Duking it out with Faruk for the title of male Web developer most fervently combatting sexism, Tom Morris commits quite a boner. As a facetious excuse not to care about wymmyn in technology, Morris includes:

Wonder why we are all so worried about female participation in software development and not at all worried about the low number of men in nursing. Make no mention of the fact that software development is significantly better paid than nursing.

I believe I have done more research into occupational sorting than Morris (and Faruk) have done. I’ve also read Susan Pinker. And any level of occupational disenfranchisement by women is bound to be lower than that of disabled people, a group I champion.

It is not straightforward or obvious that the position of women in technology is the most important human-resources issue in that field. And it is relevant to discuss the lack of males in female-dominated industries. As Pinker described, activists drew up a list of desirable male-dominated fields and insist women get half of them. Of course there are efforts to increase the prevalence of women in trades, for example, but no one has seriously proposed increasing the number of female roofers or of male nurses and teachers. The former case is compatible with Pinker’s analysis; the latter is due to concerns there are way too many gay males in those fields already. (If Morris were actually interested in the example he described, he would investigate pay equity – almost uniquely a Canadian practice – and what it did to the wages of men in female-dominated industries.)

Also, what would be the reaction of well-intentioned men if all the new female entrants to the industry were lesbians?

I refuse to adopt a simplistic view of a systemic issue. “We need more women in technology” is a simplistic view. This isn’t all about you, the single group you choose to defend, the occupation in which you are solely interested, and the solution you decided on at the outset in the absence of facts.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2012.05.15 10:01. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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