The “4% of people are a**holes” theory

This is going to be a tough topic and I am prepared for a shit storm to follow 😉 First of all: I acknowledge that equality (e.g. between male and female and trans-genders, between different races, between whatever…) is reached in VERY different levels in different areas of the world. Since I do not live ‘everywhere’ and I have not gathered experience in 50 different countries, I can not meaningfully judge equality situations around the globe. Hence I can only reflect on the situation in Germany and you should take this into consideration while reading. So please do not feel personally hurt if you are coming from a country where e.g. women are not allowed to drive cars on their own. I am NOT talking about anything but the situation in Germany. If I think that parts of my thoughts are globally feasible I will highlight those. Understand this to be a disclaimer for further reading. Disclaimer number 2: I am not offering solutions in this post, I am just stating opinions.

Okay. Let’s do this! 🙂 Let me begin with a rough outline of the AS-IS situation in Germany. I will start with an example: If you read job offers from government organizations or even from some companies in Germany you will see a closing sentence like “We support women/migrants/disabled people for this role. If a woman/migrant/disabled person with equal qualification applies for the position he/she will be preferred to get the job.”

If you look at the logically equivalent to this statement this reads: “If you have equal qualification and you are not a woman, not a migrant, nor disabled, you only get the job if there is no one from the mentioned groups with an equivalent qualification.”

This sentence raises a big STOP sign in my mind and hurts my sense of equality. Because it tells me that even if I give my best to get the best qualifications and my CV has all the needed experience in it, I succesfully master the whole interview and test process, this will not be enough to get the job as long as there is someone who belongs to a group of people that is “supported” and has achieved more or less the same. That means: it is possible that I do not get a job in the end, not because I failed or someone was just a better candidate. It could just be because I have a penis. In the same way as I don’t want to get a job BECAUSE of having a penis, I do not want someone else to get a job because she has a vagina. (At least as long as we are not applying for a job in the porn industry or something ;-))

Discussions in the political landscape of Germany have covered many equality topics. For instance quotas for women in management positions, discussions about the gender pay gap or even the support of children from “educationally challenged” families (bottom line this discussion is about the problem that a kid of a working class family is less likely to go to university than a kid of a family where both parents have a university degree). Some of the discussed problems are feasible problems. Without a question. And it is fair and good to discuss them. I just dislike the consequences of these discussions like ‘quotas by law’ or ‘preferences of supported groups in hiring processes’. The reason why I dislike these outcomes is that all of them are focussing on symptoms not on causes.

Another example is from my last job: I was about to hire a developer. During the CV screening phase our HR person came back to me with a CV of a young lady that I had rejected. And she said to me “Don’t you want to look at her again? You should hire her, you have soooo few women in your department!”. That sentence made me think for the first time about the gender of my team members. Up to this point I was not giving a fuck if I was hiring people with penises or vaginas or none of both, because I was hiring people with brains and skills. A weird feeling spread inside of me: Am I discriminating women in the hiring process? At that point I had roughly a ratio of 15% females within my department (which is retrospectively not too bad for an IT department). I cracked my head against walls for some evenings to understand if discrimination was the reason for this fact. After a lot of thinking I convinced myself that I was not discriminating anyone in my hiring process besides stupidity. I was fine with this sort of discrimination. 😉  I was wondering why this topic made me so concerned, why it even came up and why I felt as if it is an accusation in my direction. Here is the outcome:

The “4 assholes out of 100” theory

First of all the “4%” is neither a scientifically proven number nor anything more than a gut feeling. I just needed a number for the title 🙂

Okay, there needs to be a reason why discrimination in the professional area is still being discussed today. And the reason is that there needs to be a certain percentage of people within our society that is really discriminating e.g. women. Otherwise there is no problem to talk about. These are the first 2% of the society that are assholes and obviously one should get rid of them. On the other hand there are extremists (e.g. feminists, social justice warriors, interest groups of different religions) who are aggressively yelling on the rest of the society stating that women (for sake of simplicity I will stick to the women vs. men example here) become discriminated in Germany and that essentially every man (if not more) is a chauvinist. These are the second 2% of the society that are assholes and (not so obviously) one should get rid of them too.

