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Brenda Konkel's Gender Balance Resolution

Please limit discussion in this area to local and state politics.

Postby jjoyce » Thu May 17, 2007 3:06 pm

jimoo wrote:This sounds like solid reasoning. We have a serious lack of quality managers where I work, and most everyplace I work. Precisely because they seem to be pulled from the best of the field in question (best engineer, best bioligist, best professor, etc) and not because they are the best person to manage. You don't neccesarily have to know the specifics of every little nut and bolt to manage a group, you need to be able to communicate, oversee, and get people to work together. They are very different skill sets.


I actually posted that in the wrong thread.
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Postby Marvell » Thu May 17, 2007 3:22 pm

Beer Moon wrote:Aside from the federal legislation that makes it a crime punishable by fines and prison time for sex discrimination in employment and vocational training, education, the provision and sale of goods, facilities and services and premises, I would say you are mostly correct that not much is being done at a federal level.


That there is legislation in place is meaningless if there's no enforcement.

See the entire history of the Civil Rights movement in the 20th century if you need concrete illustrations of this concept.
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Postby Marvell » Thu May 17, 2007 3:50 pm

jimoo wrote:Hey there, no one was touting the numbers as proof that there isn't discrimination. What I was showing is that the numbers don't prove there IS discrimination. Which people were arguing.

Those are VERY different statements.


Agreed. And you have, indeed, demonstrated that there is a vanishingly small statistical chance that this is all some big coincidence.

Harris, however, is arguing that these statistics are 'meaningless.' Based on some purely emotional and subjective criteria that seems to distill to 'because I like Madison, and we don't do things like that in Madison.'

Somehow, the gross statistical preponderance of probability that this is not just some big coincidence is more compelling to me than a bunch of hysterical invective from Harris Lemberg.

And then we've got others, such as pulsewidth, who are saying - 'sure there's bias; you got a problem with that?'

Personally? Yes - I have a problem with that. Does that mean that we, as a city, have to have a problem with that as well? Of course not.

But again - if we are to use statistics as they were meant to be used, it would be beyond disingenuous to simply say that because the possibility of mere coincidence exists (albeit, by your own admission, an outside chance), mere coincidence should be presumed.
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Postby harrissimo » Thu May 17, 2007 3:50 pm

Chuck_Schick wrote:
No. Fucking. Shit.

One may as well argue there's no discrimination going on here because The Bible says 10,000 angles can dance on the head of a pin (or whatever the fuck the number is).

If computers were randomly selecting applicants from an pool of candidates that could be divided equally by gender, this sort of strict analytical approach to the problem might carry water. But that's not how the system works. There are people making these decisions, and people are fallible. That's the whole fucking point, Mr. Math.

Give me a fucking break, indeed. No wonder the world is so out of balance, given the number of addle-minded men representing my miserable gender on this thread.


I feel so uplifted by the high level of respectful discourse here on this forum.
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Postby Marvell » Thu May 17, 2007 3:52 pm

harrissimo wrote:I feel so uplifted by the high level of respectful discourse here on this forum.


To quote The Suburbs:

You've got to give it if you want to get it.
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Postby jimoo » Thu May 17, 2007 3:58 pm

Marvell wrote:
jimoo wrote:Hey there, no one was touting the numbers as proof that there isn't discrimination. What I was showing is that the numbers don't prove there IS discrimination. Which people were arguing.

Those are VERY different statements.


Agreed. And you have, indeed, demonstrated that there is a vanishingly small statistical chance that this is all some big coincidence.

Harris, however, is arguing that these statistics are 'meaningless.' Based on some purely emotional and subjective criteria that seems to distill to 'because I like Madison, and we don't do things like that in Madison.'

Somehow, the gross statistical preponderance of probability that this is not just some big coincidence is more compelling to me than a bunch of hysterical invective from Harris Lemberg.

And then we've got others, such as pulsewidth, who are saying - 'sure there's bias; you got a problem with that?'

Personally? Yes - I have a problem with that. Does that mean that we, as a city, have to have a problem with that as well? Of course not.

But again - if we are to use statistics as they were meant to be used, it would be beyond disingenuous to simply say that because the possibility of mere coincidence exists (albeit, by your own admission, an outside chance), mere coincidence should be presumed.



WOAH, the chance is not "vanishingly small", not at all. The difference between the chances of them being a 50/50 split in gender and the actual split (assuming all other factors are equal) are relatively high actually.

The fact is we don't know who applied. We don't know the gender breakdown of the profession in question as a whole. We don't know the qualifications of the people that applied as whole at all.

