Do We Need a Title IX for IT Workers?

December 1, 2014 at 8:39 am 1 comment

I’ve raised the question about using Title IX to force greater gender diversity in CS classes.  This is a bolder position — that we should use Title IX to change hiring practices.  Certainly, there is evidence of a lack of gender diversity in the computing industry.

Bridging the gender gap in IT might require a bold act on the part of policymakers, something along the lines of Title IX, the landmark civil rights law barring gender discrimination in education.

So mused Lisa Schlosser, deputy associate administrator of e-Government and Information Technology at the Office of Management and Budget Office, who spoke on a panel discussion Thursday at the annual FOSE government IT conference.

“Is there a Title IX for technology that we need to think about? Title IX was very transformational for women. You know, it’s kind of how I got the opportunity,” Schlosser said. “I’d just challenge us all to think, is there something bold … is there something like that that we really need to promote so that we can get more folks into technology early?”

via Do We Need a Title IX for STEM Workers? –

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Michael S. Kirkpatrick  |  December 1, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Until a few years ago, I would have argued against it. As your #Gamergate post highlighted, members of a community often resist attempts to re-engineer demographics, particularly if the efforts are seen as coming from external forces. My father spent his career as a firefighter, and he and many co-workers were resentful of efforts to increase minority and women hiring. I heard plenty of stories about all the “more qualified” (i.e., physically stronger) men that were passed over.

    Then I heard Jane Margolis speak at SIGCSE a couple years ago, when she was talking about her experience as a telephone line repair worker. Her talk highlighted how important mandatory hiring practice are to change an industry. The bias was so entrenched that she only got the job because the city required them to hire 10 women. Over time, they began to realize that women were perfectly capable of doing that work, and the industry changed. But the policies came first, despite resentment amongst workers.


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