Hence there is a minority of 4% among people in Germany which is driving and causing the whole topic.  As one of the 96% of potential non-assholes in the society you have now a bunch of big problems:

  1. A silent fear is spreading. The same fear that made me concerned “Am I discriminating women, because I was not hiring this young lady?” . The easy and wrong solution to this question is: “I should just hire more women, then I can not be a chauvinist!” in turn that means: if not enough great female candidates are in the hiring process, I am still under the silent accusation to be a chauvinist. Hence I will start to hire women, because they are female and not because of their brains and skills.
  2. A silent, easy and wrong way to avoid self-criticism arises: If a women is rejected from a job, she could tell herself that she was not given the job, because the hiring manager was discriminating her. Since people usually hate self-criticism and also hate to see their own weaknesses, this is an easy and in 98% of the cases wrong excuse. It also avoids a reflection process that makes you understand in which areas you should improve. External reasons for failure are always more easily accepted than internal ones.

The end result is that  a hiring manager forcing hisself to actively hire more women and candidates that do not reflect their own mistakes and in turn do not improve. In some cases the manager will hire then women because they are women and not because they are the best for the job. Which is a discrimination of men as well as women.

A friend of mine that I was explaining my thoughts to disagreed. She said: “Since inequal salaries between men and women are real and since more than a few percent of society are negotiating these salaries, discrimination of females is caused by more than a few percent. Hence it is a bigger issue than you are saying. Same goes for women in management roles.”

Again I thought a lot about these words. The argument seemed feasible. Where is my logical mistake then? I did not see it. If the conclusion seems right, but the end result is still wrong, start to question the assumptions. The assumption here is “Companies discrimate women by paying them 20% less salary than equally qualified men for the same role” “Companies are discriminating women by not having a 50/50 split between men and women in management roles”. At first these statements seem to be obvious. But instead of questioning these assumptions I was brainwashed by the second 2% of assholes in society and just took them for granted. One has to really understand the implication of these assumptions. This means that almost EVERY hiring manager in almost EVERY company across Germany is discriminating women. I decided for myself that this is really unlikely and that I am not willing to believe it.

Most companies – especially big ones – are highly capitalistic units. Their only interest is money and more money. It is nowadays common sense that a company makes the most money if they hire the best people. Since there is a war for talent going on, companies cannot afford that top talents move to their competitors. Obviously being a top talent is independent of gender and hence it would be against the definition of the capitalistic basis of these companies to not hire a woman if she is the best for the job. So I started thinking and researching on the topic.

I tried to find examples of inequally treated women and very succesful women I got known to in my life and I tried to find explanations for the way they were being treated. First I observed that there was an inequality of salaries within my department between men and women in the same roles. It was not huge, but it was real. With a relatively small team size around 30 people it is tough to compare salaries simply because it is tough to find a peer for everyone which is doing more or less the same job and brings more or less the same experience. If you have read my posts on how salary negotiations were done by me , you will know that I was not negotiating salaries for real. I was always trying to give people a salary that they were comfortable with. In my negotiation process it was almost only possible that someone earned less than someone else, if he had asked for less. I tried to recall the interviews with the ladies of my department. I even digged up the notes from these interviews which I kept in a small notebook. I tried to compare these to the interviews I had done with the guys of the department. Very quickly it was clear to me that the boys were much more aggressive in asking for money than the girls. The ladies were mostly shy.

On the other hand I reviewed women which were fellow students of mine and looked up how their carreer path went during the last 10 years. The result can be essentially broken down to one sentence: all (!) women which I thought have been much smarter than I was during our studies are selfconfident, intelligent, strong women that became top talents and made their way to leadership roles in their companies or even became professors at universities. Hence I started to believe that lower salaries have nothing to do with gender but with personality. While I was researching on the topic I learned about the adjusted gender pay gap and I learned that besides a remainder of 2 % to 7 % there are explanations given for why the gap exists – all of them of non-discriminating nature.

