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Discussion on: On lowering the bar

prodigalknight profile image

Disclaimer: I haven't been able to find a copy of the actual manifesto to read myself (for some reason nobody seems to want to link to a copy), so some of my information may not be accurate. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

From what I've read, the manifesto never said that women are "biologically less talented" than men. While this may have been implied, I don't think that was what Damore intended.

I think what Damore intended to state was that in general, men and women have different strengths, e.g.: most men may be better at building objects with sharp corners, but most women are better at building objects with more curves. Both men and women can build things, it's just that in general, men are better at building one type of thing where women are better at building another. There are exceptions to every rule, of course, and there is a percentage of men that's better at building objects with curves, as well as a percentage of women who are better at building objects with sharp corners. Within these populations, there's an even smaller percentage of the whole that is able to build the other sex's "strong point" objects better than those of the opposite sex, i.e.: men who are even better than women at building curved objects, and women who are even better than men at building sharp objects.

The analogy of building sharp vs. curved objects, of course, could carry over to any skill in life, so when a woman is hired for "a man's job" (or vice versa), she should never, ever be worried that her colleagues think she had an easier time of it, or she took shortcuts to get where she is. If any of her new colleagues believe anything of that sort, they are the ones bringing down the company's ability to learn and grow.

msmiel profile image
Mavreen Smiel

I did read the original manifesto and he concluded women are less logical (and by extension make poor engineers) because of biological differences. The old myth that women are too emotional, anxious, and unable to cope with the intellectual stress was presented as scientific fact.

I don't buy the men and women have different intellectual strengths because of biology, because it ignores the impact of society and culture has on such things. When I was a little girl, I heard "Video games and computers are for boys. Go play house." I ignored that (mostly) but it has a profound impact. Here's some more history on the subject.

Ultimately, I am worried that my colleagues think I've taken shortcuts or have been let off easy, or slept my way to the top because they do think that. I know they do because I've been told that, repeatedly, throughout my career. The last time I received a comment like that was about 3 weeks ago.

I remember a few weeks ago I saw that Google and a few other big tech companies wanted to "solve" death. I laughed. I laughed because they'd figure out immortality before treating women and minorities like people. Cynical, perhaps, but for the vast majority of people there, diversity is a non-issue. They simply don't care.

And if you're horrified and wondering what you can do, I'll tell you. It's easy and it requires no code or internet connection. Are you ready?

You believe them.

Believe them when they say DudeBro said something inappropriate because the only thing I've heard more than sexist comments are "Are you sure? He's such a nice guy. I've known him for years and he'd never do anything like that."

And if you see or hear inappropriate comments being made, say something.

cptsarcazmo profile image
Comment marked as low quality/non-constructive by the community. View Code of Conduct
Капитан Сарказмо

And why is that a myth, not a fact?
Explain to me then why women and men playing chess in different leagues?
There are numbers if you want to search, proving that in a serious intellectual game women cant compete with men.

davejs profile image
David Leger

I don't think being less logical makes a poor engineer. It makes a different engineer. For example I am terrible at writing algorithms and mediocre at math (logical skills) and despite that I'm still a good engineer. My skills are just different. My product designer says she loves to work with me because I don't just think logically, but I'm empathetic to the needs of the end user. Engineering requires both logical and creative skills which are often hard to find in a single person. That is why non-logical thinkers (both men and women) can and do make great engineers.

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msmiel profile image
Mavreen Smiel

Correct. I was paraphrasing Demore's argument.

jess profile image
Jess Lee (she/her)

YES, default to believing them.

"Are you sure? He's such a nice guy. I've known him for years and he'd never do anything like that."

This isn't a workplace experience, but its the same fundamental issue and hits close to home:

One time, my neighbor grabbed my face and tried to kiss me. He didn't succeed because I pushed him away, and he literally ran out of the room. My boyfriend didn't believe me and thought I must have 'misinterpreted' my neighbors actions. He's such a nice guy, and he's my friend. The next day, my neighbor apologized to my boyfriend (not to me, might I add), and that's when he finally believed me.

I really hope it doesn't take experiences like this for the 'good guys' to finally 'get it.'

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