There is nothing which one could realistically base the existing difference in the gender ratios in this example on gender discrimination within the hiring process. NOTHING.
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Postby hulk » Thu May 17, 2007 4:05 pm

Marvell wrote:
harrissimo wrote:This is bullshit. If you are saying there is overt systematic descrimination then show me your evidence.

Other than some stupid statistics you have none.


Harris, those 'stupid statistics' are the evidence.

Here, I'll make it real easy for you - these 'stupid statistics' prove one or the other of two mutually exclusive things: either women are inherently less capable than men, and are thus appropriately hired and compensated less well because of this innate deficiency; or there is systematic discrimination.

And if you don't believe the first to be true, then the only logical answer is that the second is true.

This is what statistics mean, Harris. Your public airing of your emotional baggage about it is spectacularly (although characteristically) beside the point.


Or that there aren't near as many women applying. What's the male/female ratio of applicants? You can't make a good call unless you at least know that as well.
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Postby hulk » Thu May 17, 2007 4:18 pm

Marvell wrote:
bluethedog wrote: Like lukpac said, "5 out of 28 is meaningless without knowing more".


And I'm saying, the hell it is. What's the point of using statistics if you don't understand how they work?

5 out of 28 is a statistically significant deviation from the demographics of the local workforce. That deviation means something. And since the numbers being crunched refer to employment of women versus men, the thing that these statistics mean is that it isn't some big fucking coincidence that women aren't getting as many jobs as men.

And you know what they call it when it isn't just some big fucking coincidence that women aren't getting as many jobs as men? That's right - discrimination.

Honestly - how fucking hard is that?


Wrong, it is meaningless without all the supporting numbers. What percentage of these applicants are actually qualified? What's the male to female ratio of the truly qualified applicants? 5 of 28 by itself is lopsided. But, if that is the ratio of actually qualified applicants then the number is in line with the mix of applicants.
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Postby bluethedog » Thu May 17, 2007 4:26 pm

Chuck_Schick wrote:
bluethedog wrote:
Chuck_Schick wrote:...given the number of addle-minded men representing my miserable gender on this thread.

which is 1 more than you think.

What, you're conjoined twins?

More proof that you don't understand probability.
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Postby Marvell » Thu May 17, 2007 4:28 pm

jimoo wrote:The fact is we don't know who applied. We don't know the gender breakdown of the profession in question as a whole. We don't know the qualifications of the people that applied as whole at all.

There is nothing which one could realistically base the existing difference in the gender ratios in this example on gender discrimination within the hiring process. NOTHING.


Nothing except the numbers.

Leaving your somewhat tortured syntax aside, I do think I understand what you're saying. However, I don't think you understand me.

I'm not definitively locating gender discrimination in the hiring process. I'm locating it in society at large.

I've already explicitly stated this several times, but I guess reading comprehension being what it is on this thread I'll have to do it again.

And one more time - I'm not saying that the City of Madison is necessarily the place where such gender discrimination is most appropriately addressed. That's a political question, and should rightly be approached as such.

Would a proactive approach to dealing with these gender imbalances end up priveleging women over men? Almost certainly. Would this mean that 'the most qualified applicant' might not always get the job? No doubt it would.

But it's not as if the job application process is inherently some kind of objectively predetermined process, with one clear and obvious winner. Which is what a lot of the rhetorical reaction on this thread seems to be implying.

That there is such a gender discrepancy in our city is, at least in part, a reflection of the judgements of city managers. Unless I fundamentally misunderstand the laws of causality.
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Postby jimoo » Thu May 17, 2007 5:07 pm

Marvell wrote:
jimoo wrote:The fact is we don't know who applied. We don't know the gender breakdown of the profession in question as a whole. We don't know the qualifications of the people that applied as whole at all.

There is nothing which one could realistically base the existing difference in the gender ratios in this example on gender discrimination within the hiring process. NOTHING.


Nothing except the numbers.

Leaving your somewhat tortured syntax aside, I do think I understand what you're saying. However, I don't think you understand me.

I'm not definitively locating gender discrimination in the hiring process. I'm locating it in society at large.

I've already explicitly stated this several times, but I guess reading comprehension being what it is on this thread I'll have to do it again.

And one more time - I'm not saying that the City of Madison is necessarily the place where such gender discrimination is most appropriately addressed. That's a political question, and should rightly be approached as such.

Would a proactive approach to dealing with these gender imbalances end up priveleging women over men? Almost certainly. Would this mean that 'the most qualified applicant' might not always get the job? No doubt it would.