Let’s get back to the 4 %: Bottom line I believe that discrimination is an almost non-existing thing in Germany. If you meet one of the 2 % of assholes in management positions that discrimate some group of people, fight them and help to end the discrimination or ignore them and move to another company. If you meet one of the yelling 2 % extremists, ask yourself what the real and honest goal of that person is. I give you an example and some catch words: extreme feminists claim that they are for equality. Read about the occupational fatality gap , look up the female quota of e.g. flushers, garbagemen or jobs in the construction industry (FYI: the quota is less than 1 % in Germany) and ask yourself, how much the feminist is interested in equality if he is asking for a 50 % quota in top management roles but not for a 50 % quota in flusher jobs.
Do not make yourself the playball of the 4 %. Don’t be afraid of silent false accusations against you if you are a manager. Reflect about yourself and counter the prolly wrong arguments that try to prove you being a chauvinist. Do not avoid self-criticism if you are a candidate for the sake of ease. Do you really want to get a job because you belong to a certain group of people or do you want a job because you are good at what you are doing?

What are your thoughts on the topic? Is discrimination in the professional world of Germany a real issue? Leave a comment.

4 thoughts on “The “4% of people are a**holes” theory”

  1. ( not sure if you’re reading comments on hn, so re-posting here)

    > Where is my logical mistake then?

    Your logical mistake is in understanding “discrimination” as happening mostly on a personal level, and pretty much disregarding that there is systemic discrimination through which, while everyone is being pleasant to each other, an outcome is achieved that still promotes inequality.

    So while you not willing to believe this…

    > This means that almost EVERY hiring manager in almost EVERY company across Germany is discriminating women. I decided for myself that this is really unlikely and that I am not willing to believe it.

    …it’s probably true. Not in the sense that every hiring manager is a terrible chauvinist, but there is a bias in the system which is skewed against women. The most basic example:

    A hypothetical hiring manager when faced with the choice of hiring a woman, has it somewhere in their head that in humans women are the sex which can get pregnant, and they’d have to hire a temp, possibly continue paying her, and then deal with maybe even a part-time employee when they wanted a full-time one. That’s simply something that a male candidate doesn’t have to deal with.

    This doesn’t happen because someone is being particularly mean, it just happens.

    Consider that this phenomenon of women’s liberation is a relatively recent one, through our culture we have ingrained in us millennia of womens’ oppression.
    Consider that women, in the American context – even just white women, haven’t had the right to vote for even a hundred years.

    We’ve come a long way, but we’re not “finished”, and these forces are still there – sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker. You even see it yourself, when you write:

    > Very quickly it was clear to me that the boys were much more aggressive in asking for money than the girls. The ladies were mostly shy.

    Have you given some thought as to *why* women were shyer than men ? I would put it to you that they’re being taught, from childhood, that to be a girl means to be a bit more on the quiet side, and to be a boy means to be a bit more on the loud and more demanding side. And no-one means the girls or the boys any harm in doing it, it’s probably not even all that conscious of an effort. That’s the link between “gender” and “personality” you were missing in :

    > Hence I started to believe that lower salaries have nothing to do with gender but with personality.

    The end result of it is, that *you* in the team that *you* manage, pay the women less. Which is clearly unfair.

    I think if I were in that situation as your female employee, I would be a pretty loud obnoxious asshole about it.

    You’re doing yourself a dis-favor by just calling the people who loudly attack you, “assholes”. The progress we’ve made in gender equality has depended to a large extent on women being unpleasant and loud.

    Maybe instead of just dismissing them, try to actually imagine what life looks like from these people’s perspective. Because while I am sure there is lot’s of anger that get’s released in an over-the-top way, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some truth in there that might well justify being angry.

