at the end of the day, we really do need male buy-in to break that glass ceiling. Otherwise all we're doing is singing "Let It Go" at a frozen mountainside with no one around to hear us.

One of many reasons I like the PASS Women in Technology group is that the men are encouraged to join. And several have. They don't see us as anti-male. On the contrary, they want to hear us sing, see us grow, and help make technology a better industry for everyone. So kudos to them!

But to Mr. Rava's point, I still call bullshit.

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
thewayne
Aug. 25th, 2015 12:36 pm (UTC)
My wife has a problem. While we were in Europe in June one of the women on her telescope (3 of 4 were women) submitted her resignation. Last night she interviewed the last qualified applicant, the previous front-runner was a woman whom we know. This last one, a guy, she thinks is better. But he has one thing the woman does not -- a job. My wife also thinks he might be a flight risk, he's coming from an engineering role and wants to get back in to observing, whereas the woman is able to start immediately since she lives 100 miles away.

That's one thing that I like about my wife's observatory: outside of the engineering side, there's LOTS of women working there.
brandietarvin
Aug. 26th, 2015 10:21 pm (UTC)
YIKES! (RE: the hiring process). Glad I'm not in her shoes.

YAY! (RE: the gender distribution). That's awesome to see so many women in one place in a STEM field.
thewayne
Aug. 27th, 2015 03:50 pm (UTC)
Yeah, lots of women! The current head of the consortium that funds/runs the observatory is currently a woman. The other telescope is probably closer to a 50/50 gender mix, it also has a higher rate of PhDs. When we first started dating 12ish years ago my to-be-future wife was the only woman on her telescope (she was already in charge back then), so that has certainly changed over the years.

Thus far, one of the engineers, one of the telescope operators, and the head of the consortium are all in favor of the female candidate. The sad thing is that there was another applicant that was extremely qualified, but all of the other applicants had PhDs and the other just had a BS and just couldn't compete. In any other applicant pool they probably would have been a shoe-in, my wife told them to keep an eu out and they might stand a better chance later.

Apparently in astrophysics, if you're going for a doctorate, you pay for your BS and the uni pays for most of your grad work. You pay for books and lodging/meals. So you can end up with a surprisingly (comparatively) small amount of debt after you graduate.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

Brandie's Stories

The Monster of Mogahnee Bay (reprint ebook, Coming Soon, Musa Publishing)

The Drunkard's Progress (Coming Soon, Musa Publishing)

Slipping Thru the Cracks, Latchkeys #7 (Sept 2012 Crazy 8 Press)

Legend of the Beemen (June 2012 Musa Publishing)

Feast of the Torn (upcoming Buzzy Magazine)

The Hunt for Liberty Jones (Space Tramps, Flying Pen Press)

The Tales We'll Tell Tomorrow (Shadowrun: Street Legends, Catalyst Game Labs)

Silk and Steam (The Ladies of Trade Town, HarpHaven Press)

Love Me Knot (A Lady Katya Story, Storyportals.com)

Another Day, Another Labor (A Career Guide to Your Job in Hell)

Locke-Down (Blue Kingdoms: Mages & Magic)

The Rose Garden (Shadowrun: Corporate Guide-Mitsuhama Fiction, Catalyst Game Labs)

The Monster of Mogahnee Bay (Blue Kingdoms: Shades & Specters)

Just My Luck (Pirates of the Blue Kingdoms)

Two for the Price of One (Transformers: Legends, iBooks Inc.)

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