Kenneth Yu

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What will society/technology companies do to improve gender equality in the technology sector?

A minority of people are women in the information technology sector. with the vast majority of CS(computer science) majors and other similar fields being predominantly male. What will society/technology companies do to improve the disparity, and is it an issue that can be fixed?

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    • Apr 16 2014: It was nice to read the perspective of a woman on this subject. You said 3 things that I agree with 1) women are tech savvy 2) there lacks a community for women in this male dominated industry and 3) when joining a male dominated industry women are expected to become more like the men in the industry - rather than the industry itself evolving. The question was -What will society/technology companies do to improve gender equality in the technology sector? The answer is create a community that recognizes and welcomes women so tech savvy women apply for these kinds of jobs. We all want to be part of a community. I joined the education realm to be in an industry that I feel respects women. Who are some female technology role models? Put them in front of other women. Ask yourself do you really want women in this industry? If so, what are you going to do to market to them? To make them feel welcome while allowing them to still 'act like women'. What is it about technology companies that can appeal to women? Asking these kinds of questions can help bridge that gap.
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    Apr 7 2014: The composition of any given workforce shouldn't be the result of gender considerations but only be based on qualifications.
    You could make the same argument for oil drilling platforms. There are also more men than women employed and for good reasons.
    • Apr 9 2014: Harald

      I don't think competency matters anymore. What matters is diversity. Diversity over competency. And diversity doesn't matter if the field is predominately occupied by females or minorities.
      Quality and competency should be the first and last measure of employment regardless of gender and or pigmentation.
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        Apr 9 2014: Hi Charles,
        I'm for diversity but not for diversity's sake. As an employer my primary concern is to get the right person for the job, regardless of gender, color or anything else.
        I'm not sure I understand you when you say that competency doesn't matter anymore.
        • Apr 9 2014: Hi Harald

          I too, have been an employer for most of my adult life, with a range of employees from professional to unskilled. The last few years of my life, before retirement, I spent in a different type of Corp world--big business.
          I am sure that you are familiar with the Peter Principle. The Peter Principle has now, in some circles, taken on a new identity; The Diversity Principle. It is not so much promoting someone into incompetence. It is that, plus hiring to fill diversity agendas, the incompetent.
          I have known some very competent non-white males who are more than worthy of their positions and I am sure one day will either head up their own company or reach the top levels, where they are. The majority however epitomize the Peter principle. Standards and expectations of job performance appear lowered to accommodate and as, with the Peter Principle hires by these people reflect those standards and expectations furthering the decline.
          Perhaps, I can use the educational system here (US) to punctuate my point. It is a dumbing down process, which now sees the US as a 3rd rate country.
          Competency, in some departments, weighed equal to, if not less than community volunteer activities of the proposed employee. School graduation, employment and promotions are geared now to community service, as opposed to actual knowledge and performance.
          "Newspeak" has even taken over. A prescribed wordage for incidents and communications between employees.
          Competency does matter Harald, but I think more to what was, In the new world, it is more fluff and puff and happy talk. But, as in our school system there is a price to pay.
          Perhaps, there is genus at work here and I, simply, do not recognize it. I once turned down an investment opportunity in a start up cell phone company because I do not like talking on the phone.
          Hope I answered your question. I tend to ramble.
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        Apr 9 2014: Charles, yes, there seems to be a mutation of the Peter principle based on the quest for diversity.
        However, in the end, most companies are pragmatic and hire whom they deem to be the best choice for a given job offering.
        If a company looks for a fashion designer they probably will end up more often with a female (just a guess). On the other hand, if looking for a maintenance person in a factory, a company probably will be hard pressed finding a female for this job.
        In other words, diversity is fine whenever practical but shouldn't be forced. A company has to deliver on its goals and objectives and has to make decisions based on that and not on some gender/race quotas.
        That at least is so in theory. The corporate world is a bit more complex than that. Sometimes being politically savvy (or should I say being good in brown nosing ?) is more important than being competent.
        As to the US educational system, well, I suppose that would be material for a number of new discussion topics. I agree with you on the state of the US education.
        I understand your decision about the investment opportunity. I would do the same if it is about something I don't like or don't care about.
        • Apr 10 2014: Harald
          Diversity is, pretty much, enforced, here by State and Fed mandate. regardless of the position. This does not apply to sports and any environment that is predominately minority.
          Brown nosing has always been a hallmark of the corporate world; basically, a reality, throughout all employment sectors.
          What is a TED associate member?
          Since I have been involved with TED, not long, I have awakened sadly, to the great disdain and bias that people have toward the US. It has been some time since I have been in Europe, 60's and 80's; is this how the US is now seen? Most appalling is how our own people view their own country. They have no knowledge of its history or achievements, what it brought to the world or even its role in WWI and II. Their point of view is skewed with the ill conceived promise of a Utopian society based on the fallacies of socialism, even to a Marxist ideology.
          You, by your profile, are experienced and accomplished; if America falls and it would appear inevitable, even in the short run; what is the net result to the world? A light, fluffy question.
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        Apr 10 2014: Hi Charles, probably on government level, diversity is enforced, however, private industry is different. Although many corporations like to see them as diverse as any possible, the reality often is different, although, as I mentioned, that depends also a lot on the type of industry.
        What is an associate ? That's somebody how participated at a TED live or online event.
        As to people's opinion about the US. I can't speak for other people, but I lived in several different countries, including the US. In my opinion each coin has 2 sides and that also applies to the US. There are things that I like about the US and others that I don't like. But the same is true for every other country I lived. I think there probably is no perfect place.
        People outside the US often have negative views about the US because they don't understand the country, the system, its people and its motivations and drivers.
        On the other hand, Americans often complain about the US (and many are even denouncing there citizenship) because of lack of comparison. If you lived in different countries, as I did, you tend to see things from a different perspective. I currently live in Mexico and sometimes find it absurd what Americans consider a problem in their own country compared to how things are going in Mexico.
        I also have to say that the US is terribly awful in marketing America. They neither do a good job internally nor abroad.
        If America fails ? This is something that I don't think will happen from one day to the other, but we will see a shift of powers away from America. When I say powers I'm not speaking about military but about everything, educational, economical, intellectual property etc.
        We already see this shift to some degree. Brazil is getting stronger and stronger. The same is true for Asia, especially China and India.
        The bad thing is that Americans put their collective head in the sand and simply ignore the facts instead of getting the act together and focus on what is actually important.
        • Apr 14 2014: Harald, thanks for the thoughts...
          I disagree with you, about American's putting their collective head in the sand.