    1. Hi yosamino,
      thanks for your comment.

      …it’s probably true. Not in the sense that every hiring manager is a terrible chauvinist, but there is a bias in the system which is skewed against women. The most basic example:

      A hypothetical hiring manager when faced with the choice of hiring a woman, has it somewhere in their head that in humans women are the sex which can get pregnant, and they’d have to hire a temp, possibly continue paying her, and then deal with maybe even a part-time employee when they wanted a full-time one. That’s simply something that a male candidate doesn’t have to deal with.

      I disagree with that one. This is an unsolvable false argument: At any point of equalization in society you could make that claim and it is neither provable nor disprovable. The only way to get this one out of the way is achieving equality to that extend that either men also become pregnant or women do no longer get pregnant.
      OTOH: in Germany it becomes more and more common that fathers go on parental leave for up to 11 months and get roughly 2/3 of their last salary during that time from the government. If as a hiring manager your point is really a concern, that should also affect men, no?

      Have you given some thought as to *why* women were shyer than men ? I would put it to you that they’re being taught, from childhood, that to be a girl means to be a bit more on the quiet side, and to be a boy means to be a bit more on the loud and more demanding side. And no-one means the girls or the boys any harm in doing it, it’s probably not even all that conscious of an effort. That’s the link between “gender” and “personality” you were missing in :

      Agreed! That is exactly what I mean with one should not fight the symptoms, but the causes. The problem IMHO is not that comapnies treat women inequally. The problem is that many women become raised as little shy princesses by their parents and in turn do not have certain personality characteristics that are needed in many places of the business world. You are not solving this problem by assuming that a company is paying inequally because of discrimination. You are solving this problem by raising young ladies to be strong self confident personalities. But it has nothing to do with your gender if you are raised as a shy unconfident person. It is just about your parents. You will prolly easily find examples of men that you know who are shy and will also earn less than stronger personalities around them.

      The end result of it is, that *you* in the team that *you* manage, pay the women less. Which is clearly unfair.

      No, it is not. Because the reason why someone was paid less was NOT based on his or her gender. It was mostly not even based on my idea about their salary, but about their own idea of what they want to earn. As written in my other article: I even offered some people more money than they were asking for, because I thought that they have absolutely wrong ideas about what their worth is. I also looked at men that were earning less than others in my department. And it was always the same conclusion: shy and non-selfconfident personalities were earning less than strong ones.

      Maybe instead of just dismissing them, try to actually imagine what life looks like from these people’s perspective. Because while I am sure there is lot’s of anger that get’s released in an over-the-top way, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some truth in there that might well justify being angry.

      Yep. I tried many times to do so. The result is always one of the following: They cannot explain to me concretely where they are being discriminated OR they tell me it is not them being discriminated but the unconcrete mass of women OR they yell at me if I ask them for equality in unpopular areas like flushers or occupational fatality OR they refuse any discussion. Sorry to say this, but if someone refuses discussion with me, I am not interested in how their live looks from their perspective. If there is no basis to discuss, then there is no basis to discuss 😉 And people that are not willing to discuss or are killing any debate by just labeling their opponents with terms like “sexist” are – and stay – assholes in my opinion.

      Cheers,

      Jan

  2. > I disagree with that one. This is an unsolvable false argument: At any point of
    > equalization in society you could make that claim and it is neither provable nor disprovable.

    I don’t agree. This is neither unsolvable nor false. And you show the solution in
    your next sentence. If we change our society so that each candidate has roughly the
    same probability of taking their parental leave, then that will fade over time. As
    you note, while we’re not quite there yet, we’re moving towards it.

    > You are solving this problem by raising young ladies to be strong self confident
    personalities. But it has nothing to do with your gender if you are raised as a shy
    unconfident person. It is just about your parents.

    I think you’re looking at this a little too narrowly. People don’t just grow up seeing
    only their parent, the society around them also has an impact on them *and their parents*.
    If we just take this example: imagine a little girl whose mother works for Mr. Voss.
    She’d be influenced by the knowledge that her mother is a minority at her workplace by
    far, and also that her work is worth less, because she get’s paid less for it than her
    colleagues. So somewhere in the little girl’s subconscious it will register, maybe strongly,
    maybe not, that working an IT job is maybe not something that’s for girls. After all, not
    many seem to do it, and the ones that do, don’t even get paid the same as the men.