But it's not as if the job application process is inherently some kind of objectively predetermined process, with one clear and obvious winner. Which is what a lot of the rhetorical reaction on this thread seems to be implying.

That there is such a gender discrepancy in our city is, at least in part, a reflection of the judgements of city managers. Unless I fundamentally misunderstand the laws of causality.


The numbers don't indicate gender discrimination whatsoever, you wouldn't be able to get that from any set of numbers in a vacuum from other information.

Gender discrepancy in no way equals gender discrimination. That is the point I think you miss sometimes.

Whether you like it or not, there are differences between males and females, some of that is societal, some of is biological.

This isn't inherently a problem, it becomes problematic when individuals are pigeonholed/stereotyped into specific roles.

All I care about with government hiring is that the most qualified applicant for the position gets the initial job offer, no matter the race/gender/sexuality/etc of the applicant.
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Postby universitylad » Thu May 17, 2007 5:12 pm

christopher_robin wrote:
Bruno wrote:
Hey, whatever happened to the Foron Awards idea that was bounced around here a while ago?


I dunno, but one thing is certain: we'll need a new category for universitylad if we bring 'em back. That boy is pushing the envelope.


Award? What would you entitle it?
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Postby Marvell » Thu May 17, 2007 5:27 pm

jimoo wrote:Gender discrepancy in no way equals gender discrimination. That is the point I think you miss sometimes.

Whether you like it or not, there are differences between males and females, some of that is societal, some of is biological.

This isn't inherently a problem, it becomes problematic when individuals are pigeonholed/stereotyped into specific roles.

All I care about with government hiring is that the most qualified applicant for the position gets the initial job offer, no matter the race/gender/sexuality/etc of the applicant.


One of your things is not like the other.

What these statistics show is that, in the current environment, men are disproportionately judged as being 'more qualified' (barring, again, the slight and rather whimsical statistical possibility that this is all just some big coincidence).

Given that over 50% of the population is female, and only 19% of the top 28 managers are female, this seems like a classic quo erat demonstrandum (that's Latin for 'slam dunk').

I would say that this is inherently problematic. But that's a political statement on my part, based on my ideological belief that there should be equal opportunity for all persons in our society. A meritocracy only works if there is a 'level playing field.'

So in this I (surprise, surprise) agree with Harris - I don't see the need for some expensive and time-consuming study to tell us what we already know.

If we collectively as a city want to do something about this, then let's do something about this - something tangible and concrete, right now.

If we don't, then let's not. S'all I'm saying.
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Postby Marvell » Thu May 17, 2007 5:28 pm

universitylad wrote:
christopher_robin wrote:
Bruno wrote:
Hey, whatever happened to the Foron Awards idea that was bounced around here a while ago?


I dunno, but one thing is certain: we'll need a new category for universitylad if we bring 'em back. That boy is pushing the envelope.


Award? What would you entitle it?


The Unexamined Privilege Award.

It would come with a free box of Entitle Mints!
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Postby jimoo » Thu May 17, 2007 5:44 pm

Marvell wrote:
jimoo wrote: quote]

One of your things is not like the other.

What these statistics show is that, in the current environment, men are disproportionately judged as being 'more qualified' (barring, again, the slight and rather whimsical statistical possibility that this is all just some big coincidence).

Given that over 50% of the population is female, and only 19% of the top 28 managers are female, this seems like a classic quo erat demonstrandum (that's Latin for 'slam dunk').

I would say that this is inherently problematic. But that's a political statement on my part, based on my ideological belief that there should be equal opportunity for all persons in our society. A meritocracy only works if there is a 'level playing field.'

So in this I (surprise, surprise) agree with Harris - I don't see the need for some expensive and time-consuming study to tell us what we already know.

If we collectively as a city want to do something about this, then let's do something about this - something tangible and concrete, right now.

If we don't, then let's not. S'all I'm saying.


1st paragraph= No it does not, because you don't know the breakdown of the applicants by gender. And, I never said "coincidence", statistical chance does not = coincidence IMO.

2nd paragraph: It is more like a heave from half court, you are missing WAY WAY too much information to get within even the three point line of making that determination. You don't know anything about the pool of these candidates, or about the qualifications desired compared to those qualification as they are distributed in the population. You're missing WAY too much information to get to the conclusion you came to. Again, this is my opinion.

3rd paragraph: No response neccesary, but in general, a level playing field does not result neccesarily in a completely evenly distribution outcome, especially with small samples sizes.
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