          My feeling are that the 2 American Political Party's Leadership(s) have found the
          golden goose. A small select group of (assume) not more than 10. Working
          quietly behind closed doors, select and vet future political candidates, pay the
          media well to sell them to the public, provide seed campaign funds to each of
          the candidates, and let them campaign. It matters not who wins. The Party's
          Leadership(s) split the running of the Government. As those on top retire,
          they join the Leadership(s) and the game continues.

          Conspiracy? NAH. They just figured it all out. Makes sense - Occam's Razor.
          The Sheeple? They just bleat quietly.

          Who can name their Party's Leadership?
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    Apr 16 2014: Well I certainly hope they don't start hiring women over men just because they are women like they do in some organisations here in England.

    The best candidate for the job must be the best applicant for the job regardless of gender.

    If there are two equally skilled candidates though, a male and a female then choose the woman, unless you are a small business and she is pregnant of course because this will cost your business a tonne
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    Apr 15 2014: I wonder what women are waiting for. Some legislation or legal jargon affirming or declaring equality?
    Women who are interested in IT should pursue it. If anyone, man or woman, decides to leave his/her life at the mercy of the norm or of societal perception......I'd say, "What a waste".

    If any woman decides to leave her future at the mercy of pop culture that wants her to shake her "Bombom" or 'tail feathers' or 'what their Mama gave them', it's simply a choice. That is democracy.
    If all the women in the world choose to be tech heads and go for it, not expecting some imagined authority to 'help'; that too, is democracy.
    Like Bob Marley says, "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery".
  • Apr 12 2014: Nothing. Brogrammers don't want skirts around.
  • Apr 12 2014: World is on a wrong footing when they go for legislative equality of force. Best way is to enhance education and access and hings will work out. Many men will even like let women do all the heavy lifting and they do things like baby sitting and just room mates with benefits.
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    Apr 11 2014: Programs like FIRST Robotics are giving young women a chance to see that they can succeed and thrive in technical areas. As a mentor, I've heard students ( male and female) tell me that their parents didn't think they would be good at robotics or they shouldn't look at engineering because they weren't good at math.

    We will never build the technical workforce we need for the future if we only consider half the population.
  • Apr 11 2014: The companies will hire qualified applicants and women will compete IF they are qualified.

    I think the push needs to be earlier to get women in these training programs in college with programs like STEM and others. This needs to occur in the home and in the early school years.
  • Apr 9 2014: The problem can be fixed. Most tech companies hire the most qualified. The problem starts earlier

    1. elementary teachers favor males for math and science questions
    2. it was found that high school science and math teachers favor male students
    3. when females major in math, science, computer science, etc. they face major problems
    4. when females go to grad school in these majors, they face major problems.
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      Apr 9 2014: agreed on all points
    • Apr 16 2014: I agree it starts in school - what are these major problems that they are facing in these programs? Once we identify the problems we can start finding the source of the problems and start identifying some solutions.
      • Apr 16 2014: 1. we need to have teachers call equally, male and female students for math and science. It was found in elementary school the ratio was heavily male.
        2. high school teachers do the same thing, they tend to push females to english, history, and social science and males to math, science and engineering. It took a lot of effort to get my daughter into shop and auto mechanics classes. That should not be.
        3. Same things tend to happen in many colleges.
        4. Graduate school and companies because it is male oriented, females are ignored or left out.