    In this sense, by paying women less, you’re reinforcing the stereotype. That’s not
    raising strong personalities.

    But let me state it again:

    The people on your team, are all doing the same work (please correct me if this is incorrect),
    but you pay the “less confident” ones less money. And *all* women whom you hired, and that’s
    just 15% are “less confident and shy”, so they make less money.

    So not only did you create a situation in which you can rationalize systemic discrimination,
    but you also seem to be paying your people based, not on the work that they do for you, but
    rather based on their interview performance ?

    I say “systemic discrimination”. because the situation you are describing seems to be a common
    one, where the responsible individual insists it’s all fine. But we end up with many
    companies in which women are paid less, just as in your situation. One could call it a trend.

    But please don’t misunderstand me. I am not trying to accuse you of doing this deliberately.
    I am just pointing out that the outcome of your actions have *clearly*, by your own description,
    resulted in an imbalance, and instead of thinking of ways to balance it out, your decision is to
    rationalize the status quo as the only possible outcome.

    To rephrase the saying: All that is necessary for the continuation of systemic discrimination
    is for midlevel-management to do nothing.

    If you’re not actively doing something against it, you’re just going with the flow
    and letting it continue.

    But imagine the following, though. What if you made it a stated policy to say:

    > I want to pay my employees fairly and equally for the work that they do.
    > And I recognize that some of them have been brought up in a way that
    > makes them more shy to ask for money. This seems to be true for all the women
    > who work here. But I want to pay them fairly for the value that they bring
    > to this company! So from now on, there will be no more shyness-tax.

    You could even make it a goal to double the percentage of women up to 30%
    in your team, not by hiring unqualified people, but by making it a point to
    be biased towards women when you have equally qualified candidates. Once you
    reached the 30% ( or heaven forbid 50%!), you can stop being biased again,
    and see where it goes.

    In your original post you made it sound like that giving unfair disadvantage to
    the penis-carrying part of the population, but what you’re doing is making
    your team more balanced. In the systemic view you’d be reducing inequality.
    You’d be setting an example, of how the world could be better.

    And you seem to have your heart in the right place and already
    want to pay your team more than they dare ask for.

    This tells me two things: You seem to be on the right path of what I described above,
    and more importantly, you seem to have the power to make it happen.
    Easier said than done, sure. But most people do not enjoy this sort of power.
    Maybe just something to think about.

    Imagine having a discussion with with the people you were describing, and being able to say

    > Yeah, on average men and women are paid the same on my team, and we’ve almost reached
    > 30% women, but we currently can’t find any good candidates. If you know any please let
    > her send me her resume!

    And I get that it’s sometimes difficult to discuss these things, especially when strong emotions
    are involved. But you don’t seem to go about it with a very empathetic point of view.

    > They cannot explain to me concretely where they are being discriminated

    Have you considered that you’re going about this the wrong way ? Imagine going to the doctor
    with a weird, general sort of chest pain and upon telling the doctor about it, they ask

    > Can you be concrete? Where *exactly* does it hurt? What? you don’t know exactly? If you
    > can’t even explain the pain precisely, maybe it’s just your imagination! Stop wasting
    > my time. Damn hypochondriacs

    That pain would maybe be treatable much easier, if, even if they thought that the pain was imagined,
    the doctor sat down, and let the person describe it how *they* feel it. After all, even if
    it turns out to be a smaller deal than first thought, it’s still the real feelings of a real human, and chances are something is actually wrong.

    > OR they tell me it is not them being discriminated but the unconcrete mass of women

    This is essentially what I am trying to describe to you. There is such a thing as systemic oppression,
    and not just the sexist type. This does not exclude counterexamples, but it means that as a whole,
    one group of people is getting a worse deal. That’s a thing.

