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Amazon Embodies the Gender Gap in Tech 302

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-let-the-name-fool-you dept.
New submitter chpoot writes: "The Guardian reveals the gender breakdown among Amazon's management 'S Team.' At one end of the team of 132 are 12 secretaries. All are female. At the other end are 12 who report directly to Jeff Bezos. All are male. Of the 119 remaining when Bezos and the secretaries are put to one side, 18 are female. Amazon, of course, grew out of book selling. Book selling, publishing, and writing have all a fairly admirable tradition of employing women. In its attempts to overthrow traditional book selling, Amazon seems to have been particularly successful in subverting that part of the tradition."
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Amazon Embodies the Gender Gap in Tech

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26, 2014 @08:38AM (#46847311)

    The most qualified people rose to the top, regardless of their sex.

    Amazon, nor any other company, owes it to gender ideologies to fulfill their delusion of complete gender equality.

    Some genders are more skilled in certain areas and less skilled in others. Deal with it.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @08:39AM (#46847317)

    The Venn diagram for "WOMAN" && "STRONG" && "NO EDUCATION" is smaller than the same for "MAN". Women tend to be more educated and weaker.

    Educated and physically weak happen to align well with the stereotype of tech nerds.

  • by ganjadude (952775) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @08:39AM (#46847319) Homepage
    about how few females are truck drivers?? or garbage collectors? or oil field workers? or (insert other industry here)

    Why does it seem that tech is being unfairly beat up because of a apparent lack of women? the lack of women does not automatically mean that there is some sexist agenda, It could simply mean that there are A - not enough women wanting to be in the field or B - better qualified candidates who happen to be male.

    Females wanted equality, I define equality by giving the job to the best candidate, not an artificial quota of genders in each position
  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @08:53AM (#46847357)
    Amazon is not in the same business as traditional bookselling. Amazon is a tech company which sells books (among other things). As a result, the characteristics needed in its employees are those of a tech company, not those of a book company. I used to work as a bookstore manager. If you look at the types of jobs that are typically dominated by women and the types of jobs which are typically dominated by men, you discover that those jobs require different characteristics. Bookstores and publishers require a mix of those characteristics, as a result, you have a fairly even distribution between the sexes.
    I tried to explain why Amazon does not need to have more women executives, unlike bookstores and publishers, but I cannot quite put it into words. I do not think Amazon would be hurt by having more women executives. It is just that the nature of the company is such that men are more likely to have the characteristics which cause them to rise to executive positions.
  • I'll just say it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @09:09AM (#46847399)

    I'll just say it out loud for everyone. Most women are not that aggressive. Most men are. Often it's a detriment in the modern world. Where it's not is in leading business. Why are most HR departments filled with women? Because women and men are in fact different and our gender does affect how well we perform and enjoy certain tasks. We have equal opportunity laws because most is not all. There are women that make great executives and they should have the chance to show it. But to expect very specific roles in a single company to be gender equal numerically is just stupid. Are we going to accuse Etsy of sexism because the majority of their customers/stores are run by females?

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @09:24AM (#46847437)

    My office tries to maintain a gender balance in management... the performance bar is set lower for the women, it's quite obvious.

    Congratulations. The ignorance factor among your management will all but guarantee a lawsuit.

    From the men.

    I know I'd be rather pissed if my job was somehow harder only because I was a male in management. Why does she get a break?

    (Yeah, it's practically funny to see how quickly that shit can turn, isn't it..)

  • by west (39918) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @09:29AM (#46847453)

    One major problem is that human beings over-generalize. It's very easy for a field where there might be a "natural" split on the basis of ability and inclination of 60-40, that quickly becomes 90-10. Why? Because every member of the minority is subject to far higher scrutiny (see the famous "you suck at math", "women suck at math" (XKCD comic [xkcd.com]). Their errors are remembered, their abilities questioned.

    Now, this is *not* deliberate discrimination. This is how the human brain works. We see a pattern and we over-generalize from it.

    However, in the end, it does mean that a substantial social injustice is done. People who have both ability and inclination are driven out of the profession (who wants to be in a profession where every mistake you make will count for 5 times everybody else's in the opinion of your peers).

    So, I see no great leap that we consider changing the the "natural" outcomes of a system to compensate for certain defects in human reasoning systems by building in certain other compensating elements.

