August 9, 2017

On men and memos

The Google memo bothers me. It’s a smart-sounding piece of contrarian opinion that cherry picks facts to drive a point. It misappropriates real problems and assigns convenient explanations.

I don’t think it’s worth debunking, because it’s not even posing a question. The writer clearly assumes that he knows better than us. He’s mansplaining in the most ironic way: to other men and incorrectly.

First, my beliefs: women are equal to men in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. You can generalize on the differences between men and women — it’s not fair, but it’s efficient. You shouldn’t be reductionist based on these generalizations — that’s unfair, and inefficient.

Second, my opinion: working on tech for women is not easy. The same situation where a male PM can get kudos from his team will result in shaken heads with a female PM — bossy vs. leader, bitchy vs. detailed, flirty vs friendly. Add the current vicious cycle of mostly male teams and it’s not easy to imagine what an unfriendly environment it can be.

I’ve worked with great female developers. I’ve worked with mediocre male developers. Anecdote is not evidence, so I shouldn’t say all female devs are great — but saying the opposite is just as incorrect.


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