    > OR they yell at me if I ask them for equality in unpopular areas like flushers or occupational fatality

    Because that’s clearly just trolling ;-). After all, when talking about slavery you don’t argue that, if only
    half of all the white people were slaves too, and half the black people were free, it would be equality.
    Or why should not half of all prositutes be men ?
    That’s absurd, of course it’s about getting access to the good part of society.

    That being said, equality in all areas, in the long run, no matter what the job is desirable I think. But to say

    > Ok, then, we’ve oppressed women for many centuries, how about now, that the times are a’changing,
    > we’ll make absolutely sure that half of all streetcleaners are women! Great huh!?

    is not the point of the whole discussion.

    > OR they refuse any discussion

    Which is ok I think. Nobody has an *obligation* to have a discussion with you, and if someone
    gives me a vibe that they will troll me with “Why don’t you become a plumber then?!?” I will
    think about whether that’s a valuable use of my time.

    Having this discussion with you on the other hand, seems to be a good use of my time.
    Good on you for writing this post!

    Regards,
    yosamino

    1. Hey there 🙂 I just managed to loose almost my full reply to your comment with a browser crash -_- Now I will try to remember what my thoughts were 😉 So excuse me, if I get harsh at some points. I do not mean to and it is not about you…it is just because I am pissed to write my reply again 😉

      If we change our society so that each candidate has roughly the
      same probability of taking their parental leave, then that will fade over time. As
      you note, while we’re not quite there yet, we’re moving towards it.

      Almost. In the end you cannot achieve equality there, simply because women will have always more time off by being pregnant AND having the probability to go on parental leave versus men that just have a chance to go on parental leave.

      People don’t just grow up seeing
      only their parent, the society around them also has an impact on them *and their parents*. If we just take this example: imagine a little girl whose mother works for Mr. Voss.
      She’d be influenced by the knowledge that her mother is a minority at her workplace by
      far, and also that her work is worth less, because she get’s paid less for it than her
      colleagues. So somewhere in the little girl’s subconscious it will register, maybe strongly,
      maybe not, that working an IT job is maybe not something that’s for girls.

      Then let’s replace “parents” with “parents generation”. So you really think that a little boy is badly influenced by the fact that his father is working as let’s say a base school teacher or as a kindergarten-guy, has mmostly female colleagues and for some reason is earning a bit less than his female co-workers? Seriously? I am not a child psychologist (and I don’t want to become one ;)) but I doubt that. But even if I assume that this is the case, I simply don’t think it is the job of society as a whole nor the employer of the dad to fix this but it is the job of the father to tell his kid that it is no damn problem that there are less men working in kindergarten. Because everyone chooses what he/she wants to do for his/her living, he likes his job and that’s the reason why he picked it and other people like other jobs. That’s it, no?

      The people on your team, are all doing the same work (please correct me if this is incorrect),
      but you pay the “less confident” ones less money.

      No. We were 30 people with roughly 10 different roles and different seniority levels. That’s why I wrote in my original post that it was hard to find real peers to compare salaries. And yes, I think it is completely okay that shy and less self confident people earn less. First of all: Salary is NOT about fairness! Salary is part of a business contract between a grown up person and a company. The only thing that is important is that both parties of the contract are happy with the salary. But happiness is a strongly individual feeling. Both parties: the grown up individual and the company are responsible to achieve their own level of happiness in a salary negotiation (even if I avoided negotiations, I still believe that ;-)). In the end both parties agree on a number and sign a contract. There is nothing wrong, if top talent A needs 5k EUR more to be happy with his salary and to start the job and top talent B is fine with 5k EUR less. A company is not a welfare organisation and hence it is in their responsibility to not spend more money than needed and to make sure that pay gaps between different employees are not that high that someone becomes unhappy after finding out about the salaries of his colleagues – why? not because any global fairness stuff…just for the simple reason that it is in their interest to have a high retention rate and happy employees.
      Besides that: EVERY two persons are different. And yes, certain character attributes are worth more or less salary. Even if on paper two persons are qualification-wise the same, just one is extroverted and self-confident, the other one is shy and unconfident about his self, it is justified to pay different salaries. Because: if some is not selfconfident, he is for instance highly likely to be a worse communicator, you will not easily take him into talks with clients or throw him into a room with 50 people giving a talk about his work to communicate it to the rest of the company. Communication is essential for every company and hence I think it is completely fair to pay for certain character attributes more and for others less.

