The Danger of Quotas (by )

Recently a Ruby on Rails conference was destroyed and never took place because feminists complained there were no women on the panels and talks etc... when it was pointed out that no women applied the response was that they had not tried hard enough to find women. This attack grew until the sponsors pulled their money.

This is a shame and horrible, a lot of work had gone into the event and I'm sorry but it is not the organisers fault no women applied. They should not be forced to look for women for fear of events not going ahead. Now what should have happened is that the event went a head and effort was then put in to encourage female programmers to apply to the next one.

Even if women had applied but were not as good as other candidates, there should not be an obligation to take them on just to fill the quota.

Now obviously there is the issue that some people for some reason still seem to think women are not as capable with things such as science and maths and programming but really forcing them to put women on panels is not going to help. The quota thing is being banded about in the science world but to me this can be nothing but damaging to the image of females in science and tech.

The reason is that it devalues what they do - ok so they are there because they are actually really good at what they do - but no one is going to be thinking that - they will be thinking oh she's the token woman isn't she? I wonder if she actually knows her stuff.

Now I had issues with this during my degree. I found out about the area I really wanted to study due to an outreach programme for getting women into the sciences and this was good. In conversations I've had since with various people in charge of universities they agree that the intake of girls on the courses suddenly increased to around 50% and that this was streadily trickling upwards through the science hierachies. There was some winnowing away with the issue of women hitting the glass ceiling with finding themselves at home with kids if they went for families in their 20's, they would often then find themselves also look after sick relatives or some such making a return harder but this was being metered out by older women joining the ranks once family were off hand.

This was great and I never experienced any problems with sexism from staff or established scientists (though disability was another thing and I believe a friend who found herself pregnant had one person say she wasn't coming back so why make a fuss - she got her degree and that staff member was horrible in many other ways). I agree that evidence of women succeeding is needed but it does not need to be rammed down peoples throats. The issue is that we are heading towards equality right?

Not female supremacy.

My main beef with quotas is that though I did not receive any sexism from the lecturers or those I worked with during my work experience I did from fellow students. And the main thing they bullied me over (and yes I mean that in all it's nastiness) is that I ticked three boxes, I filled three quotas with just one person so of course I got in. I was a disabled, poor, female, the only way I could have been better for the books is by being a minority preferable not the creamy pale white I am.

And the thing is there is no come back to this - how did I know that wasn't why I was on the course?

I already knew that I'd been offered a lower grade boundary to get in than others had - a correction made as those in 'normal' schools tend to score lower grades than those in schools you pay for but tend to actually work their buts off if they manage to get in. As it turned out I got the grades needed to get in without the concession which was a great help with the confidence when arguing my right to be there.

The most important thing for succeeding is self confidence but how can you have this if you yourself are worried that you are only there because of some damn quota. A female lecturer told me this was why women had to be better than men to get to the higher jobs in the modern science world, no longer is it to get noticed but more to keep the wolves away once you are there.

To me it is saddening to see that people are still worrying about this, and I have seen 'feminists' do and say some awful things. Things that make me not want to say 'I am a feminist' - when I say it I mean that women are equal to men. When they say it they mean women are better than men and men are all horrible and must pay for centuries of persecution against women.

Well you know if that's the case then they need to look at who's ancestors persecuted who's and start worrying.

People are people.

Scientists are people that do science - end of.

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