    To make a *rough* analogy, in a "natural" setting, the physically strong dominate the physically weaker. As a society, we've decided this domination is not ideal, and we've passed laws to restrain the natural interactions between people. At this point, this unnatural intervention is so all encompassing, we don't even blink at the idea that physically strong individuals are denied their natural dominance. (And indeed, lose the culture among the strong that they would otherwise enjoy.)

    Obviously male dominance in the executive suite (or tech) is a far more subtle matter calling for far more subtle compensations, but lets not fool ourselves. Pretty much every reader here is already the recipient of interventions on their behalf. And no surprise, the world is a lot better for it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26, 2014 @09:34AM (#46847473)

    Upper body strength and toxins that might affect child bearing. Next stupid question?

  • by _Ludwig (86077) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @09:51AM (#46847521) Journal

    Your examples all select for good upper-body strength. You may as well point out that there are no female linebackers in the NFL. Office work and management has nothing to do with raw physical ability, so unless you’re prepared to make the argument that women are genetically unsuited to the cutthroat world of sitting on one’s ass in front of a keyboard, you better re-examine your premise.

  • by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @09:53AM (#46847531) Homepage

    Hmm... sounds like the wealthy's attitude towards workers more than anything. Perhaps the internecine struggle between women and men in the workplace would be better focused on class differences - it could result in better economic outcomes for the majority of both sexes if workers' energies were focused in this direction.

    Workers of all sexes can either argue over how big their portion of a minuscule share is or grow the share for all workers by negotiating a larger cut with those who receive the majority of the gains - it is always such in an economic system. When the greater inequality is settled, providing larger gains to all workers, the smaller one can be addressed. Before then, it's just an economic smokescreen created by the wealthy to exploit a natural division in the ranks of the working class.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26, 2014 @10:16AM (#46847601)

    I can tell you from a man working in a (fairly large, ~800 employees) office environment that there is a strong bias to hire women over men. Approximately a 85/15 ratio. Bias swings both ways in different circumstances. Not saying they balance each other out, just that it happens.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26, 2014 @10:43AM (#46847753)

    Turns out there is more interest in equality when there is more interest in the unequal thing.

    Exactly, feminism is all about money rather than equality.

    Amazon just hired the best people for the job regardless of gender. This to me would be the most likely scenario, although if it turns out that they have engaged in discriminatory hiring practices I'll happily change my tune. It's the same situation as the pay gap myth, once you factor in hours worked, experience and qualifications the pay difference disappears.

    This story is another feminist hit piece angling for quotas in private companies, which is profoundly disempowering for women.

    If a woman wants to be, say, a firefighter, the feminists do not encourage her to make sure she measures up to the demanding physical standards. What matters most, she is told, is that there be a representative contingent of her gender at the firehouse. And if she does not meet the standards? She should not have to, feminists retort; women are rightly due their quota of such jobs.

    With all their carry on about female “empowerment,” feminists disavow the only legitimate meaning of that term: the individual woman’s self-created power to make herself into a value, the power to make an employer want to promote her or a school want to enroll her as a mutually beneficial exchange, based on her objective ability, not as a sacrificial accommodation to her gender. But that would be too independent an approach for the feminists to sanction.

    Their implicit message to women is: “You cannot succeed on your own, but you don’t have to; your collective will get you what you want.”

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26, 2014 @02:39PM (#46848913)
    What really makes US[1] women unattractive as employees is they are more likely to keep whining about discrimination, sexism and trying to get people fired (even if there really isn't any in _significant_[2] amounts). Way to poison the workplace culture.

    There aren't really that many extra external barriers stopping US women from starting their own Amazon or Linux kernels compared to the external barriers stopping US men from doing similar stuff.

    Founders of companies and OSS projects tend to focus more on getting things they want done than on crying about obstacles.

    Be that little girl who runs crying to mom/dad because there's a fence stopping her from doing what she wants, or be the little boy who climbs over it despite others telling him not to? Or even kicks it down...

    And that is the real reason why there are more male founders, bosses, serial killers, dictators, eccentric/mad/brilliant inventors, sociopaths than females.

    [1] Doesn't seem that way in other countries. Not so Us vs Them.

    [2] There'll always be discrimination, yeah spend some time fighting it. But there are plenty of far more important battles in this world.

Arithmetic is being able to count up to twenty without taking off your shoes. -- Mickey Mouse

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