      So not only did you create a situation in which you can rationalize systemic discrimination,
      but you also seem to be paying your people based, not on the work that they do for you, but
      rather based on their interview performance ?

      No. That’s wrong. At the point where one talks about the salary, the department (i.e. the team he should join, the lead of this team and me) is sure that we want to hire this person because he/she is from our POV the best fit. Then it was my job to get this person onboard. that means to figure out what he/she needs to join our team. So I asked the candidate what he wants to earn and told him/her that I am not negotiating (see my post on salary negotiations) and then I did, whatever was needed to get him/her the money he/she was asking for. Even if it was out of budget limits. We were deciding to hire people because of their skills, their brains and their team-fit component. If we had made the decision to hire someone, it was meaningless how much exactly that guy should earn, it was my job to make it happen, because that person was the best candidate. I never actively negotiated anyone down in salary just to save some money for the company.

      But imagine the following, though. What if you made it a stated policy to say:

      > I want to pay my employees fairly and equally for the work that they do.
      > And I recognize that some of them have been brought up in a way that
      > makes them more shy to ask for money. This seems to be true for all the women
      > who work here. But I want to pay them fairly for the value that they bring
      > to this company! So from now on, there will be no more shyness-tax.

      Again it is for me not about paying people equally. That is not the job of a company or a manager. I want people to be happy with their salary. Some person with three kids perhaps needs some EUR more to be happy with his salary than a single person without kids. What’s wrong with that? I do not want to discriminate anyone. Everyone gets the same chance to get a salary he is happy with. It is easily said that one wants to pay “fairly for the value the employee brings”…but: how exactly does one measure the value that is brought? And isn’t everybodies value different since everyone brings different character attributes and (life) experience? Why is it a wrong to assume that a grown up person should be able to tell me what he or she wants to get paid in order to be happy with his new job and me only regulating extreme cases that are that much off the rough salaries in the department, that they will lead to unhappiness in the long run?

      You could even make it a goal to double the percentage of women up to 30%
      in your team, not by hiring unqualified people, but by making it a point to
      be biased towards women when you have equally qualified candidates. Once you
      reached the 30% ( or heaven forbid 50%!), you can stop being biased again,
      and see where it goes.

      Agreed. One could do that. Reality in IT is that you rarely get CVs from women. And it is even more rare that you have two top candidates on the table one female and one male. I had that case exactly once IIRC and what I did was: I fought for a second position and tried to hire both. besides that I do not believe that it should be the responsibility of companies to fix issue that are created with people during their education in child hood by parents or society as a whole. It should be in the responsibility of parents and society to grow young people that are self confident enough to not think in terms of “IT is a boys thing” or “Kindergarten is a girls thing”. That is the cause and we should not make employers responsible for healing the symptoms, no?

      Imagine having a discussion with with the people you were describing, and being able to say

      > Yeah, on average men and women are paid the same on my team, and we’ve almost reached
      > 30% women, but we currently can’t find any good candidates. If you know any please let
      > her send me her resume!

      I just do not get why this is “better” than asking all team members to send me over ALL good candidates that know without being interested in their gender.

      Have you considered that you’re going about this the wrong way ? Imagine going to the doctor
      with a weird, general sort of chest pain and upon telling the doctor about it, they ask

      > Can you be concrete? Where *exactly* does it hurt? What? you don’t know exactly? If you
      > can’t even explain the pain precisely, maybe it’s just your imagination! Stop wasting
      > my time. Damn hypochondriacs

      Yeah, I have thought about that already. The point is: If someone is starting with a statement “I feel discriminated” I expect him to tell me why. I do not like the idea that people that feel discrimated are helpless victims that are unable to articulate about the problem. Business Life is not about being a psychologist (in most cases at least). Hence I think it is completely fine to ask “why” someone feels discriminated and to expect a meaningful answer. For sure I refelct on the situation and ask myself why that person could feel that way, but in the end a manager is NOT the doctor of an employee that has to guess diseases 😉

      This is essentially what I am trying to describe to you. There is such a thing as systemic oppression,
      and not just the sexist type. This does not exclude counterexamples, but it means that as a whole,
      one group of people is getting a worse deal. That’s a thing.

      I am slowly willing to agree with that one. But I still disliek the idea of a general victim role of a whole group in society. In the end I think that equality is not about equal results in life but it is about equal opportunities. That means: as long as no one tells me that I do not get the job because I am a man/my parents have not studied or do not have enough money etc., it is fine if it is harder forme to achieve certain things as long as I have the opportunity to achieve them (and there were several things in my life that were easier for for instance kids of rich parents).

      > OR they yell at me if I ask them for equality in unpopular areas like flushers or occupational fatality

      Because that’s clearly just trolling ;-). After all, when talking about slavery you don’t argue that, if only
      half of all the white people were slaves too, and half the black people were free, it would be equality.
      Or why should not half of all prositutes be men ?
      That’s absurd, of course it’s about getting access to the good part of society.

      Actually it is not trolling. That is the main point that differentiates if one is talking about equality in terms of dumb quotas or if one talks about equality in terms of equal opportunities to achieve stuff without equal result in terms of quota. I believe everybody should do the job he wants to do. The right way to measure equality is to measure ratio of qualified incoming CVs per gender and position vs. ratio of men vs. women that got the job. If no qualified women is applying for being a flusher: great no issue. If no qualified men are applying to become Kindergarten guys: awesome, no problem if there are no Kindergarten-guys then. If there is no 50% market for male prostitutes, no problem, then there shouldn’t be 50% male prostitutes out there, because there is no job for them to do 😉
      And in the end it is the same for top positions: If less women do study economics, if women on average have less aggressive wishes to sit in top management positions of huge companies and if this leads to more male qualified CVs coming in for these positions, no problem! (One side example: the corperation that was owning the start up I was working for had 12k employees globally. The boss over almost the whole european region was a 60+ year old woman. One of the toughest I have ever met. And she did not have her job because of weird quotas nor had any of her male colleageus their job because of any weird quotas. All of them had their job because they were – or seemed at least to me – excellent in their job and prolly were the best fit for the job).
      But if one is talking about quotas as equality, I want to have quotas everywhere. Otherwise it is not equality but it is chery picking, no?

      > Ok, then, we’ve oppressed women for many centuries, how about now, that the times are a’changing,

      Gnaaaaaa 😀 With that one I have an issue: I do not give too much fuck (besides learning from historical mistakes) about what was in the past. Me personally as well as anyone from my generation has NEVER done anything like actively oppressing women. That’s the false argument of heritage-guilt and I do not count that one 🙂

      > OR they refuse any discussion

      Which is ok I think. Nobody has an *obligation* to have a discussion with you, and if someone
      gives me a vibe that they will troll me with “Why don’t you become a plumber then?!?” I will
      think about whether that’s a valuable use of my time.

      Yes and no 🙂 If the statement is made to me “women are not equally treated” by a person and I start to ask why and to debate and then my coutner part just says “I have lived for 40 years as a woman in this world, I am not in need to debate with you” that is just fucking lame and stupid. I never ever told anyone to become a garbageman or a plumber. I just say if one wants equality based on quotas in top positions, then equality should also come in the same way to shit positions, because otherwise it is no equality…

      Having this discussion with you on the other hand, seems to be a good use of my time.
      Good on you for writing this post!

      Thanks, also enjoying my time talking about it with you 🙂

      Jan

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